Biography and Personal Narrative: Fiction and Non-Fiction


Biography / Autobiography

Memoirs (Overbooked): 'Family, friends, food, illness, life changing events and more are featured in these very personal autobiographical writings.' These books have received starred reviews from the major reviewing sources. Author, title, publication info, and brief reviews for 95 books, from The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber to Smashed: Growing Up A Drunk Girl by Koren Zailckas. Updated regularly.

Memoir (Wichita Public Library, KS): Author, title, publication year, summary, webcat link for about 130 memoirs, from Shirley Abbott's Womenfolks: Growing Up Down South to Richard Wright's Black Boy. Updated April 2007.

Biographies (Fairfax County PL, VA): Author, title, webcat link, and summary for about 30 biographies, from American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood by Marie Arana to You Cannot Be Serious by John McEnroe with James Kaplan.

Good Reading's Great and Significant Biography/Autobiography (Philip Roddman, Pratt Institute): Author, title, publication year only for about 100 auto/biographies, from James Ackerman's Palladio (1966) to WB Yeats' Autobiography (1936).

Recommended Biographies and Autobiographies (Emily Papagni, Fiction-L): More than 20 titles recommended, some old and some current. Compiled Feb. 1999. Also from Fiction-L, a March 2001 list of about 60 Favorite Biographies, with summaries.

The Way We Were (Wolfner Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Jefferson City, MO): One of Wolfner's bibliographies, a list of about 30 nostalgic memoirs, with author and summaries of each title, and notation as to sex, language, violence. From Apes and Angels by Phillip Appleman to The Year the Lights Came On by Terry Kay.

Favorite Biographies and Autobiographies (Multnomah County Library, OR): Author, title, publication year, and webcat link for about 70 books, in three categories: Contemporary, Historical, and Arts, Sports and Entertainment.

Memoirs for Discussion (Janice Burwash, Fiction-L): Memoirs for book discussion groups. Author and title, some summaries. About 80 books listed, not organised. Compiled Aug. 2002.

Sisters & Brothers: Lesbian and Gay Books for the Nineties: Biographies (Boston Public Library): Author, title, summary for about 20 biographies, from Joan Ross Acocella's Mark Morris to Edmund White's Genet: A Biography. Updated April 2001.

Biographies of Disabled People (Susan Creed, Fiction-L): Lists author and title of 12 biographies. July 2001.

Page-Turners: Biographies and Memoirs (Tucson-Pima Public Library): Author, title, publication date, summary, webcat link for 15 books, from Jeannette Angell's Callgirl to Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle, a Memoir. (They're not all written by someone named Jeannette.)

Moving Mountains (Wolfner Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Jefferson City, MO): One of Wolfner's mini-bibliographies, this one features true stories of people who overcame adversity. Lists over 65 titles, with author and detailed summary of each book. Updated July 2004.

Bio-Adversity: People Who have Triumphed Against the Odds (Lynne M. Kennedy, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY): True stories. Author, title, publication year, summaries for true-life stories of 'individuals who have overcome physical challenges and carried on to lead successful, productive lives.' About 30 books, in alpha order by subject's name, from Beethoven by Maynard Solomon to Gut Feelings: From Fear and Despair to Health and Hope by Carnie Wilson with Mick Kleber.

Narratives, autobiographies and biographies of former slaves (Multnomah County Library, OR): Author, title, publication year, webcat link and summary for 6 books.

Biography for Men (Marika Zemke, Fiction-L): Author and title of about 35 biographies that may appeal to men, from Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow to Yeager: An Autobiography by Chuck Yeager. Compiled June 2004.

Oh, Grow Up! (Wake County Public Libraries, NC): Memoirs of growing up. Author, title, webcat link, and summary for about 10 books, from Running With Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs to Black, White, and Jewish by Rebecca Walker.

Savory Memoirs (Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, NY): Food-related memoirs. Author and title for about 20 books, in no particular order, from Sharon Boorstin's Let Us Eat Cake: Adventures in Food and Friendship to Patricia Volk's Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family.

The Glass Castle Readalikes (Ricki Nordmeyer, Skokie PL, IL): Readlikes for Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle, a 'tale of an extremely dysfunctional family.' Author, title, publication year, webcat link for about 30 books, from Kim Barnes's In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country to Koren Zailckas's Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood.

If you liked David Pelzer's A Child Called It (PL of Westland, MI): Author, title, publication year and webcat link for about 20 books, most published from 1995-2003.

If You Like A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer (Sno-Isle Libraries, Marysville, WA): Author, title, webcat link, cover image, summary for 11 books.

