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Know a memoir or autobiography you think college students would enjoy?

 
 
plainoldme
 
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Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 12:39 pm
@ossobuco,
I'm not certain I want to confront heroin addiction. There are just somethings I want to avoid because I would feel uncomfortable dealing with them. And, no, I never snorted nor shot heroin.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 12:45 pm
@plainoldme,
I'm sure you didn't, I was teasing in my way.

I didn't remember if A. Bourdain snorted and shot, or only one of them. There was also the possibility you might not find the book suitable for your present students.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 01:02 pm
@ossobuco,
I'm a major fan of A. Bourdain and yes he says he did every drug he got his hands on.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 03:03 pm
@dyslexia,
I know you watch his telly shows. I read his blog once in a while. A bunch of years ago, I read Kitchen Confidential and loved it, and have read some of his other books.

In general, mysteries set around a culinary theme bore me silly, but I'll read one by him.
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tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 10:39 pm
@plainoldme,
Just Kids is in paperback. I got it by asking a bookseller at Shakespeare & Company bookstore for a book recommendation a month or so prior to its NBA win.
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Jan, 2011 10:37 am
@tsarstepan,
Thanks. I'll keep it in mind for another semester. Our union rep emailed everyone about selecting texts early enough for students to find them through channels less expensive than the bookstore. Today's prices are hair-raising, to say the least.

I decided immediately to use Frederick Douglass' autobiography on the suggestion of JoefromChicago. I liked the fact that it was available on line as well as the information Douglass presents on mid-19th C America and on slavery.

I try to find a mix of authors from different time periods, in order to present the perspectives of many people. While no one is complaining about dead-white-European males any more, I want my students to see something of the past in order to avoid repeating its sins and to know what the foundations of our present society are as well as the best of the present.
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plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Dec, 2011 09:24 am
I reread this thread this morning because I am considering changing the autobiography offering for my 101 classes (I suggest 6 to 8 books and ask each student to select one. They work in small groups to facilitate discussion, research and trading off the first drafts with each other*.)

On Joe's recommendation, I used Frederick Douglass' first memoir. After three semesters, I'm ready for something else. I have Jane Addams' Twenty Years at Hull House but haven't read it.

I might consider the Patti Smith book . . . frankly, all my reading time is taken up with student papers and the fairly constant rereading of the novel I am working on. I need to break out!

The other thing is it is time for a woman's voice, so either Patti or Jane would work.

Anyone have another recommendation at this time?
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plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Mar, 2014 12:59 pm
I found a good one today: The Scalpel and the Silver Bear. It is a memoir by the first Navajo woman to become a surgeon. She tries to combine western medicine with traditional Navajo beliefs. Science and biography in one short (less than 200 words) volume.
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joefromchicago
 
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Reply Thu 27 Mar, 2014 01:54 pm
Here's a useful list of autobiographies by women that are on the web:

http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/wr-type.html#Biography

I'm partial to the Autobiography of Mother Jones. You can't go wrong with writing like this:
Quote:

Up the mountain side, yelling and hollering, she led the women, and when the mules came up with the scabs and the coal, she began beating on the dishpan and hollering and all the army joined in with her. The sheriff tapped her on the shoulder.

"My dear lady," said he, "remember the mules. Don't frighten them."

She took the old tin pan and she hit him with it and she hollered, "To hell with you and the mules!"
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Setanta
 
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Reply Thu 27 Mar, 2014 02:38 pm
I don't know if anyone has recommended this, and i'm not going to read back through the thread to see, but i recommend Mary Chestnut's diary. Her husband was the senior senator from South Carolina, and lead the South Carolina delegation out of the Congress at the beginning of the civil war. James Chestnut became an aide to Jefferson Davis, so Mary spent the war either in Richmond, or in the Carolina hill country. Her memoir has been published as A Diary from Dixie, and was issued in an annotated version by the historian C. Vann Woodward as Mary Chestnut's Civil War, for which he won the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for History.

The story is haunting, as she speaks of men being "whittled away," (literally--she was referring to John Bell Hood, who lost a leg, and an arm, and was partially paralyzed in his remaining arm) and of young women who endured the maiming and deaths of the fiances, their fathers and uncles, their brothers and cousins. He remarks about the hill country are haunted by the fear of a slave rebellion. She's a damned good writer, too.
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plainoldme
 
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Reply Mon 7 Apr, 2014 08:03 pm
Thanks, Joe from Chicago and Setanta for the recommendations. I will keep them in mind.
0 Replies
 
 

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