When you need a gift for a relative or friend, you can't go wrong with a good read. I am especially partial to biographies. To tell you the truth, I will read just about anybody's biography. Anybody's and everybody's. Here I will limit my bio picks to the world of show business and popular culture (listed in no particular order):
1. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson – Written with Steve Jobs' full cooperation, chronicling his life and the invention of the personal computer, tablets and iphones.
2. Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography by Rob Lowe – The pretty boy actor [just stating the obvious!] tells a good story and writes with intelligence and perspective.
3. My Lucky Life In and Out Of Show Business: A Memoir by Dick Van Dyke
4. Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin – The Boss sat down and helped tell this one.
5. Queen Unseen: My Life with the Greatest Rock Band of the 20th Century by Peter Hince
6. Life by Keith Richards – This bad boy shouldn't be alive, much less have the wits to write with keen intelligence about the Rolling Stones and much more.
7. Mick Jagger by Philip Norman – You can't have one without the other. ♬♪♪♫
8. This Time Together: Laughter And Reflection by Carol Burnett - disclaimer: I have loved CB since I was a young child, the person and the entertainmener. Kiss, kiss, Carol Burnett!
9. If I Live To Be 100: Lessons From The Centenarians by Neenah Ellis
10. Will In The World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt
11. The Dark Side of Genius: The Life Of Alfred Hitchcock by Donald Spoto – If you have a big budget, pair the bio with Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection – a set of 15 of his classic films.
12. Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars by Scotty Bowers and Lionel Friedberg – Scotty Bowers fraternized with old Hollywood and kept confidences of the famous for 60 + years. Then he got old and decided to make buckets of retirement money by publishing his scandalous stories. Juicy – NYT review here.
13. Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible: The Fascinating History of Everything In Your Closet by Tim Gunn – A bio of garments. Because. This is THE SAVVY SHOPPER, right?
14. After Camelot: A Personal History of the Kennedy Family – 1968 to the Present (2012) by J. Randy Taraborrelli – Mr. Taraborrelli does his research. While not shying away from unflattering details, he's a fair and balanced biographer. – A Kennedy actually went into show business becoming an actor, namely Christopher Lawford, son of Peter Lawford.
15. Dream More: Celebrate The Dreamer In You by Dolly Parton – Dolly writes with humor and wit. Multi-talented and hugely successful, she is living the American dream. Dolly is smart as a whip and has great enthusiasm for life.
Getting someone a good book may spark an interest in reading. Almost everyone loves entertainment and popular culture. We don't need to do crossword puzzles, or solve Rubik's cubes every minute of every day. Sometimes you ... or someone on your holiday list ... just needs to unwind with a compelling book that gives you a glimpse into a world you want to know more about. If you have a biography to recommend, please add it under comments.
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