Some of My Favourite Literary Biographies, Part One

I own a sizable collection of literary biographies. These are some of my favourites:

  • Auden by Richard Davenport-Hines
  • The Secret Life of Aphra Behn by Janet Todd
  • Louise Bogan A Portrait by Elizabeth Frank
  • Truman Capote by George Plimpton
  • Secrets of the Flesh A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
  • My Wars Are Laid Away in Books The Life of Emily Dickinson by Alfred Habegger
  • Herself, Defined H.D. and Her World by Barbara Guest
  • George Eliot A Life by Rosemary Ashton

Do you have a favourite?

A Year in Books/Day 82: The Glimmer Train Guide to Writing Fiction

  • Title: The Glimmer Train Guide to Writing Fiction Inspiration and Discipline
  • Editors: Susan Burmeister-Brown and Linda B. Swanson-Davies
  • Year Published: 2007 (Glimmer Train Press)
  • Year Purchased: 2007/2008
  • Source: Writer’s Digest Book Club
  • About: This thick little volume offers some of the best writing advice I’ve ever read. Presented in the form of interviews, it captures disparate writers’ unique yet universal passion for the craft; mixed with sound, structured and common-sense, been-there-done-that advice, it completely lives up to its cover promise. It is one of the few inspirational resources that I have ever repeatedly consulted. Worth every penny, and then some.
  • Motivation: I think that I was sent this when I was too distracted  to mail in the monthly card and too lazy to return the book. I’m glad I didn’t, as I probably would never have chosen it otherwise. The writing gods fortuitously intervened.
  • Times Read: Cover-to-cover/1; as reference: countless.
  • Random Excerpt/Page 43: “When I was in college, I began to read Faulkner and Hemingway, two writers that changed my life. I hadn’t read anything so shockingly wonderful as those two writers, and what they could do on the page stunned me. I’ve never gotten over that shock, and don’t want to.”-Kent Haruf
  • Happiness Scale: 10+++