New in Nonfiction: Biographies

If you are a biography devotee – and there are many readers who are, as this literature genre is very popular and much loved – you might be especially interested in a few of the recently published collective biographies.

The Daughters of Yalta: The Churchills, Roosevelts, and Harrimans: A Story of Love and War by Catherine Grace Katzis a story of the historical meeting of the heads of the governments of Great Britain, the USA, and Soviet Union, which took place in the Crimea in the final months of the Second World War. The narrative is viewed through the eyes of the daughters of leaders of the British and American delegations. Not only does the book portray each of these three daughters, but it also gives fascinating backstories of each of their father-daughter relationships, as well as interactions among these three young women. Based on very thorough research that used personal letters, diaries, and oral histories, the author creates a fascinating, entertaining, and well regarded story.

Square Haunting: Five Writers in London Between the Wars by Francesca Wade is a collective portrait of five revolutionary women, immensely talented and independent – Virginia Woolf and Dorothy L. Sayers among them – who lived, at various times, in the same square in London.

The author traces interconnections among the five women and their influence on each other’s work.

A combination of literary history and biography, the book is very well researched. Numerous anecdotes make for an amusing read, which received starred reviews.

Mad and Bad: The Real Heroines of the Regency by Bea Koch.

Regency-era romance novels are a very popular genre of fiction, and in her book, Bea Koch captures a collective portrait of the most notable and trailblazing women of Regency England (1810-20), women who would become prototypes of historical romance novel heroines.  

The book reflects on the artistic and scientific accomplishments of these women: outlining biographies of the royally-connected, illuminating notable women of color, as well as Jewish women. The book is not only informative but is also fun to read.

Another recently published book of collective biographies is Lives of the Stoics: The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aureliusby Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, which discusses the lives of 26 major ancient stoics, whose philosophy emphasized personal success and perseverance, and believed that courage, justice, and wisdom were the requirements for living a happy life.

Kirkus Reviews esteemed the book highly, saying, “At a time when public nobility is hard to come by, this is a good reminder of the power of ethical leadership.”

For those interested in political science, along with biographies, Abbot Public Library offers the following:

His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hopeby Jon Meacham, which portrays the life of the recently-deceased Georgia congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis. Check this title out in print, book on CD, ebook, or e-audiobook format. 

Eleanorby David Michaelis is the first major single-volume biography of Eleanor Roosevelt in more than a half century. The work earned a good review from The NYT.

As always, these books are available in the library catalog, either in print or digital format,and sometimes both.

Digital downloads are available through Overdrive/Libby with your library card. 

To obtain a print copy, carefully read the instructions for reserving a copy and scheduling an appointment for Curbside Pickup.

Please note that Curbside Pickup will be unavailable from Sunday, October 25 through Sunday, November 1, as the building is having air duct cleaning and therefore staff will be unable to be in the building. We will resume Curbside Pickup services on Monday, November 2.

Horror Stories, Astronomy, and More – See What’s New At Abbot Public Library!

Many of the new titles that came into the library’s physical collections last month, some of which were previously mentioned in past blog posts, are able to be checked out not only in print but also in ebook or e-audiobook format on Overdrive/the Libby app or on hoopla. View all the new arrivals on the library’s website

While the teen collection mostly expanded on Overdrive with ebooks and e-audiobooks, children can enjoy physical copies of new picture books, reader books, concept books, graphic novels, fiction, biographies, and nonfiction; and adults can reserve for Curbside Pickup new graphic novels, fiction, paperbacks, biographies, nonfiction, large print, books on CD, and DVDs (currently with no checkout fee!).

For fantasy loving adults, you are now able to check out the 16th volume of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, Peace Talks, which is also in ebook and e-audiobook format on Overdrive/the Libby app. Read how Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, joins the White Council’s security team during negotiations between the Supernatural nations. Or take a trip back in time to Victorian London in Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor (also an Overdrive ebook and hoopla ebook and e-audiobook). This novel explores what inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula, including his relationship with a talented actress and his walks on London streets terrorized by the Ripper. Perfect in time for October is Stephen King’s collection of horror novellas, If It Bleeds (also in large print, book on CD, and Overdrive ebook and e-audiobook format).

Sometimes real life is just as interesting as fiction. Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is the true story behind the pseudonymous Twitter account created by a grief-stricken writer who rebuilt their life. Less able to hide their identity are Harry and Meghan in Omid Scobie’s and Carolyn Durand’s Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family (also an ebook and e-audiobook on Overdrive/Libby) or Donald Trump in True Crimes and Misdemeanors: the Investigation of Donald Trump by Jeffrey Toobin (also on Overdrive in ebook and e-audiobook formats). 

