Archive for the ‘Biographies’ Category

12 Books to Give Mom This Year

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Author: Sherry Helms

It’s again the special time to shower all your love and care to your mom. This mother’s day gift her a beautiful present, which is permanent and worthy, like herself. Generally, mothers don’t wish for gifts but can empty all her coffer to fulfill the wish of her children. This time surprise her as nothing can be more endearing to her than a sweet memorable gift from her daughter or son. If you are still racking your brain thinking of what to gift your mom, bring a smile on her face by gifting a book that she’ll really treasure.

We have compiled here a list of books from cookery, memoirs, romance, and health to business books. You can gift one of these books or wrap up the entire collection for your mom, grandma or wife.


The Heart of the Plate Vegetarian Recipes for A New GenerationThe Heart of the Plate Vegetarian Recipes for A New Generation: If your mom loves cooking, you can give her Mollie Katzen’s, The Heart of the Plate. In this book, the author has revealed a selection of simple, healthy and mouthwatering dishes. Vibrantly illustrated with neat and clear photographs, the book contains the recipes of all savory dishes that can help mom experiment with new ways to make food.

The Kinfolk Table: Recipes for Small Gatherings, The Kinfolk Tableby Nathan  Williams: If your mom is a fan of minimalist aesthetic, The Knifolk Table by Nathan Williams is a perfect gift for her. From the creators of the magazine, this gorgeous coffee-table-style book comprises simple and creative traditional recipes along with beautiful pictures.


Still LIfe with Bread CrumbsStill LIfe with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

Your mom will love to read #1 New York Times bestselling author Anna Quindlen’s, “Still life with bread crumbs”. This book shows the inner life of a woman photographer, Rebecca Winter, whose best work made her an unlikely heroine for many women, finding her way after her husband betrays her.  

The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer: Your mom will love to read thisThe Interestings skillfully written novel, admired by fans and critics. Wide in scope and filled with extremely captivating characters, this book by Meg Wolitzer tells the story of six friends who come together and apart in a changing New York City. The Interestings investigates the nature of envy; meaning of talent; the roles of class, art, money, and power; and how all of it can shift and slope suddenly over the course of a friendship and a life.


ZealotZealot The Life And Times of Jesus Of Nazareth by Reza Aslan:

Allow your mother to immerse herself in this charming, provocative, and carefully researched biography of Jesus of Nazareth and the birth of a religion. From the internationally bestselling author of No god but God, this amazingly written book gives a fresh perspective on one of the greatest stories ever told. Also the book sheds light on the sweeping and transformative nature of Jesus of Nazareth’s life and mission.

Health book

How Not to Look Old Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10How Not to Look Old Fast Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better by Charla Krupp

Give a gift of good health to your mom! This fantastic book by Krupp, the former beauty director for Glamour and the style expert for Today Show provides the secrets for looking stylish and fabulous. Filled with eye-opening details on hair color, brows, lipstick, etc, this is a perfect treat for all women of a certain age; who cannot spend much money on her looks to high maintenance or women who believe in looking fabulous at any price.

Romance book

The Movement of Stars by Amy BrillThe Movement of Stars by Amy Brill:

Give your mom an escape into the love story of the first professional female astronomer in America, Hannah Gardner and a strange man who understands and tries to fulfill her dreams. Set in 1845 Nantucket Beautifully written and hugely impressive, this Debut novel by Amy Brill contains themes of love, science, motherhood and women’s history.

Business book

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg:

If your mom works in a company, she must aware about the gender Lean In by Sheryl Sandberginequality in the workplace. From the chief operating officer of Facebook, Sheryl comes a book explaining the gender parity faced by women in workplace. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques to fix things. Written with wisdom and humor, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg is a perfect read for any working women.   

Short story collection

Dear Life by Alice MunroDear Life by Alice Munro:

Recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize for literature, Dear Life is a short story collection book from the master storyteller, Alice Munro. This book will give your mom emotional narratives-ranging from bittersweet to completely heart-trending. Exalted by Munro’s sharp insight and her matchless gift for storytelling, Dear Life demonstrates how extraordinary and terrifying life can be.

