Books shelved under “Biographies”

9 reviews found

  1. Book cover for Jane's Fame

    Jane's Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World

    by Claire Harman

    3 out of 5 stars


    Yeah, my dad bought me two books about Jane Austen a few birthdays ago, and I figured I should read them back-to-back so I could compare them. The other was A Brief Guide to Jane Austen. This one, Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World is much less a biography or analysis of her individual novels and much more an examination of how Austen went from moderately successful author in her time to…

  2. Book cover for A Brief Guide to Jane Austen

    A Brief Guide to Jane Austen

    by Charles Jennings

    2 out of 5 stars


    It has been over six years since I last read and reviewed an Austen novel, and nearly as long since I received A Brief Guide to Jane Austen: The Life and Times of the World’s Favourite Author as a birthday gift, along with another Austen biography-like book that I’ll review shortly. Charles Jennings tackles his task with four parts: the actual life of Austen, her novels, life in Regency England, and then life…

  3. Book cover for Marie Antoinette's Darkest Days

    Marie Antoinette's Darkest Days: Prisoner No. 280 in the Conciergerie

    by Will Bashor

    2 out of 5 stars


    It’s entirely a coincidence that I read about Marie Antoinette in Trainwreck just prior to picking up Marie Antoinette’s Darkest Days. That being said, it was nice to have a little primer from Sady Doyle about why Antoinette is such a fascinating character from a feminist perspective. Here, Will Bashor pieces together Antoinette’s experiences while imprisoned in the Conciergerie prior to her trial and execution. He draws upon a wealth of primary sources in…

  4. Book cover for Ghost in the Wires

    Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker

    by Kevin D. Mitnick

    4 out of 5 stars


    For most people, computers are magic. Which is to say, they are technology sufficiently advanced to the point of mystification. I include myself in this camp, for despite my comfort with computers and my fluency in programming, a great deal of mystery still surrounds them. With the emergence of the Internet into the public sphere and the rise of the Web, computers and the phone system are now fundamentally intertwined, and vast swathes of our…

  5. Book cover for A More Perfect Heaven

    A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionised the Cosmos

    by Dava Sobel

    4 out of 5 stars


    I came across this book while browsing the science section in Waterstones, because that’s where they hide all the good mathematics books as well, and I was looking for an appropriate math book to give to a fellow math friend for her birthday. (I opted for Ian Stewart’s Hoard of Mathematical Treasures.) Having read Dava Sobel’s explication of John Harrison and the marine chronometer in Longitude, I snapped this up without a second…

  6. Book cover for My Spiritual Journey

    My Spiritual Journey

    by Dalai Lama XIV

    5 out of 5 stars


    He’s just this guy, you know?

    My Spiritual Journey is a collection of the Dalai Lama’s writings, speeches, and thoughts as they pertain to his life as a human being, as a Buddhist monk, and as the Dalai Lama. This is not a traditional autobiography or memoir. Instead, some of the chapters (passages? sections?) are quite short—even less than a page—but no less meaningful or inspiring. Rather than looking for some kind of chronological theme,…

  7. Book cover for The Prince and Other Writings

    The Prince and Other Writings

    by Niccolò Machiavelli

    5 out of 5 stars


    Want to know the difference between the Renaissance and present-day society? If Machiavelli had written The Prince today, it would be called Ruling Principalities for Dummies. In the fifteenth century, manuals for prospective rulers took the form of profound philosophical treatises. In the twenty-first century, they're bullet-point lists bound in bright yellow covers with a cartoon on the front. Part history and part philosophy, The Prince is a glimpse into the mind of a…

  8. Book cover for Shakespeare

    Shakespeare: The World as Stage

    by Bill Bryson

    4 out of 5 stars


    While I haven't read a lot of serious scholarship about Shakespeare, my fascination with him has always been a little more than casual since first discovering his plays. In high school, I was part of a group of students, led by one fantastic English teacher, called the "Shakespeare Seven." We met at lunch and read King Lear, then the next year we read The Merchant of Venice on our own time outside of school.…

  9. Book cover for History Play

    History Play: The Lives and Afterlife of Christopher Marlowe

    by Rodney Bolt

    1 out of 5 stars


    Few books have managed to disappoint me as much as this one has. The captivating premise of History Play—that Marlowe faked his death and wrote all the plays attributed to Shakespeare—belies its overly-pedantic treatment of Marlovian theory (an actual literary theory supported by several leading Elizabethan scholars).

    The most interesting part of the book is its foreword, which wasn't even written by Bolt, but instead by Mark Twain! It lists the facts we know…