Advanced Composition

Ms. Gokturk

 

Non-Fiction Independent Reading Assignment

 

As part of the requirement for this course, you will complete an outside reading of an autobiography/memoir or a biography. Our school library has many selections available, but you are welcome to peruse bookshelves in other libraries or bookstores. Please have all selections approved by Ms. G before commencing the project.

 

Requirements:

·        Commitment Letter. (5 points)

DUE ___________

 

·        Completion of reading one biography or auto-biography/memoir due + conference with Ms. G + reader notes. Prove that you read. (100 points)

 

DUE ____________

 

·        Letter to the author (using business letter format) with unanswered questions, thoughts, etc. + addressed envelope. (25 point project grade)

 

DUE ___________

 

·        Analytical Essay: You will be asked to create a controlling idea and use the rhetorical model to support it. (100 points)

DUE ____________

 

·        Presentation: Review. Excerpt to read aloud to class. This selection should be NO LONGER THAN three minutes long. You will prepare an introduction and conclusion to explain why you chose the section. Choose a passage that best represents an idea from the writing. A good way to do this is to think of the themes or create a thesis and then find a passage or passages to support. (25 points)

 

DUE ___________

 


 

The following are books previous classmates read. Check out what they said! You should also peruse the bookshelves in our library – we have a huge selection of biographies and memoirs. Just keep in mind the writing assignments that will accompany the reading so you choose a manageable read.

 

Title

stars

Comments

Absolutely American

5

A story written by a journalist, David Lipsky, about two different classes at West Point. In one group, there are four male juniors (called Cows), in other group, two males and one a female freshmen (called Pleebs). The book mostly focuses on the freshman group and shows their travel through the years at school. Lipsky didn’t like WP at first, but by the time he finished the project, he really respected it. The book shows the challenges of the academy – for instance, the strenuous physical fitness demands, leadership expectations, and the difficulties in choosing a military lifestyle. It’s a great book for anyone who might be interested in attending West Point.

Always Running

4.5

Memoir. Author was member of gang; description of life in barrios and gang life in East LA. From violent roots to positives: muralist, Mexican Rights Activist, etc. Very descriptive and gives good sense of things like gunshots and people drunk on barbiturates. Lots of slang.

Angela’s Ashes

4

4.5

4

 

 

4

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

4.5

1. Long but good, fun. Descriptive about poverty.

2. Loved it! Easy to read, casual style. A lot about innocence. Lots of details keeps you interested. About hard life.

3. Pretty good. Some chapters really good, others were not. I liked his writing style. Clear enough to make it intricate. Simple but complex: you need to look into it. Doesn’t go into imagery, but you get a sense of setting by action. For the patient reader; not an easy read.

4. Very poor, lots of siblings, has to steal food. Very depressing, but I enjoyed reading it. You hope things will get better, but they don’t.

5. I liked it; the kid grows up in a slummy neighborhood and saved enough money to get to America. It’s a struggle and wins. Not too interesting so I can’t say I loved it. Living conditions were well-done. Examining his timeline, his life, makes me want to write about my own. If I did, I would follow this model. I didn’t give it a 5 because I still wanted to know more –what happened? We don’t know what he became.

6. Very powerful. He had so many hardships and they each affected him profoundly, yet he overcame all of them and succeeded. Became a father figure for his younger siblings. Not a great relationship with mom, but he forgave him. Could relate to it because alcoholism runs in my family. Vernacular was confusing, but a very moving piece. The ending is really upsetting to me. Put time into reading it; it’s worth it.

Augusta Gone

4

 

 

 

 

4

 

4.75

 

 

 

 

5

Biography. A mother writes about her daughter, Augusta, who has problems like sneaking out the house and school, doesn’t care. She’s 13-14 and does drugs and hangs out with older people. Mother sends her to a wilderness program in Idaho, which transforms her into a better person. Mother’s style is repetitive and uses short phrases which show how it was, very clear. I really enjoyed it. I never read a book like this before.

This writer wrote back (see author letter wall). Decent book. I thought it would be more interesting with more action. About mother’s suffering. All parents should read this.

Martha Dudman deals with her daughter’s adolescent behavior, which is out of control. She’s gone most of the time, runs away. Book goes from 12-16 years old. I am a teenager, going through that kind of stuff, and I could relate to a lot of the things her daughter goes through. The mother’s perspective shows how she recognizes the stoned face. Mother used, too, and she recognizes how her past behavior may have impacted Augusta. She sees her family as dysfunctional and wants it all to go back to normal.

I liked it. Liked how it’s written by mother, short powerful sentences. There’s a TV movie made for it. On Lifetime! The story is direct; she has to go through so much to control her daughter. I wanted her to slap the daughter. She was awful. She was able to see herself a little in her daughter. Mothers should read this book. Boys might not enjoy this as much. Girls who are rebellious will probably get the most out of it.

Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas

5

Gertrude Stein writes about her partner, Toklas, and shows how her life revolved around Toklas. Toklas, born in America, was a German Jew living in Europe during WWII (German, Jewish, and gay); however, the autobio deals not with these issues, but centers around the cubist art movement, life during and after war.

Autobiography of Malcolm X

5

Documents the progression of Malcolm Little as a poor kid who came up to Boston and there began to get involved with the criminal aspects of it. Becomes one of the top hustlers and crime organizers in Harlem. Gets caught doing a house robbery and forced to spend 10 years in prison; there, he learns the teaching of Islam and is transformed by it, completely changed man. Really subscribes to Black Pride ideas & white man is the devil, and he rises up in the Islamic ministry. Forerunner to this religion. Makes pilgrimage to Mecca and wants to go back to the fundamentals of Islam, not just the Black Pride element. Good book; shows transformation and maturity. Breaks down the stigma of Malcolm X’s violence. Not something you just read; you have to read and think about it.

Bad Boy

5

About Sean P. Diddy Combs, CEO and boss of his company. Ronin Ro writes about his life as a child when his drug dealing father was murdered, his mother’s rough times, and he grew up fast. His mom moved and he went to Catholic school. At this point, the music world was switching from rock to RAP, and he got caught up in it. He always wanted to learn more-- interned for Uptown Records, dropped out of Howard University, and he was described as very ambitious. This was an interesting book – to see how he became a multi-millionaire.

A Beautiful Mind

5

John Nash’s story (by Sylvia Nasar) – from birth to Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994. Covers his early accomplishments throughout his career (major points). He started to reveal signs of schizophrenia in his early 30s. In his early days, he was arrogant and cocky, only cared about how others affected him, not how he impacted others. Clear, enjoyable writing. She uses a lot of examples, thorough interviews. She quotes him and his letters.

