Booklist recently shared their Top 10 Biography reading lists of 2017*, including these five Macmillan titles:
Top 10 Biographies (full list)
BLACK ELK: The Life of an American Visionary by Joe Jackson
Jackson meticulously chronicles the struggle of the Sioux visionary and medicine man Black Elk to help his embattled people preserve their culture and traditions.
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF WILDE: Oscar Wilde and His Family by Emer O’Sullivan
O’Sullivan tells the great Irish writer’s story in concert with those of Wilde’s physician, archaeologist, antiquarian, and folklorist father, William; translator, poet, and mythographer mother, Jane; and brother, William, a gifted and troubled society journalist.
MAD ENCHANTMENT: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies by Ross King
With vivid specificity and poignant insights, King eloquently tells the wondrous story of the great impressionist Monet’s long struggle against war, grief, and fading eyesight to paint his monumental Water Lilies at Giverny.
NOT PRETTY ENOUGH: The Unlikely Triumph of Helen Gurley Brown by Gerri Hirshey
Hirshey’s entrancing biography reveals the full and astonishing tale of Helen Gurley Brown, the audacious powerhouse behind Cosmopolitan magazine, who was forever haunted by her hardscrabble Arkansas childhood.
Top 10 Biographies on Audio (full list)
IF AT BIRTH YOU DON’T SUCCEED: My Adventures with Disaster and Destiny by Zach Anner, read by the author
Reality-show winner and YouTube star Anner tells funny, outrageous stories while also admitting his regrets and fears with quiet honesty in his hilarious and heartfelt memoir.
Core Collection: Group Biographies (full list)
ALL WE KNOW: Three Lives by Lisa Cohen
Cohen tells the stories of three singular women who helped shaped modern culture as part of the “close-knit and fractious lesbian networks of New York, London, and Paris”: the brilliant Esther Murphy, feminist writer Mercedes de Acosta, and British fashion star Madge Garland.
AMERICAN RHAPSODY: Writers, Musicians, Movie Stars, and One Great Building by Claudia Roth Pierpont
Pierpont’s scintillating portrait gallery includes such embattled yet influential American artists as Dashiell Hammett, James Baldwin, Katharine Hepburn, and Nina Simone, as well as New York’s incandescent Chrysler Building.
THE FELLOWSHIP: The Literary Lives of the Inklings, J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski
The Zaleskis showcase the Oxford fantasists who called themselves the Inklings, focusing on J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield, and delving into how they shared a commitment to a vibrantly Christian creativity.
FLAPPERS: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation by Judith Mackrell
Mackrell chronicles with drama and panache the lives of six intrepid, stylish, trailblazing women artists who exemplify the flapper revolution: actors Lady Diana Cooper and Tallulah Bankhead, performer Josephine Baker, writers Nancy Cunard and Zelda Fitzgerald, and painter Tamara de Lempicka.
THE GLAMOUR OF STRANGENESS: Artists and the Last Age of the Exotic by Jamie James
James profiles artists who undertook “transcultural” adventures, from Gauguin in Tahiti to Raden Saleh, who left Indonesia for Holland; Swiss writer Isabelle Eberhardt roaming late-nineteenth-century North Africa dressed as a man; and the avant-garde American filmmaker Maya Deren in Haiti.
GROUP F.64: Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and the Community of Artists Who Revolutionized American Photography by Mary Street Alinder
Alinder’s landmark group study brings into sharp focus the California photographers who fought to establish photography as an art form.
IDENTITY UNKNOWN: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists by Donna Seaman
The painters and sculptors under scrutiny here—Gertrude Abercrombie, Joan Brown, Lois Maïlou Jones, Ree Morton, Christina Ramberg, Lenore Tawney, even Louise Nevelson—achieved fame only to be quickly relegated to the shadows.
OF ARMS AND ARTISTS: The American Revolution through Painters’ Eyes by Paul Staiti
Staiti zestfully portrays five artists whose paintings helped forge the new American ethos in the midst of the Revolutionary War: Charles Willson Peale, Benjamin West, John Trumbull, John Singleton Copley, and Gilbert Stuart.
*Titles included were reviewed between June 2016, and February 1, 2017.