Jan 04, 2012

by English Muse

One of my resolutions is to read more biographies in the new year. I’m just finishing “The Unruly Life of Woody Allen,” by Marion Meade, which I’ve loved. Next I want to read stylist/costume designer Vicky Tiel’s biography, “It’s All About the Dress.”

After that, I don’t know… Do you have any recommendations on good biographies or memoirs?

And, what’s on your reading list for the new year?

PS: Wrote about my five favorite decor books of 2011 for Lamps Plus last week! A couple might surprise you! Link here.

Photo credits:James M., Melanie Mikecz, Hannah Bryant,
– yuki -, yyellowbird, Tatsuro Kiuchi, Words and Eggs,
brown books (unknown), Oh Claire, vintage book of bugs.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 at 8:49 pm. It is filed under Books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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31 Responses to “Books for 2012”

  1. Pauli says:

    I’m not the keenest on bios but i also want something cool to read and couldn’t find it yet, hope we both do. x

  2. automatism says:

    I just finished reading ‘My Life in France’ by Julia Child, and loved it — her zest for life just fizzes in each line.

  3. Heather M says:

    Ooh! This is an easy one! I love biographies, especially of interesting adventurous women – Mary S. Lovell has written a bunch of them, including Beryl Markham and Amelia Earhart. I loved them. http://www.lovellbiographies.com/

  4. Tina says:

    oh fantastic!!!

  5. Annelise says:

    I read Keith Richards’s autobiography, Life, last year and absolutely loved it. It doesn’t appear that he has held any detail back from the last forty years or so with the Rolling Stones.

    I’ve had an Elizabeth Taylor biography on my shelf for over a year (written by her son, I think?) that I haven’t even picked up yet. I should get to that this year …

  6. Cassie says:

    I’ve been wanting to read the biography of Jacky O. She appears so chic and sophisticated.
    Memoirs, memoirs…I could go on. I loved the Glass Castle, The Liars’ Club, The Great Failure, and The Middle Place. Some on my list to read are The Boys of My Youth, Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert, Denial: A Memoir of Terror and Lit by Mary Carr.

    Do let us know what good reads you come across!

  7. Michelle says:

    Not bios but I’ve just read the new Jeffery Eugenides novel “The Marriage Plot” and loved it – particularly good if you like literature I think. Now I’m reading “A Visit From the Goon Squad” which is funny and sad.

    Years ago I read the Marianne Faithfull autobiography – what an amazing woman with an amazing life.

    Love your blog!

  8. Karen says:

    I’m not too knowledgeable about biographies but I did love A Little Bit Wicked by Kristin Chenoweth. She is absolutely hilarious. And I heard that Tina Fey’s Bossypants is pretty entertaining as well.

  9. Lu says:

    So many books, so little time! I’m trying to be good by not purchasing any new books until I have worked my way through the to be read pile. I doubt I will stick to this though! :/

  10. Wendy says:

    I adore reading autobiographies by comedians – I have been known to burst out laughing when reading them in bookshops! I plan to download the Ellen Degeneres book onto my e-reader, and to read Russell Brand’s Booky Wooks. I often buy books by comedians for birthday presents too. I’m always up for a laugh!

  11. Haven’t read it yet…but my husband can’t put the Steve Jobs book down. He says it’s one of the best reads ever. Great resolution btw! Have a great day.

  12. Melanie says:

    I love reading! I haven’t read many biographies. The closest I’ve come to reading a biography are stuff by Bill Bryson – he’s a travel writer but writes about his personal travels. He’s stuff is great. Im thinking of re-reading his stuff.

  13. Anna says:

    I’ve just started reading ‘How to be a Woman’ by Caitlin Moran on recommendation of a friend. I’m only 2 chapters in and enjoying it so far. I’m not really a big feminist but it’s very funny and does make me blush at times!

  14. Tonia says:

    This year, I’ve made a vow to read more fiction from foreign authors. Anywhere dry, dusty, hot, humid or just Not England, and I’ll be giving it a go! Good luck with your biography quest – there are some great ones around. This is old but astonishing, and good too: the Anne Sexton biography by Diane Wood Middlebrook.

