Surprisingly interesting, varied, and enjoyable approach. A little less speculation dressed as fact would have been appreciated. Great read. Recommended even for non-Leonardo admirers.
Bestselling author Leonard Shlain explores the life, art, and mind of Leonardo da Vinci, seeking to explain his singularity by looking at his achievements in art, science, psychology, and military strategy (yes), and then employing state of the art left-right brain scientific research to explain his universal genius. Shlain shows that no other person in human history has excelled in so many different areas as Da Vinci and he peels back the layers to explore the how and the why.
"Varied Approach with Surprising Results"
M Train begins in the tiny Greenwich Village café where Smith goes every morning for black coffee, ruminates on the world as it is and the world as it was, and writes in her notebook. Through prose that shifts fluidly between dreams and reality, past and present, and across a landscape of creative aspirations and inspirations, we travel to Frida Kahlo's Casa Azul in Mexico; to a meeting of an Arctic explorer's society in Berlin; and to the graves of Genet, Plath, Rimbaud, and Mishima.
With refreshing candor, Sounds Like Me reveals Sara Bareilles - the artist and the woman - and her take on songwriting, soul searching, and what's discovered along the way. She shares the joys and the struggles that come with creating great work, all while staying true to herself. Imbued with humor and marked by Sara's confessional writing style, this collection tells the inside story behind some of her most popular songs.
Creedence Clearwater Revival is one of the most important and beloved bands in the history of rock, and John Fogerty wrote, sang, and produced their instantly recognizable classics: "Proud Mary", "Bad Moon Rising", "Born on the Bayou", and more. Now he reveals how he brought CCR to number one in the world, eclipsing even the Beatles in 1969. By the next year, though, Creedence was falling apart; their amazing, enduring success exploded and faded in just a few short years.
From the Chicago neighborhoods where she grew up and set her groundbreaking The House on Mango Street to her abode in Mexico in a region where "my ancestors lived for centuries", the places Sandra Cisneros has lived have provided inspiration for her now-classic works of fiction and poetry. But a house of her own, where she could truly take root, has eluded her. With this collection - spanning three decades and including never-before-published work - Cisneros has come home at last.
In 2010 Clive James was diagnosed with terminal leukemia. Deciding that "if you don't know the exact moment when the lights will go out, you might as well read until they do", James moved his library to his house in Cambridge, where he would "live, read, and perhaps even write". James is the award-winning author of dozens of works of literary criticism, poetry, and history, and this volume contains his reflections on what may well be his last reading list.
For more than 40 years, Frederick Forsyth has been writing extraordinary real-world novels of intrigue, from the groundbreaking The Day of the Jackal to the prescient The Kill List. Whether writing about the murky world of arms dealers, the shadowy Nazi underground movement, or the intricacies of worldwide drug cartels, every plot has been chillingly plausible because every detail has been minutely researched. But what most people don't know is that some of his greatest stories of intrigue have been in his own life.
Before he became a household name in America as perhaps our greatest hard-boiled crime writer, before his attachment to Lillian Hellman and blacklisting during the McCarthy era, and his subsequent downward spiral, Dashiell Hammett led a life of action. The tuberculosis he contracted during the war forced him to leave the Pinkertons - but it may well have prompted one of America's most acclaimed writing careers.
Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, "the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists", from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as a writer, his years of fame, and his lifelong friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. In addition to his enduring masterpieces, The Moonstone - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational The Woman in White, Collins produced an intriguing array of lesser-known works.
This is how Emmanuel Carrère, the magnetic journalist, novelist, filmmaker, and chameleon, describes his subject: "Limonov is not a fictional character. There. I know him. He has been a young punk in Ukraine, the idol of the Soviet underground; a bum, then a multimillionaire's butler in Manhattan; a fashionable writer in Paris; a lost soldier in the Balkans; and now, in the fantastic shambles of postcommunism, the elderly but charismatic leader of a party of young desperadoes."
In celebration of Larry Adler's extraordinary life, photographer Gary Italiaander, who was a personal friend, has produced this amazing book that includes memories by his colleagues, family, and friends. Larry Adler, a world famous mouth organist, raised the harmonica to an orchestral instrument. His extensive repertoire of classical and popular music included his own compositions and those written for him by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Malcolm Arnold, Darius Milhaud, and Arthur Benjamin.