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

4.5

Tells the story of Ben Franklin including his experiences as a printer in Philadelphia, a politician, and an important figure in the American Revolution. Author is a journalist who also wrote about Kissinger. History: I like that because I go for history. It’s definitely more interesting than a textbook – all aspects of his life are included. Franklin was a colorful character; for instance, known for inventing lightning rod, also invented the terms ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ for electricity, plus a printer and in PA Assembly and highly political. The edits that other delegates made are what made the Article of Confederation weaker, not Franklin’s original piece. Also worked on Declaration of Independence. This is for the history buff, but the story will probably entertain anyone. (David)

Blue Rage, Black Redemption

4.5

Story about Stanley Tookie Williams, a poor Black boy born on west coast who created a gang (Crips) to stick together. Was “dys-educated” in the corrupt schools. Teachers didn’t want him to read – there were punishments if he read. For example, when he tried to read kiddie book, he was called to the front of the class to be punished and he refused. Thief, beggar, shined shoes, beat up anybody. He said, “There are no rules for street-fighting” and he would take any cheap shots possible. Blue rage = blue was color of gang; the group wanted to be outcast of society while maintaining their bonds and fulfilling basic human needs. Black redemption = he was in prison for killing two people; though he never admitted to the murders, he had a revelation in prison; realized gang life was not he only option. I liked it a lot. Follows his life from birth to death. Died with death penalty and that’s when he finished memoir. Good morals.

Born to Fly

4

 

 

 

4

Biography of significant moment of Shane Osbourne. Based on story of American spy plane that collided with Chinese fighter jet causing it to land in hostile China where crew was held captive for 12 days. Experience of being held hostage. Also describes how he became a pilot, which makes the book enjoyable if you want to be a pilot. Very descriptive, vivid. Flows easily. Fast read 280 pages.

End is unclear; I liked it though. Shocking.

Borrowed Finery

4

 

 

 

3.5

Orphaned in NY by parents who didn’t want her; initially put in orphanage and then raised by grandmother ultimately. Moves around a lot. Mother really hated her and did horrible things. Lots of metaphors and similes; you could understand her thoughts well. Hard part is change of setting. Not enough dialogue.

Paula Fox gets thrown into many situations. In bad marriage and husband left her. Had a daughter she gave up for adoption and later tries to get her back but can’t. Daughter later finds her. Life is nightmare; moves around a lot and seems lost in everything she does. Makes friends but leaves. Not stable. Book skips around too much. Good for showing experiences from 1930s and 1940s and seeing what is was like to live like then. (Alexis)

Breathless

4.5

Memoir. Really cool, especially if you suffer from asthma. Author was initially misdiagnosed and researched asthma. She learned what to do to control it

TRILOGY

A Child Called “It”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lost Boy

 

 

 

 

A Man Named Dave

5

 

 

 

5

 

 

4.5

 

 

 

4

 

 

5

 

4.5

 

 

5

 

4.5

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.5

 

3.5

Memoir. So sad, but capturing. You really want to read on. Unfortunately, it leaves off without a resolution (this is a trilogy and they want you to read on). Story of how mother turned on him only and abused him. Not siblings. Horrendous and disgusting torture/abuse. I enjoyed reading it despite how disturbing it is.

It was really interesting; I’d never read anything like this before. I wasn’t aware of the awful ways a mother could treat a child. It was well written, and the ending works nicely. The book starts at the end, wraps around. I wanted to know more about what happened, where he went …

It was about abused Dave Pelzer (abused emotionally and mentally). It really left an impression on me – very powerful. I never read anything so detailed about abuse. How could a little person survive all that? Simple style. I didn’t find any tough words, but it is descriptive. I felt like he could have done more, though I wasn’t sure that I wanted to hear more.

Very disturbing. You felt like you were there when his mother was abusing him, very descriptive. I will read the others in the series. An important book to read about child abuse. Rumors say he made it up, but if it’s true, it’s important. It made me really upset.

I definitely recommend this book. I never learned about child abuse before and this opened a new door. I really liked it. Everyone would benefit from it.

I liked it a lot; it fascinated me. Couldn’t stop reading until the end. I was able to feel with him all his ups and downs. Made me not take my childhood for granted. Alerted me against child abuse. I never dealt with this topic before and now I will be aware.

It was good, sad, I cried. I didn’t want to put it down. I like reading about people’s lives: the sex, drugs, etc, stuff. I plan on reading the trilogy. It is extreme.

I loved it; I hate his mom. I wanted to jump into the book and strangle her. I was amazed that anyone could do this to their child. I never had read an in-depth analysis about the topic. It seems so extreme that no one noticed anything.

His mother was beyond purely evil. I can’t understand the transition from being extra good to him to so mean; I don’t understand how anyone could do this to a person. It’s cool how each chapter has a specific name that directs the torture he withstood. It’s hard to believe that this happened. Good book, easy to read; I read it in a day.

SICK. I don’t believe the story. Seems so random and unlikely that no one would have discovered his abuse. Like, when he stole food, the school reported it to mom and they didn’t think that it might have something to do with what was going on at home so mom ends up punishing him. I didn’t stop reading it while I was reading it, I mean, I couldn’t put it down, but afterwards, I felt that it didn’t better me as a person. This is way beyond abuse. It’s torture: she stripped him of his whole life.

 

About Pelzer’s move through foster care and different families after he was taken away from his abusive family. Also about his fight with his mother to not go back to her. She kept calling the police saying that he was tormenting her family. Very good writing, a lot of description and illustration. Very inviting; it’s not difficult language, very blunt. Some parts confusing as to who he was addressing.

 

This book depicts how he overcame all the abuse and became a man. He marries and has a son. He loved his son so much, he was a bit overprotecting. Behaved opposite of mom’s action. He sees his mother and she has no regrets or apologies. He decided to revisit his past and meet his teachers who helped him in his childhood. He forgives his mother. His siblings knew what was going on, and they weren’t all right. One was mentally ill. Writing is descriptive. This is the aftermath of all the abuse – like, what happens next. It was OK but not very good. Some parts good; others unnecessary.

Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara

4.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.5

 

Jorge G. Castañeda writes about an Argentinean man who was born an aristocrat who was a revolutionary who took the Batista regime in Cuba – in other words, he helped Castro. He started various revolutionary movements in the Congo, Bolivia, and Guatemala. Socialist. Killed by CIA b/c of his communist views and movements (he wanted all of Latin America to be socialist, not democratic like the US). If you are interested in politics and movements, he’s an icon for many Latins for what he has done. A book for the “good” reader b/c some parts are boring. You need to be into politics. I liked it.

