Ready to walk a mile in somebody else’s shoes?
Or, maybe just read about it?
You’re in luck, because today — May 16 — is National Biographer’s Day.
According to www.nationaldaycalendar.com, “National Biographer’s Day commemorates the anniversary of the first meeting of Samuel Johnson and his biographer James Boswell in London, England on May 16, 1763, and honors all biographers.”
A biography is, of course, a written account of another person’s life. Don’t confuse it with an autobiography, which is an account of a person’s life actually written by that person, but it is very similar to a memoir, a historical account or biography written from personal knowledge or special sources.
A biopic is a movie based on biographical information, though often they do not adhere quite as strictly to the real events.
The Bainbridge Island Review boasts a rather well-read newsroom, and, in honor of the holiday, we each picked a favorite biography, or one we recently enjoyed. Here are the recommendations:
Editor Brian Kelly chose “The Sun and the Moon: The Remarkable True Account of Hoaxers, Showmen, Dueling Journalists, and Lunar Man-Bats in Nineteenth-Century New York” by Matthew Goodman. The book recounts the life and career of New York Sun editor Richard Adams Locke, who wrote a series of articles which convinced the citizens of the growing metropolis that the moon was inhabited. Six sensational articles claimed to reveal the lunar discoveries made by a world-famous British astronomer – and went on to actually described the life found on the moon: unicorns, beavers that walked upright and giant flying humanoid bats. The series quickly became the most read story of the era and the paper itself, a brash working-class rag still less than two years old, became the most widely read newspaper in the world.
For a book that may offer insights on the ongoing political hucksterism surrounding the 2016 presidential race, Kelly suggests readers pick up a copy of one of his other favorite, recently read bios: “Charlatan,” by Pope Brock. It’s the story of the infamous quack and goat-gland “doctor” — and candidate for governor of Kansas — John R. Brinkley.
Reporter Jessica Shelton picked “The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food” by Judith Jones.
For the person who doesn’t believe in pre-minced garlic. Jones saved us from the microwave and brought us Julia Child.
Living in Paris after World War II, Jones broke free of bland American food and reveled in everyday French culinary delights. On returning to the States, she published Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” The rest is publishing and gastronomic history. She went on to publish some of the premier culinary luminaries of the twentieth century: James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Claudia Roden, Edna Lewis and Lidia Bastianich, among others. The book also collects 50 of Jones’s favorite recipes – each with its own story and special tips.
Reporter Luciano Marano recently read “Wes Craven: The Man and his Nightmares,” a film-by-film recounting of the life and times of the writer/director behind “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “The Hills Have Eyes,” the “Scream” franchise and many other classic fright films.
Marano also recommends Murray Morgan’s classic “Skid Road,” a kind of biography of the city of Seattle during its first 100 years, as seen through the lives of the vigorous personalities of its settlers and early citizens.
If any of those sound good, trust us and check them out. You won’t be disappointed.
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