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Book review: For Biography Lovers

April 6, 2015

These inspiring biographies read like adventure stories.

Edward Curtis was a photographer who gave us much of what we know about traditional Native American life.  He not only produced many iconic images, he also documented a huge collection of folklore, songs, languages, religious rituals, and details of daily life before they disappeared.  This was amazing both because of the scope of the project and because Curtis dreamed the idea up and then devoted his entire life to it, despite innumerable obstacles and physical and financial hardships.

It’s inspiring to read about someone wholeheartedly giving themselves to a work that they think is important, with no thought of reward. This also made me love photography even more than I already did.  The author, Timothy Egan, is best known for his book about the dust bowl, The Worst Hard Time.

This super-detailed, enthusiastic biography does a great job of giving you a sense of Julia Child’s ebullient personality–you really feel like you get to know her. It starts off a little slow, but once she gets to France you don’t want it to end. I love that she went from being an aimless late bloomer to a super-celebrity just by doing exactly what she wanted to do, with no promise that it would ever pay off.

beth winter


Beth works in the Collection Development department.  She loves short stories, memoirs, documentary films, and cookbooks.  Her favorite things about working at the library are knowing in advance about all the new releases and the easy access to her library holds.