Hub Book Club – Biography/Autobiography

Are you an avid reader who is always on the lookout for a new book recommendation? A bookworm who likes to stay in a certain genre? Or a newbie to the reading world, looking for some guidance on where to begin? Maybe you despise books, but secretly have a yearning to enjoy reading? No matter who you are or what your reading level is, this blog series is dedicated to you! Our hope is to look at some different genres and share recommendations with everyone in different stages of their reading journey. Stay tuned, pick up a book, and share with us your suggestions along the way!

Biography/Autobiography

While these two types of literature are very similar, their difference lies within the author.
Biography – An account of a person’s life written by someone else
Autobiography – An account of a person’s life written by that person
Both of these genres will fall under the realm of nonfiction books, meaning they are true stories.
*Need an easy way to remember the difference between fiction and nonfiction?
Fiction = Fake
NonFiction = Not Fake

Soul Survivor: How Thirteen Unlikely Mentors Helped My Faith Survive the Church – Philip Yancey – Autobiography   4.21 Stars

This book focuses on what Yancey calls his “Soul Models”. These are people that he considers to have made a large impact on his life and the way that he lives it; People that he looks up to or aspires to be like. While Yancey discusses these 13 individuals as they relate to his Christian upbringing and current lifestyle, his story pays mind to other aspects of his life as well. 

One of the most enjoyable parts about this book is that for each individual that Yancey discusses, he gives their history as well. So when reading you learn of past records about Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Paul Brand and more, that aren’t in your typical history book. He essentially compiled a list of 13 mini biographies within his own autobiography!

Philip Yancey’s book, Soul Survivor, is ideal for those looking for spiritual growth or inspirational guidance. Yancey is brutally honest, in an eye-opening, semi-judgmental yet understanding way. Pick up this book if you feel that you are in need of some life time mentors, you might just find one inside these pages!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot – Biography   4.07 Stars

Henrietta Lacks, or better known as HeLa to scientists and those in the medical community, is the woman who had the cells vital to the development of the polio vaccine, cloning, and gene mapping. In 1951, these cells were taken from Henrietta’s body without her knowledge or permission.

In this book, journalist Rebecca Skloot decided to reach out to Henrietta’s family and discover the history behind these miracle cells. After over a decade of research, her writing actually tells two stories, that of Henrietta and the HeLa cells back in the late 1940’s and 1950’s, and the story of the Lacks’ family today. She skillfully jumps back and forth between each viewpoint, helping the reader connect the dots along the way to gain the full picture of Henrietta.

While medicinal or scientific reading may not be the first pick for all readers, this book expertly discusses the Lacks’ family story while helping the reader understand any medical jargon in a simple way. The focus isn’t on the specificities of cells or politics, but rather on the effect that these HeLa cells have had on Henrietta’s poverty stricken family.  “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is a great book choice if you enjoy true stories that are told in the style of a novel. While Skloot jumps between two different eras, she does so in a way that doesn’t confuse the reader. She is able to capture the drama behind scientific discovery and the human consequences that it can have. This book will give you knowledge you never knew that you wanted and will leave you wanting to know, where is the Lacks’ family now?

Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope – Jenna Bush – Biography   3.71 Stars

*Please be aware that there are descriptions of physical abuse and discussion about responsibilities while living with HIV within this book*

Ana’s Story”, written by President George W. Bush’s daughter Jenna Bush, is a fairly easy read that includes plenty of pictures. This story is considered narrative fiction, meaning while Bush is the author, she gave the narrative from Ana’s viewpoint. 

Ana is 17. She has been abused. She has a child. And she is HIV-positive. She is a young adult who was forced to take on adult responsibilities at a young age. Her mother died when she was three, and her family didn’t care for her as they needed to. Her story is an inspirational, yet heartbreaking one, that we can all learn from.

This book can help you find and understand motivation, inspiration, humility, love, hope, courage and more. Written from the eyes of a teenager helps make the reading fairly easy and understandable. This story is a great choice if you are interested in learning more about the effects that poverty stricken parts of the world have on humanity, or if you are just beginning to step into the world of biographies and want an uncomplicated read. 

*All numerical ratings found on GoodReads.com*

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