Seattle Picks: Biography & Memoir
Annotation:An edgy Hispanic columnist interweaves the tale of his family’s immigration to Orange County with the history of an iconic American locale whose history has often excluded the contributions of Mexican-American workers.
Annotation:Belafonte describes how his rise from poverty and his emergence from unhappy family life in Jamaica and Harlem launched his career as an entertainer and social justice activist, leading him to friends, influence and fame.
Annotation:A Southern belle rises above the aimlessness of a privileged life, battling cultural and personal challenges to achieve social change, become a role model for girls and found the Girl Scouts in 1912 Savannah.
Annotation:Living in Nazi-occupied Holland, a painter creates “lost” paintings of Vermeer and all the documentation to authenticate them in a thrilling tale of art, war and a con man.
Annotation:In war-torn Iraq, a bomb-sniffing dog and a tough Marine form a lasting connection and develop a relationship based on training, work and trust.
Annotation:The tumultuous lives of the daughters of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain are presented with compassion and context as they become dynastic pawns in the power games of 15th-century European royalty.
Annotation:Emerging from the segregated nightclubs of jazz-era Harlem to become an entertainment icon, Horne broke racial and cinematic barriers, but ultimately became a prisoner of society.
Annotation:A Vashon Island teenager is ripped from her prewar life and interned, leaving her with feelings of anger, depression and shame, while learning to live with dignity in trying circumstances.
Annotation:A Sudanese native living in the chaotic and genocidal world of Darfur translates for western media and UN investigators, surviving imprisonment, exile and refugee camps while recalling tribal life before the days of war.
Annotation:The singer-songwriter from the indie rock band Throwing Muses uses diary entries to recount the exhilaration of recording her first album while also grappling with a bipolar disorder diagnosis and an unplanned pregnancy in the mid-1980s.
Annotation:From prerevolutionary Cuba to gritty Latino New York, a writer forced to abandon his native language learns to absorb his experiences, channel his self-expression and develop into a great novelist.
Annotation:Looking at the first half of a career that went from the streets of Hoboken to a defining role in popular culture by 1954, this Sinatra biography analyzes the singer’s private life and public persona.
Annotation:In a journey ranging from writing rock’n’roll classics like “The Locomotion,” to becoming the queen of singer-songwriters, as well as a wife and a mother, this intimate memoir is a reflection of King’s personal “Tapestry.”
Annotation:Eventually imprisoned, a hacker considered the greatest of all by the FBI reveals the thrills behind the infiltration of security systems and the manipulation of human foibles.
Annotation:Hurricane Katrina overwhelms the life of a New Orleans woman who survives the storm in a ravaged city and then must confront political and cultural winds. Her story appeared in a Spike Lee documentary.
Annotation:In a biography shared between dogs and their people, the original Rin Tin Tin, who was rescued from a Great War bunker, created a model for successor dogs and a career for a dog-obsessed owner.
Annotation:Exquisitely recalled by the Portuguese Nobel Prize winner, this memoir relives episodes that span from fishing villages to life in Lisbon, inhabited with characters vividly drawn.
Annotation:This page-turning biography of a woman at the crux of power, who bedded both Caesar and Antony, retells the story of how intelligence and ambition gave her a legendary life and inspired a romantic legacy.
Annotation:Remember mix tapes? They anchor each chapter of this sweet, funny and heartbreaking memoir—a loving tribute from a Rolling Stone editor to his former wife Renée, a “real cool, hell-raising Appalachian punk-rock girl.”
Annotation:An aging Catholic, at the urging of a young Protestant scholar, bravely publishes a heretical view of the universe, and changes our orientation of science and humankind.
Annotation:A Nobel Prize winner and at one time the prime explainer of Chinese culture to America, Buck overcame a complicated personal life to support racial equality and international understanding.
Annotation:Ambition and arrogance drove founding father Aaron Burr to high office, but also to disgrace, leading to a plot to make him Emperor of a breakaway part of the new nation.
Annotation:Was the inner Charles Dickens reflected in the lives of his characters? A bicentennial biography reveals a life, a marriage and a career of self-contradiction that illuminates the pairing of greatness and a dark side.
Annotation:A century after his death, the first of three parts of Twain’s uncensored memoir was finally published. This unstructured series of wry vignettes reveals his vitriolic humor and observations free from societal restraint.
Annotation:Amidst war and the repression of women, an educated and determined Afghani supports her family and other local women through a home business despite official disapproval and fear of punishment.
Annotation:Fascinating in the telling, this demythologization of a legend reveals a frontiersman who was a politician, a defender of Native Americans, a believer in westward expansion and finally a fabled martyr at the Alamo.