Biographies & Memoirs

09/06/2016 - 12:04pm
If You Like Drop City by T.C. Boyle

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids.  You can browse the book matches here.

Drop City by T.C. Boyle
It is 1970, and a down-at-the-heels California commune has decided to relocate to the last frontier--the unforgiving landscape of interior Alaska--in the ultimate expression of going back to the land. The novel opposes two groups of characters: Sess Harder, his wife Pamela, and other young Alaskans who are already homesteading in the wilderness and the brothers and sisters of Drop City, who, despite their devotion to peace, free love, and the simple life, find their commune riven by tensions. As these two communities collide, their alliances shift and unexpected friendships and dangerous enmities are born as everyone struggles with the bare essentials of life: love, nourishment, and a roof over one's head. (catalog summary)

If you like Drop City, you may also find these stories of folks living outside of society are appealing:  
 

 

Arcadia by Lauren Groff
Follows the fortunes of Bit and the commune his parents helped to create. A group of like-minded folks comes together to create a utopia in Arcadia. Despite everyone’s best intentions, the commune falls apart under the strain of privation and a self-serving leader who can’t live up to his own ideals. Bit is ill-prepared for the real world, but manages to make his way until a flu pandemic threatens the human race. (catalog summary)

 

 

 

Boonville by Robert Mailer Anderson
Surrounded by misfits, rednecks, and counterculture burnouts, John Gibson--the reluctant heir of an alcoholic grandmother--and Sarah McKay--a commune-reared "hippie-by-association"--search for self and community in the hole-of-a-town Boonville. As they try to assemble from the late-twentieth-century jumble of life the facts of sexuality, love, and death, and face the possibility of an existence without God, John and Sarah learn what happens when they dare to try to make art from their lives. (catalog summary)

 

 

08/31/2016 - 1:54pm
If you like The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids.  You can browse the book matches here.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
The story follows Hetty "Handful" Grimke, a Charleston slave, and Sarah, the daughter of the wealthy Grimke family. The novel begins on Sarah's eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership over Handful, who is to be her handmaid. "The Invention of Wings" follows the next thirty-five years of their lives. Inspired in part by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke (a feminist, suffragist and, importantly, an abolitionist), Kidd allows herself to go beyond the record to flesh out the inner lives of all the characters, both real and imagined. (catalog summary)

 

If you enjoyed  The Invention of Wings, you may also like these titles:


 

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected. (catalog summary)

 

 

 


 

Belle Cora by Phillip Margulies
A sweeping historical tale based on the life and times of the daughter of a New York merchant finds the orphaned Belle suffering at the hands of a rival cousin before working as a prostitute and transforming herself repeatedly to win the love and life she desires. (catalog summary)

 

 

08/30/2016 - 10:56am
If you like Hunting Eichmann by Neil Bascomb

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.

Hunting Eichmann: How A Band of Survivors and A Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb
When the Allies stormed Berlin in the last days of the Third Reich, Adolf Eichmann shed his SS uniform and vanished. Following his escape from two American POW camps, his retreat into the mountains and out of Europe, and his path to an anonymous life in Buenos Aires, his pursuers are a bulldog West German prosecutor, a blind Argentinean Jew and his beautiful daughter, and a budding, ragtag spy agency called the Mossad, whose operatives have their own scores to settle (and whose rare surveillance photographs are published here for the first time). The capture of Eichmann and the efforts by Israeli agents to secret him out of Argentina to stand trial is the stunning conclusion to this thrilling historical account, told with the kind of pulse-pounding detail that rivals anything you'd find in great spy fiction. (catalog summary)

 

If you're interested in other non-fiction like Hunting Eichmann, check out these titles:

 

 


Adolf Hitler: Dictator of Nazi Germany by Brenda Haugen
This book describes the life of Adolf Hitler, who, as leader of the Nazi party, provoked World War II and conquered most of Europe before his regime was defeated in 1945. (catalog summary)
 

 


 


Agent Zigzag
by Ben Macintyre
Eddie Chapman was a charming criminal, a con man, and a philanderer. He was also one of the most remarkable double agents Britain has ever produced. In 1941, after training as a German spy in occupied France, Chapman was parachuted into Britain with orders to blow up an airplane factory. Instead, he contacted MI5, the British Secret Service. For the next four years, he worked as a double agent, a British spy at the heart of the German Secret Service. Crisscrossing Europe under different names, weaving plans, spreading disinformation, and miraculously keeping his stories straight under intense interrogation, he even managed to gain some profit and seduce beautiful women along the way. MI5 has now declassified all of Chapman's files, allowing the full story to be told, a unique glimpse into the psychology of espionage, with its thin and shifting line between fidelity and betrayal. (catalog summary)
 

08/30/2016 - 12:08am
Cover to The Circle Unbroken: Civil War Letters of the Knox Family of Fredericksburg

In antebellum Fredericksburg, the Knox family was rather well-off and respected by their community. The family home at 1200 Princess Anne Street, now the Kenmore Inn, was nigh unto their house of worship at St. George’s Episcopal Church. They ran a successful business and had a pleasant life filled with many luxuries.

Yet by the time the Civil War was over, sons Robert and James Knox had experienced the dire consequences of battle from trench to prison camp. The rest of the family, forced to evacuate the Fredericksburg several times, learned to live as refugees and take care of themselves as well as the people they met.

