Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Good Reads - Biographies of Women

After last year's "teen lit" kick, I got tired of the all that youthful exuberance and wanted to start off the year with some strong, female inspiration.  I found myself drawn to biographies of several iconic, trailblazing women whom, aside from the iconic part,  I knew very little about.  Here's what I've read so far:

Quite honestly, I knew little about her life besides her 70's activism and 80's "feel the burn" workout tapes. She's very open about her personal life, including her tragic childhood, and explains how her early experiences shaped the many "acts" of her life.  She expresses herself well, and is very introspective about why she made some of the decisions that greatly affected, and continue to affect, her life.  An interesting read.

I knew she was a trailblazer in the early years of television journalism and I love her Specials, but I had no idea about her interesting family life and how she "fell" into her lifelong profession.  She writes exactly how she speaks and is forthcoming about her romantic life (you'll be surprised), the guilt that she has carried since childhood, how she lands those amazing interviews, and the love that she has for her family.  I feel like I know her now!  :)

Both are well-researched biographies that shed a realistic light on these womens' seemingly "perfect" lives.  If you're interested in the real person behind the icon, these are both good reads.

I was a little "celebrit-teed" out at this point, so this book provided a refreshing change.  It's a fascinating look into research science, ethics, race & class differences and how they've impacted the lives of Henrietta Lacks and her descendents.  It's amazing to think that one woman's cells are responsible for many important medical advances-- the polio vaccine, in vitro fertilization, gene mapping, to name just a few. On the other hand, it's amazing to think that Henrietta and her family never consented to, nor were informed about the use of her cells, let alone the medical advances & monetary gains that were made with them.  A great read.

I'm currently reading this book and all I can say is that these women make our current "of the moment" celebrities seem downright dull.  There's a lot of historical detail, but it's proving to be an interesting read.

As you can probably tell, my reading interests are all over the board. What are you reading these days?  Any recommendations?