Home Décor book

The Plant Recipe Book: 100 Living Arrangements for AnyThe Plant Recipe Book Home in Any Season, by Baylor Chapman

If your mom has ever mentioned that she wants to learn how to create stunning living plant décor, this is the book for her. The Plant Recipe Book is the follow up to the most popular Flower Recipe Book containing all the basic planting techniques, expert advice, sourcing, plant care and exquisite arrangements that will suit every kind of light and décor.


Everybody's Got Something by Robin RobertsEverybody’s Got Something by Robin Roberts

This is a wonderful memoir by Good Morning America anchor, Robin Robert’s in which she tells about her incredible journey that’s been her life so far. Through this book, Robin shares the challenges she faced and the lessons she learned along the way. This is an inspiring story of a woman who with her wisdom, hope and encouragement overcomes breast cancer and the pain and heartbreak she suffered when her mother passed away.  

A House in the Sky A Memoir by  Amanda Lindhout, SaraA house Corbett

This is an impressive and suspenseful memoir of Amanda Lindhout, a lady who embark on a journey to the world’s most attractive, perilous and remote places. Working as a cocktail waitress in Calgary, Alberta, Amanda has a dream to travel the globe. She went to Latin America, Sudan, Syria, Bangladesh, India, Laos, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries to understand the sympathy in the face of incredible adversity.

Wishing all the moms out there a very Happy Mother’s Day!

How the World Changes

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Guest Author: Cathleen Miller

deceptively sweet for webIn my life there’s been a recurring theme: I’m sitting in my study trying to write—between considering bankruptcy, wondering should I get a job, contemplating running off to South America and changing my name to Catalina—when the phone rings. And suddenly everything changes.

That’s what happened the morning the call came offering me the deal to write Desert Flower. And then four years later when the United Nations called me in California and asked if I’d like to write the life story of their top female leader, Nafis Sadik.

Such an innocuous thing, a telephone, that you don’t realize till years later how picking it up can send you in an unexpected direction and change your life. In this particular case, that direction was east, first to Manhattan to interview Nafis and her colleagues at the UN. Dr. Sadik had been named “One of the most powerful women in the world” by the London Times because of her groundbreaking work in women’s rights, so I knew I’d be in the presence of greatness. But I didn’t know I’d spend the next 10 years of my life delving into the source of that greatness.

By the time I finished Nafis’s biography, Champion of Choice, I hadMiller_cvr_final.indd orbited the globe to interview some of the most acclaimed minds of our time, including several female heads of state. What I came home with felt like a PhD in leadership and diplomacy, a deep understanding of how Nafis and her cohorts had changed the world.

The watershed event where this change took place was the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo where Nafis received the signatures from 183 governments agreeing to females’ rights to contraception, education and health care. The nations committed to create access to these opportunities back home in the coming years.

The media usually focuses on the depressing facts of destruction and decline; but thanks to Nafis’s decades of effort here is one startling and earth-changing achievement: when this ob-gyn started with the UN Population Fund in 1971 the average global birthrate was six children per mother. By the time of her retirement 30 years later, that birthrate had been cut in half, and much of it’s due to her paradigm: birth control + education = a reduction in the world’s population.

March is Women’s History Month in the U.S. and the thing I am most proud of in Champion of Choice is that built into the story of how Nafis became “one of the most powerful women in the world” is the information on how she did it, in case others reading her biography also have a secret desire to change the world.

It’s my small contribution to women. After all, my life was changed by access to birth control and education…oh, and the telephone.

About Author:

Cathleen Miller’s latest book, Champion of Choice, the biography of UN leader Nafis Sadik, has been named one of Booklist’s Top Ten Biographies of 2013. Her previous work includes the international bestseller Desert Flower, which was adapted as a feature film. Miller’s travel essays have appeared in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, and Los Angeles Times. 

Happy Birthday, Stephen King!

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

Stephen_King,_ComiconTomorrow, September 21, is the 66th birthday of one of the most prolific authors of horror and suspense bestsellers-Stephen Edwin King. He has much to commemorate this year considering the success of his amazing new novel, “Joyland” released on 4th June–the #1 New York Times Bestseller. And the Stephen’s long awaited sequel of “The Shining,” titled “Doctor Sleep” coming out this fall.

