With the death of Florence Henderson last week and John Glenn just a few days ago, 2016 appears to have been an unusually tough year for us in terms of deaths of beloved celebrities. Check out these books, both biographies and memoirs, to help you remember and appreciate the lives of those who’ve had such a great impact on society and pop culture.
1. John Glenn: A Memoir by John Glenn and Nick Taylor
Delve into the life of the first man to orbit the earth, from his childhood in Ohio, to his serving in WWII and Korea, and on to the early days of NASA and his becoming one of the most iconic astronauts the world has ever known.
2. Life Is Not a Stage: From Broadway Baby to a Lovely Lady and Beyond by Florence Henderson
America’s favorite T.V. mom (and stepmom) hardly grew up with a silver spoon in her mouth; in her memoir, she tells about her childhood, growing up in poverty with an elderly alcoholic father, and also shares about her adult struggles with anxiety, postpartum depression, and divorce.
3. Prince: Behind the Music by Bowie Lee
His official memoir (which he was working on at the time of his death) is due to be released in 2017, but until then, enjoy this revealing glimpse into the life of the extremely talented and quite shy entertainer.
4. David Bowie.: The Little Black Book by S. Hollister and David Bowie
Take a trip into the mind of this rock icon with Hollister’s collection of quotes from the man himself; you’ll learn a great deal about his history, motivations, and opinions about life in bite-sized pieces.
5. The Greatest: My Own Story by Muhammad Ali
Ali shares all about his childhood in the segregated southern U.S., and the battles he faced both in the ring and as an unashamed anti-war advocate at the height of the Vietnam conflict. There’s added star power in this book as well; it’s edited by famed author Toni Morrison!
6. Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art by Gene Wilder
Wilder shares about his ordinary childhood and his journey to become Mel Brooks’ iconic leading man, Richard Pryor’s comedic partner, and every kid’s favorite candy-obsessed benefactor, Willy Wonka.
7. Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields
Shields shares the life story of the Pulitzer Price winning novelist, known best for her widely read novel, To Kill a Mockingbird.
8. Merle Haggard: The Running Kind by David Cantwell
Cantwell takes us on a journey through Haggard’s wide-spanning musical history, examining in detail the songs that marked his career and the life experiences that created them.
9. Night by Elie Wiesel
Probably the best known Holocaust survivor outside of Anne Frank, Wiesel’s short book recounts his horrific experience in one of Hitler’s concentration camps.
10. A Life Well Played: My Stories by Arnold Palmer
Published shortly after his death, Palmer’s memoir offers a personal glimpse into what made golf’s greatest player a man of great character.
The best way to honor someone’s life is to learn about their legacy; take a look at these books to do just that thing!
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Featured image via Syracuse