Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How About Biographies?

What's your take on biographies? Only a select group of writers write them, but a great many readers devour them. It's got to be the curious side of the human nature that creates interest in other people's lives.

Granted, most biographies are written about a person who has celebrity status of some sort. Whether it's in the entertainment world, the arts, history, or politics, the subject of a biography is someone others would like to learn about. Occasionally, you run across a biography of a lesser known individual, but I'm guessing they seldom sell many copies unless they have a fantastic marketing plan and something about the person being written about sparks interest by readers.

I enjoy reading biographies but I admit that I'm pretty selective when it comes to which ones. I need to have more than a passing interest in the person who is the subject of the book. Same with autobiographies. Whether they are written by the person himself/herself or a (supposedly) objective second party, the life story of someone can be slanted in any way the writer wants it to go. She can capitalize on the good parts of the person's life or feature the tough times, maybe even the distasteful times. Author's choice!

We assume the biography is a factual account of a person's life, but keep in mind that the facts can be turned to whatever slant the author wishes. Even so, learning about a person's life gives the reader a fuller view and perhaps changes the perception they have of that person.

Some of the people whose biographies or autobiographies I've enjoyed reading were about:
Barbara Bush
John Adams
Dwight Eisenhower
Katherine Graham
Amelia Earhart
Frank Sinatra

There are many more that I might have listed above. I'd like to know what some of your favorites have been. Ulterior motive here--I need to select a book for my Book Club to read in April and I'm looking for suggestions.

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