The author of more than fifty books, including seven under pseudonym Richard Bechman, has inspired many budding and established writers. For over four decades, Mr. King has been providing us some of the most bone chilling and gut wrenching novels. Moreover, his books have also offered groundwork for several truly great movies.  His masterpiece comprises Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. He has been the Recipient of many awards including Bram Stoker Award, World Fantasy award for Life Achievement and Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American letters.

JoylandWhen king was three years old, his father-a sea merchant- abandoned his family under the lie of “going to buy a pack of cigarettes”. After that his mother took him and his adopted brother David to Stratford but the family came back to their home town of Durham, Maine after a few years.

King’s writing career began when he started writing articles for his brother’s local newspaper-Dave’s Rag- although his first success as a  writer came with a novel, Carrie, in 1973 which was accepted by American publishing company Doubleday. This was a bittersweet revenge story of a teenage girl with psyche powers.

However, soon after the release of this book, King’s mother Carriedied due to uterine cancer. After his mother’s death, he and his family shifted to Colorado, where King penned down “The Shining“.  In 1975, King and his family returned to Maine where he finished his fourth book The Stand. Later, King admitted On Writing that he struggled with severe drinking and drug problems during the 1980s, confessing that he was intoxicated on his mother’s funeral.

During 1970s, King embarked on writing a series of interconnected stories. The collection of these stories is known as The Dark Tower Stories that is believed to be his magnum opus. The Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine first published this collection in five yearly iThe Shiningnstallments starting from 1977 to 1981. With the groundbreaking success of his first novel- The Gunslinger- in the Dark Tower Series, King found himself at the top of the fantasy and horror fiction authors. He earned a huge success in his literary career that allowed him to become one of the wealthiest authors in the world. The largest part of his earning has come flowed from the royalties of his books that have sold over 350 million copies.

It has been believed that the gruesome accident that took place during his childhood with his friend, who was being hit by a train, could have been the ground of his dark and gripping creations, though king himself dismisses the idea. His early novels like The Shining, Carrie, and Night Shift focused on lower-class families struggling from minimum wage works: the late 80s work moved a little higher from working class people to middle-class people like doctors, authors and teachers; his late 90s work involved upper-class people who can easily afford a second home. All throughout, this ex-teacher from Maine with his inspiring and terrific novels has left an indelible mark upon the culture around him both highbrow and lowbrow.

Following are his major published works until now:



Salem’s Lot The Shining The Stand
The Dead Zone


Firestarter Cujo Christine
Pet Sematary


Cycle of the Werewolf The Talisman It
The Eyes of the Dragon


Misery The Tommyknockers The Dark Half
Needful Things


Gerald’s Game Dolores Claiborne Insomnia
Rose Madder


The Green Mile Desperation Bag of Bones
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon


Dreamcatcher Black House From a Buick 8
The Colorado Kid


Cell Lisey’s Story Duma Key
Under the Dome Blockade Billy 11/22/1963 Joyland

Tell us in comment about your favorite Stephen King novel (and why).

Remembering Erwin Schrödinger–A Pioneer of Quantum Physics

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

schrodingerToday is the 126th Birth Anniversary of Erwin Schrödinger- the Nobel prize-winning quantum physicist whose stationary and time-dependent eponymous equation formed the basis of quantum wave mechanics. Born in Vienna, Austria on August 12, 1887, to Catholic father and his half-Austrian and half-English wife, Schrödinger was a gifted child who showed great interest in science and philosophy and made significant contributions to nearly all its branches.

His interests and strengths lay not only in the physics, religions and pantheism but also in languages, both modern and ancient, as well as poetry, which were strong influences on his views. He also authored numerous books in various fields of physics including “Space-Time Structure,” “Statistical Thermodynamics,” “Nature and the Greeks and Science and Humanism,” My View of the World,” and many more. In addition, he wrote on philosophical aspects of science and theoretical biology. His well-received 1944 non-fiction science book, What Is Life?, was based on the course of public lectures delivered by him, introduced the problems of genetics, observing life from the point of view of physics.   

