Monday, November 9, 2009

Booking It--I Wanna Talk About Me

Which do you prefer? Biographies written about someone? Or Autobiographies written by the actual person (and/or ghost-writer)?

Biographies are fine. Autobiographies are better. But I'd really rather read a memoir.

Biographies and autobiographies are usually broad in scope, sometimes even covering the subject's whole life, whereas a memoir often centers on a particular aspect or theme.

Autobiographies and memoirs are fascinating because they reveal so much more than the plot the person chooses to tell. I read and wonder, why this particular focus? How do they select what to include? what to leave out? How are they shading and shaping readers' perceptions? How much is true and how much is wishful thinking? or morphed memories? Are they revealing themselves? or recreating themselves?

See what I mean?


Zenoch said...

I think autobiographies are just sporadically truthful...famous people might be too self absorbed to be objective, or brutally honest with themselves.

But biographies are limited too- frequently, ive studied a person I wanted to read a biography about, but when I research this, I find that often, several prior bios are considered to be not so good, and I ought to read bio X,, the more current one....or vice versa.

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

I find both equally wanting but I tend to read more biographies. I don't know what that says about me.
All the very best.

google_account said...

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They're all gorgeous.

The site's forum also has thought-provoking discussions about body image and the media.