Monday, May 11, 2015

Reading Biographies

Over the past several years my pleasure reading has transitioned from primarily fiction to all nonfiction. What would encourage one to do such a thing? Well, for myself, as I grew out of being a teenager, I started realizing that there are tremendous real-life stories about people who live or lived in this same world as you and I. As I read more and more biographies, I find that there can be a sense of magic amongst people we live with, and not only within fictional worlds.

                For example when I read Walt Disney – The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler, I learned how Walt began his magical journey. Gabler did his research to find out about Disney’s upbringing as a child, his adolescence, young adulthood, and, finally his success as the business entrepreneur that many remember him as being. I found out Walt used to be a paper boy for an entire town to help provide food his family.  Also, that he served in the Red Cross during WWII when still underage by forging his mother’s signature. What other hobbies did he have had in addition to building a playground city and producing some of the most classical children’s movies ever known? You can find out by reading this journey of a well-known American icon.

                When reading about Walt Disney, I found out he had a similar obsession to Neil Young. They both love or loved toy trains, and real-life sized trains, too. I learned quite a bit when reading Waging Heavy Peace written by Neil Young. Young kept a journal for a good portion of his life and still does. One day he decided to put some of his notes together and write a book. If you enjoy cars, guitars, traveling, and life lessons, this could be a good read for you.

               Another story I recently read is similar to Neil Young’s book in the sense that the author is Canadian born and he wrote his own biography. Mr. Hockey, My Story by Gordie Howe is one of, if not my favorite, read in a long time. If you are a hockey fan, you know who Gordie Howe is, especially if you are a Red Wings fan. This book discusses Gordie’s upbringing and how hard he worked in life, not just in the National Hockey League (NHL). Howe is a legend in the hockey world and always will be. This book helps prove why he is a legend. Howe’s book gives insight on how to be a good family man, how to be a tough hockey player, and how to balance these two callings.  

A more recent NHL star biography I read was “Boy on Ice – The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard” written by John Branch. Derek Boogard was titled as an enforcer in the NHL and for good reason. He stood at 6 feet 7 inches and 260 pounds and broke another player’s face once with a punch. Derek may have been known on ice for his fighting, but off ice I found he was a gentle giant. As the hockey equipment improved, the drugs to numb the pain did also. This book goes in depth as to how professional athletes can have a lot of pain and are overusing medication to cope with their pain.

                There is another new book I would like to get around to reading soon at Peter White Public Library. The title is John Wayne – The Life and Legend by Scott Eyman. I imagine this book will also be a wonderful read that can have just as many magical moments as the fantasy books I grew up enjoying. This, along with all the other books I noted above, are in the library’s adult non-fiction collection.  

--Shane G. Sizemore, Maintenance Department

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