Monday, December 19, 2011

Biographies from across the spectrum.

Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961 by Paul Hendrickson

Publishers Weekly –

NBCC award winner Hendrickson (Sons of Mississippi) offers an admirably absorbing, important, and moving interpretation of Hemingway's ambitions, passions, and tragedies during the last 27 years of his life. When Hemingway purchased the sleek fishing boat Pilar in 1934, he was on the cusp of literary celebrity, flush with good health, and ebullient about pursuing deep sea adventures. The release from his desk was a reward for productive writing and the change replenished his creative energy. But eventually Hemingway's health and work declined. When he committed suicide in 1961, he hadn't been aboard the Pilar in many months. Acutely sensitive to his subject's volatile, "gratuitously mean" personality, Hendrickson offers fascinating details and sheds new light on Hemingway's kinder, more generous side from interviews with people befriended by Hemingway in his prime. Most importantly, Hendrickson interviewed each of Hemingway's sons. He suggests, not for the first time but with poignant detail, the probability that Papa's youngest son, Gregory (Gigi), a compulsive cross-dresser who eventually had gender-altering surgery, was acting out impulses that his father yearned for yet denied. Hendrickson makes new connections between ex-wife Pauline's sudden death after Hemingway's cruel accusations against Gigi, and Gigi's lifelong guilt over her death. In the end, Hendrickson writes of the tormented Gigi and his conflicted father, "I consider them far braver than we ever knew."

Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life by Michael Moore

Publishers Weekly - 

Filmmaker and political activist Moore's outstanding memoir opens with an account of the infamous Oscar acceptance speech in which he proclaimed "Shame on you!" to President George W. Bush, and the ensuing fallout, which resulted in a slimmer Moore and 24-hour security from ex-Navy SEALS due to the many death threats he received. Eschewing a conventional linear narrative, Moore (Dude, Where's My Country?) offers 20 vignettes from his life that illustrate how his political and sociological viewpoints developed. Displaying his characteristic dry humor, his stories run the gamut, from the minor, a chance encounter with Senator Robert Kennedy in an elevator when a young Moore gets lost in the Capitol building, to the major, such as a high school speech that ultimately ended the Elks' Club's racist policies. True to form, Moore doesn't pull any punches, but he's grown as a writer, with more discussion and fewer extended rants than in his previous books. With the book's emotional highs and lows, and self-deprecating, empathetic style, Moore triumphs. Regardless of which side of the political fence readers are on, they're sure to find this collection enlightening, engaging, and occasionally enraging.

Kris Jenner...and All Things Kardashian by Kris Jenner

From Barnes & Noble -

Kris Jenner is the mother, of course, of three famous Kardashian daughters, but the interest of her new autobiography extends far beyond the wedding preparations of Kim or the shopping preferences of Kourtney. The driving force behind Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Khloe & Lamar isn't just a dynamic businesswoman; she is a woman with a remarkable story of her own. Raised by a single mom, she was working as an American Airlines flight attendant when she met her first husband, controversial defense lawyer and O.J. buddy Robert Kardashian. After their divorce and "being single for five minutes," she married Olympic Champion Bruce Jenner. In this brisk read, Kris tells it all.

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