Joey Crows

Tell Me About A Great Biography You've Read.

33 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Richard Ellmann's biography of Oscar Wilde springs to mind.

I also enjoyed S.T. Joshi's biography of H.P. Lovecraft. But you have to like Lovecraft to read that.

Robin Lane Fox's take on Alexander the Great (the inspiration for Stone's movie) is also pretty good although I've not gotten through that one yet.

This biography of Emperor Caligula is also a very good read, showing the man behind the monster (or rather the shrewd politician behind the madman).

Ooh, Oscar Wilde would be interesting.

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On 3/22/2017 at 2:47 PM, red snow said:

David Attenborough's "life on air". Focuses on his career with the BBC but that's almost 70 years and you realise how instrumental he was in molding television broadcasting and not just in terms of wildlife documentaries. Parts of it read like Indiana Jones with him galavanting around the world getting into all kinds of random things - at one point he's mistakenly thought to be Prince Phillip by the native people!

The only drawback for those who like biographies to be "warts and all" is that it's clear David is still quite private and only occasionally mentions his personal life. It's much more focused on his working relationships. But there's more than enough to cover in his working life. And he's still working!

If you can handle audiobooks there's the added benefit of the man himself narrating it.

I have the audiobook of this, one of the very few audiobooks I own.

I occasionally listen to it in the car, he has such an excellent and unique voice and it is quite interesting.

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Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, Joey Crows said:

I've read A Short History of Nearly Everything and One Summer. Both were fantastic. Are you referring to something specific? I didn't know he had written any biographies.

Well, many of his books are autobiographical to some degree. "Notes from a small island" and "Notes from a big country" are must-read kind-of travel books for people who want to read his hilarious perspective on the respective cultures of the UK and the US. I believe both are studied in English classes throughout the world.
He also wrote "The Life and Times of the hunderbolt Kid" about his childhood, but I found it less funny (it's probably better if you're an American from his generation).

Edited by Rippounet

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47 minutes ago, Calibandar said:

I have the audiobook of this, one of the very few audiobooks I own.

I occasionally listen to it in the car, he has such an excellent and unique voice and it is quite interesting.

I think he's probably the nation's "granda telling us a story" with his voice. I wound up trying to find more by him but there's surprisingly little - they are all quite short and I'm suspicious they may cover similar material to the "life on air" book. We're sorted as far as tv narration is concerned though :)

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11 minutes ago, red snow said:

I think he's probably the nation's "granda telling us a story" with his voice. I wound up trying to find more by him but there's surprisingly little - they are all quite short and I'm suspicious they may cover similar material to the "life on air" book. We're sorted as far as tv narration is concerned though :)

Indeed. I have all of the big bbc series, and several smaller scale ones that he's narrated, on dvd.

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Most recent biography I read was Isaac Newton: The Last Sorcerer, by Michael White.

Notable for actually stressing Newton's obsession with biblical prophecy and alchemy. I think White has a bit too much fun with Newton's character flaws though.

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I don't read a lot of biographies, but when I do they tend to be music autobiographies. Two I really liked were Levon Helm's and Miles Davis'. Be warned, Levon's book will really affect your ability to enjoy the Last Waltz, at least for a little bit. And Miles Davis uses "motherfucker" the way Al Swearengen uses "cocksucker." But both were good reads.

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1 hour ago, matt b said:

I don't read a lot of biographies, but when I do they tend to be music autobiographies. Two I really liked were Levon Helm's and Miles Davis'. Be warned, Levon's book will really affect your ability to enjoy the Last Waltz, at least for a little bit. And Miles Davis uses "motherfucker" the way Al Swearengen uses "cocksucker." But both were good reads.

I'd rather not ruin The Last Waltz for myself. Haha.

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4 hours ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

Most recent biography I read was Isaac Newton: The Last Sorcerer, by Michael White.

Notable for actually stressing Newton's obsession with biblical prophecy and alchemy. I think White has a bit too much fun with Newton's character flaws though.

Cool. Thanks for the recommendation!

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5 hours ago, Rippounet said:

Well, many of his books are autobiographical to some degree. "Notes from a small island" and "Notes from a big country" are must-read kind-of travel books for people who want to read his hilarious perspective on the respective cultures of the UK and the US. I believe both are studied in English classes throughout the world.
He also wrote "The Life and Times of the hunderbolt Kid" about his childhood, but I found it less funny (it's probably better if you're an American from his generation).

I have been meaning to read Notes From a Small Island for a while now. Perhaps now is the time!

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On 3/24/2017 at 10:54 AM, matt b said:

I don't read a lot of biographies, but when I do they tend to be music autobiographies. Two I really liked were Levon Helm's and Miles Davis'. Be warned, Levon's book will really affect your ability to enjoy the Last Waltz, at least for a little bit. And Miles Davis uses "motherfucker" the way Al Swearengen uses "cocksucker." But both were good reads.

Yeah I also really enjoyed Helm's; it was funny, revelatory, and heartbreaking.  His voice really comes through. And I concur with your comment about the Last Waltz.  Ronnie Hawkins was very entertaining.  

Haven't read Miles Davis', though I'd like to.

In other music related autobiographies, Clapton's was unremarkable, Anthony Keidis' was great, and Richard Cole's (Zeppelin's tour manager) was revolting, horrifying, and of questionable veracity but quite gripping nevertheless.  

Dennis McNally's Grateful Dead bio was awesome and I'd highly recommend it to any deadheads out there 

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only bio ive ever read was an autobiography by famous illustrator Bill Peet. I was a kid and I read it with my mother. Great book

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