 

I pictured this like a documentary, who influenced him (mother, Castro, soviet union), discusses his journey through Guatemala, Mexico, etc. Informative, interesting. I like the most how they were able to trace back how his ideas were formed. Dreamer who did something about it – tried to start rebellion. Was a socialist. And a hero. His ideology was interesting; I liked how as upper middle class kid who related to the poor and saw the injustice. Teens can certainly relate to his rebellion; goes against society.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

5

 

 

5

Autobiography about Chuck Barris (created “The Gong Show,” “The Dating Game,” “The Newlywed Game,” etc. Funny parts in book about worst days of taping. Dichotomous life: game show creator and CIA assassin. Loose style; like he’s talking.

Jewish guy born to kooky family (dad a songwriter); born in 1923. In college, became obsessed with girl and followed her to NYC. Ended up working for NBC which led him to game shows. Finds a second job as a CIA operative. I liked it. The story is told with curses, talks about killing people and sexual experiences, lots of weird stuff. He was a short nervous guy who was a CIA assassin.

The Conquerors

5

FDR and later, Harry Truman, deal with Hitler’s Germany, along with close cabinet members, who propose procedures on how to deal with the Germans after the war. Many opinions are given, pro and con Germany’s saving. Michael Beschloss does writes this FDR biography and close cabinet members. I would give this a ten out 5! I would recommend this to people who enjoy reading non-fiction historical books about government and politics.

Crazy Salad

4

Journalist Nora Ephron comically talks about women’s issues in her life.

Derek Jeter: The Life You Imagine

4

3

4.5

Motivational book: how to achieve what you want. Autobiography on his successes; obstacles included bi-racial, skinny kid, bad first year in rookie league, and hitless streaks. Not sophisticated writing; not in-depth.

About his life and how he went through all sorts of problems. Was in minor leagues and would cry that he wasn’t in the majors. Always believed that if you worked hard, you would get places. Believed that everyone should have a role model; his were baseball heroes, parents, grandma, etc. Easy to read, repetitive, though. Always telling you to try harder and have a role model. Interesting at times, but overall boring.

Struggle with poverty and how his parents weren’t always there for him, but they knew they had to be to motivate him. Would see an obstacle and aim to surpass it. Parents wouldn’t give him things if he didn’t gets A’s. This teaches him to strive ahead. Positive attitude. Disagree with previous review; great details. Also dealt with racism. Inspiring story. Shows you what people can do when their mind is in it.

Deviant

5

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.5

Interesting story of Ed Gein, serial killer; better than movie, vivid description.

Begins with his family history (w/ grandfather) and shows how he came from an abusive family and an obsessive Lutheran mother who repressed him in multiple ways like sexually, didn’t let him leave the house. He took care of her for all her days; when she dies, he begins killing people who look like her. Killed at least 2 women, robbed 50 graves, killed his brother. 1930s, no forensics, so it’s difficult to tell how many he killed. Suspected of killing 11 people. Found remains of dead bodies in his house. Stunk. Dead women hanging from ceiling by their feet with mutilated genital areas. Cut off heads and acted like a ventriloquist. Suspected of necrophilia. Supposedly didn’t remember murders. No literary elements. Book gives a lot of primary resources (police reports, etc.), though not always clearly attributed, which was frustrating.

Made a vest out of a woman’s frontal part and chairs out of skin. When the police broke into his house, they found a house of horrors. A straightforward style: he pretty much goes chronologically. In some chapters, he goes back to other details to build suspense. He eats out of strange bowls, which turns out to be skulls. He actually told people he was killing people and no one believed him. His life was definitely interesting, but I am more into sci-fi fantasy. Reading about other people’s lives isn’t necessarily my thing, though his life is almost unbelievable.

Devil in the Details: Scenes from an Obsessive Girlhood

4.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.5

Memoir about a girl who grows up in a small town in Northern CA who has an unusual form of OCD called Scruples. This is where the patient is obsessive about religious things: everything she does becomes a moral or theological question. Struggles with this through her teen years which leads to her Anorexia – she couldn’t eat certain food because they weren’t Kosher (only ate carrot sticks and bread). Had a breakdown and was pulled out of school. No one knew about OCD in the early 60s. It was a funny book; each chapter is a scene from an obsessive part of her life. Funny book. I really liked how she was very honest in her writing. We get a real understanding of her without self-pity.

I thought it was really humorous; she makes fun of her own OCD. Interesting but I didn’t really understand what her main point was. It was an enjoyable read, an easy read. It’s a bunch of events in her life and her message wasn’t clear. I felt like her family ignored her a lot; she enjoyed her hospital stay because she got a lot of attention. I want to know how she’s doing today. Maybe try to read a bit more carefully to figure her message better than I did. Good book.

Diary of Latoya Hunter

2

No detail, not sophisticated

Tha Doggfather

5

 

 

4.5

 

 

 

4.5

 

 

 

 

3.5

Snoop Dogg memoir. One of the best books I’ve ever read; his own words, not stuffy, real: tells the truth. Story of hardships (crips, dealing, jail time) then realizes he needs to change: turned to music and left gangsta lifestyle.

Snoop Dogg grew up without his real dad, but a stepdad, Big Bing, who got him into sports. He got attached, but one day Bing disappeared, and he focused more on his relationship with his mom. Snoop’s brother got caught shoplifting, and they turned to dealing. Met best friend Warren G and started rapping. Covers his success. Too much detail. Easy read, and I really don’t like reading.

About his life. It starts when he was a kid living in LA when neighborhood was changing to crack and gang fights, but still felt like it was home but needed to get out. Talks about experiences selling crack which he did until he found talent in rapping after he got arrested. Saw a future in rapping and hiphop. Vowed not to go back to jail. Accused of murder and acquitted and turned to God. Grateful. I didn’t really like him before but didn’t want to judge him; have more respect for him now.

It was OK; not too exciting. Not much action. Wrote about how he felt about things and the reasons why he does things he does, like a court case he went through. Was kind of a fan, and I was expecting more fight stuff. A bit lengthy.

Drinking: A Love Story

4

Memoir. About a girl who drinks and gets worse: realizes she has alcoholism. Weird relationships described: she drinks with her father instead of normal affection. Always knew she had drinking problems. I really liked it, though some parts dragged on. Works well how she broke down the sections by the phases of alcoholism.

E.A.R.L: The Autobiogrpahy of DMX

5

Smokey Fontaine listens to DMX tell his story about his entire life. He grew up in Yonkers’ projects and moved around a lot. Single family home (with mom—she had a lot of boyfriends). He was the brightest kid in class, and he wasn’t challenged so he became a trouble-maker. All good grades. Got sent to a boarding school (children’s home) b/c his mom beat him. Made friends with stray dogs. While in jail, he started hearing songs, watching TV, and he realized that he enjoyed it. Later won many rap battles, developed into hits. I liked this book, It has a lot of things you wouldn’t normally hear from a regular person. Crazy stuff. Song lyrics included.

The Elephant Man

5

Biography about doctor who comes across patient with neurofribromatosis (growths/warts all over body that smelled and were discolored; grew as he grew) and the story of the patient’s life and their relationship.

Every Down Every Distance

4

 

 

 

4.5

Memoir + ghost writer write about Wayne Chrebet. He grows up in lower middle class in NJ, good at sports but not tall enough for basketball and pursued football at Hofstra. Very determined, hard-working, but still critiqued as too small. Gets big break with Jets… Exciting, in your face, story. Very well described. Theme of the underdog. Liked it a lot.

I liked it too. I liked the story of him growing up and having difficulty because of his size. When he was little, he broke his arm or hurt himself nearly every day. Daredevil. Writing is easy to read. Good for the football fan.

Fear and Loathing : The Strange and Terrible Saga of Hunter S. Thompson

4.5

About his life, a journalist who started Gonzo journalism, or his own style of writing. He did a lotof drugs, had a violent and dangerous mind, and was famous for Gonzo and political commentary. Written Paul Perry, who

wrote the book without permission. Interesting read; I was a fan of Fear and Loathing of Las Vegas and I wanted to know what was going on in his mind to write this. He was weird. Sometimes slow moving (at first).

Falling Leaves

4

Memoir. Author’s mother dies during her birth; was unwanted throughout life. Grew up independent but longed for love of family. Chinese-American story. Heart wrenching and great story. Begins w/ family history prior to her birth; interesting fluctuation.

Finding Fish

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.5

 

 

 

 

4.5

Memoir. Shocking. Raised in foster care because his mom killed his father. Difficult childhood (beat by foster parents) which leads him to join Navy and then a writer. Powerful; I hate to read and this kept me going.

He went through abandonment and abuse. His father died and his mother abandoned him. He went through the foster program but got out and joined navy, ultimately becoming successful. He finds his relatives through the social workers (his father’s side). This reunion unleashes a lot of emotions. I am a slow reader and don’t like to read, but I read this in less than a week. I was always curious to find out what was going to happen next.

Forced to live in foster care system as soon he was born; abused. One day he leaves house and ends up in many institutions. Became homeless. Joins Navy and has a successful life then; after 11 years, quits and seeks family. Finds mother and father’s relatives. Good book; really emotional. It was amazing how he never gives up on his life despite all that he went through.

Very descriptive in how he describes his childhood and it’s clear how he was changed. Never wants to let his daughter go; you can tell that his feelings for family have changed tremendously since his childhood. Foster mother made him feel worthless and no point to live. By the end, finds reasons. It’s an inspirational piece. Lots of foreshadowing and analogies which enriches the text. Written in chronology. “Antwoine Fisher” is the movie. I broke it up be chapter every other day and it really worked that way. Each chapter is its own work.

Frank Lloyd Wright

3.5

Style isn’t appealing; repetitive; needs more emotion

Girl Interrupted

4

4

 

4

 

4

 

 

4

 

4

 

 

Autobiography. Gets confusing because of flashbacks, liked it, doesn’t go into details about herself, you don’t get to know her well. Discussion of suicide attempts. A lot of symbolism. Uses a lot of real documents which add to narrative. Talks about problems of others, too.

More real than movie; in diary form. Last chapter is significant moment and aftermath. Gives her medical diagnosis. Sometimes slow. Though some parts too fast to understand.

About a girl who tried to kill herself. She put herself in the hospital. This is about her time there and the people she met. I was exposed to things I never have experienced. After a year there, she led a normal life. The book was more in-depth than the movie. I liked the movie better.

I recommend this, definitely. It was one of the only things I have read that I understood, even though I wasn’t in the same state of mind. Really descriptive.

Not so much about herself, but her experience with others. A lot of the stuff she went through was common with what others experience, though she went the extra and tried to kill herself. Many teens at this age not happy with themselves. I liked how she used things from her medical case files to drive the narrative. She distanced herself in the book; more focus on others. She didn’t seem as crazy, but perhaps stressed. Movie kind of glorified being crazy; here, at least you can tell she went through some difficulties. Angela Jolie’s character glamorized, not so in book. I read it in one day.

The Glass Castle

4.5

Jeannette Walls was raised in poverty and the memoir details her hardships. It shows how she overcame her parents’ non-conformity. She grew up always moving and the children raised themselves. She became her own person. It’s a good read because it’s very different. She was independent by the age of three. Makes you rethink how you perceive the homeless – the homeless aren’t just drug addicts. They are always running away from something (police, govt, FBI) but the family always stayed together. Skewed morals yet kids learned right from wrong. I don’t read a lot, and I was able to continue reading without stopping. You shouldn’t judge people.

Goat

4

About a kid who is influenced by his brother to be more outgoing. Shows the wild life of what kids do on the weekends: party, drink, and do things they shouldn’t. Has trouble saying no to people and gets into bad situations. Ends up bringing 2 guys home with him and they beat him. It’s pretty good, it keeps you going and reading. Kind of like CSI or detective story. Cops investigate the whole thing.

Good Morning Midnight

4.5

Chip Brown, a journalist, writes about Guy Waterman, a simple guy whose dad and brother were successful. As an average guy, he became depressed and turned to alcohol and drugs. He met a girl (Laura) and they found that they could find peace in the mountains. They built a shack in New Hampshire. He ended up committing suicide despite his better life. That’s how he wanted to die. Writing was amazing, though sometimes he went on too long. Very descriptive. It’s perfect for Expos.

The Greatest Mohammed Ali

4.5

 

 

4.5

Biography. Story of how he got into boxing and how he worked his way up the ranks. About why he changed his name from Cassius Clay; religious reasons and anti-Vietnam. Good description of background. Good book; I liked it.

Not just about a boxer, but about his background and the events that made him do certain things. He chooses to be Muslim, and he can’t kill and can’t go to war. He was devout before the war; became Muslim after he became a world champion. Book isn’t about his fights, but how others like Malcolm X, a Muslim, led him to Islam. Fighting is in his nature, even now he fights to live on. He chose to be Muslim to challenge stereotypes of “good” Christianity.

Hard Drive

4

Biography about Bill Gates. Most interesting part is how Gates built his own empire. Good business example/idol. His ambition is inspiring. Teaches a lot of technical information on how to build a business. Third person POV, descriptive but no dialogue. Hard to tell if accurate –other people’s opinions.

Heavier than heaven: Biography of Kurt Cobain

4

About Cobain’s life from his childhood (first third of book) then his music career and how he got famous. A lot of the end is about his addiction to heroin that brought his life in a downward spiral and he crashed and burned. I thought it was pretty good; author presents facts without trying to editorialize. The facts speak for themselves. I like hard rock music and Nirvana so I chose this book; not the best book ever, but it was good. Anyone would like this.

His Song: The Musical Journey of Elton John

3

About Reginald Dwight, later known as Elton John. Beginning start with how he started in music; once he became a star, the book got monotonous. His career is up-beat and moves, but the book gets annoying as it details each song and the billboard numbers. John was married, and he never felt like he was 100% gay as he was always attracted to older women. Details his relationship with his manager, his suicide attempt, and showmanship. Book wasn’t as good as I would have hoped—it dragged out, too many explanations of the songs.

Hole in My Life

4.5

 

 

 

5

Jack Gantos’ memoir. 1940s. About a Puerto Rican guy who moves to Florida where he grows up; forced to move back to PR where he isn’t put in school because he has no Spanish. Moves back to FL to finish high school – wanted to be a writer. Crazy story lands him in jail after a drug bust. Very good; good subject matter. Very descriptive.

About a 20 year old aspiring writer whose family moved to PR during his junior year; came back later to finish school, but got into partying way too much. Got kicked out for it by the people he was staying with; lives in a hotel the rest of his senior year. Turned himself around and began writing. Later took a break from college and moved to St. Croix where he got back into partying. Got involved with smuggling drugs to make college money wanted to clean up. Ends up in jail and the horrors there. Enjoyed it, good narrative.

Hungry Ocean

4.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.5

It’s about a sword fishing boat. The lady who had a small part in “The Perfect Storm” writes about her experiences as a woman in an all male crew. It’s a funny account; it’s not an ocean experience book. The title comes from Shakespeare’s sonnet. Every other chapter, she returns to her childhood (i.e., talking about her first sail) to explain why she came to the ocean – she was bored with woods, where nothing changed. The ocean took her friends (in “The Perfect Storm”) – it was hungry. Crude humor. Relates to the reader as if they didn’t know what she was talking about – like about the gear. It educates.

--Sword fishing female boat captain describes one trip – also flashbacks to childhood and working on other boats. I thought it was interesting. I had seen The Perfect Storm and thought this would be interesting though there is no storm in her story. I really liked it. Not quite a 5 because it leaves you hanging a bit at the end.

John Starks: My Life

5

Memoir written with Dan Markowitz. About his childhood life and his career as an NBA player. Really good book, especially if you are into basketball. The 90s were the most exciting era in BB, this book details his rise. Not only praising Knicks and Starks, but also shows the sordid side. For example, Starks was a drug dealer. Good for BB fans.

King of the World

3.5

Book really confused me; beginning it talked about Ali's opponents and no mention of him. Book talks about his young fighting days, Jim Crowe south, relationship with Malcolm X, conversion to Islam. I liked the book except for beginning. Used to get up at 4:30 AM to run.

Kurt Cobain Journals

4

This is not about anything, but it’s journal entries, letters, lyrics, drawings, etc. Very interesting. I got a a very different impression of him after reading it. He was more messed up in his head than I thought. A lot is crude. Actual Xeroxes of his handwriting, not typed, so some points are hard to read. You need to be able to understand his life to appreciate this. Not really entertaining.

Jacques Cousteau

3

Boring, thick

Jewel

3.5

Pretty good but confusing; time jumps.

John Lennon

3.5

Standard bio: birth, life, death; no meaningful stuff; not enough of his emotions

 

 

 

I Had a Hammer

3

About Hank Aaron, easy read. Not enough about childhood. Good.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

5

 

 

4

4

 

 

 

5

Memoir. Maya Angelou’s childhood and loss of innocence. She was raped by her step-father at young age. Refuses to speak for years. Gets pregnant young. Pretty intense. Vivid. Musical style of writing. Even when bad things happen, positive outlook.

Love made her cringe.

About a black girl whose father sent her away to Arkansas with family. She was raped there and she was only 8 yrs old. Mostly about how she thinks whites are aliens because they treat her and her family so badly. I thought this was a good book, but scary because I didn’t like how Blacks were treated. Not a 5 because sometimes I got bored. Not detailed, but I had to read into it. Sometimes this got me confused.

A very compelling book. She explained every part of her life, her feelings, her family’s feelings, and it wasn’t confusing. The book was sad but also happy in a way. She went through so much. Very dramatic life; her rape made her feel ashamed throughout her whole life. Her baby was her achievement. I really liked it.

In the Company of Men

4.5

Well written memoir about a girl who joined the citadel (a military college.) She was tortured and made of fun by the men.

In Search of Captain Zero

4.5

Memoir. Author is surfer who lives in Montauk. He follows his surfer friend down a southerly route surfing into S. America; friend became a crack head. Author finds paradise. Sometimes too much character detail. Description of pot smoking days and surfing is fun.

(Lance Armstrong) It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life

4

Armstrong is a cancer survivor; this bio examines how cancer changes his life and his career and the type of person he is. Provides many valuable lessons that can be applied to anyone. Universal themes. I liked it a lot. This is the best story of overcoming hardship I have ever heard; very descriptive; funny at times. There were many lessons I can apply to my life. Not a 5 because I can’t say, “I couldn’t put it down,” but there’s really nothing wrong with it. Basic style.

Last Hoorah of the James Younger Gang

3.5

About Jesse James; liked it, not difficult to read though dialogue difficult. Needs more action

Life and Def, Sex, Drugs, Money + God

5

Transcriptions of Russell Simmons' talking about his life, monologues. Simmons, founder of Def Comedy jam, starts off in Queens-- his brother was in Run DMC, musically talented family. Used to be in a gang, dealt drugs (because he wanted nice clothes), took drugs, sold fake cocaine to a guy who died smoking it, then started RUSH management and signed on big acts (Kurtis Blow); first guy to look out for big rappers who were his friends. Liked it a lot; I don't read a lot of books, but this was the first one I have read in 5-7 years. Good success story.

Lipshtick

5

 

 

 

 

 

4.5

About a woman’s life beginning in her middle school years; she recaps embarrassing, funny. Sad moments that impacted her. She goes through her dating history, what it’s like having children and starting a family. It’s so funny. She has a really creative way of writing. She says what everyone thinks but doesn’t say, like, “Hey, I have chin hairs. It just happens to people.” Honest and humorous, very blunt and sarcastic. (Megan)

I loved it! She’s not afraid to admit all the bad stuff. It’s one big rant about her life. Very funny. I liked her humor. I was able to relate to her. Sounds conversational, informal. Different from other stuff I usually read. It’s one-sided, and although I am female, I would love to have seen some male reactions. It’s a slap-in-your-face book: it’s raw and real. I.e., having kids is a real pain in the butt.

Joe Louis: My Life

4

Memoir. Pretty good. Story of his life, from his big family (9 kids) to his career as boxer. Only lost twice in entire career. Half of book sounds like his words; second half about his inner thoughts.

Love, Lucy

4

Bio of Lucille Ball. Liked it, interesting read about her struggles. Needs more dialogue.

Lawrence Taylor: Over the Edge

4

About LT, linebacker during 80s and 90s; one of the best linebackers to ever play—changed the way linebackers play. About his life and addiction to cocaine and how he was not predictable. Didn’t work out, but would go out and still play well. Would pay ball boys to sleep in his bed so he wouldn’t get caught by coaches. Became addicted and got caught while he was playing. When he retired, he turned his mansion into a crack house; now sober for 5 years. This is a good book at the beginning but then gets repetitive.

Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball

3

Biography. Very descriptive and tells a lot about her character. Too long. Had difficult childhood. Felt like some details were unnecessary: repetitious. Used a lot of quotes from others to describe her which worked well.

Lucky

3

About a girl and her life after a rape. Many short term and long terms. Description of events is vivid, fast read, heavy read. Different from stereotypes of rapes.

Mask of Nostradamus

3

Boring life; too many opinions; too scholarly; good background.

Me Talk Pretty One Day

5

5

5

4.5

One of Ms. G’s favorites by David Sedaris. Essays about this gay man’s experiences with family, living in NC and in NY, and life. All around hysterical. Try his other books too!

About David Sedaris’ life, random, short stories that happened to him like his speech therapy to help whim with his lisp, dad tried to send him to guitar lessons to a midget teacher, etc. He’s gay and mentions it, like about his boyfriend, but not overwhelming. Most of book is about family. It was pretty good.

If you enjoy laughing a lot, and don’t mind extreme language, then you would definitely enjoy reading this book.

Funny, has French in it; I liked it very much. Pokes fun at himself a lot. I laughed a lot. Can relate to not understanding in foreign language class. The pick pocket chapter – where tourists think he’s a thief. I want to read his other books.

Mickey Mantle: American’s Prodigal Son

4.5

Life of baseball hero Mickey Mantle. Born in 1931, during depression. His father, who never made it to majors, pushed Mantle to baseball. Secret deal to get him to Yankees – a scout found him. When his father dies and he started drinking; already playing for Yankees. Heavy party boy. Played for 18 seasons. Good for sports fans.

A Million Little Pieces

5

A Ms. G pick. The format is “incorrect” as far as mechanics from an English teacher’s perspective, but it works. About James Frey’s battle with addiction narrating his time in rehab. Gripping, riveting, disturbing. Also controversial. Frey is under attack for “lying” in this memoir but is backed by Oprah. An interesting read.

Naked

5

Another Ms. G favorite by David Sedaris. This guy is fun!

Never Die Easy: The Autobiography of Walter Payton

4

Walter Payton’s memoir, unfinished; he died before it was finished so the author had other people who knew him to comment to fill in the blanks. Payton was a really genuine, good guy. His goal in life was to improve others’ lives – stayed late after games to make sure everyone got an autograph, worked with charities, etc. Everything he did had a purpose – for someone else. Amazing athlete – football was his vehicle to help others. Religious. Format can be frustrating at times because it jumps around from POV a lot. Had a rare liver disease.

No Pretty Pictures: a child of war

4.5

Memoir but written from child’s perspective about Holocaust. Moved around from different places, from Poland to Sweden until freed by Red Cross. Child perspective was effective.

No Time for Patience: My Road from Kaunas to Jerusalem

4

Memoir of a holocaust survivor. Man who recounts how he was the only one to survive in his family during WWII. Ever since he was little, he wanted to go to Jerusalem. His family had planned the whole trip, but their plans are ruined when the Nazis invade Lithuania and the entire family is brought to a concentration camp. When they are all taken on a death march, he hides under straw; his family killed. When he comes out of hiding, the American soldiers were there to liberate. Makes it Jerusalem. But he’s still haunted this day. Really good; helps you understand a bit more what people went through.

The Only Way I Know: Cal Ripken, Jr.

3.5

Written by Ripken & writer Mike Bryan. About his whole life and how his family become a better baseball player. Brother tried to be like Ripken and father was a coach. Explains his love of his family, before and his family now. More personal than statistics; a snapshot into his life and family. Really, really long. You have to know baseball and who is he is to appreciate this. Pretty boring.

Outrageous

4.5

Charles Barkley writes about himself and his career in the NBA --with Roy Johnson (ghostwriter). Starts off with his draft. He’s known for being a loud-mouth, but he’s one of the best players ever. He struggled with weight problem, his problems with team players, with women. Lots of curses, rated R book! The book shows how he won’t leave anything unsaid; everything is 100%. Lots of interviews also, good multiple perspective. We get to know him as a friend. Some chapters were boring, but good ending. Medium read; need to know basketball terms.

Please Don’t Kill the Freshman

4.5

Memoir. About a 15 yr old girl and her hardships trying to get published. About her life in general. It was OK. I could relate to her life and experiences in high school – like how she talks about class and her teachers. Funny book, a lot of profanity. Graduated HS in 2003; pretty recent book. I didn’t like how it was in journal forms at times. Confusing. No structured narrative. High school students will enjoy this.

Polite Lies

1.5

About a Japanese woman with a difficult life; expected more of a story; needs life!

Portrait of a Killer

3

 

 

4.5

Biography about Jack the Ripper. Author investigated her own ideas at her own expense. Concluded that an artist of the times was the Ripper. Researched his violent art. She theorizes why he may have been responsible. Got kind of boring after a while. Great beginning.

