Biography – Medical Biographies and Memoirs

Medical Biographies and Memoirs
He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird…
by Mimi Baird with Eve Claxton

Author Mimi Baird lost contact with her father Dr. Perry Baird when she was six, in 1944. She knew only that he was “ill” and wasn’t coming home. Dr. Baird suffered from manic-depression; though he was frequently institutionalized and subjected to primitive treatments for years, he cogently recorded observations of his own illness. In He Wanted the Moon, Mimi weaves together excerpts from her father’s manuscript with her own recollections, providing a fascinating, if sobering, portrait of psychiatric treatment in a time before the symptoms of mental disorders were better understood.

Living and Dying in Brick City: Stories from the Front Lines of an Inner-City E.R.
by Sampson Davis with Lisa Frazier Page

Newark, New Jersey native Sampson Davis rose above the challenges of the inner city (as related in The Pact) and became an Emergency Department physician at Newark Beth Israel Hospital. InLiving and Dying in Brick City, he combines his autobiography with brief accounts of patients he treated and medical information about their conditions. Emphasizing crime and poverty’s health impact on African Americans, he details the effects of gunshot wounds, drug overdoses, sexually transmitted diseases, and lack of access to routine medical exams. Readers who are particularly interested in urban social issues and affordable health care will appreciate this eye-opening look at inner-city medicine.

Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician
by Sandeep Jauhar

In Doctored, Sandeep Jauhar, a cardiologist at Long Island Jewish Hospital in New York, recounts his frustrations as a doctor and his observations on the practice of medicine. In this book, “part memoir and part denunciation of America’s current health-care system” (Library Journal), Jauhar raises issues such as the fear of medical malpractice litigation, insurance bureaucracy, and the economics of for-profit medicine. Illustrating his concerns with anecdotes from his experience, he expresses disappointment in his loss of idealism since he entered medical school. Jauhar’s memoir offers a thought-provoking analysis of the state of health care in the U.S.

Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon
by Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa with Mimi Eichler Rivas

After migrating with his family from Mexico to California for a summer’s work, author Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa decided that his future lay in the U.S. In a risky move, he climbed the fence between Mexico and California to work at low-paying jobs, learn English, and send money back to his family. Eventually, he earned an associate’s degree, then found out that he could go much farther. In this richly detailed memoir, he vividly portrays the poverty of his childhood and the challenges of working his way up the American educational and economic ladder. Booklist, in a starred review, calls Becoming Dr. Q”gripping, inspiring, and just plain awesome.”

My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey
by Jill Bolte Taylor

Jill Bolte Taylor, a Boston neuroanatomist, woke up with a severe headache one morning in 1996. Her physical coordination deteriorated, then her vision began to fail. She managed to telephone her office, where her colleagues realized that she was in deep trouble and sent an ambulance. In My Stroke of Insight, Taylor details her treatment for this life-threatening hemorrhagic stroke, her physical and neurological recovery, and her new awareness of her own brain function. This accessible, compelling memoir offers insight into Taylor’s rehabilitation from a unique point of view — that of a patient who is also an expert in her own medical condition.

List created 7/7/16 – James Hartmann

Adapted from Nextreads.

Biography – Women in Science

Women in Science
Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science’s First Family
by Shelley Emling

The first person to win two Nobel Prizes (and in two different fields, physics and chemistry), Marie Skłodowska Curie also founded a dynasty of female scientists — beginning with her older daughter, chemist Irene. Drawing on archival material as well as interviews with members of the Curie-Joliot family, this book examines the influence of Curie’s private life on her research. With a special emphasis on the Curie family in the post-World War I era, this biography presents a well-rounded portrait of an iconic and inspiring scientist.

