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Biographies & Memoirs of 2018

 

 

I am a huge fan of biographies. What I'm always looking for is a story. I want a story I have never heard from anyone else.

Brandon Stanton

Have a look at February biographies & memoirs worth your reading time. To view more titles, please visit the 2018 New Biographies & Memoirs Reading list.

 

Renoir's Dancer: The Secret Life of Suzanne Valadon - Catherine HewittA Dangerous Woman: American Beauty, Noted Philanthropist, Nazi Collaborator – The Life of Florence Gould - Susan RonaldThe Wife's Tale: A Personal History - Aida Edemariam

 

 

Renoir's Dancer: The Secret Life of Suzanne Valadon - Catherine HewittRenoir's Dancer: The Secret Life of Suzanne Valadon by Catherine Hewitt 

Out: Feb. 27, 2018

 

In the 1880s, Suzanne Valadon was considered the Impressionists’ most beautiful model. But behind her captivating façade lay a closely-guarded secret.

Suzanne was born into poverty in rural France, before her mother fled the provinces, taking her to Montmartre. There, as a teenager Suzanne began posing for—and having affairs with—some of the age’s most renowned painters. Then Renoir caught her indulging in a passion she had been trying to conceal: the model was herself a talented artist. Rebellious and opinionated, she refused to be confined by tradition or gender, and in 1894, her work was accepted to the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, an extraordinary achievement for a working-class woman with no formal art training.

 

A Dangerous Woman: American Beauty, Noted Philanthropist, Nazi Collaborator – The Life of Florence Gould - Susan RonaldA Dangerous Woman: American Beauty, Noted Philanthropist, Nazi Collaborator – The Life of Florence Gould by Susan Ronald 

Out: Feb. 20, 2018

Born in turn-of-the-century San Francisco to French parents, Florence moved to Paris, aged eleven. Believing that only money brought respectability and happiness, she became the third wife of Frank Jay Gould, son of the railway millionaire Jay Gould. She guided Frank’s millions into hotels and casinos, creating a luxury hotel and casino empire. She entertained Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, Joseph Kennedy, and many Hollywood stars, like Charlie Chaplin, who became her lover. While the party ended for most Americans after the Crash of 1929, Frank and Florence refused to go home. During the Occupation, Florence took several German lovers and hosted a controversial salon. As the Allies closed in, the unscrupulous Florence became embroiled in a notorious money laundering operation for fleeing high-ranking Nazis.

Yet after the war, not only did she avoid prosecution, but her vast fortune bought her respectability as a significant contributor to the Metropolitan Museum and New York University, among many others.

 

The Wife's Tale: A Personal History - Aida EdemariamThe Wife's Tale: A Personal History by Aida Edemariam 

Out: Feb. 27, 2018

 

A hundred years ago, a girl was born in the northern Ethiopian city of Gondar. Before she was ten years old, Yetemegnu was married to a man two decades her senior, an ambitious poet-priest. Over her lifetime her world changed beyond recognition. She witnessed Fascist invasion and occupation, Allied bombardment and exile from her city, the ascent and fall of Emperor Haile Selassie, revolution and civil war. She endured all these things alongside parenthood, widowhood and the death of children. The Wife's Tale is an intimate memoir, of both a life and a country. In prose steeped in Yetemegnu's distinctive voice and point of view, Aida Edemariam retells her grandmother's stories of a childhood surrounded by proud priests and soldiers, of her husband's imprisonment, of her fight for justice--all of it played out against the rhythms of the natural world and an ancient cycle of religious festivals. She introduces us to a rich cast of characters--emperors and empresses, scholars and nuns,

 

 

Being Wagner: A Short Biography of a Larger-Than-Life Man - Simon CallowI've Got This Round: More Tales of Debauchery - Mamrie HartGustav Klimt at Home - Patrick Bade

 

 

Being Wagner: A Short Biography of a Larger-Than-Life Man - Simon CallowBeing Wagner: A Short Biography of a Larger-Than-Life Man by Simon Callow 

Out: Feb. 06, 2018

 

Richard Wagner's music dramas have never been more popular or more divisive. His ten masterpieces, created against the backdrop of a continent in severe political and cultural upheaval, constitute an unmatched body of work. A man who spent most of his life in abject poverty, inspiring both critical derision and hysterical hero-worship, Wagner was a walking contradiction: belligerent, flirtatious, disciplined, capricious, demanding, visionary, and poisonously anti-Semitic. Acclaimed biographer Simon Callow evokes the intellectual and artistic climate in which Wagner lived and takes us through his most iconic works, from his pivotal successes in The Flying Dutchman and Lohengrin, to the musical paradigm shift contained in Tristan and Isolde, to the apogee of his achievements in The Ring of the Nibelung and Parsifal, which debuted at Bayreuth shortly before his death. Being Wagner brings to life this towering figure, creator of the most sublime and most controversial body of work ever known.

