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Biography Reviews


On this 40th anniversary year of Earth Day, I can’t think of anything better to read than a biography of Rachel Carson, arguably the founder of the modern environmental movement. Though not necessarily new, Linda Lear’s biography RACHEL CARSON: A WITNESS FOR NATURE is well worth reading. It delves deeply into Carson’s life, loves and motivations, which offers remarkable insights into her career.
Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547238234
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - April 1st, 2009

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, published in 1962, did more than any other single publication to alert the world to the hazards of environmental poisoning and to inspire a powerful social movement that would alter the course of American history.


Part travel book, part cultural critique, and part ode to the bicycle, David Byrne’s BICYCLE DIARIES is simply a pleasure to read. Singer, writer, filmmaker and renaissance man Byrne recounts equally joyous and harrowing experiences astraddle his bicycle, his vehicle of choice. David Byrne is how occasionally irreverent Christian writer Anne Lamott imagines God.
Bicycle Diaries Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143117964
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Published: Penguin Books - September 28th, 2010

A round-the-world bicycle tour with one of the most original artists of our day.

MY LIFE IN FRANCE by Julia Child

Though most of you have probably already seen the movie, Julia Child’s memoir MY LIFE IN FRANCE is well worth the read. It yields insights into the legend that can’t be captured on film.
My Life in France Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307277695
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Published: Anchor Books - October 9th, 2007

The bestselling story of Julia's years in France--and the basis for Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams--in her own words.


It is so nice to read a book that highlights what one person can do to make life better for so many.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Picture Book Edition Cover Image
ISBN: 9780803735118
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Published: Dial Books - January 19th, 2012

When fourteen-year-old William Kamkwamba's Malawi village was hit by a drought, everyone's crops began to fail. Without enough money for food, let alone school, William spent his days in the library . . . and figured out how to bring electricity to his village.

LIFE LIST by Olivia Gentile

Obsessions are hard to explain and even harder to justify if you’re a woman and they take you away from your family. Harder still if your obsession is "just" about birds. That’s why Olivia Gentile’s biography of Phoebe Snetsinger LIFE LIST is such an important book.
Life List: A Woman's Quest for the World's Most Amazing Birds Cover Image
ISBN: 9781596911703
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - March 30th, 2010

After her four kids were nearly grown and she was about to turn 50, Phoebe Snetsinger was told she had less than a year to live. Snetsinger, a St. Louis housewife and avid backyard birder, decided to spend that year traveling the world in search of birds.


Though originally published in 1982, a couple of years after Harvey Milk’s death, THE MAYOR OF CASTRO STREET by the late Randy Shilts well deserves the recent re-release in the wake of the movie "Milk". The book not only captures the life and murder of the first openly gay person elected to any public office, it also provides a history of the gay revolution.
The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life & Times of Harvey Milk Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312560850
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Published: Griffin - October 14th, 2008

The Mayor of Castro Street is Shilts's acclaimed story of Harvey Milk, the man whose personal life, public career, and tragic assassination mirrored the dramatic and unprecedented emergence of the gay community in America during the 1970s.

PRACTICING by Glenn Kurtz

I’ve never played a note on a guitar, but that didn’t matter; Glenn Kurtz’s memoir PRACTICING reached me. For anyone who has ever tried to create something of beauty and fallen short of what he or she imagined, this book will be a balm.
Practicing: A Musician's Return to Music Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307278753
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - August 5th, 2008

In a remarkable memoir written with insight and humor, Glenn Kurtz takes us from his first lessons at the age of eight to his acceptance at the elite New England Conservatory of Music. After graduation, he attempts a solo career in Vienna but soon realizes that he has neither the ego nor the talent required to succeed and gives up the instrument, and his dream, entirely.


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