This audiobook profiles James Patterson. Best known for his Women's Murder Club and Alex Cross novels, Patterson is a prolific best seller. Find out how he became a writer and how his career has developed.
Alice in Chains was the first of grunge's big four - ahead of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden - to get a gold record and achieve national recognition. With the charismatic Layne Staley behind the microphone, they became one of the most influential and successful bands to come out of the Seattle music scene. But as the band got bigger, so did its problems.
Beethoven's father began teaching him music with a sternness and brutality that marked him throughout his life. Neighbours would gossip about the small boy who wept while he played the clavier, with his father beating him for each mistake. He studied the violin and clavier with his father, but almost every day he was flogged, locked in the cellar, and deprived of sleep.
In the mid-19th century, Romantic literature was still in full bloom across the West, but some American authors began producing literature that, while still Romantic, was unique enough to be considered a different genre. This new genre, Transcendentalism, focused on the spirituality of the self and nature, not rejecting religion outright but concentrating on pragmatism and the importance of individuals as the spiritual center of the cosmos.
'I grew up on the world's largest island.' This apparently simple fact is the starting point for Tim Winton's beautiful, evocative and sometimes provocative memoir of how this unique landscape has shaped him and his writing. For over 30 years, Winton has written novels in which the natural world is as much a living presence as any character.
This book not only covers the highlights of Lou Reed's career but explores lesser-known facets of his work, such as his first recordings with doo-wop group the Jades, his key literary influences, the impact of Judaism upon his work, and his engagement with the LGBT movement.
A handful of clay from a Chinese hillside carries a promise: that mixed with the right materials, it might survive the fire of the kiln and fuse into porcelain - translucent, luminous, white. Acclaimed writer and potter Edmund de Waal sets out on a quest - a journey that begins in the dusty city of Jingdezhen in China and travels on to Venice, Versailles, Dublin, Dresden, the Appalachian Mountains of South Carolina and the hills of Cornwall to tell the history of porcelain.
A magisterial life of Ted Hughes - identified recently as the only English poet since the First World War with a claim to true greatness and one of Britain's most important writers - to be published on National Poetry Day by prize-winning biographer Jonathan Bate. Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate, was one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. He is one of Britain's most important poets, a poet of claws and cages: Jaguar, Hawk and Crow. Event and animal are turned to myth in his work.
This audiobook profiles Laura Lippman. Best known for the Tess Monaghan novels, Lippman became well known after publishing her 2003 novel, Every Secret Thing. Find out how she became a writer and how her career has developed.
This audiobook profiles Lilian Jackson Braun. Best known as the author of the Cat Who, a series of mystery novels, Braun continued writing until her death in 2011.
Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey's story can be told....
"Tina Fey broke my new SUV"
Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”
"If you like Mindy, you'll enjoy this listen."
New York Times best-selling poet and multiplatinum singer-songwriter Jewel explores her unconventional upbringing and extraordinary life in an inspirational memoir that covers her childhood, rise to fame, marriage, and motherhood. She writes beautifully about growing up amid the natural wonders of Alaska, about pain and childhood trauma, and about discovering her own identity years after the entire world had discovered the beauty of her songs.
Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. It serves as a salute to New York City during the late 60s and 70s and to its rich and poor, its hustlers and hellions. A true fable, it is a portrait of two young artists' ascent, a prelude to fame.
"Darkly Self Centered & Narrow View"
An early architect of punk rock's sound, style, and fury, whose lip-curling sneer and fist-pumping persona vaulted him into pop's mainstream as one of MTV's first megastars, Billy Idol remains, to this day, a true rock 'n' roll icon. Now, in his long-awaited autobiography, Dancing with Myself, Idol delivers an electric, searingly honest account of his journey to fame - from his early days as front man of the pioneering UK punk band Generation X to the decadent life atop the dance-rock kingdom he ruled.
"no one could tell it better than Billy himself "
From the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes a new collection of essays taking his listeners on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler's experiences.