Ada’s Algorithm: How Lord Byron’s Daughter Ada Lovelace Launched…
by James Essinger

During her brief yet influential life (she died in 1852, aged 36), mathematician Ada Byron, Countess Lovelace, wrote what is widely considered to be the first program for Charles Babbage’s proposed Analytical Engine, a forerunner of today’s computers. The daughter (and only legitimate child) of English poet Lord Byron, Ada struggled in vain to achieve recognition for her accomplishments during her lifetime. Alas, Ada’s disappointment was the world’s loss: had her contemporaries recognized the significance of her work, the digital age might have commenced decades sooner according to this intriguing biography by the author of Jacquard’s Web: How a Hand Loom Led to the Birth of the Information Age.

Sex Versus Survival: The Life and Ideas of Sabina Spielrein
by John Launer

Although Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung are household names, their colleague Sabina Spielrein is not. Yet this Russian Jewish physician and psychoanalyst shaped the landscape of 20th-century psychology. At age 18, her family committed her to an asylum, where her treatment inspired her to study medicine. Although her career is often overshadowed by her brief affair with Jung (dramatized in the 2011 film A Dangerous Method), Spielrein was the first psychiatric patient to become a mental health practitioner, and her groundbreaking work in the area of early childhood development would influence Jean Piaget, among others.

Rocket Girl: The Story of Mary Sherman Morgan, America’s First…
by George D. Morgan

It wasn’t until Mary Sherman Morgan’s death in 2004 that her son, author George Morgan, learned of his mother’s contributions to rocket science. A chemist by training, Sherman Morgan was the only female analyst at North American Aviation, where she invented the propellant hydyne, used to launch the satellite Explorer 1 into orbit. Indeed, Sherman Morgan was such a private person that Wernher von Braun, in his correspondence, addressed her as “Unknown Lady.” Thanks to this book, which blends traditional biography and memoir, Mary Sherman Morgan — unlike so many pioneering female scientists — will no longer be unknown or anonymous.

Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space
by Lynn Sherr

Physicist Sally Ride joined NASA in 1978 when the organization at last relaxed their ban on women and minorities. Beating out some 8,000 other applicants to become an astronaut candidate, Ride ultimately gained international fame as the first American woman to travel to space. It was a milestone that attracted a predictably intense level of media scrutiny, especially for a person who worked hard to keep her personal life separate from her professional identity. Indeed, it wasn’t until her death in 2012 that the world learned — via her obituary — that Ride was survived by her female partner of some 30 years. In addition to recounting the extraordinary life of an individual who broke barriers, this biography also describes the challenges faced by Ride and others on account of their gender and sexual orientation.

List created 7/7/16 – James Hartmann

Adapted from Nextreads.

Biography – Immigrants in America

Focus on: Immigrants in America
Brotherhood: Dharma, Destiny, and the American Dream
by Deepak Chopra and Sanjiv Chopra

Brothers Deepak and Sanjiv Chopra immigrated to the U.S. from India to study medicine and became American citizens. In this joint autobiography, they relate their stories in alternating chapters, chronicling each of their paths to successful careers as physicians while reflecting on their Indian childhoods. They describe how they assimilated to American culture and offer insight into the differences in their careers (Deepak is well known for his promotion of alternative medicine, which Sanjiv doesn’t embrace). Brotherhood offers an engaging and informative read to biography fans, especially those who want to learn more about the Chopra brothers.

The Poker Bride: The First Chinese in the Wild West
by Christopher Corbett

During the California Gold Rush of the mid-1800s, many thousands of people from China migrated to the western U.S. One of them, a concubine who took the name Polly, married an Idaho saloonkeeper named Charlie Bemis and lived with him for many years on their isolated farm. In 1923, after Charlie’s death, Polly emerged from the ranch and shared her story. In The Poker Bride, journalism professor Christopher Corbett relates Polly’s experiences and those of many other Chinese immigrants, especially young women. Fans of immigration history, women’s history, and the Gold Rush will want to grab this one.

The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother’s Hidden Life
by Jasmin Darznik

Iranian-American English Professor Jasmin Darznik knew nothing about her mother Lili’s first, arranged, marriage at age 13 in Iran. Jasmin also didn’t know that her mother had given birth at age 14 to a sister Jasmin had never met, nor that her mother was divorced before age 20. She discovered all of this after seeing a photograph from that first wedding and questioning her mother about it; Lili eventually sent several cassette tapes telling her story, providing the basis for Darznik’s richly detailed, absorbing account of three generations of Iranian women. For another memoir of an Iranian immigrant, try Gelareh Asayesh’s lyrical Saffron Sky.

Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy
by Carlos Eire

Author Carlos Eire won a National Book Award for his earlier memoir,Waiting for Snow in Havana, which describes his escape from Castro’s revolution in 1962. Eire picks up his story in Learning to Die in Miami, where at age 11 he faced linguistic and cultural barriers while coping with homesickness. In this “funny, furious, and heartbreaking” (Booklist) account, he describes how he “killed” his Cuban self in order to become fully American. In addition to offering a compulsively readable book, this memoir provides valuable insight into the immigrant experience.

Russian Tattoo: A Memoir
by Elena Gorokhova

Elena Gorokhova’s emigration from Russia in 1980 was enabled by marriage to an American who turned out to be unfamiliar with the concept of fidelity. From this dismal beginning Elena found ways to make her own way, marrying again and having a child (who became a rebellious teenager), bringing her old-style Stalinist mother to the U.S., and gradually adjusting to the wide cultural gaps. Her richly sensory reflections on immigration into a culture of immigrants offer a quietly compelling memoir that will linger in the reader’s mind.

List created 4/19/16 – James Hartmann

Adapted from Nextreads.

Biography – Celebrity Memoirs

Recent Celebrity Memoirs
Sick in the Head: Conversations about Life and Comedy
by Judd Apatow

Technically, Sick in the Head is not a memoir, though it does share a lot about director Judd Apatow’s comedic influences.  It’s actually a collection of conversations and interviews between Apatow and his fellow comedians, whether it’s his idol Jerry Seinfeld (interviewed when Apatow was only 15) or contemporaries like Adam Sandler or mentee Amy Schumer. Because the earliest interviews were done in the 1980s, this book offers a tantalizing perspective of the rising stars of that decade while also exploring what being funny is all about.

Why Not Me?
by Mindy Kaling

Actress, writer, and director Mindy Kaling is often told by fans that they want to be her best friend. Sadly for us, the position is already taken. In her candid second memoir, Mindy addresses everything from her (brief) time as a sorority sister and how she feels about wearing fake pregnancy suits (not great) to what a regular work day looks like (exhausting, but sometimes with cake) and that time she thought she might die in a plane crash (she was very calm). Throughout, her charming, self-deprecating but very smart humor shines through, and fans won’t want to miss it.

Born with Teeth: A Memoir
by Kate Mulgrew

Actress Kate Mulgrew is known for the strong women characters she has played on such successful TV shows as Star Trek: Voyagerand Orange Is the New Black, and in real life, she’s surmounted more than a few obstacles along the way. In her forthright memoir, Mulgrew shares stories from a happy childhood and her successful acting career, as well as her heartbreak over the deaths of two siblings and her decision to place her first (unplanned) daughter for adoption. “Compellingly introspective and revealing,” says Kirkus Reviews.

M Train
by Patti Smith

“It’s not so easy writing about nothing,” declares musical icon Patti Smith at the outset of this follow-up to her acclaimed memoir, Just Kids. Of course, Smith isn’t really recounting nothing (though even if she were, it would probably still be riveting). Described by the author as “a roadmap to my life,” M Train takes readers on a tour of the places and spaces that have influenced Smith throughout her long and multifaceted career.

List created 3/8/16 – James Hartmann

Adapted from Nextreads.

Biography – Athletes

Focus on: Athletes

Dr. J: The Autobiography

by Julius Erving with Karl Taro Greenfeld

Julius “Dr. J” Erving transformed basketball in the 1970s when he brought playground-style moves to the pro game. In Dr. J, Erving frankly relates his private struggles and successes; his thoughtful self-assessment complements the details of his basketball career, from his teamwork on an obscure college squad to the emergence of the wizard who played with and against legends such as Bill Russell, Moses Malone, and Larry Bird. General readers will appreciate this engaging and insightful autobiography, and sports fans will revel in the basketball stats and anecdotes.

