Autobiography and Biography

02/22/2017 - 12:05pm
If you like Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of A Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
Vance, a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, provides an account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America's white working class. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm. J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. Author of Hillbilly Elegy, J.A. Vance

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.'s grandparents were "dirt poor and in love," and moved north from Kentucky's Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance's grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. (catalog summary)



Are you either waiting or finished with Hillbilly Elegy? Check out these similar titles to Vance's epic biography.

 

​Allegheny Front: The Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction Selected by Lydia Millet, authored by Matthew Neill NullAllegheny Front: The Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction Selected by Lydia Millet, authored by Matthew Neill Null
The deceptively powerful stories in Null's first collection, after his debut novel Honey from the Lion, create a map not only of the geography of rural West Virginia but also of its people. These are characters inhabiting places largely ignored by the outside world. In "Mates," a man kills an endangered bald eagle on his land, believing himself to be above the law, and is then stalked and tormented by the eagle's mate. In "Gauley Season," a group of ex-miners turn to operating rafting companies after their mining jobs disappear, but the promising new industry quickly leads to tragedy. The rugged lives of a group of log drivers in the late 1800s are chronicled in "The Slow Lean of Time." In the astonishing "Telemetry," a young scientist's camp on Back Allegheny Mountain is visited by a local man and his daughter, their presence forcing the scientist to confront her relationship to her own origins, which becomes a recurring theme in the collection. Violence is inevitable in these stories-guns are almost always present, and they aren't just decoration-but there is plenty of beauty, too. Landscape is an essential element, as well as the constant presence of wild animals, but Null focuses on the ways that a setting can shape how we identify with the world. The scope of the collection contains voices from multiple generations, and the result is a kaleidoscopic portrait of a distinctive region of North America, as well as an exercise in finding the universal in the particular. (catalog summary)
 

02/01/2017 - 11:36am

Our 16th president was a very odd-looking man. Long-limbed and raw-boned, this frontier president grew up without a lot of the niceties we take for granted today. He grew up surrounded by wilderness and not having much schooling. As he remembered it, "...I could read, write, and cipher (simple math) ... but that was all."

01/10/2017 - 8:25am
Elizabeth I, Red Rose of the House of Tudor by Kathryn Lasky

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids.  You can browse the book matches here.

Elizabeth I, Red Rose of the House of Tudor by Kathryn Lasky
In a series of diary entries, Princess Elizabeth, the eleven-year-old daughter of King Henry VIII, celebrates holidays and birthdays, relives her mother's execution, revels in her studies, and agonizes over her father's health. (catalog summary)


Check out these other Royal Diaries titles:
 



Anacaona, Golden Flower
by Edwidge Danticat
Beginning in 1490, Anacaona keeps a record of her life as a possible successor to the supreme chief of Xaragua, as wife of the chief of Maguana, and as a warrior battling the first white men to arrive in the West Indies, ravenous for gold. (catalog summary)



 

 



Anastasia, the Last Grand Duchess
by Kathryn Lasky
A novel in diary form in which the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II describes the privileged life her family led up until the time of World War I and the tragic events that befell them. (catalog summary)

 


 

01/26/2017 - 4:07pm

Vera Baker was born in Los Angeles, California, on January 28, 1927. She and her family moved to New York City when she was quite young. Luckily for Vera, they lived near a studio space called Bronx House where she learned painting, writing, acting, and dance. When she was nine-years-old, one of her paintings, called "Yentas," was put on exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. She was filmed there explaining to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt the meaning behind her work. The Movietone film reel ran before the regular features at the movies. This, Vera recalled, made her quite a big shot in the neighborhood!

Fast Facts:
Born: January 28, 1927, in Los Angeles, California
Parents: Albert Baker and Rebecca (Porringer) Baker, Jewish immigrants
Attended: the High School of Music and Arts in Manhattan; bachelor's degree in graphic arts from Black Mountain College in North Carolina
Married: Paul Williams (divorced in 1970)
Children: Sarah, Jennifer, and Merce 
First book (illustrated): Hooray for Me! with text by Remy Charlip and Lilian Moore; First Book (written and illustrated): It's a Gingerbread House: Bake It, Build It, Eat It
Selected Awards: Caldecott Honors for "More More More" Said the Baby and A Chair for My Mother; Parents' Choice Award (illustration) for Three Days on a River in a Red CanoeJane Addams Honor for Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart; Regina Medal of the Catholic Library Association for her body of work; NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature for her body of work
Arrested at a women's anti-war protest at the Pentagon in 1981 and served a month at a federal prison camp in Alderson, West Virginia.

10/31/2016 - 10:01am
Frank McCourt: The Man Himself

When Frank McCourt passed in 2009, he left behind memoirs filled with anguish, love, and dark merriment. Personal experiences are what this Irish-American author took and shaped into works of sorrowful beauty.

10/17/2016 - 12:59pm

Marcia Sewall's name can be found on the covers of many books in the library. She has a simple drawing style that conveys the rhythm and characters of the stories without overwhelming them. Whether the subject is something light-hearted, such as Daisy's Taxi, or bold retellings of Thanksgiving history, Marcia's drawings give the books a clarity that works beautifully with their storylines.

10/03/2016 - 8:36am
Ed Emberley

Ed Emberley is a writer and illustrator of children’s books. He is best known for his creative and lively drawing books, as well as 1992’s Go Away Big Green Monster—a smashing success with audiences around the world.

09/28/2016 - 8:56am

Columbus Day is sometimes called Discoverers' Day. In the spirit of discovery, take some time to learn about the world as it was in the days of the European explorers. You can make a compass, learn about the stars, read about other explorers and discoverers, and find how even our way of eating has changed since the Europeans came to the Americas looking for gold, glory, and, yes, tasty cooking spices.

Pizza Without Tomato Sauce?

The explorers who came to the Americas found the food enjoyed by the native people to be very different from what they knew at home. They had never seen tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, maize (corn), pineapples, chili peppers, or even cocoa. The vegetable dishes from the Europe they knew relied on parsnips, cabbages, peas, carrots, turnips, and onions. After being at sea and living off of a diet of lentil soup, salt beef from a barrel, salted sardines, hardtack, and other delights, the fresh, new foods of the islands would have been an astonishing change.

07/28/2016 - 2:41pm
Mary on Horseback: Three Mountain Stories

This ad ran in the newspaper on April 7, 1925

ATTENTION! NURSE GRADUATES
with a sense of adventure! Your own horse, your own dog, and a thousand miles of Kentucky mountains to serve. Join my nurses’ brigade and help save children’s lives. Write to:

M. BRECKINRIDGE
Hyden, Kentucky, U.S.A.

It may have been the 20th century in the cities and towns, but in the Appalachian Mountains, it might as well have been the 18th century. Most medicine came from a granny-woman who did her best, but without knowing more or having modern medicines and equipment, a granny-woman’s best often wasn’t good enough to save lives.

Mary Breckinridge trained as a nurse in World War I and started the Frontier Nursing Service. To bring medical treatment to the people who needed it, her nurses would have to ride many miles and endure much hardship. But she and her nurses would also have to earn their trust, for mountain people are wary of outsiders.

09/12/2016 - 12:50pm

Did you know?

 — She's known as Jo to her friends. No one's called her Joanne since she was a child, and only then if she was being naughty.

 — Rowling is pronounced "rolling."

 — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was first published in England as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

 — Hermoine IS based on a real person — J.K. Rowling!

 — The fantastic Ford Anglia featured in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is similar to one owned by Sean Harris, her best friend at Wyedean School.

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