The only son of knowledgeable parents, Schrödinger was taught at home as a child, until he was 11. He then went on to study theoretical physics at the Vienna University, studied under Friedrich Hasenöhrl and Franz S. Exner, where he remained until World War I. He undertook voluntary military service on the Italian front, later went back to academia to study experimental physics. Due to the strong impact of Arthur Schopenhauer’s works at a very early age, he became extremely interested throughout his life in philosophy and color theory.

Most productive and creative moments in his career were those six years he spent in Zurich, though he did not start the tour de force for which he was renowned worldwide–quantum wave mechanics–until 1925. Einstein’s revolutionary papers on relativity sparked his curiosity. H1304140920137Z44ae49e examined the movement of electron in an atom as a wave. By 1926, he published his masterpiece, which was released after a long theoretical research of six-months, providing hypothetical foundations for the atomic model. Lies at the heart of Quantum mechanics, his extremely groundbreaking discovery of wave equation earned him the Noble prize in physics in 1933. However, he received noble prize for his amazing series of six papers but his most popular contribution to the field of quantum physics came in 1935, when he developed cat-in-a-box thought experiment. Schrödinger’s cat is his most enduring legacy that allowed him to pose a question to Copenhagen interpretations of quantum wave mechanics to everyday objects by using the paradox.

Many scientists were influenced by the speculations of Erwin Schrödinger. One of them is James D. Watson, the co-discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA in 1953 stated in his memoir- DNA that Schrödinger’s book- the Secret of Life inspired him to research gene. Contributed profoundly to the understanding of subatomic behavior, the legendary physicist had a very long official name- Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger.

Nobel laureate Erwin Schrödinger’s had to relocate a number of times, looking for a society that would accept his ménage a trois  and a nation in which to work that provided religious tolerance.

After warfare and foreign employment had receded from Austria in 1956, he came back to Vienna. He suffered from tuberculosis the following year and died on January 1961 left a widow, Anny, and was buried in the western Austrian village of Alpbach.

Pulitzer Prize winning Biography or Autobiography Books, 2000-2012

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

The Pulitzer Prize is the most prestigious literary U.S award named after Hungarian-American publisher, journalist, and philanthropist- Joseph Pulitzer- given each year for achievements in journalism, literature and musical composition by Columbia University in New York City. There were only eight categories when first Pulitzer prizes were awarded in 1917. Now, almost a century later, Pulitzer prizes are awarded annually in twenty-one categories (14 for journalism categories and 7 for letters, drama, and music).

The most powerful and influential publisher, Joseph Pulitzer, specified History and Biography or Autobiography as two categories he wished to honor in his 1904 will. Since 1917, each year a winner has been announced, with the exception 1962 when 89 different authors awarded with Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography.  In this category, four authors Douglas Southall Freeman, Allen Nevins, David McCullough and Robert A. Caro have twice achieved a Pulitzer Prize.

Dedicating to all the book lovers, we’re presenting here a list of the “Pulitzer Prize winning books for Biography or Autobiography” from the years 2000-2012 in descending order.  Take a look:

2012 >>

George F. Kennan: An American Life by John Lewis Gaddis : Selected by the nytimes as a notable book of the year, Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis delivers a revelatory biography of the most influential American diplomat of the Cold War era. The author began this magisterial history almost thirty years ago, interviewing Kennan frequently and gaining exclusive access to his voluminous archives. This is a landmark work of history and biography that reveals the vast influence and rich inner landscape of a life that both mirrored and shaped the century it spanned.




2011  >>

Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow : A well-received biographer Ron Chernow presents a landmark biography of the Father of our nation-George Washington. In this unique biography, author takes us on a page-turning journey through his troubled boyhood, his achievements in the French and Indian War, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, his heroic deeds with the Continental Army, his creation of Mount Vernon, and his splendid performance as America’s first president.

2010 >> 

The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt by T.J. Stiles: This groundbreaking biography is thoroughly researched and gracefully written by the T.J Stiles that presents the dramatic story of Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt, an aggressive American man who, through his intelligence and strong determination, did more than perhaps any other individual do to make modern capitalism. This award-winning book explains a dubious life, from Vanderbilt’s humble birth during the administration of George Washington to his death as one of the wealthiest men in the history of America.




