Popular autobiographies in varying genres

Jun 2014
Whatever your taste in literature, you may be surprised to find a biography or autobiography to fit any genre

Every reader will have come across a book in their reading history which really resonated with them; the type of book you can't put down because you are living the story with the author.

Arguably some of the most powerful stories ever told are so powerful because they are true, as Oscar Wilde said: "Truth is rarely pure and never simple." Biographies and autobiographies can make for fantastic reads for this very reason.

If you have yet to venture into this section of your local bookshop or library, here are a few suggestions which may get you started (all from the Kumon Recommended Reading List of course!).

One of our much loved children's authors, Roald Dahl, has also penned his autobiography Boy. It focusses on his life, growing up in the 1920s and 1930s. In Roald's inimitable style, his story is both funny and frightening and often quite strange. Kumon English students study this autobiography when looking at paragraph building and interpretation of descriptive language.

Laurie Lee's Cider with Rose, is set soon after the First World War and details Laurie's childhood and growing up in a traditional Gloucestershire village. The world in which Laurie lives seems so far removed from today, with no electricity or cars, but the characters are vivid and familiar even today and the humour certainly transcends the decades!

One of the most famous autobiographies is possibly Anne Franks A diary of a young girl. Anne was in hiding for two years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Sadly, she did not survive the war but the diary was retrieved and returned to her father. The diary details Anne's frustrations of living in such close quarters, and her thoughts and feelings as she grows up in this space. It ends abruptly when, in 1944, their whereabouts was betrayed.

Andrew Langley's biography of Hans Christian Andersen: The Dreamer of Fairy Tales paints a wonderful picture of one of our best loved authors. As a young child he was very quiet and would sit for hours in the backyard inventing stories for his toy theatre. He wanted to be an actor and singer but was discouraged by those around him. Instead he dreamed up tales such as The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling and The Emperor's New Clothes. Kumon English students study this biography when looking at sentence building and preparing to move on to synthesising ideas.

Whatever your taste in literature, you may be surprised to find a biography or autobiography to fit any genre. Next time you are looking for something new to read, why not venture to this section of your local book shop and see what you can find; from the weird and wonderful, to the sad, the funny and the downright strange, it's all there!