Read a Biography

There’s still time to work on your July Summer Challenge Sheet! Have you read a biography or memoir yet? Biographies are a fantastic genre because they give a glimpse of another person’s life. They can inspire or challenge you. And, reading about other people’s lives can be beneficial to your own.

Here are a few biographies and memoirs to check out:

 

Indira by Katherine Frank – Indira Ghandi was reluctant to enter politics. She was educated at schools in Switzerland, England and India while her father and many family members were in and out of jail during the Independence Movement in India. After the deaths of her husband, her fathers, and independent India’s first leader she joined politics in order to realize the dream of an independent country.

Call Me American by Abdi Nor Iftin – Read about Iftin’s path to US citizenship. He grew up in Somalia and loved American culture as a young child and learned English by listening to American music. But when a radical Islamist group rose to power in 2006, it became dangerous to celebrate any kind of Western culture. Iftin used his language skills to post secret dispatches to NPR and the Internet in order to make a living, and found an audience of worldwide listeners. But as life in Somalia grew more dangerous, Ilftin had no choice but to flee to Kenya as a refugee.

Sick by Porochista Khapour – Khapour doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t sick. Several hospitalizations and $100,000 later, Khapour finally learns that she has Lyme disease. Read about her long, emotional journey and how she deals with the American medical system.

Well That Escalated Quickly by Franchesca Ramsey – The comedian and activist shares her advice on how to deal with internet trolls, low-key racists and social media in general.

How To American by Jimmy Yang – Jimmy Yang is a standup comedian and actor. In his hilarious memoir, he shares his story of growing up as a Chinese immigrant and how pursuing a Hollywood career went against the dreams of his parents.

Celebrity Memoirs

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Have you ever wondered what kind of life lessons you could learn from a famous person? Try one of these celebrity memoirs available in the JMRL catalog:

We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union – A powerful collection of essays on gender, sexuality, race, beauty, Hollywood and the realities of modern women also includes the author’s wrenching experiences as a survivor of sexual assault, in a volume that seeks to raise awareness about the needs of victims of sexual violence.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah – The host of “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” traces his wild coming of age during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed, offering insight into the farcical aspects of the political and social systems of today’s world.

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick – A collection of whimsical autobiographical essays by the actress and star of “Up in the Air” recounts memorable milestones, from her New England upbringing to the blockbuster films that have made her one of Hollywood’s most popular actresses.

Nevertheless by Alec Baldwin – The actor highlights parts of his life that he’s long kept private, from his troubled childhood and efforts to make it as a young actor to his struggles with addiction and his failings as a husband and parent.

This is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe – The star of “Precious” and “Empire” shares details about her childhood with a polygamous father in Harlem, her gifted mother who supported them by singing in the subway, and her own unconventional rise to fame.

I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart – The actor and comedian presents a memoir on the importance of believing in oneself, sharing stories about the addiction and abuse that marked his childhood and how his unique way of looking at the world enabled his survival and successful career.

The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer – A collection of personal essays by the comedienne reflects on her raucous childhood antics, her hard-won rise in the entertainment industry, and her struggles to maintain the courage to approach the world in unstintingly honest ways.

Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions by Russel Brand – The British comedian and radio host shares the story of his personal struggles with addictions ranging from drugs and alcohol to food and fame, offering compassionate advice about the programs that most helped him.

The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines – The husband-and-wife stars of the popular “Fixer Upper” television program share the story of their life together, from how they met in Waco, Texas to their success as entrepreneurs and television personalities.