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What’s hot in memoirs and biography: A roundup

Each month, Candace of Beth Fish Reads invites you to meet fascinating people by reading buzz-worthy memoirs or biographies. This month’s selections take you behind the camera, into the recording studio, and to the White House.

Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

Stories I Only Tell My Friends
By Rob Lowe

Even if you never saw Rob Lowe’s first movie, The Outsiders, surely you know him from his Brat Pack days or his more recent television roles (The West Wing, Brothers and Sisters). In the new paperback edition of his memoir, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, Lowe talks frankly about the luck of his good looks, his steadfast ambition, and the invasiveness of fame. Along with tales of his successes, Lowe also reveals his mother’s mental health issues and his own difficulties with addiction. Although there are plenty of gossipy tidbits about the women he dated and the many actors he’s met, the core of Lowe’s autobiography is his intelligent transformation from teen heartthrob to serious industry mogul and from drinking party boy to stable family man. This is a must-read memoir for fans and for anyone who wants an insider’s view of Hollywood.

Coolidge by Amith Shlaes

By Amity Shlaes

The 30th president of the United States may have been known for holding his tongue, earning the nickname “Silent Cal,” but the controversy surrounding Calivn Coolidge’s administration has been anything but quiet. Amity Shlaes’ new biography, Coolidge, brings the debate into the 21st century. Shlaes’ viewpoint bolsters the current conservative Republican opinion that Coolidge was one of our greatest presidents, claiming that his emphasis on low taxes and small government was responsible for the great prosperity of the 1920s. She argues that Coolidge’s reputation was unfairly maligned by liberal intellectuals, who blame his economic policies for the Great Depression. Whether you agree with Shlaes’ admiring portrait of Coolidge or not, this is an important reading for anyone who wants a fuller understanding of the foundation of the most conservative branches of today’s Republican Party.

Days That I’ll Remember: Spending Time with John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Days That I'll Remember by Jonathan CottBy Jonathan Cott

Jonathan Cott, contributing editor for The Rolling Stone, met the legendary John Lennon just as the cohesiveness of The Beatles was beginning to crack. From 1968 until only days before Lennon’s murder, Cott had the opportunity to talk with the musician and Yoko Ono on many occasions. Their relationship went deeper than writer–interviewee, and Cott considered the couple his friends. Now for the first time, all of Cott’s conversations, many unabridged, are available to the public, including a nine-hour recording made three days before Lennon’s death. In Days That I’ll Remember, fans are shown the private, intimate side of the rock icon and learn of Lennon’s struggles with writing, understanding his fans, obtaining his green card, and wanting to explore new avenues of self-expression. This collection is a fascinating look at one of music’s most controversial couples.

Talk to me!

Which Rob Lowe role is your favorite? Do you know much about Calvin Cooidge? Were you a Beatles fan? Leave me a comment below!

More memoirs and biography

What’s hot in memoirs: January round-up
What’s hot in memoirs and biographies (December)
What’s hot in memoirs and biographies (November)

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