 

I've Got This Round: More Tales of Debauchery - Mamrie HartI've Got This Round: More Tales of Debauchery by Mamrie Hart 

Out: Feb. 06, 2018

 

When Mamrie simultaneously enters her 30s and finds herself single for the first time since college, the world is suddenly full of possibilities.Emboldened by the cool confidence that comes with the end of one's 20s plus the newfound independence of an attachment-free lifestyle, Mamrie commits herself to living life with even more spirit, adventure, and heart than before. Mamrie dives into new experiences at full-tilt and seeks out once-in-a-lifetime opportunities (like meeting the Dixie Chicks), bucket-list goals (like visiting the Moulin Rouge), and madcap adventures (like going anchors-away on a Backstreet Boys cruise)—all while diving back into the dating world for the first time in a decade. Mamrie doubles down on her strong female friendships, her willingness to engage in shenanigans, and her inimitable candor, taking the reader along for a wild and unforgettable journey through adulting.

 

Gustav Klimt at Home - Patrick BadeGustav Klimt at Home by Patrick Bade 

Out: Feb. 01, 2018

 

Gustav Klimt at Home explores the influences of Vienna and other places Klimt travelled to and called home on his life and work. Klimt was one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. He was both influenced by and shaped the city of Vienna at the turn of the century, undertaking several public commissions. Klimt travelled little, but trips to Venice and Ravenna, as well as annual summer holidays with the Flöge family on the shores of Attersee, were a source of inspiration and influence on his creative output. Fully illustrated, the book features paintings, archive imagery and photographs of the surrounding city and landscape to provide an insight into how the people and places of his life relate to his work.

 

 

Son of a Midnight Land - Atz KilcherOne Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together - Amy BassMy Father's Wake: How the Irish Teach Us to Live, Love, and Die - Kevin Toolis

 

Son of a Midnight Land - Atz KilcherSon of a Midnight Land by Atz Kilcher 

Out: Feb. 06, 2018

In his memoir, Atz Kilcher tells the story of how he learned many vital skills while helping his parents carve a homestead out of the Alaskan wilderness: how to work hard, think on his feet, make do, invent, and use what was on hand to accomplish whatever task was in front of him. He also learned how to lie in order to please his often volatile father, and put himself in harm’s way to protect his mother and younger, weaker members of the family. Much later in life, as Atz began to reflect on his upbringing, seek to understand his father, and heal his emotional scars, he discovered that the work of pioneering the frontier of the soul is an infinitely more difficult task than any of the back-breaking chores he performed on his family’s homestead. Learning to use new tools—honesty, vulnerability, forgiveness, acceptance—and building upon the good helped him heal and learn to embrace the value of resilience. This revised perspective has enabled him to tell an enhanced and more positive version of the legacy his father created and has him doing the most rewarding work of his life: mapping his own inner wilderness while drawing closer to his adult children, the next stewards of the land he helped his father carve out of the Alaskan frontier.

 

One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together - Amy BassOne Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together by Amy Bass 

Out: Feb. 27, 2018

 

When thousands of Somali refugees resettled in Lewiston, Maine, a struggling, overwhelmingly white town, longtime residents grew uneasy. Then the mayor wrote a letter asking Somalis to stop coming, which became a national story. While scandal threatened to subsume the town, its high school's soccer coach integrated Somali kids onto his team, and their passion began to heal old wounds. Taking readers behind the tumult of this controversial team--and onto the pitch where the teammates vied to become state champions and achieved a vital sense of understanding--ONE GOAL is a timely story about overcoming the prejudices that divide us.

 

My Father's Wake: How the Irish Teach Us to Live, Love, and Die - Kevin ToolisMy Father's Wake: How the Irish Teach Us to Live, Love, and Die by Kevin Toolis 

Out: Feb. 27, 2018

 

Each day, along with reports of incoming Atlantic storms, the local radio runs a daily roll call of the recently departed. The islanders go in great numbers, young and old alike, to be with their dead. They keep vigil with the corpse and the bereaved company through the long hours of the night. They dig the grave with their own hands and carry the coffin on their own shoulders. The islanders cherish the dead--and amid the sorrow, they celebrate life, too. In My Father's Wake, acclaimed author and award-winning filmmaker Kevin Toolis unforgettably describes his own father's wake and explores the wider history and significance of this ancient and eternal Irish ritual. Perhaps we, too, can all find a better way to deal with our mortality--by living and loving as the Irish do.

 

 

 Check out more titles in the 2018 New Biographies & Memoirs Reading list->