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Interesting Lives: The Latest Biographies and Memoirs at Andrew Heiskell Library


a sampling of digital booksa sampling of digital booksA good biography is like a good novel. It can transport you to a different place and a different time, and inspire the imagination. But what has always appealed to me about biographies is that they could put me into someone else's head, letting me vicariously live a life more interesting than my own. Growing up, I read mostly fiction, especially science fiction and mysteries, which took me to exotic places both real and imaginary. But when teachers insisted we students be well-rounded readers, the non-fiction books I turned to were on the biography shelves in my local library.

Biographies are probably the most popular non-fiction books with our Library users, and we've got plenty of intriguing new titles to inspire, entertain, and educate. "DB" indicates special format digital books, and "NYPL" refers to either a large print or standard print edition.

The music industry is well represented with a couple of biographies, including memoirs by Keith Richards, Queen Latifah, and Pat Benatar:

  • Between a Heart and a Rock Place: A Memoir by Pat Benatar. Benetar's autobiography covers her blue-collar upbringing on Long Island through her rise to stardom, and the struggles along the way. 2010. (DB 71480) [NYPL]
  • Put on Your Crown: Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom by Queen Latifah. The Grammy Award-winning singer shares her experiences overcoming challenges and achieving positive self-esteem. For senior high and older readers. 2010. (DB 72186) [NYPL]
  • Life by Keith Richards. The Rolling Stones guitarist recalls his childhood in wartime London, his education, and the beginnings of the group in 1962.  2010. (DB 72049) [NYPL]
  • Thelonious Monk:The Life and Times of an American Original by Robin D. G. Kelley. Kelley, a historian, chronicles the life of the jazz pianist and composer. 2009. (DB 71039) [NYPL]
  • Hand Me My Travelin' Shoes: In Search of Blind Willie McTell by Michael Gray. Gray recounts his odyssey through the Deep South to research this biography of the Georgia blues singer and guitarist, who was born blind in 1903. 2009. (DB 71430) [NYPL]

Historical titles also figure prominently in our latest titles:

  • Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author portrays the last Egyptian pharaoh of the Greek Ptolemy dynasty, highlighting the men in her life and the culture of the time. 2010 (DB 72130) [NYPL]
  • The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers by Thomas Fleming. An exploration of the personal lives of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. 2009. (DB 72044) [NYPL]
  • Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters of War by Terry Brighton. The author, a British historian, focuses on three World War II generals: America's George S. Patton, Britain's Bernard Montgomery, and Germany's Erwin Rommel. 2008. (DB 71688) [NYPL]
  • Touch and Go: A Memoir by Studs Terkel. An autobiography of the oral historian who, at the age of 94, looks back at his life and the political events that affected it. 2007. (DB 67509) [NYPL]
  • Up from History: The Life of Booker T. Washington by Robert J. Norrell. A revisionist portrait of the African-American educator. 2009. (DB 69894) [NYPL]

 If none of these lives interest you, contact us or visit the Library for more suggestions. Our shelves are filled with interesting people, places, and things!


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