The Grafton Public Library presents…

Lives Lived: Memoir and Biography

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Dewey Number


Most Blessed of the Patriarchs

Gordon-Reed, Annette


A portrait of Thomas Jefferson’s passionate belief in Enlightenment values and how it determined his personal character and that of the young nation.

The Firebrand and the First Lady

Bell-Scott, Patricia

920 BEL

A significant new exploration of the enormously important friendship between two activist crusaders in advancing the cause of civil rights for blacks and women.

The Sound of Gravel

Wariner, Ruth

92 WAR

A high school Spanish teacher’s memoir about a peripatetic, often turbulent childhood and adolescence spent among fundamentalist Mormons.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

Schumer, Amy

92 SCH

It’s consistently funny and highly readable. “Anyone who does stand-up is delusional and masochistic….To get real laughs requires years and years. I got better little by little,” writes the author, who seems to have put the same effort into this candid, entertaining book. A hilarious and effective memoir from a woman with zero inhibitions.

Lab Girl

Jahren, Hope

92 JAH

The author’s tenacity, hope, and gratitude are all evident as she and Bill chase the sweetness of discovery in the face of the harsh economic realities of the research scientist. Jahren transcends both memoir and science writing in this literary fusion of both genres.

The Immortal Irishman

Egan, Timothy

92 MEA

A fascinating, well-told story by an author fully committed to his subject. Egan’s impeccable research, uncomplicated readability, and flowing narrative reflect his deep knowledge of a difficult and complex man.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis

Spoto, Donald

92 ONA

Celebrity biographer Donald Spoto illuminates Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and the sixty-five years of her life with candor, compassion and compelling detail.

Not My Father’s Son

Cumming, Alan

92 CUM

From discovering the truth about his grandfather's mysterious death to attempting to understand his father's sadistic nature, Cumming explains that it is important to be candid and forthright, that “there is never shame in being open and honest.” A raw, revealing memoir from a courageous actor and writer.


Small, David

92 SMA

Emotionally raw, artistically compelling and psychologically devastating graphic memoir of childhood trauma.An award-winning illustrator of children’s books (That Book Woman, 2008, etc.), Small narrates this memoir from various perspectives of his boyhood in the 1950s.


Spitz, Bob

92 CHI

Published to coincide with what would have been her 100th birthday, this biography of the iconic Julia Child (1912–2004) does full justice to its complex subject. An engrossing biography of a woman worthy of iconic status.

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

Chast, Roz

92 CHA

A revelatory and occasionally hilarious memoir by the New Yorker cartoonist on helping her parents through their old age.Few graphic memoirs are as engaging and powerful as this or strike a more responsive chord. 

Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher

Egan, Timothy

770.92 EGA

New York Times Pulitzer Prize–winning writer Egan returns with the story of the astonishing life of Ed ward Curtis (1868–1952), whose photographs of American Indians now command impressive prices at auction. Lucent prose illuminates a man obscured for years in history’s shadows.

The Coalwood Way

Hickam, Homer

92 HIC

In its quiet, sentimental, coming-of-age way, Hickam’s story is involving, and he paints a nice landscape: And the ending—a happy one, all around—couldn’t be too sweet for Coalwood’s deserving townsfolk.

Keeping Hope Alive

Abdi, Hawa

92 HAW

With the assistance of Robbins, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Abdi chronicles the ravages of the ongoing civil war in Somalia and her efforts to establish a safe haven amid the destruction. A poignant account of personal bravery, love, and loss and a chronicle of the tragedy of our times.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Skloot, Rebecca

92 LAC

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later. Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.


Lesser, Elizabeth

92 LES

Omega Institute co-founder Lesser (Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, 2005) tells the story of the profound emotional journey that ensued after she became her sister’s bone marrow donor. A searching, compassionate, and uplifting memoir.