I took my kids to the library this week (along with the rest of the moms in my city!), all of us eager to get going on the summer reading program. I was happy to see my seven-year-old toting around a few biographies along with her Junie B. Jones and Harry Potter books. I’ve always been enamored with biographies and even more so with autobiographies and memoirs. In fact, this love is probably one of the reasons why I keep reading friend’s blogs, even a few strangers’ blogs, and sites like Segullah. The Internet is full of the genre these days.
I’m fascinated by the blurry line between memory and imagination, by what people choose to reveal and not reveal, what their writing style tells us about their character, what they feel entitled to speak about, how they achieve an air of legitimacy, how they draw on others’ identities—others who write in the genre (especially blogs) to form their own identities, and so on.
Plus, I think there’s something important about trying to see how the world looks from inside another’s experience. Perhaps reading autobiographies can help us understand each other better. As Henry Adams said, “Every one must bear his own universe, and most persons are moderately interested in learning how their neighbors have managed to carry theirs.”
What about you—are you interested in how others “have managed to carry” their universe? Why or why not? Why do or don’t you read blogs and sites like Segullah? What genres do you prefer and why?