Biographical Readings | Wyatt’s World

The long nights of winter are a perfect time to settle in with a big, rich biography. Here are five December titles to consider—ranging from adventurers to musical and sports royalty to those who wore the English crown.

  • The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams by Ben Bradlee (Little, Brown).
    This is a grand, exhaustive, and illuminating examination of one of the best baseball players of all time. Fans of Williams will be enthralled with Bradlee’s mix of appreciation and revelation.
  • The Explorer Gene: How Three Generations of One Family Went Higher, Deeper, and Further Than Any Before by Tom Cheshire (Atria).
    This biography tells of a remarkable family of adventurers—three generations who have scaled the heights of the sky and plumbed the depths of the sea—all in machines they built or invented themselves.
  • The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince by Jane Ridley (Random). In this vigorous, expansive, and vividly set exploration, Ridley details the life of Queen Victoria’s son: a man who had to wait almost 60 years to become king.
  •  Beethoven: The Man Revealed by John Suchet (Atlantic Monthly).
    In his evocative, stirring, and wonderfully accessible first biography, Suchet brings both expertise and deep appreciation to his account of Ludwig van Beethoven’s life and musical creations.
  • Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World by Alison Weir (Ballantine).
    Just in time to hook fans of STARZ network’s The White Queen comes this rich history of the daughter of Edward IV, a woman who ensured that the Plantagenet bloodline would survive the War of the Roses by wedding Henry Tudor and giving birth to Henry VIII.


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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at