TransBiblio: A Bibliography of Print, AV, and Online Resources Pertaining to Transgendered Persons and Transgender Issues (Cindy Ingold, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library): This is the Autobiography, Biography, and Interviews section of that list, with author, title, publication info, summaries/reviews for about 90 titles. Updated Feb. 2006.


OCCUPATIONAL BIOGRAPHY

Books About Working and Jobs (Jennifer Lohmann, Fiction-L): Compiled July 2007. About 75 non-fiction titles and 12 fiction titles. Author and title only.

The American Farmer (Suzy Higgins, Wolfner Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Jefferson City, MO): Books that 'pay homage to the American Farmer and his contribution to our way of life.' Lists about 25 titles, with author and detailed summaries of each title. Compiled June 2007.

Baseball: True Stories from the Dugout (Winfield PL, IL): Author, title, summary for about 15 books about baseball, many of which are biographies.

Teachers (Wolfner Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Jefferson City, MO): Features books about inspiring teachers. Lists about 15 titles, with author and detailed summary of each book.

Inspirational Teachers (Nadine B. Rosendale, Fiction-L): Inspirational books about teaching in an urban community. Author, title, summary for about 30 books, in title order, from Among Schoolchildren by Tracy Kidder to The Freedom Writer's Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them by The Freedom Writers with Erin Gruwell. Compiled Jan. 2001.

Classical Music Memoirs (Suzy Higgins, Wolfner Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Jefferson City, MO): Lists about 60 biographical or autobiographical books about classical musicians, with author, title, and summary for each. Compiled June 2002.

Country Music Biographies and Autobiographies (Wolfner Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Jefferson City, MO): Lists over 15 titles, with author, title, summary, from Willie: An Unauthorized Biography of Willie Nelson by Michael Bane to Nickel Dreams: My Life by Tanya Tucker. Compiled July 2002.

Stage and Screen Biographies (Wolfner Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Jefferson City, MO): One of Wolfner's mini-bibliographies, this one features true stories of old time actors and actresses. Author, title, and detailed summary for 16 books. Compiled Oct. 2001. Similarly, Stars of the Stage and Screen: 1950s and 1960s, compiled Feb. 2002, with 15 more books.

World War II Memoirs: True Stories of Courage (Nancy Mulder, Fiction-L): Author, title, summary for about 20 books, from Linda Atkinson's In Kindling Flame: The Story of Hannah Senesh, 1921-1944 to Nancy Wake's The White Mouse. Compiled Aug. 2002.

Real Life Spies (PL of Westland, MI): Author, title, publication year and webcat link for about 45 books, in categories of: Biographical, CIA, Cold War, General Espionage, U.S./Soviet Relations, and Wartime. Compiled July 2007.


PRESIDENTIAL BIOGRAPHY

Founding Fathers (Memorial Hall Library, Andover MA): 2-page PDF list. Author, title, pub. year, and summary for 14 books, from Max Byrd's Jackson: a Novel to Mary Lee Settle's I, Roger Williams. Compiled July 2005.

Presidential Biographies (Irving Public Library, TX): Lists author and title for about 120 biographies of presidents from Washington to GW Bush. Compiled 2002.

Meet the Presidents - In fact and fiction (Lake County Public Library, Merrillville, IN): Author and titles for about 15 historical fiction titles, about 15 contemporary fiction titles, and 7 non-fiction titles. Updated Jan. 2006.


FICTIONAL BIOGRAPHY

Novels written like biographies or autobiographies, featuring either real historical figures or fictitious characters, AND true stories that read like novels.

Related is a selective but lengthy Index of Real People in Works of Fiction at Complete Review.


Who In the World?: Fictional Biographies (B.J. Seitzer, Durham County Library, NC): Provides author, title, summary of each of 24 biographies of historical fiction. Compiled December 1999.

Fictional Biographies (Wake County Public Libraries, NC): Author, title, one-line summary, webcat link for about 15 novels, from Dawn over Kitty Hawk: A Novel of the Wright Brothers by Walter J. Boyne to Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min.

Famous People in Fiction (Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County): Summaries, reviews, webcat links, publication years for 11 novels featuring famous people as characters.

Biographical Fiction (Overbooked): Novels about real people. Author, title, publication info, summaries for about 45 books, from In the Name of Salome by Julia Alvarez to Fanny: A Fiction by Edmund White. Updated regularly.

Taking Liberties: The Novel Lives of Famous People (Carol Kubala, Fiction-L) Author, title, and name of famous person for about 110 novels featuring famous people, from Bruce Alexander's Blind Justice to Lawrence Wells' Rommel and the Rebel. Compiled Aug. 2007.