2009 >>

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham : One of our most noteworthy yet hazily remembered presidents, Andrew Jackson was an orphan who rose from nothing to found the Democratic Party and create the modern presidency. With his influential personality and his mystical connection to the public, Andrew Jackson gave voice to the expectations and the intimidations of a restless, changing nation facing challenging times at home and threats overseas.  Jon Meacham in American Lion has delivered the definitive human portrayal of a prominent president who forever changed the American presidency–and America itself.

2008 >>

Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father by John Matteson: This biography is a remarkable, clear, colorful and insightful story of Bronson and Louisa’s tense yet loving relationship. Won Pulitzer Prize for this groundbreaking book in 2008, John Matteson   described in this book that how Louisa challenged her father who desired perfection, for the world and from his family with her mercurial moods. This amazing story adds dimensions to Louisa’s life, her work, and the relationships of fathers and daughters.

2007 >>

The Most Famous Man in America by Debby Applegate : Debby Applegate has written the definitive biography of the blithe, energetic and mercurial son of the last great Puritan minister, he seemed destined to be overshadowed by his brilliant siblings—especially his sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, who penned the century’s bestselling book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Even currently, when religion and politics are again colliding and adultery in high places still commands headlines, Beecher’s story of how he found international fame and became the fathers of modern American Christianity sheds new light on the culture and conflicts of contemporary America.

2006 >>

American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin : One of the iconic figures of the 20th century, J. Robert Oppenheimer was a brilliant physicist, who led the attempt to make the atomic bomb for his nation in a time of war, and who later found himself facing the moral consequences of scientific advancements. In this deeply informative, magisterial and finest biography, the author capture Oppenheimer’s life and times, from his early occupation to his vital role in the Cold War.

2005 >>

de Kooning: An American Master by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan :  The first major biography of de Kooning, one of the most important artists of the twentieth century, is a trustworthy and brilliant exploration of the art, life, and world of an American figure. Ten years in the making, and derived from formerly unobserved letters and documents as well as on hundreds of interviews, this is a fresh, richly detailed, and masterful portrait that inspire many artists.

2004 >>

Khrushchev: The Man and His Era by William Taubman :  This is the definitive biography of the first mercurial Soviet Union ruler after Stalin’s death- Khrushchev- who became the one of the most complex and foremost political figures of the 20th century. Combining a page-turning historical description with incisive political and psychological analysis, this book brims with the life and experience of a man whose story personified his time. Shortlisted for the National Books Critics Circle Award, this book shows the life of Khrushchev who left a contradictory stamp on his country.

2003 >>

Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro : Brilliantly weaving rich element into a fascinating narrative, this biography is the continued part of riveting political biography Robert A. Caro’s life. Caro fives a galvanizing as well as definitive portrait of Johnson’s brilliance, charm, and ruthlessness that enabled him to become the youngest and most powerful Majority Leader in history. Moreover, it also shows how he used his incomparable legislative genius–seducing both Northern liberals and Southern conservatives–to pass the first Civil Rights legislation since Reconstruction.

2002 >>

John Adams by David McCullough : David McCullough’s enthralling and powerful biography unfolds the adventurous life journey of John Adams, the brilliant, ferociously independent, often quick-tempered, always honest Yankee patriot. An amazing, often surprising story of a man who rose to become the second president of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an avoidable war and who married to the wise and brave Abigail Adams is one of the most touching love stories in American history.

2001 >>

W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and The American Century, 1919–1963 by David Levering Lewis : Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize biography by Lewis treats the early and middle facets of a crucial fifty-year long and intense period that shows how Du Bois changed forever the way Americans feel about themselves.

2000 >>

Vera, Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov by Stacy Schiff : Set in prewar Europe and postwar America, this is the Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Nabokov’s’ fifty-two-year marriage. Stacy Schiff’s Véra is hailed by critics as both “monumental”(The Boston Globe) and “utterly romantic”(New York magazine), brings to shimmering life one of the greatest literary love stories of our time.


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