On Biographies

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a big fan of biographies. Mostly because there aren’t too many people I want to read an entire book about. Singers, movie stars, and athletes are all writing books nowadays, but I just can’t picture myself getting excited to read about a single person.

There are some exceptions, of course. Such as people who are actually important. A former president’s book (which isn’t necessarily biographical) would surely be a good read. Or perhaps someone like Churchill or FDR. Nelson Mandela. People who made a real difference in the world in which they lived. I don’t put celebrities into that category. And I imagine most people don’t, though some might when you see how many celebrity books are bestsellers.

My take on biographies is that I can mostly do without them. What’s yours?

9 thoughts on “On Biographies

  1. My taste for biography tends to intersect with my interest in a certain time and place in history, or in the field in which the subject distinguished themselves. I don’t have much of a taste for autobiographies, though. A first-hand account, yes, but seldom an unbiased one.
    Incidentally, I note all your examples of important people are men who’ve held high office – president or prime minister. I agree that celebrities are not generally of critical importance to the course of history (though they may be symptomatic of their culture/society), but surely not all change-makers have been in politics? Or male, if it comes to that.


  2. I like to read biographies about good presidents like Reagan and biographies about history dictators like Hitler and Stalin. It depends on the biography.


  3. So I try to read biographies on subjects I am interested in. I read a number of biographies from military nurses in World War II before I wrote my novel with a military nurse in WWII as the main character. Recently I’ve been reading a lot of books written by serial killers or the people who have caught them, again preparing for this year’s nano novel. But no I have no interest in Tiger Woods, Jessica Simpson, or Hilary Clinton’s life story. shrug.


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