Doc: A Memoir

by Dwight Gooden and Ellis Henican

Early in his Major League Baseball career, pitcher Dwight “Doc” Gooden was acclaimed as a superstar, only to succumb to alcohol and cocaine addiction. Despite his success on the field, his personal life went progressively more out of control, leading to suspensions, rehab, and arrests. Though his 1999 autobiography Heat covered much of this, here he also talks of the difficult years since, directly and honestly. From his childhood to his ultimately successful stint on television’s Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, Gooden takes pains to explore both the good and the bad. For another candid story of a baseball player who overcame addiction, try Josh Hamilton’s explicitly Christian Beyond Belief. 

What Makes Olga Run? The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star and What She…

by Bruce Grierson

Born in 1919, Canadian track star Olga Kotelko doesn’t fit into anybody’s preconceptions of a star athlete. For one thing, her career was in elementary school teaching; for another, she didn’t take up track and field until she was 77. But by the time she died in 2014, she held over 30 world records. In What Makes Olga Run?, journalist Bruce Grierson engagingly recounts Kotelko’s life, especially her athletic career, and describes meetings with scientists looking for an explanation for her longevity. While no definitive answers emerge, this engaging narrative presents a compelling portrait of a nonagenarian champion — and inspiration for those who are staring old age in the face. 


by Rafael Nadal and John Carlin

Mallorcan tennis star Rafael Nadal comes from a large but close family, who have helped sustain his championship career through every point and match. In Rafa, Nadal vividly describes his mental preparation and the games he plays, while his co-author John Carlin adds a third-person narration of the same events to each chapter. These engaging parallel accounts also portray Nadal’s youth, his family, and other aspects of his life, which was focused for years on the highest level of professional tennis. Any reader — not just tennis fans — will find this a totally absorbing biography.

In the Blink of an Eye: My Life in NASCAR

by Michael Waltrip

In the 2001 Daytona 500, stock car racer Michael Waltrip won his first NASCAR victory. But the day ended in tragedy when teammate Dale Earnhardt, Sr., died of injuries sustained in a crash. Despite the wrenching sadness that marked Waltrip’s initial win, this compelling autobiography also contains humorous and engaging details of the joys of racing. In the Blink of an Eye chronicles Waltrip’s childhood, his racing career, and his relationships with other drivers, including his older brother Darrell and the Earnhardts. NASCAR fans will savor the book, and anyone curious about stock car racing will want to pick up this informative and entertaining account. 

List created 12/15/15 – James Hartmann

Adapted from Nextreads.

Travel – 10 Travel Memoirs to Take You Around the World

Eat, Pray, Love

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Eat, Pray, Love
by Elizabeth Gilbert

Chances are you’ve heard of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book of epicurean adventures, soul-searching, and the road to rediscovering love across Italy, India, and Indonesia. Her tale of recovering from a broken marriage and her search for peace is honest and encouraging; her warm and candid prose will have you dreaming of sandy shores, but, more importantly, it will make you believe that no matter how dark things may seem, the world is filled with goodness.


by Cheryl Strayed

At twenty-six, Cheryl Strayed had lost her mother and her marriage. With no experience or training, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: She would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from California’s Mojave Desert to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Sparkling with warmth and humor, her memoir powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and healed her.

The Lost Continent

The Lost Continent
by Bill Bryson

Following his father’s death, Bill Bryson takes to the highway with the goal of traversing the continental United States. Along the way, he reflects on his childhood as he explores small towns off the beaten path to achieve an authentic local experience in the heartland of America.

Travels in Siberia

Travels in Siberia
by Ian Frazier

The culmination of five years and various trips, Ian Frazier’s memoir about his travels through Siberia unveils the underappreciated beauty and bewildering complexity of the vast territory in Russia’s northern region. You’ll fall in love with Frazier’s enchanting memoir as he explores the tundra’s expanse and learns about the rich history and people of this indomitable land.

