Saturday, November 23, 2013

National Novel Writing Month: Books About Authors

It's National Novel Writing Month, so today we're looking at (nonfiction) books about authors!


Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London by Andrea Warren. Growing up, Dickens brushed with poverty. Stricken by what he lived through then, and what he witnessed strolling through London's most notorious areas, he decided to use his writing to raise awareness of the plight of the poor. Beyond that, he used his wealth and fame to exact real change. In this lushly illustrated biography, Warren shows what real events in Dickens's life show up in his books and makes a compelling case as to why he was, and remains, such an important literary icon.

Jane Austen: A Life Revealed by Catherine Reef. Jane Austen didn’t leave much behind about her personal life. Very few of her letters survived, and family accounts of her appearance and personality directly contradict each other. Reef details what we do know, what’s debated, and what’s speculated about Austen’s life. Throughout, she weaves in the plots of Austen’s novels, often highlighting how they dovetail with events happening in Austen’s life at the time of writing. Also read Reef's The Bronte Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne.

"Scribbling Women": True Tales from Astonishing Lives by Marthe Jocelyn. This book introduces several women writers from around the world and throughout time. Many lived in a time or place where women writing was scoffed upon. While you may already know some of these women, the strength of this title lies in introducing the reader to some extraordinary people you've never heard of.


Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath by Stephanie Hemphill. Hemphill imagines Plath's life in a series of poems.

Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves (True Stories) edited by Miranda Kenneally and E. Kristin Anderson. Many teen authors write letters to their younger selves, dispensing advice and hipe for hte future.

Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett. Patchett writes about her friendship with Lucy Grealy (author of Autobiography of a Face) and her grief after Grealy's death.

What are your favorite books about authors?

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