"Devout Fan Disappointed"
Now at last Keith Richards pauses to tell his story in the most anticipated autobiography in decades. And what a story! Listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records in a coldwater flat with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones, building a sound and a band out of music they loved. Finding fame and success as a bad-boy band, only to find themselves challenged by authorities everywhere....
"Ins and outs"
From the author of the blockbuster best seller The Game: a shockingly personal, surprisingly relatable, brutally honest memoir in which the celebrated dating expert confronts the greatest challenge he has ever faced: monogamy and fidelity.
Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age - and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. But years later, she learns about love for herself and the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors.
"Really good book!"
Once again, David Sedaris brings together a collection of essays so uproariously funny and profoundly moving that his legions of fans will fall for him all over again. He tests the limits of love when Hugh lances a boil from his backside, and pushes the boundaries of laziness when, finding the water shut off in his house in Normandy, he looks to the water in a vase of fresh cut flowers to fill the coffee machine.
Chrissie Hynde, the songwriter and front woman of The Pretenders in its various incarnations, has for 35 years been one of the most admired and adored and imitated figures in rock. This long-awaited memoir tells her life story in full and utterly fascinating detail, from her all-American Ohio '50s childhood to her classic baby-boomer seduction by the rock of the '60s to her sojourn in the crucible of punk that was '70s London to her instant emergence with her band, The Pretenders, in 1980 into stardom as a frontwoman and songwriter.
"Reckless: My Life as a Pretender"
In The 50th Law, hip hop and pop culture icon 50 Cent (aka Curtis Jackson) joins forces with Robert Greene, best-selling author of The 48 Laws of Power, to write a "bible" for success in life and work based on a single principle: fear nothing. With intimate stories from 50 Cent's life on the streets and in the boardroom as he rose to fame after the release of his album Get Rich or Die Tryin', as well as examples of others who have overcome adversity through understanding and practicing the 50th Law.
"A solid and well thought out book."
At the end of her best-selling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert fell in love with Felipe, a Brazilian-born man of Australian citizenship who'd been living in Indonesia when they met. Resettling in America, the couple swore eternal fidelity to each other, but also swore to never, ever, under any circumstances get legally married. But providence intervened one day in the form of the United States government....
The secret behind France's astonishingly well-behaved children is here. When American journalist Pamela Druckerman has a baby in Paris, she doesn't aspire to become a "French parent". French parenting isn't a known thing, like French fashion or French cheese. Even French parents themselves insist they aren't doing anything special. But French children are far better behaved and more in command of themselves than American kids....
Kafka is one of 161 inspired-and inspiring-minds, among them, novelists, poets, playwrights, painters, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians, who describe how they subtly maneuver the many (self-inflicted) obstacles and (self-imposed) daily rituals to get done the work they love to do, whether by waking early or staying up late; whether by self-medicating with doughnuts or bathing, drinking vast quantities of coffee, or taking long daily walks.
"Nothing else like this one"
Fat Girl Walking is a collection of stories from my life, my thoughts about the issues that I have faced as a woman, wife, mom, daughter, daughter-in-law, and Internet personality in regards to my weight. I have tried to be as honest as I possibly could - apologies in advance to my husband and parents, but hopefully any discomfort you feel is quickly replaced by laughter.
"One Woman's Body; One Woman's Story"
Billy Crystal is 65, and he's not happy about it. With his trademark wit and heart, he outlines the absurdities and challenges that come with growing old, from insomnia to memory loss to leaving dinners with half your meal on your shirt. In humorous chapters like ""Buying the Plot"" and ""Nodding Off,"" Crystal not only catalogues his physical gripes, but offers a road map to his 77 million fellow baby boomers who are arriving at this milestone age with him. He also looks back at the most powerful and memorable moments of his long and storied life, from entertaining his relatives as a kid in Long Beach, Long Island, and his years doing stand-up in the Village, up through his legendary stint at Saturday Night Live, When Harry Met Sally, and his long run as host of the Academy Awards. Listeners get a front-row seat to his one-day career with the New York Yankees (he was the first player to ever ""test positive for Maalox""), his love affair with Sophia Loren, and his enduring friendships with several of his idols, including Mickey Mantle and Muhammad Ali. He lends a light touch to more serious topics like religion (""the aging friends I know have turned to the Holy Trinity: Advil, bourbon, and Prozac""); grandparenting; and, of course, dentistry. As wise and poignant as they are funny, Crystal's reflections are an unforgettable look at an extraordinary life well lived.
