Biographies are fascinating looks into the lives of the "notable and notorious" and what makes them tick. These new nonfiction titles provide in depth views of intriguing people and the times in which they lived.
Desert Rose: The Life and Legacy of Coretta Scott King was written by Edythe Scott Bagley, King's sister, and provides an insider's view of Coretta Scott as a young girl, her career as a vocalist and relationship with civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King. The book serves as a clear reminder of how one courageous person can make a difference and how - not so long ago - racial segregation was the norm throughout much of America. Desert Rose was published in 2012, one year after the author's death. Call number: 921 King
Former U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, combines her own family's story with history in Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948." Published in 2012, Albright reviews the tumultuous events surrounding Adolf Hitler's rise to power, World War II and how her family coped when she was a very young child growing up in Czechoslovakia. The author recounts their struggles survive and the devastation of Nazi occupation of her homeland. Call number: 943.712 AL
For readers interested in science, On a Farther Shore by William Souder documents the life and legacy of Rachel Carson, founder of the environmental movement. Published on the 50th anniversary of Carson's indictment of DDT in "Silent Spring," Souder's book delves into the life and work of the scientist to alert society of it's power to harm and responsibility to conserve nature. Call number: 921 Carson
In honor of this weekend's Academy Awards announcement and Women's History Month in March, the library is hosting a biography-in-film series celebrating Oscar winning performances by leading actresses portraying real women.
"The Blind Side," a 2009 release, stars Sandra Bullock as Leigh Ann Tuohy, the caring woman behind Michael Oher's rise from homelessness to All American football player and NFL 1st round draft pick. The film will be screened on March 5. Readers can learn Michael Oher's side of the story in his autobiography, I Beat the Odds, co-written by Don Yaeger and published in 2011. The non-fiction book can be found under call number 796.332 OH.
On March 14 see Meryl Streep's Best Actress Oscar winning portrayal of British politician Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady," a spellbinding look at the elder stateswoman as she reviews the tumultuous years of the 1980s when she was England's first female prime minister. For a more in-depth examination of Thatcher's political views, check out her book, Statecraft , published in 2002, in which she discusses the global military, political and economic challenges of the 21st century. Call number 941.858 TH
Moving to this side of the Atlantic, Reese Witherspoon won the Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of June Carter Cash in "Walk the Line," a 2005 release to be screened on March 19. June Carter was part of the American folk music group, the Carter Family, and wife of country legend Johnny Cash. Anchored in Love, a 2007 biography of her life, was written by John Carter Cash, only child of June and Johnny. This quick read can be found under call number 780.92 CA.
The final screening of the film series will be on March 27 with "The Queen," the 2006 release featuring Helen Mirren's Oscar winning portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II of England during the tumultuous time surrounding the death of Princess Diana in 1997. For an in-depth look into the not-quite-so fairy tale life of Queen Elizabeth II, readers will find Sally Bedell Smith's 2012 biography an absorbing study. Find Elizabeth the Queen under call number 921 Elizabeth.
The library's website, www.pwpl.info, is online all the time with more information on these film screenings and other upcoming programs, as well as easy access to the library's catalogs.
- Margaret Boyle