Tag Archives: Biography

Popular Digital Biographies and Memoirs

Why not step into someone else’s life for a while by reading or listening to a biography or memoir while you’re staying home and staying safe? Here are a few suggestions that you can download from Overdrive with your Fairfield Public Library card.

Title details for A Marvelous Life by Danny Fingeroth - Available

A MARVELOUS LIFE
By Danny Fingeroth

“In this enthusiastic biography of Stan Lee (1922–2018), Fingeroth, one-time writer and editor at Lee’s longtime employer Marvel Comics, tells the story of the man who helped create comic legends including Spider-Man and Black Panther.”~Publisher’s Weekly

For more information, please click here.

Title details for Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen - Available

DUTCH GIRL
By Robert Matzen

“A meticulously detailed and researched look at the formative years of an iconic performer; for fans of Hepburn as well as anyone seeking a social history of the Dutch experience of World War II.” ~Library Journal

For more information, please click here.

Title details for Edison by Edmund Morris - Available

EDISON
By Edmund Morris

“Inspiration and perspiration prodigiously unite in this sweeping biography of one of America’s greatest inventors. Pulitzer-winning biographer Morris tells Thomas Alva Edison’s story backward, opening with the creator of the first long-lasting light bulb, the phonograph, and other electromechanical marvels in lionized, imperious old age and presenting each decade of his life in reverse order, back to his boyhood spells of intense, isolated concentration.” ~Publisher’s Weekly

For more information, please click here.

Title details for Maid by Stephanie Land - Available

MAID
By Stephanie Land

“In her heartfelt and powerful debut memoir, Land describes the struggles she faced as a young single mother living in poverty. “My daughter learned to walk in a homeless shelter,” she writes, before chronicling her difficult circumstances.” ~Publisher’s Weekly

For more information, please click here.

Title details for Hero of the Empire by Candice Millard - Available

HERO OF THE EMPIRE
By Candice Millard

“Biographer Millard…writes about one of the most famous statesmen of the twentieth century, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Rather than facing the man in full bloom during WWII, she casts dramatic light on the incidents that brought “to the attention of a rapt British public a young Churchill.” In 1899, he was already aware of his future importance in the political world and certain that he would need to show glory on the battlefield during the colonial Boer War in South Africa. The perfect opportunity arose when he was taken prisoner and managed not only to escape but, after great hardship, also return to the fight. Millard’s rendering of the exciting details of Churchill’s heroic exploits result in a magnificently told story.” ~Booklist

For more information, please click here.

Title details for In Pieces by Sally Field - Available

IN PIECES
By Sally Field

“Arresting in its dark disclosures, vitality, humor, and grace, Field’s deeply felt and beautifully written memoir illuminates the experiences and emotions on which she draws as an exceptionally charismatic, empathic, and powerful artist.” ~Booklist

For more information, please click here.

Title details for Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon - Available

WHISKEY IN A TEACUP
By Reese Witherspoon

“Actress and book club host Witherspoon pays tribute to her Southern roots in this charming collection of recipes, how-to’s, and personal stories.” ~Publisher’s Weekly

For more information, please click here.

Title details for Grant by Ron Chernow - Available

GRANT
By Ron Chernow

“Acclaimed biographer Chernow, winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Washington: A Life, entertains in this informative whopper as he upends the long-held view of Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885) as a lumbering general and incompetent president.” ~Publisher’s Weekly

For more information, please click here.

Title details for Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs - Available

SMALL FRY
By Lisa Brennan-Jobs

“An epic, sharp coming-of-age story from the daughter of Steve Jobs. It’s rare to find a memoir from a celebrity’s child in which the writing is equal to—or exceeds—the parent’s reputation, but that is the case with Brennan-Jobs’ debut. The author engagingly packs in every detail of her life, including her seemingly innocuous conception by Jobs and artist Chrisann Brennan, her father’s paternity denial, their rocky reconciliation, and Jobs’ ultimate rejection and silence.” ~Kirkus

For more information, please click here.