Ms. G enjoyed this forensic approach to proving the identity of Jack the Ripper in a smart way. Cornwall doesn’t cram her theory down your throat; she recognizes where her shortcomings were in her quest.

Princess

5

About Saudi Arabian princess. Biography but in her own words (documented). Good, especially since what is going on today. Specifics from Saudi culture make you wonder how it was kept anonymous. Tried to break free of oppressive culture against women; ran away to places but finally went back to husband and had him set aside money for daughters and let choose their own husbands. She gets VD from him as he sleeps with many women. Feminist. Depressing. Definitely good, though.

Prozac Diaries

4

Memoir. About one of the first people who took Prozac; suffered from OCD and tried drug, completely cured until relapse. Fascinating story of her struggles and accomplishments. I felt her feelings.

Room Full of Mirrors: Biography of Jimmi Hendrix

4

Tells the story of his life, from his childhood to how he gets into music and how he rises up to become the star that he did. Bio details how drugs and depression led to his demise and death at 27. I was especially interested in the area of his life leading up to his fame – this was interesting as I want to do the same. Unfortunately, not a practical book on how to get famous. Read like a good story. Too much time on his childhood makes it a 4 not a 5. For example, didn’t need all his mother’s background.

Rotten

5

Johnny Rotten (Lydon) writes about his experiences with his band, and his friends and family write the other half – what they saw. This allows for both perspectives to be included. I learned about his childhood, how he grew up and was encouraged to be himself. He was very unhappy in London/England. His Irish side had him oppressed by the English, and he began to lash out. He became very famous in music known for punk style. He started the whole movement with his friends. The book is about what led up to the band. When they came to America, everything went bad. Band broke up when Sid Vicious died. Rotten write in “his own way.” He curses and keeps his writing interesting. (Pictures, too)

Sex and Death ‘Til the Age of 14

5

One of Ms. G’s favorites by Spalding Gray. Really funny. This monologist details his experiences with sex and death as a child in a funny way anyone can grasp.

Stick Figure

3

4

Memoir. About 11 year old girl slowly becomes anorexic. She is frustrated by the people around her because they don’t take her seriously. Easy to read but not that interesting. She doesn’t go into enough detail about her anorexia. She only repeats she won’t eat and go to therapist.

I really liked it. This is her actual diary of when she was 11 years old. Very funny. The story itself is really disturbing – the kinds of things that an 11 year old thinks about. You can picture how emaciated she is. Mother made her self conscious and never ate, “eating is for boys.” Not a 5 because parts are really scary. She is smart and her descriptive writing helps you really visualize.

She Said Yes

5

Misty Bernall writes about her daughter getting killed in the Columbine shooting. She basically gives you what happened and the exact story. After, she retells how she grew up. The bio shows how her past was filled with beliefs in vampires and death, she is taken out of school, and then she joins a Christian group, which changes her views on everything. She believes in God, and she is killed because she said yes, she believed in God. Made me question my belief in God. Good book, I recommend it to my friends.

Shoeless Joe And Ragtime Baseball

4

One of the greatest hitters of all time; had the most natural ability (said other greats). Grew up poor in SC, 1919 world series (for Chicago White Sox) Ragtime baseball = poor. They were offered money to throw game, and they did ("The Black Sox Scandal of 1919). He was accused by all of being responsible despite the fact that he made no errors in game. Was uneducated and forced to admit he was responsible, threatened if he didn't. Banned from the hall of fame. Have to big baseball fan to understand ir; not a page turner.

Stolen Lives

4.5

King of Morocco adopts narrator and she’s raised with luxury. Expected it to be boring but it wasn’t. Vivid.

The Tao of Bruce Lee

3

3

3

4

About a kid who liked Bruce Lee, not enough about Bruce. OK, too many facts about author; gets dull. He gets into Lee as Idol when mother died. Picked on before, really small. Beginning good; end is not. Lots of description.

·          Memoir. Talks about his life was affected by Bruce Lee; writes about him at the end. Gets boring by the end because a bunch of events leading to Lee’s death; I expected more of Bruce.

·          I thought it was great. He didn’t really use Lee as main character but the boy as the main character (himself) in third person. He’s a big fan of Bruce Lee; every time a movie would come out, he’d watch it, obsessed with him. He writes about the iconic figure.

Tony Hawk, Professional Skateboarder

5

Tony Hawk, the number one invert skateboard champion of the world, explains his story, like how when he was little, he came to like it more because he didn't care for other sports. Describes the history of the skateboard plus his experiences and hardships as a teen and skate boarder. Includes a lot of photos. Not too fancy writing, easy to read.

Too Good to be Forgotten: Changing America in the 60s and 70s

3.5

Memoir. Story of David Obst who was big anti-war activist during Vietnam. Agent who was influential in politics of the era, publisher of Watergate. Good beginning, loses flow à turns into politics.

Touch the Top of the World

4.5

Erik Weihenmayer write his own story about how he plans to climb all seven summits of the world, despite the fact that he’s blind. He wasn’t always blind, but became so by the time he was 16. This is his life story and what he had to go through. As a teen, he learned to rock climb, which set him free and was a great believable. It was a good book, though I didn’t think it was necessarily “inspirational” as the cover states; I don’t get the sense that he wants to be seen as different. I was looking for more adventure and danger.

Touching the Void

5

Joe Simpson writes about his survival experience while climbing Mt. Siula Grande (Peruvian Andes). He and a friend summit the mountain pretty easily, but the descent route is much tougher. Falls down a 25 foot ice cliff and breaks his leg. Normally, his friend should have left him, but his friends decides to help him out, risking his own life. Ultimately, he falls into a crevice and makes it out alone. Suspenseful. A lot of detail. You know what he’s thinking the whole time. Made me want to climb. Good outdoors narrative.

Tuesdays with Morrie

5 & 3.5

This wasn’t really a bio or memoir but more a series of short stories. The author tries to tell reader think about life’s challenges/issues/lessons. Each of the 14 chapters boils down to the topic. For instance, family: this is the groundwork for your success; makes you think about your own life. Morrie is dying and Mitch goes to speak with him every Tuesday to talk; Mitch was Morrie’s student. This was their last thesis together. Non-fiction even though it reads like fiction. 5 for the lessons; 3.5 for method. Recommended very highly bc it makes you think!

