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Topic: Great Autobiographies?

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Jared C. (jrod) - ,
Subject: Great Autobiographies?
Date Posted: 5/15/2011 11:01 PM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2010
Posts: 26
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I've been on a bit of an autobiography kick as of late and was wondering if anyone had any good suggestions. Since they cover every topic, it's been hard to search PBS for ones that would interest me, and I haven't found a good list online anywhere. If you know of a good online list that's sorted by topic, please share. My primary interests are nature, sports, and 20th century American history, but I'm open to any other suggestions. Thanks!

Date Posted: 5/16/2011 9:04 AM ET
Member Since: 2/18/2010
Posts: 171
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I don't know if this is what you are looking for, but I recently read Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox and it was very inspiring.

Last Edited on: 5/16/11 9:05 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/16/2011 12:01 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,550
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Everyone I know who has read Jane Fonda's autobiography, My Life So Far, has recommended it to me. 

Subject: Just Kids
Date Posted: 5/16/2011 4:04 PM ET
Member Since: 3/24/2008
Posts: 10
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I just finished "Just Kids" by Patti Smith.  I enjoyed it very much. 

Date Posted: 5/16/2011 4:38 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
Posts: 2,139
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I really liked Drinking the Rain by Alix Kates Shulman. She left the city and stayed a year in a small cabin on the Maine coast and learned slowly how to live off the land there.

Also, the three books by Joan Anderson about her year away to Cape Cod and how she transformed her life there. It starts with A Year by the Sea (great) then there's An Unfinished Marriage (okay) and the third, A Walk on the Beach (great).

Both of these are about self discovery and starting anew. And can you tell I want to run away and live on the coast somewhere, too? LOL

Date Posted: 5/16/2011 11:09 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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I read primarily fiction, some memoirs /biographies, and I wold recommend:

Bill Bryson's Memoirs, which are both funny and insightful.   I think you would especially enjoy A Walk in the Woods and The Thunderbolt Kid.

Don't Lets Go to the Dog Tonight by Alexandra Fuller, which is the author's memoir of growing up white (and therefore upper class) and yet poor in Africa

And there's at least one more, but the title escapes me right now.  I'll come back later if I remember it.

Date Posted: 5/20/2011 11:50 AM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2011
Posts: 30
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Hi Jared!


I know you said AUTObiography, but I love to read anything Robert K. Massie writes. (He's also from Lexington, btw.). My favorite is on Peter the Great. But he's also done "Nicholas & Alexandra", "Catherine the Great", and "The Romanovs", besides others. Fair warning, they are thick books (Peter is over 800 pages), but he writes with an easy to read style that is enjoyable, besides pulling out little known facts aboiut his subject that make you want to keep reading. One of my favorite excerts from "Peter" was when he had one of his famous tantrums and destroyed a vase that had been given to him and his wife, Catherine. Being one of the few people that didn't mind standing up to him, she commented with something like, "Does that make the palace more beautiful?" or something life that. I know I'm misquoating-it's been years since I read it. But Peter was a facinating man, and Massie shows all sides of him in a great way, including their beautiful love story.

Autobios. I like are Julie Andrews, "Home-A Memoir of My Early Years", Lauren Bacall, "By Myself", Patrick & Lisa Nemi, "The Time Of My Life", (which I cried my eyes out over), Carol Burnett, "This Time Together." I loved the one by Robert Wagner, and Phil Lesh, the bass player for The Grateful Dead wrote a good one. Sidney Sheldon wrote one that was really funny and all-telling.

I know these aren't really under most of your topics, but if you get a chance and see one, all of them are great reads, and had juicy, behind the scenes stories that helped me to understand the people better.

Date Posted: 5/21/2011 7:11 PM ET
Member Since: 11/6/2005
Posts: 642
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Mark Twain's newly released Autobiography (Volume 1) is excellent.

Jared C. (jrod) - ,
Date Posted: 5/24/2011 7:23 PM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2010
Posts: 26
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Thanks for the great ideas so far! I forgot to mention I enjoy Russian history as well, so the Massie books would definitely interest me. Several of the others sound right up my alley as well. 

Date Posted: 5/25/2011 1:50 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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I second Just Kids, it's the best book I've read this year.

It's not an autobiography, but The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll by Jean Nathan is one of my favorite books ever. It's about the life of Dare Wright, an artist and children's book author. It's a great read. Sad, funny, touching, and disturbing at times.