  15. Gerri says:

    I enjoyed Almost French by Sarah Turnbull. She’s an Australian who married a “very French” Frenchman and had to adjust to living in Paris. It’s charming and light but with real insights.

    The Decor books are wonderful and I really enjoy your own writing on decor.


  16. Krissy says:

    This might be an obvious one, but have you ever read any of Augusten Burroughs’ memoirs? Running with Scissors is the obvious choice, but Magical Thinking is my favourite and mighty hilarious too.

  17. Kristin Jones says:

    I enjoyed The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer. Moehiringer also co-wrote Agassi’s Open, which was such a fun read.

  18. Marthe says:

    I just posted the second post in a series of three where I list my top books ever. There are no biographies or memoirs, but lots of other great non-fiction books: http://www.thefreedomexperiment.com/2012/01/04/8-of-the-best-non-fiction-books/

    Hope you enjoy reading!

  19. Tina says:

    Wow! I used to work with J.R. at the LA Times! He’s a wonderful writer!

  20. I must read the one about Woody Allen. Thank you! Just finally saw Midnight in Paris last night which I loved. Reminded me of my all time favorite books by Jack Finney-Time and Again… (Not a memoir or biography)

  21. The last biography I really loved was The Sisters, about the Mitford family. I’ve always loved Nancy Mitford’s writing, but all of her sisters are fascinating, too. Each one seems more interesting than the next.

  22. Luli says:

    I second that comment above about “Almost French.” It is a wonderful, wonderful read. I actually read it about 7 years ago and I still remember it. My goals for 2012 is to read all the Sherlock Holmes, Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory and 1001 Arabian Nights on top of my normal reading. Have a wonderful weekend, Tina.

  23. nanne says:

    i highly recommend ruth riechl’s triology of memoirs, “Tender at the Bone,” “Comfort Me With Apples,” and “Garlic and Saphires.” she tells the story of her life in the restaurant/food writing business beautifully and with great humor.

  24. kymdotcom says:

    My favourite autobiographies are Jacaranda, Oleander by Penelope Lively and An Angel At My Table by Janet Frame. Two amazing literary works by utterly brilliant authors.

  25. I am experiencing a Sebastian Barry crush…”Annie Dunne” and now “On Canaan’s Side”, both told from the perspective of “original” and strong women. I will definitely read “The Whereabouts of Enneas McNulty” and enjoyed “The Secret Scripture”. Such artful, heartfelt prose…His books compare to high quality artisanal chocolat such as Chez Henriet in Biarritz to mass commercial, overly sweet chocolate such as Lindt.
    Rich, developed, beautiful story telling.

  26. Diane Keaton’s memoir is wonderful Then Again. After watching Midnight in Paris I ordered Hemingways Letters. And of course The Paris Wife. Fabulous Blog!

  27. Sarah says:

    If you haven’t read it ye, Stacy Schiff’s bio on Cleopatra is pretty great- totally debunks moth of the myths that Hollywood has conjured about her.

    I just finished Salvage the Bones (sad, poignant, with such forceful writing) and The Family Fang (funny, quirky, sad).

  28. Lizzet says:

    Have you read “Coco Chanel: The legend and the life”??
    It is in my list for this year.

  29. Ellen says:

    Boy And Going Solo by Roald Dahl is really good.

  30. Ellen says:

    Oh, and also Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah and Marley And Me by John Grogan.

  31. Jamshaid says:

    has not chneagd The Way of Jesus has not chneagd. I believe that what has chneagd is life. What has chneagd is how busy’ life has become What has chneagd are priorities What has chneagd are the attitudes towards the structure of the church. We are surrounded by electronics if we want something, it is a click away noise is always around us there is always a distraction our lives have become so full of stuff that it leaves little time and interest in this thing called the Bible and the church and the history and knowledge that they both hold. How does a leader in the church break this barrier? How does a leader in the church compete with the electronical age of gadgets? How does a leader in the church connect real events from the here and now to events of the past. How does a leader of the church help us to see that God is still present and functioning is this chaotic place that we call home??

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