Over the course of his 60 years, Christopher Hitchens has been a citizen of both the United States and the United Kingdom. He has been both a socialist opposed to the war in Vietnam and a supporter of the U.S. war against Islamic extremism in Iraq. He has been both a foreign correspondent in some of the world's most dangerous places and a legendary bon vivant with an unquenchable thirst for alcohol and literature.
"Truth, the whole truth and nothing but."
First published in 1979, The White Album records indelibly the upheavals and aftermaths of the 1960s. Examining key events, figures, and trends of the era - including Charles Manson, the Black Panthers, and the shopping mall - through the lens of her own spiritual confusion, Joan Didion helped to define mass culture as we now understand it. Written with a commanding sureness of tone and linguistic precision, The White Album is a central example of American reportage and a classic of American autobiography.
"We tell ourselves stories in order to live..."
In Catch a Wave, Peter Ames Carlin pulls back the curtain on Brian Wilson, one of popular music's most revered luminaries, as well as its biggest mystery. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and never-before heard studio recordings, Carlin follows the Beach Boys from their earliest days through Brian's deepening emotional problems to his triumphant re-emergence with the release of Smile, the legendarily unreleased album he had originally shelved.
"for fans, in depth research and good storytelling"
Long before Oliver Sacks became a distinguished neurologist and best-selling writer, he was a small English boy fascinated by metals - also by chemical reactions (the louder and smellier the better), photography, squids and cuttlefish, H.G. Wells, and the periodic table. In this endlessly charming and eloquent memoir, the he chronicles his love affair with science and the magnificently odd and sometimes harrowing childhood in which that love affair unfolded.
How to Be Like is a "character biography" series: biographies that also draw out important lessons from the life of their subjects. In this new book - by far the most exhaustive in the series - Pat Williams tackles one of the most influential people in recent history. While many recent biographies of Walt Disney have reveled in the negative, this audiobook takes an honest but positive look at the man behind the myth. For the first time, the book pulls together all the various strands of Disney's life into one straightforward, easy-to-listen-to tale.
"One of the best books I've heard yet!"
Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the most important figures in the history of American thought, religion, and literature. The vitality of his writings and the unsettling power of his example continue to influence us more than a hundred years after his death. Now Robert D. Richardson Jr. brings to life an Emerson very different from the old stereotype of the passionless Sage of Concord.
"Entertaining, erudite, engaging"
Audre Lorde pioneered "biomythography" in Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, originally published in 1982. In this extraordinary tale, Lorde weaves a narrative tapestry out of the threads of her own life - from her family's immigration to New York through her own coming of age - and the lives of the women who shaped her.
In less than a year, Neil Peart lost both his 19-year-old daughter, Selena, and his wife, Jackie. Faced with overwhelming sadness and isolated from the world in his home on the lake, Peart was left without direction. That lack of direction lead him on a 55,000 mile journey by motorcycle across much of North America, down through Mexico to Belize, and back again.
"Not happy, but fascinating"
As soon as she graduated from high school, Pamela Des Barres headed for the Sunset Strip, where she knocked on rock stars' backstage doors and immersed herself in the drugs, danger, and ecstasy of the freewheeling 1960s. Over the next 10 years she had affairs with Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Keith Moon, Waylon Jennings, Chris Hillman, Noel Redding, and Jim Morrison, among others. She traveled with Led Zeppelin; lived in sin with Don Johnson; turned down a date with Elvis Presley; and was close friends with Robert Plant, Gram Parsons, Ray Davies, and Frank Zappa.
"Dont waste your money...........please"
In this definitive biography of one of Hollywood's most beloved stars, Michael Munn reveals the truth behind the diffident, earnest and kindly persona of Jimmy Stewart. Drawn from the author's formal interviews and informal meetings with the star and his friendship with Stewart's wife, Gloria, is this portrait of a man who came from the Presbyterian traditions of Pennsylvania to become one of the silver screen's enduring legends.
