This week, we offer a potpourri of titles: a random assortment of new (or fairly new) biographies on the shelves of the Manatee Public Libraries. Because of the diverse subject matter, odds are you may spot at least one "must read" selection. Bear in mind that this is an abbreviated list; There are many more titles than can be shared in a single column.
One of the managing editors at Time Magazine, Nancy Gibbs offers "The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity." Voted one of Amazon's "Best Books," it offers a nonpartisan in-depth profile of every post-World War II president.
Prolific actress Shirley MacLaine has given the gossip columnists plenty to dish about over the years; her claimed recollection of "past lives" raised eyebrows the world over. MacLaine's daughter Sachi Parker recently penned an autobiography describing her "surreal" childhood entitled "Lucky Me: My Life With -- and Without -- My Mom, Shirley MacLaine."
American Poet Sylvia Plath was a tragic figure. She took her own life at the age of 30, cutting short what would most likely have been a brilliant and prolific career. Published at the 50th anniversary of her death, Carl Rollyson profiles the artist in "American Isis: the Life and Art of Sylvia Plath."
The great-grandson of a slave, Thurgood Marshall began a brilliant law career in 1936. Just over three decades later he became the first African-American to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Larry Gibson's brand new biography, "Young Thurgood: the Making of a Supreme Court Justice," offers a fascinating look at the man who accomplished so much despite the racial barriers he faced.
In the early 1960s, cooking shows were few and far between. One of the pioneers was Julia Child, who in 1961, brought "sophisticated" French cuisine to America in her book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." The following year, a book review program on a Boston educational TV channel featured Julia and her new book -- within months she had her own show, "The French Chef." It quickly became a hit, with viewers falling in love with her quirky style. Bob Spitz serves up an in-depth look at Child in his new biography, "Dearie: the Remarkable Life of Julia Child."
The library offers monthly email newsletters, called NextReads, with a selection of genres to choose from; each lists several books, new and classics, as well as library events. Sign up from the library website.
Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday. Access the library online at www.mymanatee.org/library.html. Jonathan Sabin is the Information Specialist for the Manatee County Public Library System.