Look to the sky in The Last Stargazers: the Enduring Story of Astronomy’s Vanishing Explorers by award-winning astronomer Emily Levesque (hoopla ebook and e-audiobook), exploring the human side of astronomy and how curiosity, creativity, and passion are just as important as telescopes and machines. Rebecca Giggs looks in the opposite direction in her book, Fathoms: the World in the Whale, an exploration of the condition or our oceans and how whales experience ecological change.

There are plenty of books to choose from, and reserving them for Curbside Pickup is easy! Just log into your account (if you don’t have an online account, email mar@noblenet.org for assistance) to place your holds, wait to be notified your items have come in, and then either register online for a time to pick up your items or contact the library at 781-631-1481 during service hours (Monday through Friday from 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm and Saturday from 9:30 am – Noon and 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm) to set up a pickup appointment. Your materials will be checked out in advance of your appointment and be waiting for you by the time your scheduled time slot starts! Read the full instructions here.

Diverse Biographies for Kids

The specifics of people’s lives can give children insight into the fears and hopes of other people with quite different experiences. A way into empathy is through hearing stories and really listening to what the stories based on people’s real lives mean. Enjoy a handful of biographies in picture book form for opening up the diversity and richness of other lives and dreams.

Dreamers, written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales, a memoir picture book for ages 5-9.

A moving and deeply poetic memoir of Yuyi Morales as a young Mexican immigrant to the US with her infant son. Struggling to make sense of their new world, she discovers the children’s section of the public library and learns a new language, new dreams, and hope.

28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World, written by Charles R. Smith, Jr., and illustrated by Shane Evans. The entries of this history/ group biography audiobook are spoken by various narrators. 

From the Revolutionary War to the present, the achievements of African-Americans in a wide range of arts, politics, sports, etc., are described in prose and poetry. The chapters are divided into the 28 days of Black History Month.

Pride: the Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, written by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Steven Salerno, a picture book biography for ages 6-9.

A clear and age-appropriate recounting of the life of gay activist Harvey Milk and the collaboration that created the Rainbow Flag in 1978 that is a symbol of gay pride throughout the world today.

Firebird, written by Misty Copeland and illustrated by Christopher Myers, a picture book memoir for ages 5-8.

An inspiring story of achievement through hard work and the development of confidence in yourself despite obstacles and your own doubts.

Rediscovering Biographies

Rediscover the biography genre, one of the oldest, most significant and popular genres in literature.

Read about famous and eminent people, learn more about them, and sometimes be surprised. The subjects of other biographies in the display are people whose names you may never have heard of. There are individual biographies and collective biographies, such as family biographies.

Books presented in this display are the newest biographies in our digital collection, highly recommended in the press.

The following are a few titles that stand out, even among the other critically acclaimed books.

The subjects of the new biography from Adam Hochschild are political activist Rose Stokes and her idealistic upper-class reformer husband Graham Stokes, their magical love story, and marriage.

 At the start of the 20th century the couple was among the Rich & Famous, often the subject of newspaper headlines, and their circle included the most notable and interesting people of their time. 

Adam Hochschild is a journalist and nonfiction writer, known for his books on the social justice movement, such as King Leopold’s Ghost and Spain in Our Hearts.

This biography is a delight for baseball buffs, with the legendary baseball player Yogi Berra as its subject.

The sportswriter Jon Pessah gives a wide-ranging account of Berra’s career and his evolution into one of the  greatest players, as well as his post-player careers as a team manager and a coach. 

It is also a story of a human being, with all his triumphs and heartbreaks, overcoming obstacles. 

The book is peppered with fun anecdotes of the golden era.

Fun fact: he coined some aphorisms, and eight of those Yogi-isms are in the famous book of Bartlett’s Quotations.

If you’ve seen the TV series The Crown, you will definitely recognize the main character of this book, Lady Glenconner, the maid of honor at Queen Elizabeth’s coronation and the lady-in-waiting for Princess Margaret.

Sharing stories with the visiting actors preparing for their roles in The Crown inspired the book. You will read about the private lives of the royal family and society elite through the eyes of Lady Glenconner. You will learn about her private life and her family. Her sense of humor, which shines through her writing, gained much praise.

The book was selected as the Times (UK) Memoir of the Year.

This Oprah’s Book Club Pick is a biography of a family with 12 children, six of whom were diagnosed with schizophrenia, and the role the family played in helping scientists understand the illness.

It is also an authoritative look at the disease itself, and a record of evolution of thoughts on its biology and nature.

The book is based on very thorough research and multiple interviews with family members and close family friends.

Read more biographies on Overdrive/Libby and hoopla.