"Jimmy Stewart had a great life !"
In her moving and insightful new book, Joan Didion reassesses parts of her life, her work, her history and ours. A native Californian, Didion applies her scalpel-like intelligence to the state’s ethic of ruthless self-sufficiency in order to examine that ethic’s often tenuous relationship to reality. Combining history and reportage, memoir and literary criticism, Where I Was From explores California’s romances with land and water; its unacknowledged debts to railroads, aerospace, and big government; the disjunction between its code of individualism and its fetish for prisons.
"Wonderful California Listen"
The Eagles are the bestselling, and arguably the tightest-lipped, American group ever. Now band member and guitarist Don Felder finally breaks the Eagles years of public silence to take fans behind the scenes. He shares every part of the bands wild ride, from the pressure-packed recording studios and trashed hotel rooms to the tension-filled courtrooms, and from the joy of writing powerful new songs to the magic of performing in huge arenas packed with roaring fans.
"Don Felder is an interesting dude"
In the tradition of John Richardson's Picasso, a commanding new biography of the Italian master's tumultuous life and mysterious death. For four hundred years Caravaggio's (1571-1610) staggering artistic achievements have thrilled viewers, yet his volatile personal trajectory - the murder of Ranuccio Tomasini, the doubt surrounding Caravaggio's sexuality, the chain of events that began with his imprisonment on Malta and ended with his premature death - has long confounded historians.
Richard Ellmann has revised and expanded his definitive work on Joyce's life to include newly discovered primary material, including details of a failed love affair, a limerick about Samuel Beckett, a dream notebook, previously unknown letters, and much more.
A Place to Stand is Jimmy Santiago Baca's memoir of childhood on the small farms of New Mexico, his adolescence spent in orphanages and detention centers, his years as a drug dealer in San Diego and Arizona, and his extraordinary personal transformation under the harrowing conditions behind bars. Life in prison was often brutal, and Baca describes the extreme measures he had to take to survive, which endowed him with an indomitable will to resist the dehumanization of prison life. The act of writing offered a powerful means of transcending his surroundings.
This is the story of a close, loving family splintered by the violent ideologies of Europe between the wars. Jessica was a Communist; Debo became the Duchess of Devonshire; Nancy was one of the best-selling novelists of her day; the ethereally beautiful Diana was the most hated woman in England; and Unity Valkyrie, born in Swastika, Alaska, would become obsessed with Adolf Hitler.
"Great story, terrible reader"
John Eliot Gardiner grew up passing one of the only two authentic portraits of Bach every morning and evening on the stairs of his parents’ house, where it hung for safety during World War II. He has been studying and performing Bach ever since, and is now regarded as one of the composer's greatest living interpreters. The fruits of this lifetime's immersion are distilled in this remarkable book, grounded in the most recent Bach scholarship but moving far beyond it.
"Brilliant book badly presented"
Speak, Memory, first published in 1951 as Conclusive Evidence and then assiduously revised in 1966, is an elegant and rich evocation of Nabokov’s life and times, even as it offers incisive insights into his major works, including Lolita, Pnin, Despair, The Gift, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, and The Luhzin Defense.
"this inspired me to read Nabokov's novels"
In a book that inspired the Amazon original series starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Malcolm McDowell, oboist Blair Tindall recounts her decades-long professional career as a classical musician, from the recitals and Broadway orchestra performances to the secret life of musicians who survive hand to mouth in the backbiting New York classical music scene, trading sexual favors for plum jobs and assignments in orchestras across the city.
"MITJ or "How I Slept My Way to the New York Phil""
Memory and history have been Penelope Lively’s terrain in fiction over a career that has spanned five decades. But she has only rarely given listeners a glimpse into her influences and formative years. Dancing Fish and Ammonites traces the arc of Lively’s life, stretching from her early childhood in Cairo to boarding school in England to the sweeping social changes of Britain’s 20th century. She reflects on her early love of archeology, the fragments of the ancients that have accompanied her journey - including a sherd of Egyptian ceramic depicting dancing fish and ammonites found years ago on a Dorset beach.
"A most pleasant diversion"