Tupac Resurrection

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

--Biography based on movie – same things. Tells story of his childhood to gaining fame. Never had a criminal record until he got famous. Police and gov’t after him – many inner city people and jail people connected with him; they felt he was their voice, and this threatened by this. He got shot 5 times; also went to jail for raping a girl but he didn’t do it. Killed by rival company. It’s a great book if you like Tupac. If you are at all interested in him, this is for you. He wasn’t a thug criminal. A lot of his raps are from his poems that expose what’s going on in rough neighborhoods. Not a 5 because a lot of randomness like poems placed in places that it was hard to figure out why they were there.

--Pretty good book. He died and this is the memoir he was supposed to write about himself. Sums up his life as a rapper, director, etc. Shows how he became a poet, how he moved out of bad neighborhoods. Struggled how to get out. Lyrics are included, too. Original copies. Not a 5 because while all the facts are there, I felt like the pictures took up space that could have been dedicated to more info about him.

Twenty Five to Life

3.5

Judge Leslie Snyder writes about where judicial system should go. Interesting.

Waiting: True Confessions of a Waitress

4.5

3

1.Fun book about waiting tables. Jumps around a lot, no flow, no transitions. Author wrote back!

2. Not well-written; boring. Some funny things. The booked could have been summed up in 20 pages. Lots of references to old actors and actresses and couldn’t relate.

Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories

4

Jean Shepard, the same guy who wrote the story to the movie “A Christmas Story” (about the sled) writes about his experiences as a child growing up in a Midwestern mill town. Really vibrant and funny.

Wasted

4.5

4

4

5

4

4.5

5

4.5

4

*Memoir. A lot to take in, intense. Good. 1st person. *Good. Intense: a lot of angry language (curse words). About eating disorders; you could feel what she was going through. Her life growing up – develops anorexic in high school. Influence of self-conscious of eating mother. Cross cutting between past and present. Couldn’t put it down. *Had anorexia and bulimia for over 10 years and her struggle to recover. How her family affected her; went into many details. Wasn’t educated but well written, lots of profanity, wrote about sex and didn’t hold back. *I liked it = well-written. I have friends who have struggled with eating disorders; the book taught me how it can hit so young, the influence of parents' attitudes on food can affect, how nurses watch every move of patient. Some things horrible, depressing. *Flat out open, no holding back. Good book for most girls to read, even without a disorder - deals with self-image and food relationship (girls always say, "I'm so fat" & a lot of competition between girls here). Gets a little repetitive, long end. Included notes form hospital; nice touch. Slow beginning, better by end. A lot of description but felt like some was unnecessary – I didn’t care. Not enough aftermath.

I liked it a lot; I like reading about disturbing stories. This is a mental illness, not just physical. She can’t get rid of it, the disease keeps coming back. I think young girls should really read this.

*I really liked it, but it really got to me – the details were graphic. Starts w/ childhood, crazy parents, and at age 9 she hated being alone and began eating all the time and realized she could control food. For 7 years, she was bulimic and then became anorexic. This book makes you understand what goes on in other people’s heads with this disease. Not a lot about the end –how she got better.

*FROM A MALE READER: It was pretty much what I expected from the title, but she never really got into whether or not she was cured. At some parts, I couldn’t stop reading. However, what was aggravating was that she kept getting sent back to hospital. As a boy, difficult to get some of the stuff. For example, he notices who is fat or skinny as a child: I never noticed. Pretty good book overall.

The Woman Who Watches Over the World

5

 

4

Memoir. 1940s. She grew up in Germany and had friends there. One friend tries to commit suicide and she leaves Germany. Well-written; I liked it a lot. Related a lot of feelings to nature.

Linda Hogan’s memoir about her experience as Native-American woman who came back to America after traveling with father in Europe (he was a soldier). She explores how Nat.-Americans are taken advantage of; i.e., their bodies were sold to doctors or parts as ashtrays. Also talks about her mother and her family who were wounded as children; abandoned by parents –raised by agencies. Issues of alcoholism, exploited for agency money, and sexual abuse. She talks a lot about the earth, and how it relates to her. It was OK, but I didn’t really like it all. I wanted to hear more about recent things, but she focused a lot on ancestry.

When I Was Puerto Rican

5

Great book. Memoir. About growing up in Puerto Rico -(75%) is there. Oldest of 7 kids, then 8, then 11! Worked hard to succeed.

Who’s Sorry Now: The True Story of a Stand-Up Guy

4.5

Memoir. Joey Pantoliano – Sopranos, Memento, Goonies, Risky Business) Grows up in Hoboken with his father as his mentor. He moves around a lot. Cousin gets out of jail, and mother ends up telling him he’s Joey’s real father. Mother is nutcase. As a kid, he gets into fights, but loses because he’s a wimp, but when he moves to other places has to live up to being a tough guy from NJ. Ends up being a tough guy who broke nose of kid in fight. I liked it, easy read, quick read.

Wilt Chamberlain: A View From Above

3.5

Wilt Chamberlain writes his memoir looking back when he turned fifty. Chamberlain was a Lakers’ player. He realized how having height (7’) had its advantages, yet he also got a lot of abuse. I liked it a little. He talks about his opinion on everything in the world (coaches, Sean Connery, affairs, sports, etc) and sometimes it’s funny. He never wanted a child of his own, but he did want to adopt. There is a first book which was written during his career. He was one of the most athletic people in the world; he wanted to compete in a decathlon.

Winston Churchill

2.5

Very informational biography. Straight forward biography from the day of his birth to his death. Extremely dry especially if you don’t like history. You need to be admirer of history and its facts. No literary devices! No personal life details, which would have made it better.

Wired

3.5

About John Belushi and his different jobs and drug problem. After his hilarious SNL, all downhill with drugs.

Woody Allen: A Biography

3.5

More of a personal account rather than just career stuff; his quotes are funny, but not the narrative. Talks about he got started to when he married his adoptive daughter. Pretty easy read with a lot of descriptive writing. Some parts just list different movies – “skippable.” I wasn’t really a fan.

You Remind Me of You

4.5

 

 

4

Memoir written in poetic form; poetry compiled to tell a story. It was confusing, though beautifully written. Difficult to tell where you were in the story. She struggles with anorexia; therapist asks her questions and she answers in poetic form.

About a girl who wanted a boy; he gave her the attention, but she became insecure about her weight when he wouldn’t ask her to the prom. He said he couldn’t go through high school without her, eventually, & she said she couldn’t go through HS w/o killing herself: she finds ways to hide her eating disorder. He shoots himself in head. I thought this was a good book, though confusing – jumps all over the place from happy to suicidal to being supportive to fighting. For the patient reader of poetry. I liked it.