Category Archives: Biography

My Wars Are Laid Away In Books

This biography of Emily Dickinson, by Alfred Habegger, has been on my TBR for so many years that I’ve lost count — the oldest book on my list, in fact, having survived a number of TBR purges. I read it … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Nonfiction | 7 Comments

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life

I didn’t think it was possible for me to shed tears over a biography, but by the time I got to the end of Ruth Franklin’s book about Shirley Jackson, I was so attached to Jackson that reading about her … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Nonfiction | 5 Comments

The Silent Woman

I started Janet Malcolm’s book The Silent Woman in the belief that it was a biography of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. I’ve never read much Plath — just the most-anthologized poems — and even less Hughes, and I only … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Nonfiction, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Patrick O’Brian: The Making of the Novelist

As some readers here may know, I am a huge fan of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series of seafaring novels. When I was in college, my father introduced me to them, and after one false start (it took me two tries … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Nonfiction | 9 Comments

The Darkest Jungle

In Todd Balf’s book The Darkest Jungle, he explains that by 1854, after the spectacular and expensive failure of the Franklin expedition, the search for the Northwest Passage was sliding off the front pages. The new great hope was Panama. … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, History, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 4 Comments

Thomas Hardy

I was irrationally worried when I started reading Claire Tomalin’s biography of Thomas Hardy. You see, Hardy is my favorite writer, and I didn’t want to find out he was terrible, that he kicked puppies or something. Generally, I don’t … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Nonfiction | 8 Comments

One Art: Letters

Years ago, I bought a copy of One Art: Letters for my husband. How many years? I’m not sure: it came out in 1994, but it was probably not quite so long ago as that. Ten years ago? Twelve? Anyway, he … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Poetry | 17 Comments

Elizabeth and Hazel

David Margolick’s book, Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock, revolves around the by-now iconic civil rights photograph of two fifteen-year-old girls:           This photo, taken by journalist Will Counts, shows Elizabeth Eckford, one of … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, History, Nonfiction | 13 Comments

Louisa May Alcott

I’ve posted here before that the book I’ve re-read most in my life is probably Little Women. I started reading it when I was about ten or eleven, and I’ve read it over and over since then, understanding it differently … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, History, Nonfiction | 20 Comments

The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes

At age 30, the poet Sylvia Plath committed suicide, leaving behind two children, a husband from whom she’d separated, and a body of work that he would be left to guard, along with both their reputations. Plath’s husband, the poet … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Nonfiction | 24 Comments