I have a type of biography that I love and it is: thoughtful biographies of complex and difficult women. I think that they’re ways I learn to understand myself better. In the biographies that I love, I see parts of myself but also lives I don’t know and can’t understand, ways of engaging with the world that are not mine and yet help me to see my own life more clearly. Some of these books have changed my life so deeply that I can’t even bring myself to truly write about them. (The Tiptree bio and Savage Beauty in particular.) A good biography can be just as emotionally effective as fiction, if not more so! (I cried HEAPS over Lady Byron.) Anyway, I love these books and continuing to talk about them feels like laying my heart bare.
Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart by Claire Harman
A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII by Sarah Helm
The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville by Clare Mulley
Lady Byron and Her Daughters by Julia Markus
Becoming Madeleine: A Biography of the Author of a Wrinkle in Time by Her Granddaughters
James Tiptree Jr: The Double Life of Alice B Sheldon by Julie Phillips by Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Lena Roy
Savage Beauty by Nancy Milford