08/29/2016 - 10:27am
If You Like Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids.  You can browse the book matches here.

 

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
The "memoirs" of one of Japan's most celebrated geishas describes how, as a little girl in 1929, she is sold into slavery; her efforts to learn the arts of the geisha; the impact of World War II; and her struggle to reinvent herself to win the man she loves. (catalog summary)

If you like Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, you may likese these selections: 

 



Across the Nightingale Floor
by Lian Hearn
Set in an imaginary, ancient Japanese society dominated by warring clans, Across the Nightingale Floor is a story of a boy who is suddenly plucked from his life in a remote and peaceful village to find himself a pawn in a political scheme, filled with treacherous warlords, rivalry-and the intensity of first love. In a culture ruled by codes of honor and formal rituals, Takeo must look inside himself to discover the powers that will enable him to fulfill his destiny.  (catalog summary)

 

 


 

The Binding Chair, or A Visit From the Foot Emancipation Society by Kathryn Harrison
In poised and elegant prose, Kathryn Harrison weaves a stunning story of women, travel, and flight; of love, revenge, and fear; of the search for home and the need to escape it. Set in alluring Shanghai at the turn of the century, The Binding Chair intertwines the destinies of a Chinese woman determined to forget her past and a Western girl focused on the promises of the future. (catalog summary)

 

 

08/23/2016 - 12:03am
Cover to Land of Herrings and Persimmons: People and Places of Upper Stafford County, Virginia

Every year brings a lot of newcomers to the northern Stafford area. At first glance, they may see its many stores, wide roads, and convenient subdivisions. That’s modern Stafford, bedroom community to D.C. and Quantico Marine Corps Base. But Stafford County has a significant place in history, too.

Well-known local historian Jerrilynn Eby’s Land of Herrings and Persimmons is a tremendous volume that chronicles the county’s farming and industrial past, place by place, including Stafford County communities that were enveloped and lost when Quantico was established.

08/19/2016 - 9:21am
If you like The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse other book matches here.

 

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Meeting through mutual friends in Chicago, Hadley is intrigued by brash "beautiful boy" Ernest Hemingway, and after a brief courtship and small wedding, they take off for Paris, where Hadley makes a convincing transformation from an overprotected child to a game and brave young woman who puts up with impoverished living conditions and shattering loneliness to prop up her husband's career. (catalog summary)

 

If you like the biographical fiction of The Paris Wife, you should check out these titles as well:

 

 

Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
In 1665, a young man from Martha's Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. Upon this slender factual scaffold she has created a luminous tale of love and faith, magic and adventure. (catalog summary)
 


 

 

 

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Twin brothers born from a secret love affair between an Indian nun and a British surgeon in Addis Ababa, Marion and Shiva Stone come of age in Ethiopia, where their love for the same woman drives them apart. (catalog summary)

 

 

07/29/2016 - 10:07am
If you like Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form, and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert
In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want--husband, country home, successful career--but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success and set out to explore three different aspects of her nature, against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence. (catalog summary)

There have been some wonderful books with the theme of self-discovery through travel, as in Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Their journeys have been life-changing for them and perhaps also for the reader.

If you liked Eat, Pray, Love, then you may also like these titles:

Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape by Barry Lopez
Set amidst the shimmering seas of Northern ice, Arctic Dreams leads readers on a journey of the mind and heart into a place that grips the imagination and invigorates the soul. Part adventure tale and part meditation on the art of exploration, this magical book dazzles with the wonder of the aurora borealis; the awesome power of polar bears and killer whales; the monumental grandeur of migrating icebergs; and the beauty and nobility of the Arctic's indigenous people. Evocative and everlasting, Arctic Dreams is a classic. (catalog summary)


 



Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz
In an exhilarating tale of historic adventure, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Confederates in the Attic retraces the voyages of Captain James Cook, the Yorkshire farm boy who drew the map of the modern world. Captain James Cook's three epic journeys in the 18th century were the last great voyages of discovery. His ships sailed 150,000 miles, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, from Tasmania to Oregon, from Easter Island to Siberia. When Cook set off for the Pacific in 1768, a third of the globe remained blank. By the time he died in Hawaii in 1779, the map of the world was substantially complete.Tony Horwitz vividly recounts Cook's voyages and the exotic scenes the captain encountered: tropical orgies, taboo rituals, cannibal feasts, human sacrifice. He also relives Cook's adventures by following in the captain's wake to places such as Tahiti, Savage Island, and the Great Barrier Reef to discover Cook's embattled legacy in the present day. Signing on as a working crewman aboard a replica of Cook's vessel, Horwitz experiences the thrill and terror of sailing a tall ship. (catalog summary)
 

07/16/2016 - 1:41pm
A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe

What would really happen if thousands of people died in a city every day from an illness? Even worse, a city with few to no hospitals and only a bare bones emergency infrastructure? When the illness might leave no mark on a person until he or she fell over dead in front of you? And that’s when you realize, you have been exposed and could be next. What would you do?

06/22/2016 - 2:54am
Cover to We’ll Always Have Paris: A Mother/Daughter Memoir

I’ve got a severe case of wanderlust. Often I can get a healthy fix as an armchair traveler—exploring the world by reading books of others’ exotic expeditions. But NOTHING compares to globetrotting in person to locales both near and far.

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