Title details for A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston - Available

A LIFE IN PARTS
By Bryan Cranston

“Cranston fans will delight in the intimate revelations in this substantial memoir from one of Hollywood’s most introspective stars. And anyone interested in acting will devour Cranston’s savvy advice about honing one’s craft and building one’s career.” ~Booklist

For more information, please click here.

Title details for Educated by Tara Westover - Available

EDUCATED
By Tara Westover

“A recent Cambridge University doctorate debuts with a wrenching account of her childhood and youth in a strict Mormon family in a remote region of Idaho… An astonishing account of deprivation, confusion, survival, and success.” ~Kirkus

For more information, please click here.

“What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again.” ~Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay

Jerry Lee Lewis

[Cover]
 

Title : Jerry Lee Lewis : His Own Story

Author : Rick Bragg

Publisher : HarperCollins, Oct. 2014

Summary / Review : Rick Bragg listened to Jerry Lee’s stories for over two years and then wrote about his life like a he was a member of the family.

Jerry Lee Lewis was born in 1935 in Ferriday Louisiana, a place where the water would rise up routinely, flooding the land, destroying homes and farms, and leaving behind writhing nests of copperheads and diamondbacks. His family was poor. His mother picked cotton and his father was a bootlegger and sometime carpenter. But Jerry Lee decided early on to “live by a set of rules separate from those set down for dull, regular people.”

He was four when he discovered the piano on a visit to his Aunt Stella’s house.  He touched one key and, as he explains to Rick Bragg “I don’t know what happened.  Somethin’ strange.  I felt it in my whole body.” His father, Elmo, would mortgage his farm to buy Jerry Lee his first piano, At the age of 80, he still has it.

Formal piano lessons, of which there was only one, did not work well for Jerry Lee.  He learned by playing and listening, sneaking into Haney’s Big House where he would hide under the tables until he was hauled out by Will Haney himself and shown the door.

Formal schooling also did not work out well for Jerry Lee.  His nickname, Killer, didn’t come from his on-stage antics with the piano but by trying to strangle the 7th grade teacher with the teacher’s own tie. After earning $14 at his first professional gig at the age of 14, belting out “Wine Spo-dee-o-dee” for a crowd gathered at the Paul Ford Motor Co to get a look at the the new model with the flathead V8 well loved by both bootleggers and G-men, Jerry Lee decided to quit school.  He “saw no future in it.”

His upbringing in the Pentecostal Church would create a life-long tension between the fear of the Holy Ghost and the love of the secular music he chose to play. In a last ditch effort at throwing his cards in with the Holy Ghost,  Jerry Lee enrolled in the Southwestern Bible Institute where they offered courses in Bible study, Pentecostal history and church business.  He lasted three months.  He was asked to do a piano solo at the singspiration, a night of religious entertainment.  He obliged with a boogie rendition of My God is Real, which he described as “up-tempo spiritual,” unfortunately the Dean interpreted it as “reckless and prurient.” The next day he was asked to leave.  It was back to the clubs and for that every music lover should be grateful.

Rick Bragg chronicles all the highs and lows of the quintessential rock and roll life – the wives (six by some counts, seven by others), the women, the drugs, the fights, the honky-tonks and juke joints. Jerry Lee’s star rises and falls more than once in a career which spans decades and continues with the recent release of Rock & Roll Time. His command of music encompasses rock, country, gospel and he is as inspired belting out Great Balls of Fire as he is performing the old hymns, Will the Circle Be Unbroken and Railroad to Heaven, on another recent release (Mean Old Man).

As Jerry Lee says “I’ve had an interestin’ life, haven’t I?  A great Life.”

Read about his life to a background of his music. Visit our website to select some of Jerry Lee’s music from Freegal or Hoopla.

Who Will Like This : As Rick Bragg might say, “Anyone who ever danced in their socks.”

If You Like This Try This : For more on Jerry Lee read Unconquered : The Saga of Cousins Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart and Mikey Gilley or try another recent biography of a music legend – Respect : The Life of Aretha Franklin

If this looks like something you would like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold!