10 Best Biographies – Picture behind the smokes and mirrors

A quote to tell everything about biographies, in just a few words- 

“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”

― Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

Biographies are the true stories of one’s life through someone else eyes. From birth till death, they showcase everything in one’s life journey from other people’s perspective. An excellent biography is not just a book that provides the laundry list of events that happened in anyone’s life; instead, it is a book that completely shares a person’s life. These are more than just novels with exciting and thrilling stories because they are real-life stories that provide the reader with a lot of knowledge of the real world.

Check out the best ten biographies that you should read at least once in your life before you die:

  1. Wounds to Bind: A Memoir of the Folk-Rock Revolution by Jerry Burgan and Alan Rifkin

Jerry Burgan, a folksinger, recounts his life as the founding member of electro-folk band WeFive, in San Francisco. This volume goes back to the 1960s and 1970s when folk music culture and rock music culture were undeniably transforming. This book throws light on the band’s history and tells the readers about the journey and growth of a teen music group through adulthood. Relationships, religion, love, discrimination and problems with drugs were all part of their success. The journey with the growth of a band, including lots of difficulties and success, makes the book perfect to read for everybody.

Ronnie Le Drew (together with Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi) wrote this hilarious autobiography. He was the puppeteer behind Zippy for Rainbow for at least 20 years. It provides fantastic insight into life behind the scenes of the UK’s most iconic children’s show. He shared his inspirational journey, dared to follow an unconventional career path early, and defied all odds to succeed by touching many young lives.

Authored by Zayn, the ultimate gift to his fans, this book captures Zayn’s entire life and features his exclusive and never-before-seen photographs. This autobiography of Zayn showcases the intimate and raw scrapbook of his life. Zayn’s notes, drawings, hundreds of colourful pictures, and song lyrics show his evolution as a global artist. This book beautifully captures his private moments, collection of thoughts, as well as his candid feelings on fame, success, music, and life.

Authored by Carlos Acosta, this memoir captures the hardships faced by Carlos Acosta to become a successful dancer. In 1980, Carlos Acosta was just another young Cuban kid from a low-income family. With an independent spirit and few options to survive, he skipped school at nine to win various break-dancing competitions. Seeing his talent, his father enrolled him in a ballet school, hoping to nurture his son’s talent. Years of loneliness made him an international star.

This book is the perfect example of the most refined form of criticism while being funny at the same time. It is a story that shares the worst aspects of human behaviour vividly. Corey Taylor is synonymous with the knowing eye, who notices every excruciating detail and has shown this quality in the book. Indeed, it is all about the unflinching glimpse into the mind of Corey Taylor. Apart from being funny, the book has its dark side where Corey exposes the reality hidden from the naked eyes- the true story of human depravity and fake reality.

Since 2003, Jeremy Vine has been presenting his BBC Radio 2 show, attracting more than seven million listeners. He has taken 25,000 calls till now. Ordinary people call him to talk about various small and big life issues, love, lollipop ladies, and poisonous plants. Quoted by his laugh-out-loud moments, Jeremy Vine explains what it’s like to hit a button and hear- totally unvarnished and unspun- the voice of the so-called “ordinary person.”

This book is all about the personal life of Meghan Rienks, who is a beloved actor and a YouTube sensation. As an only child, she was good at entertaining herself. Then one day, suddenly, her life changed forever as, on 12 June 2010, she was diagnosed with mononucleosis. In just a few hours, her life went upside down. To her, mono was like a social suicide as she used to love a party and socialize. She decided to record all ups and downs of her life with people via YouTube videos.

This memoir is funny and surprisingly inspirational as it depicts the unusual upbringing of Felicia Day. The book shares everything, like how she rose to internet stardom and embraced her weirdness to find her place in the world. Felicia Day was a girl who just wanted to make friends. But she found joy in the digital world. After completing graduation, she went to Hollywood and one day launches her career as an influential creator in social media by creating her web series.

Ray Winstone, an amazing and charismatic actor of his generation, played numerous brutal screen characters. But how these haunting performances affected his off-screen life? The answer to this question lies in the East End, where he spent his youth. Revisiting the bombsites and the boozers of his childhood and adolescence, Ray Winstone takes the reader on a fascinating and unforgettable tour of the social history of a cockney heartland of East London, which is at once irresistibly mythic and undeniably real.

  1. Writing Home by Polly Devlin

Authored by Polly Devlin, this book covers her whole life and thoughts. She writes about her childhood in the countryside of Northern Ireland and about her adolescence. She writes about emigration, feminism, the places she visited- Paris, Venice, New York, and the world. However, she was always back in Ireland, London, New York. The book also includes the people she has known- Bob Dylan, Princess Margaret, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, etc.

A perfect quote to close, 

“Always live your life with your biography in mind.”

― Marisha Pessl, Special Topics in Calamity Physics

Global Arts Books

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