I never imagined I would like reading biographies. That is why I never really tried. Today, I finished reading a biography of Galileo called Galileo Antichrist : A Biography by Michael White. It’s a wonderful book; which gives you a glimpse not only into the scientist’s life, but also into the society of his time. Along with telling us about his scientific achievements, the book also paints a vivid picture of his character, of the kind of person he was; using letters he wrote and the kind of lectures he gave. It’s a book I’d definitely recommend reading.
Like I said, I haven’t read many biographies. A while back, I read the biography of an Indian dancer, titled Balasaraswati by Douglas M Knight when I got it for review. I also liked it for the very same reasons. What’s ironic, is that I always hated astronomy, ever since I was a kid and I never particularly grasped the beauty of Indian classical dance. If I had sat down to read books about planets or the different styles of dance, I would have fallen asleep within seconds. Yet, I was terribly fascinated by these biographies. I wonder why that is…
Of course, reading about people as amazing, as great in their respective fields is always inspirational; there’s so much to learn. But that’s just one of the reasons. I guess, the thing I loved about reading a biography, was the feeling of actually living history; being present in those times; knowing that once upon a time this actually happened, that it’s not just fiction.
I don’t have much experience with memoirs/autobiographies, either. I have only read those by Mahatma Gandhi and well, Stephen King (odd combination.) What about you? Do you like reading biographies and would you recommend any?