Real Women, Real Fiction (St. Charles Public Library, IL) : Biographical fiction titles, such as Alison Anderson's Hidden Latitudes about Amelia Earhart and D.M. Thomas's Eating Pavlova about Anna Freud. Author, title, and subject only (no summaries) for 20 books. Compiled Feb. 2000.

Biographical Novels (Halton Hills Public Library -- Georgetown, Ontario, CAN): Listed by author, titles of fictional biographies, with links to webcatalog. About 70 books, from Sholem Asch's The Apostle to Thornton Wilder's Ides of March.

Biographical Novels (Lake County Public Library, Merrillville, IN): Author, title, and name of featured historical person for about 35 fictionalised biographies.

Profiles in Prose: Real People in Novels (Athens Regional Library System, GA): 'Sometimes considered a sub-genre of historical fiction, biographical novels provide fictional and often highly imaginative accounts of the lives or activities of actual people. Or, real people may also appear as characters in mysteries, romances, fantasies and other novels.' Author, title, and famous person listed for about 35 biographical novels.

Spotlight on: Biographical Novels (Montgomery County PL, MD): Author, title, pub. year, webcat link and summary for 8 fictional accounts of real people, all published since 2001. Compiled Oct. 2007.

Biographical Fiction (Ocean County Library, Toms River, NJ): Author, title, summary for 7 titles. Compiled June 2005.


Diaries, Epistolary, and Personal Narrative Fiction

Epistolary Fiction: Novels in Which Letters Are Used To Tell the Story (Madison Public Library, WI): Author, title, publication year, and summary for more than 85 novels, from Cecelia Ahern's P.S., I Love You to Oswald Wynd's The Ginger Tree. Updated Jan. 2007.

Dearest Friend: Stories Told in Diaries and Letters (St. Charles Public Library, IL): Author and title only (no summaries) for over 40 novels.

Diaries as Novels (Denver Public Library, CO): 'These fictional diaries contain the basic elements of a real diary; they are personal records of events, experiences or observations noted daily or at frequent intervals.' Author, title, summary, webcat link for almost 25 books, from Flanders by Patricia Anthony to The Box Children by Sharon Wyse. Updated June 2007.

Dear Reader: Epistolary Novels (Seattle Public Library): A selection of novels written in the form of letters and diaries. Author, title, short summary, webcat link, cover image for about 30 books, from Cecelia Ahern's Rosie Dunne to Helene Hanff's 84, Charing Cross Road (non-fiction).

Epistolary Novels (Heights Libraries, Cleveland Heights, OH): Author, title, summary, book cover image, and webcat link for about 20 books. Compiled 2005.

Epistolary Stars (Overbooked): 'Fiction written in the form of a series of letters, journal entries, email (or other forms of 'creative writing').' Author, title, publication info, summaries for about 25 titles, from Which Brings Me to You by Steve Almond and Julianna Baggott to Clara Callan: A Novel by Richard B. Wright. Updated regularly.

Stories in Diary Format (Silas Bronson Library, Waterbury, CT): 2-page PDF. Author, title, and publication year for about 45 novels in diary format. Compiled Aug. 2006.

Epistolary Fiction (Reader's Advice): 'Novels told in the form of letters, diaries, email, etc.' Author, title, and Amazon link for about 125 novels, from Dannie Abse's The Strange Case of Dr. Simmonds & Dr. Glass to Ronald Wright's Henderson's Spear. Created Nov. 1999; updated Dec. 2007.

Fiction in Letter or Diary Format (Jasper County Public Library, IN): Authors and titles only (no summaries) for over 35 books in letter/diary format, from Go Ask Alice to The prophetess by Barbara Wood. Compiled 2002.

Epistolary Fiction (Auburn Hills Public Library, MI): 'Novels told wholly or partially in the form of letters, IMs, emails, etc.' Author and title only for about 15 books, from several by Nick Bantock to Alice Walker's The Color Purple. Updated Feb. 2007.

Epistolary Fiction (Harris County PL, TX): Author, title, webcat link and summary for about 15 titles.

Personal Narratives: Recent Autobiographies, Memoirs, and Diaries (Anne Chu, Boston Public Library): Compiled 2000. Author, title, pub. year, one-line summary. About 80 books listed.

Fiction in the First Person (Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH): Author, title, summary for about a dozen first-person novels, from Martin Amis's Time's Arrow to Jeanette Winterson's The PowerBook.

Epistolary Fiction: Stories Told in Letters (Grand Rapids PL, MI): Author, title, summary for 10 books, from Jane Austen-Leigh's A Visit to Highbury to Oswald Wynd's The Ginger Tree. Updated Aug. 2006.

Conversations by Post (Lake County Public Library, Merrillville, IN): Author and titles for about 20 fiction titles and about 15 non-fiction titles. Updated June 2004.