The Great Railway Bazaar

The Great Railway Bazaar
by Paul Theroux

Considered a modern classic of travel literature, Paul Theroux’s memoir tells the unusual story of his railway adventures across continental Asia. Rounded out with wit and humor, Theroux takes you on an incredible ride from London’s Victoria Station to Japan and back again.

The Turk Who Loved Apples

The Turk Who Loved Apples
by Matt Gross

Matt Gross, the former “Frugal Traveler” for The New York Times, can teach you how to get lost and let your surroundings guide you to incredible discoveries. No matter where you are or where you’re headed, Gross’s globe-trotting memoir is the perfect travel companion.

In Patagonia

In Patagonia
by Bruce Chatwin

Fueled by wanderlust and a lifelong fascination with one of the outermost reaches of the earth, Bruce Chatwin set off for Patagonia to uncover the mysteries of this territory once favored by bandits like Butch Cassidy. An elegant and captivating journey to the end of the earth, Chatwin’s memoir is a masterpiece of the travel canon.

Seven Years in Tibet

Seven Years in Tibet
by Heinrich Harrer

In 1943, Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer escaped from a British internment camp in India and, after trekking across the Himalayas, established himself in Tibet. During his seven-year stay, Harrer became a tutor to the Dalai Lama and learned about Tibetan rites and customs. Forced to leave due to the Chinese invasion of 1950, Harrer’s memoir captures in vivid detail an image of Tibet lost to time while offering a window into a land so infrequently visited by foreigners.

A Time of Gifts

A Time of Gifts
by Patrick Leigh Fermor

The first book of a trilogy that chronicles his journey on foot from London to Constantinople, Patrick Leigh Fermor’s memoir is rich with history, art, philosophy, and the optimism of youth. This enchanting snapshot of Europe on the eve of Hitler’s rise to power preserves a sense of a time long lost.

Paris to the Moon

Paris to the Moon
by Adam Gopnik

Adam Gopnik moved to Paris with his family in 1995, where he lived for five years. There he wrote essays and observations on the beautiful and the base in the City of Lights. At turns laudatory and disparaging, Gopnik’s memoir is an honest, witty homage to the romance of Paris in all its pretention and grandeur.

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Biography – 17 Memoirs By Women You Should Read

17 Memoirs By Women You Should Add To Your Reading List

Looking for some end-of-summer reading? We have some women’s stories to suggest — 17 of them, in fact.

The remarkable women on this list of unputdownable memoirs have shared the most personal and painful parts of their lives through their writing. They have suffered from mental illness, escaped abuse, stood up for their political beliefs, experienced tragic loss, redefined gender and stressed the importance of equality. They have worked as sex workers, lived in psychiatric institutions and hiked the Pacific Crest Trail alone. They have learned valuable lessons from their life journeys, and impart their wisdom through their books.

Here are 17 women’s memoirs you need to add to your reading list:

