Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday

A weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Tiny Library,
"spotlighting and recommending some of our most loved books, even if we haven't read them recently.  Each week will have a different theme or genre of book to focus on."

This week's theme is Biographies.

First, I'd like to address this week's topic before delving into a particular biography of choice.  I love reading memoirs and autobiographies, because they give a first-hand account of someone's life experiences, and I think hearing it straight "from the horse's mouth" allows you to learn & be critical of perspective.  It doesn't necessarily mean that the truth is being told or that events aren't hyperolized or downright fabricated, but is still fascinating.  From a secondhand perspective, separating the genre of biography from memoir/autobiography, the truth can be further or equally convoluted, or can be even more truthful as the author has less to lose than the subject in analyzing events of the person's life.

I must admit that I read memoirs/autobiographies more than biographies.  I reach for the "horse's mouth" version before the third-person viewpoint.  And most of these are by performers (usually actors), because I am a huge movie buff and love learning about the brevity of their careers and the actors, directors & films that shape them.  But I don't reach for any Hollywood star's book (*ahem* Snookie *ahem*) without measuring my amount of respect and admiration for this person.  The same goes for any subject of biography, which I really need to expand on & explore more deeply in areas of history, science & literature.

Here's a short alphabetical list of memoirs/autobiographies I've read & reviewed on the blog:
Audacity of Hope- Pres. (then Sen.) Barack Obama
Cloris: My Autobiography- Cloris Leachman
Don't Tell Dad- Peter Fonda
Girl, Interrupted- Susanna Kaysen
Last Words- George Carlin
Me- Katharine Hepburn
My Autobiography- Charles Chaplin
My Life as a Ten-Year-Old Boy- Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart Simpson)
My Life So Far- Jane Fonda
Speedbumps- Teri Garr
This Time Together- Carol Burnett
What's It All About?- Michael Caine
What Falls Away- Mia Farrow
Wishful Drinking- Carrie Fisher

I developed a keen interest in African-American history after doing a school project on apartheid in junior high.  It seems serendipitous, because topics were chosen by lottery and I drew a high number, leaving very few topics.  I had never heard the word "apartheid" before and my teacher suggested that I look into it.  Much of my research surrounded the South African political prisoner and later President Nelson Mandela.  Later, around the time of my junior high school graduation, my parents gave me his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom as a gift.  It was the biggest book I had ever read and I spent most of Grade 9 and 10 finishing it, an auspicious task for someone who knew very little about politics (let alone foreign relations) but who simply had a passion for learning about people overcoming differences and prejudices to rise to greatness and serve people who continue to fight against the same trials.  It was a fantastic literary journey and though at times I became frustrated with not understanding certain vocabulary or relating to South African culture, and steaming with anger at the ignorance of segregation laws, it was a highly satisfying learning experience that I continue to treasure and consider the most important book I've ever read.


  1. I still haven't managed to finish this book.not because I didnt love it,just because it's so intimidatingly huge!

  2. Oh, I loved this too. I read it when I was about 12-13 and it really opened my eyes to the world. Have you read the autobiography of Malcom X? If not, I would really recommend it.

  3. Great choice. Sound's like a book I'd like to read.

  4. Thanks for all your comments :)

    Collect Dreams~ It was challenging, but I think it was because I was 13-14-15 when I was reading it.

    Sam~ Wow, that's great that you read it early in life. I think it helped shape my feelings about acceptance at the right time, when I was still impressionable & getting used to the way the world works (something I'm still developing into as a young adult). Yes, I read Malcolm X's autobiography when I was about 13, before Mandela's book. It was extraordinary!

    Loni~ Thanks! I better understood the plight of the South African people and it really spoke to Mandela's sacrifices to banish apartheid from the country, while sending a message to the rest of the world about racism.

  5. I haven't read any of these, I don't tend to read many biographies, but there are two or three on on your list I'd like to read. Esp the one by Michael Caine, Alan Alda and Katharine Hepburn.

  6. Sharon~ The 3 you mentioned are some of the best on the list that I've read! The Katharine Hepburn one especially is written just as she spoke in her movies, so if you're a fan, I would highly recommend it :)