Wednesday, May 29, 2013

True Stories

I have decided to look at autobiographies as part of my non-fiction quota of reading this year, and I have learnt the hard way (Bossypants anyone?) that not all autobiographies are interesting or even beneficial. What I mean by beneficial is that I would like to learn something from this person's experiences.  Peoples lives in general can be pretty interesting and I like to read about them.  I just need to be a little circumspect about which books to read.  Nearly twenty years ago I read most of George Orwell's books among  which are some that are from his life ( Down and Out in Paris and London,  Homage to Catalonia, The Road to Wigan Pier)  and I never enjoyed anything more than reading about those experiences.  Orwell had a talent for capturing my interest and making me feel as if I were there with him.  It's hard to explain the wealth of riches that these books added to my own life.

Fortunately for me the next autobiography that I picked up after Bossypants was Agatha Christie: An Autobiography.  She was such an interesting person.  Reading about her life helped me to enjoy, even more than I already did, her novels.  I loved being able to pick up details in her book The Mysterious Affair at Styles from her own life.  It was actually pretty funny and fun to come across them. 
I have learnt that you don't always need a classical education to become a writer.  This is the second successful writer I have come across who has not been to university (or in Agatha's case no school at all), but has learnt a great deal from their parents, and from reading a lot.  Of course, it doesn't stop me from wanting that classical education myself, but it is interesting to see how successful people can be without it.   

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