  • 1
    “Wave” by Sonali Deraniyagala
    “Deraniyagala’s memoir about losing her husband and sons in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami is… possibly one of the most moving books ever written about grief.” — The Guardian
  • 2
    “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed
    “Strayed tells the story of her emotional devastation after the death of her mother and the weeks she spent hiking the 1,100-mile Pacific Crest Trail. As her family, marriage, and sanity go to pieces, Strayed drifts into spontaneous encounters with other men, to the consternation of her confused husband, and eventually hits rock bottom while shooting up heroin with a new boyfriend. Convinced that nothing else can save her, she latches onto the unlikely idea of a long solo hike.” — Booklist
  • 3
    “Men We Reaped” by Jesmyn Ward
    “A brutal, moving memoir of five deaths highlights the shocking reality faced by many young black men in America.” — The Guardian
  • 4
    “Whip Smart” by Melissa Febos
    “Melissa Febos’ new memoir, Whip Smart, details the four years she spent working as a dominatrix. Febos enacted fantasy sequences, spanked grown men and verbally humiliated them for $75 an hour in a dungeon located somewhere in midtown Manhattan.” — NPR
  • 5
    “Blackout” by Sarah Hepola
    “Alcohol was the fuel of choice during Hepola’s early years as a writer, but after too many nights spent falling down staircases, sleeping with men she didn’t remember the next day, and narrowly surviving countless other near disasters, she fought her way clear of addiction and dared to face life without a drink in hand.” — O Magazine
  • 6
    “The Liars’ Club” by Mary Karr
    “Mary Karr’s haunting memoir of growing up in East Texas in the early 1960’s, virtually motherless, and fiercely seeking to understand her parents, their lives and their relationship to her sister and herself.” — The New York Times
  • 7
    “Her” by Christa Parravani
    “Add the twin mystique to a drug-fueled reality drama and you’ve got the recipe for double the intoxicating read in Christa Parravani’s memoir, Her, a sister book. Parravani offers a sinuous, startling, and intimate look at what it means to be share someone’s DNA by playing on the reader’s fantasies and stereotypes: confirming some—think Doublemint Gum commercials, Mary Kate and Ashley—while setting others straight.” — The American Literary Review
  • 8
    “Girl, Interrupted” by Susanna Kaysen
    “Susanna Kaysen’s excoriating memoir about the nearly two years she spent in a psychiatric institution at the end of her teens.” — NPR
  • 9
    “The Year Of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion
    “Didion’s husband, the writer John Gregory Dunne, died of a heart attack, just after they had returned from the hospital where their only child, Quintana, was lying in a coma. This book is a memoir of Dunne’s death, Quintana’s illness, and Didion’s efforts to make sense of a time when nothing made sense. “She’s a pretty cool customer,” one hospital worker says of her, and, certainly, coolness was always part of the addictive appeal of Didion’s writing. The other part was the dark side of cool, the hyper-nervous awareness of the tendency of things to go bad. In 2004, Didion had her own disasters to deal with, and she did not, she feels, deal with them coolly, or even sanely. This book is about getting a grip and getting on; it’s also a tribute to an extraordinary marriage.” — The New Yorker
  • 10
    “I Feel Bad About My Neck” by Nora Ephron
    “Nora Ephron has mastered the art of seeming likable — a rarer facility than one might think. In tone and touch, her essay collection I Feel Bad About My Neck makes a useful bible for those of us who foster the less useful knack for seeming irritating.” — The Guardian
  • 11
    “The Long Goodbye” by Meghan O’Rourke
    “In this memoir, the poet Meghan O’Rourke chronicles her mother’s death and its desolate aftermath.” — The New York Times
  • 12
    “Wasted” by Marya Hornbacher
    “A gritty, unflinching look at eating disorders… written from the raw, disintegrated center of young pain.” — New York Times Book Review
  • 13
    “She’s Not There” by Jennifer Finney Boylan

    “The most powerful section of She’s Not There takes place over the roughly two-year period when Boylan went on sabbatical from teaching, started taking estrogen doses, and slowly eased out to the world as a woman. In simple and direct language, Boylan describes an extraordinary metamorphosis.” — AV Club

  • 14
    “I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb
    I Am Malala tells the story of how a young education activist survived a Taliban bullet.” –The Washington Post
  • 15
    “Orange Is The New Black” by Piper Kerman
    “Just graduated from Smith College, Kerman made the mistake of getting involved with the wrong woman and agreeing to deliver a large cash payment for an international drug ring. Years later, the consequences catch up with her in the form of an indictment on conspiracy drug-smuggling and money-laundering charges. Kerman pleads guilty and is sentenced to 15 months in a federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut.” — Booklist
  • 16
    “How To Be A Woman” by Caitlin Moran
    How To Be a Woman follows its anti-heroine from her 13th birthday (182 pounds, friendless, fleeing from gravel-flinging yobs) onward, with stops along the way to praise masturbation, argue both for and against motherhood, celebrate her abortion, and more. Each self-deprecating chapter (‘I Start Bleeding!’ ‘I Become Furry!’ ‘I Don’t Know What To Call My Breasts!’) is an occasion to explore how, from puberty through senescence, the modern female body has become a series of problems to be solved— usually at great expense to its inhabitant.” — Slate
  • 17
    “Redefining Realness” by Janet Mock
    “[Janet] Mock defies the historically apolitical confines of the transgender memoir… Her vivid prose arouses every sense, wrenching emotion from the reader.” — Publishers Weekly

