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Friday, July 18, 2008

The Future of Biography

In a June article in London’s Guardian newspaper, a biographer bemoans the state of the modern biography ("The Death of Life Writing," June 28, 2008). “And, what is the future for a genre in which the best subjects have already been written about, time and again?” Kathyrn Hughes asks?

Celebrity memoirs and “saucy biographies of saucy 18th-century ladies” are among the culprits in the decline of the genre, Hughes believes.

Is Hughes right? Read any good biographies, recently? Let us know.

Here’s a few good biographies recommended by Hughes, BookBrowse and other sources:

Einstein by Walter Isaacson

Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Mao by Jung Chang, Jon Halliday

Shakespeare by Peter Ackroyd

Ring Out Freedom by Fredrik Sunnemark

Josephine: A Life of the Empress by Carolly Erickson

Matisse: the Master by Hilary Spurling

Don’t Miss . . .

Just a reminder:

Wednesday, July 23, 7 p.m.
Local mystery authors discuss their latest book in the award-winning series, Chesapeake Crimes 3. Martha Washington Library, 6614 Fort Hunt Road, Alexandria. Free; registration required, call 703-768-6700. This program is co-sponsored by the Friends of Martha Washington Library. Listen to Library Director Sam Clay’s podcast interview with two of the contributors.

1 comment:

C. Saulsgiver said...

I recently enjoyed a biography of Woody Guthrie, published for young adults, entitled "The Life of Woody Guthrie: There Ain't Nobody That Can Sing Like Me". The author, Anne Neimark, weaves an intriguing tapestry of the life of this icon of American folk music. The incredible tragedies and hardships which he endured and his own wander lust and stubbornness develop a picture of a man both deeply principled and untethered to societal expectations. An interesting and informative read.