Every life has a story behind it, and good biographies take us on a
fascinating journey through the lives of interesting individuals. From
celebrity snapshots to in-depth profiles of the world's greatest minds,
they remain some of the best selling titles.
Pick a Winner
Shopping for a biography online has never been easier. Most of the major
online book stores offer a special section for biographies and personal memoirs.
For a great read, start with this year's award winners. The 1999 Pulitzer Prize for biography went to
Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg. Berg has written what many are saying is the
most comprehensive biography of pilot and cultural hero Charles Lindbergh.
The winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography was Sylvia
Nasar's Beautiful Mind: A Biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr. Nash was a brilliant
mathematician who struggled with mental illness throughout his career.
If you'd rather take your cue from what others are reading, check out
the latest bestsellers. The top-selling biography on Amazon last week was
Clearing in the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted & America in the Nineteenth Century.
In this book, Witold Rybczynski tells the tale of landscape architect Frederick
Olmstead, best known for creating New York's Central Park. Other top sellers include
The First Partner Hillary Rodham Clinton by Joyce Milton, Titan : The Life of John
D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow and Howard Pollack's Aaron Copland: The
Life and Work of an Uncommon Man.
A Long, Prosperous Life
Biographies tend to be some of the longest books on the market. If you
for a workout this summer, here are a few sizable offerings,
each well over 500 pages.
Eleanor Roosevelt 1933-38 is the long awaited follow-up to historian
Cook's profile of the former first lady.
Byron : Child of Passion, Fool
of Fame by
Benita Eisler looks at the life of poet George Gordon Byron, better
known as Lord Byron.
Finally, check out Jean Strouse's analysis of merchant banker J.P.
in Morgan: American Financier.
Looking for lighter beach reading? Three critically-acclaimed biographies are now available in paperback:
Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child by Noel Riley Fitch, Tecumseh : A Life by
John Sugden and Stephen Sondheim : A Life by Meryle Secrest.
It is not unusual for one person to become the subject of several
biographies at the same time. This year, a popular figure is the Marquis
De Sade. In the last six months, three biographies on the controversial
noble have been published, The Marquis De Sade : A Life by Neil
Schaeffer, At Home with the Marquis de Sade by Francine du Plessix Gray
and Sade: A Biographical Essay by Laurence Bongie.
Biographies have gained popularity in recent years thanks to the
television program "Biography" on the Arts & Entertainment cable network.
The show has a web site, Biography.com, where
you can buy videos of recent programs and read mini-profiles online. The
site also offers information on the show's spinoff publication, Biography
Proving that you don't have to be famous to be interesting,
Francis Press specializes in biographies
and memoirs of people who have led remarkable lives, but whose stories
have never been told.
For more ideas, visit the biography section of leading publisher Simon &
Schuster, where you can read excerpts from current titles and get information on
authors' appearances across the country.
If all else fails in your search for an interesting biography, try
an old stand-by: United States presidents. Amazon.com has a list
of recommended biographies of our nation's leaders.
Biographies are a great way to escape from your life and explore someone
else's. So this summer, find out what makes your favorite actress tick
or where a famous leader grew up. Add a biography to your reading list.
For general biography Web resources visit PeopleSpot.com where you can learn more about your favorite personalities.