Continue reading

Musical Nonfiction – Truth, Lies and Rock & Roll

Bruce / Peter Ames Carlin

… a stunning biography of Bruce Springsteen describing his life and work in vivid intimate detail

Brothas be, yo like George, ain’t that funkin’ kinda hard on you? / a memoir by George Clinton

Traces the funk music legend’s rise from a 1950s barbershop quartet to an influential multigenre artist, discussing his pivotal artistic and business achievements with “Parliament-Funkadelic.”.

The soundtrack of my life / Clive Davis

In this star-studded autobiography, Clive Davis shares a personal, candid look into his remarkable life and the last fifty years of popular music as only a true insider can. Davis’ career has spanned more than forty years, and he has discovered, signed, or worked with a staggering array of artists: Whitney Houston, Janis Joplin, Simon and Garfunkel, Barry Manilow, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Dionne Warwick, Carlos Santana, The Grateful Dead, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, and Aretha Franklin, to name a few.

The truth is– : my life in love and music / Melissa Etheridge

The Truth Is … is a bold and unflinching account of an extraordinary life, described as only Melissa can: from her Kansas roots through her early love of music to her brilliant rise to stardom.

Where did our love go? : the rise & fall of the Motown sound / Nelson George

George offers a concise history of Berry Gordy’s Motown Records, emphasizing Gordy’s enterprising and social-climbing bents. He deals with Motown’s inception in the late 1950s; the creation of its hit-making machinery that propelled such acts as the Supremes, the Temptations, and Marvin Gaye to stardom; and its decline in the 70s.

The boy in the song : the true stories behind 50 rock classics / Michael Heatley & Frank Hopkinson

Focuses on the boyfriends, husbands, bandmates, exes, heroes, celebrities, fathers, sons, and even complete strangers who inspired 50 of rock’s greatest songs.

Stevie Nicks : Visions, Dreams & Rumors

This highly engaging biography of Stevie Nicks, whose electric and eccentric involvement in Fleetwood Mac led to her being dubbed by Rolling Stone the “Queen of Rock and Roll,” is written by a distinguished British music journalist. Factually full and consistently fascinating, the life story the author assembles is one of abiding dedication, frequent hurt, and ultimate triumph.

My name is love : the Darlene Love story / by Darlene Love

The autobiography of a star who went from cutting hits like “Da Doo Ron Ron” and singing backup for the stars to cleaning houses in Beverly Hills and then back again to concerts, Broadway, and roles in all three Lethal Weapon movies.

Ain’t too proud to beg : the troubled lives and enduring soul of the Temptations / Mark Ribowsky

The first and only definitive biography of legendary Motown group, the Temptations The Temptations are the most incomparable soul group in history, with dozens of chart-topping hits such as My Girl and Papa Was a Rollin Stone. From the sharp suits, stylish choreography, and distinctive vocals that epitomized their onstage triumphs to the personal failings and psycho-dramas that played out behind-the-scenes, Ain’t Too Proud to Beg tells the complete story of this most popular-and tragic-of all Motown super groups.

Life / Keith Richards

Autobiography of the guitarist, songwriter, singer, and founding member of the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards. With the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards lived the original rock and roll life. He tells his story of life in the crossfire hurricane; his listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records, learning guitar and forming a band with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones, the Rolling Stones’ first fame and the notorious drug busts that led to his enduring image as outlaw folk hero, creating immortal riffs like the ones in “Jumping Jack Flash” and “Honky Tonk Women.”

Billy Joel : the definitive biography / Fred Schruers

Draws on exclusive interviews to profile the acclaimed musician’s life and career, discussing such topics as his upbringing in the Long Island suburbs, entry into the 1970s music scene, and relationships with his closest associates.


List Created 2/10/15 – James Hartmann