The Booking Through Thursday for today is:
Which do you prefer? Biographies written about someone? Or Autobiographies written by the actual person (and/or ghost-writer)?
Biographies and auto-biographies are a couple of my favorite genres. (Personally I’d say something written by a ghostwriter is not an autobiography but a biography.) I like seeing what makes a person tick, what influences shaped his or her life and how he or she responded to them.
I look at the BTT questions early in the morning and think about them while getting ready for the day. My first response would have been that I liked them equally, but after thinking about it a while, I think I’d say autobiographies. No one really know what happened or what the subject thought as well as the subject himself. Biographies can be helpful because they include other people’s observations, background information, historical setting, etc. But sometimes if you read three different biographies of a person, you’re might get three different impressions. The information and story can’t help but be filtered through the biographer’s impressions and frame of reference. That said, I do enjoy biographies in general.
There are two styles of biographies I don’t like, however. One is the “just the facts, Ma’am” encyclopedic type, which I find dry and usually uninteresting. The other is the opposite extreme where the person’s life is so enmeshed in the author’s story-telling that you have no idea what is fact and what is the author’s imagination.
I’d say if you really want to learn about a particular person, read both the autobiography (if available) and two or three different biographies. You’ll get a fuller picture plus you’ll be able to tell if one author’s “take” is a little off.