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Ava’s Man by Rick Bragg

Ava’s Man by Rick Bragg (2001)
Author Bragg tells the story of his maternal grandfather, a man he never met, who kept a family going during the depths of the Depression in the deep South.

Check out the New York Times book review. You can also reserve Bragg's latest book -- The Prince of Frogtown -- which will be released in May.

Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand

Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand (2001)
Laura Hillenbrand makes horseracing fans out of everyone. More than simply a biography of a horse, this book portrays the spirit of a sport as it tells the tale of an owner, a jockey and a thoroughbred champion that captivated the nation.

Check out the 2003 movie based on the book and the PBS website that features original radio broadcasts, an interview with Hillenbrand, and more.

700 Sundays by Billy Crystal

700 Sundays by Billy Crystal (2005)
In great storyteller fashion, Billy Crystal gives us an entertaining story of his quirky life with his family and reveals his sometimes complex relationship with his Dad. Dad worked two jobs and died early but Crystal is glad he got those “700 Sundays” with him.

The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb

The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb (2004)
They said that the four minute mile could never be broken, that it just was not physically possible. Three athletes competing from separate corners of the globe raced against the clock and each other to prove them wrong.

Listen to an interview with the author and Roger Bannister (NPR) or watch the memorable races from May 6, 1954 (BBC) and August 7, 1954 (CBC).

Monster of the Midway by Jim Dent

Monster of the Midway: Bronko Nagurski, the 1943 Chicago Bears, and the Greatest Comeback Ever by Jim Dent (2003)
Before multimillion dollar contracts, television and injured reserve lists, professional football players often played while hurt for little money with no motivation other than the desire to win. Monster of the Midway traces the history of a fledgling league struggling to survive through the exploits of one of its toughest competitors.

Check our catalog for other books and movies about the Chicago Bears.

Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox

Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox (2002)
This book shows a Michael J. Fox you don’t know. Fox was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth but took his charismatic personality to Hollywood and almost destroyed himself in the process. Even after early onset Parkinson’s disease, he still considers himself a "lucky man." Read it and see why.

Considering Doris Day by Tom Santopietro

Considering Doris Day by Tom Santopietro (2007)
Author Santopietro might have called his book Re-Considering Doris Day since his premise is that the signer/actress has gotten a bum rap as a goody-goody. His book, besides giving some biographical information, gives an enjoyable evaluation of each of Day’s movies, albums, and TV series and specials. In his view, Day was an energetic, sexy actress who deserves another viewing. I went back and watched or re-watched several of her movies, and would especially recommend Pillow Talk and Teacher’s Pet.

Don’t forget to check out the other Doris Day movies we have at the library.

Shakespeare by Bill Bryson

Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson (2007)
As part of the Eminent Lives series, Bryson presents a brief (196 page) biography of William Shakespeare – brief, he explains, because so little is actually known about Shakespeare. In his quirky comedic style, Bryson elucidates on what few facts exist on Shakespeare’s life. General history is interwoven with specifics about the playwright (for example, up to 40% of brides were pregnant on their wedding day). With amusing anecdotes on farfetched theories (like the plays were actually written by Francis Bacon, a random aristocrat, or a combination thereof), Shakespeare is a quick, enjoyable read on a mysterious author’s life and times.

After you read the biography, if you're interested in reading Shakespeare's works, check out the library catalog or visit MIT's The Complete Works of William Shakespeare online. To find out more about Shakespeare -- his life, works, theater, FAQs -- visit the Folger Shakespeare Library website.

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed by Alan Alda

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: and Other Things I’ve Learned by Alan Alda (2005)
Entertaining, revealing, but not about his career on MASH. This is a poignant story of an eccentric life with his Dad, a vaudeville performer, and his Mom who struggles with mental issues. Alda’s story is funny, conversational, and a great read. And, yes, they really did stuff his dog!

Also check out Alda’s 2007 biography: Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself.

Einstein (2007) and Kissinger (1992) by Walter Isaacson

Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007) and Kissinger: a biography (1992) by Walter IsaacsonEinstein and his earlier book, Kissinger, should be read one after the other to see how Isaacson deals with two professionally different, but similar, persons who have had great effect on the US and the world. Both left Nazi Germany to escape persecution and rose to the top of their fields. As a bonus, the two biographies challenge the reader in physics and world politics, as well as generate new interest in these fields.

Listen to any or all of three interviews with Isaacson on NPR: there's a 2007 interview following the publication of Einstein; a 2003 interview following the publication of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and a 2002 interview discussing Kissinger's background.