Biography and Memoirs Book Discussion Group
Join us as we discuss great lives and times as presented in biographies and memoirs.
All discussions are free and there is no registration required
Meets the 2nd Thursday of each month @ 10:30 am
Katy Geissert Civic Center Library Community Meeting Room
For information call the Library at 310-618-5959
View our previous selections here
October 13th, 2016 (9781594201646)
The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century, Steve Coll
The Bin Ladens rose from poverty to privilege; they loyally served the Saudi royal family for generations--and then one of their number changed history on September 11, 2001. Journalist Steve Coll tells the story of the rise of the Bin Laden family and of the wildly diverse lifestyles of the generation to which Osama bin Laden belongs, and against whom he rebelled. Starting with the family's escape from famine at the beginning of the twentieth century, through its jet-set era in America after the 1970s oil boom, and finally to the family's attempts to recover from September 11, this book unearths extensive new material about the family and its relationship with the United States, and provides a richly revealing and emblematic narrative of our globally interconnected times
November 10th, 2016 (9780062415837)
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Irin Carmon
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg never asked for fame -- she was just trying to make the world a little better and a little freer. But along the way, the feminist pioneer's searing dissents and steely strength have inspired millions. Notorious RBG takes you behind the myth for an intimate, irreverent look at the justice's life and work.
December, 2016 NO MEETING
January 12th, 2017
The Raven: A Biography of Sam Houston, Marquis James
"This is the stuff of which legend is made, this story of the making of Texas, and Houston is one with those semi-legendary characters-with Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett, with Marion the Swamp Fox and Ethan Allen.... In a sense he is too good to be true, this man who wrought such mighty deeds within the lifetime of our fathers and grandfathers; in a sense if he had not existed we should have had to create him." From the introduction.
February 9th, 2017
The Glass Castle: A Memoir, Jeannette Walls
Walls has written a stunning and life-affirming memoir about surviving a willfully impoverished, eccentric, and severely misguided family. Journalist Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary and their four children lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family. Yet Walls describes her parents with deep affection in this tale of unconditional love in a family that, despite its profound flaws, gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life
March 9th, 2017
My Early Life, 1874-1904, Sir Winston Churchill
Here, in his own words, are the fascinating first thirty years in the life of one of the most provocative and compelling leaders of the twentieth century - Winston Churchill. In this autobiography, Churchill recalls his childhood, his schooling, his years as a war correspondent in South Africa during the Boer War, and his first forays into politics as a member of Parliament. "My Early Life" not only gives readers insights into the shaping of a great leader but, as Churchill himself wrote, "a picture of a vanished age.
April 13th, 2017
The Woman Who Ran for President: The Many Lives of Victoria Woodhull, Lois Beachy Underhill
Drawing on newly available material, Underhill has written an outstanding study of controversial feminist Woodhull. Beautiful and charismatic, Woodhull and her sister made their living as spiritualists until financier Cornelius Vanderbilt established them as stockbrokers. With their wealth, they began a muckraking newspaper that argued for women's suffrage and free love. Woodhull became an influential speaker for women's rights and ran for president against Grant in 1870 as the nominee of the Equal Rights Party. Her advocacy of communism and sexual freedom angered feminists and liberals. Underhill argues convincingly that, although Woodhull was deliberately left out of histories written by Susan B. Anthony and others, she was an important figure in the struggle for women's equality.
May 11th, 2017
Mrs. Adams in Winter: A Journey in the Last Days of Napoleon, Michael O'Brien
Early in 1815, Louisa Catherine Adams and her young son left St. Petersburg in a Russian carriage and set out to meet her husband, John Quincy Adams, in Paris. Historian Michael O'Brien reconstructs for the first time that extraordinary passage. This evocative history of the experience of travel in the days of carriages and kings offers a moving portrait of a lady, her difficult marriage, and her conflicted sense of what it meant to be a woman caught between worlds. (Pulitzer Finalist)