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Staff Reviews: biography

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library! (For reviews in all genres, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) Staff book reviews are also published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.


Cover: 'Furious Hours'

"Furious Hours" by Casey Cep

★★★★★ Author Casey Cep takes a page out of Harper Lee's book to recreate her own fact-checking non-fiction title. The book starts out by detailing the tale of Reverend Willie Maxwell, a man accused of murdering multiple family members in order to claim insurance policies he held in their names. This causes quite the stir as the public starts to believe Maxwell to...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography, true crime

Cover: 'Freak Kingdom'

"Freak Kingdom" by Timothy Denevi

★★★★ Hunter S. Thompson was an American journalist who wrote for Rolling Stone and other magazines, and is best known for this books Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. He was one of the pioneers of an immersive style of journalism in which he inserted himself into the events around him and included his own...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography

Cover: 'The Far Away Brothers'

"The Far Away Brothers" by Lauren Markham

★★★★★ Author Lauren Markham's deeply reported book tells the story of identical twins, the Flores brothers, who migrate from their home in El Salvador to California, not only to escape the violence of their native land but also in an effort to help their parents and siblings who stay behind in El Salvador. A mix of Markham's own firsthand accounts and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography

Cover: 'Mary's Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein'

"Mary's Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein" by Lita Judge

★★★★★ Dark and beautiful watercolor illustrations bring Mary Shelley's biography to life in this captivating graphic novel. Told in verse, this was a quick read and peek into Mary Shelley's odd, dark, and intense life. Mary was barely sixteen when she left home to follow the man she loved, the married Percy Shelley. It was a daring move for a 19th century British...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, biography, horror

Cover: 'Year of Yes'

"Year of Yes" by Shonda Rhimes

★★★ Shonda Rhimes is the creative mind behind of some of the hottest shows on television, including Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. Though Rhimes was thriving professionally, her personal life had devolved into a cycle of sleeping, eating, working and just getting by. After being told by her older sister that “You...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography, biography and memoir

Cover: 'The Secret History of Wonder Woman'

"The Secret History of Wonder Woman" by Jill Lepore

★★★★★ Comic book geeks and history buffs alike will enjoy this fascinating story about the creator of Wonder Woman. William Moulton Marston invented the blood pressure-measuring lie detector test, and had a colorful academic career before he created the beloved comic book character. Inspired by the women's suffrage movement, and his own belief that women would...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography, superheroes

Cover: 'Dancing with Myself'

"Dancing with Myself" by Billy Idol

★★★★ Billy Idol's memoir is a candid recollection of his life as a bad boy rocker in the 80s and 90s. Unlike some other rock star memoirs, Billy Idol doesn't make excuses for his behavior. He admits fault for the hurt he caused to his longtime girlfriend Perri and his family because of his drug use and infidelity. Idol also discusses his musical influences, and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography, biography and memoir

Cover: 'My Salinger Year'

"My Salinger Year" by Joanna Rakoff

★★★★ Dictaphones and typewriters in 1996? After graduate school, Joanna takes a job as an assistant to the literary agent who represents J.D. Salinger. The office appears stuck in the 1950s, despite the introduction of computers and email to the rest of the world. Joanna's duties include typing out a generic form letter to Salinger's fans, since Salinger will...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography

Cover: 'John Wayne: The Life and Legend'

"John Wayne: The Life and Legend" by Scott Eyman

★★★★★ John Wayne is the most famous American movie star of all time. In a 50-year career, he created memorable characters as the the Ringo Kid, Ethan Edwards, Sean Thornton, Tom Dunston, Kirby Yorke, George Washington McClintock and Rooster Cogburn.  Author Scott Eyman offers up this 658-page biography of the Duke and it's a winner.  Eyman supplies a...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography

Cover: 'Paul'

"Paul" by Tony Scherman

★★★★ In the 50th Anniversary year of the Beatles' conquest of America, LIFE Magazine offers up this breezy photo-guide to the life and times of the most famous member of the Fab Four, Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE. It traces Macca's life, the beginnings of the Beatles, their subsequent fame & fortune and McCartney's post-Beatle career. The book is...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, music, history, biography