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Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Real People I Want to Read More About

When I saw today's TTT prompt—Top Ten Books With Names/Character Names in the Title—I immediately thought of popular novels I haven't read yet like A Man Called Ove and Finlay Donovan Is Killing It. That was about as far as I got before my mind blanked. Then, I started thinking about all of the real people I'm interested in reading more about. I love a good memoir or biography featuring a fascinating person, so I decided to highlight nine (plus one novel) I've been wanting to read. This list could have been much, much longer, but I managed to exercise some self-restraint. You're welcome!

If you want to join in the TTT fun (and you totally do), click on over to That Artsy Reader Girl for all the details.

Top Ten Real People I Want to Read More About 


Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)—Little Women is one of my favorite books of all time. Its author lived a unqiue and interesting life. I just got Scibbles, Sorrows, and Russet Leather Boots by Liz Rosenberg from the publisher and I'm eager to read it. It's next up after I finish my current read.


2.  Sarah Breedlove, aka Madam C.J. Walker (1867-1919)—The daughter of slaves, Breedlove became the first female African-American millionaire by creating a hair care formula that cured dandruff and other hygiene problems suffered at the time. The Black Rose by Tananarive Due tells her incredible story.


Elizabeth Cochran, aka Nellie Bly (1864-1922)—As a journalist, Bly broke new ground with her on-the-ground investigative reporting. She's best known for her exposé of the Woman's Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell's Island in New York. While I should probably start with her own book, Ten Days in a Mad-House, as well as the numerous biographies that exist about her life, I'm also very interested in reading Maya Rodale's upcoming novel, The Mad Girls of New York, the first installment in a rollicking new series featuring the intrepid Nellie Bly.


Phil Collins (1951-living)—I'm a longtime fan of this ailing British rocker and have been meaning to read his memoir, Not Dead Yet, ever since it was published a few years ago.


Harper Lee (1926-2016)—To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite novel, hands down. Its author is another writer who lived a super interesting life. I'd like to know more about her and The Mockingbird Next Door by Lee's friend, Marja Mills, sounds like the perfect place to start.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)—Poetry and I really don't get along. I never understand what poets are trying to say, so trying to read their work just makes me feel dumb. One of the very few exceptions is Longfellow. Not only do his poems rhyme, but they (mostly) make sense! Because of that, he's my favorite poet, even though I've only read a fraction of his work. His life also sounds interesting, which is why I want to read Cross of Snow: A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by Nicholas A. Basbanes.


Russell M. Nelson (1924-living)—This retired heart surgeon is the current prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Insights From a Prophet's Life by Sheri Dew has been sitting on my coffee table for over a year. I need to read it already!


Fred Rogers (1928-2003)—This kind, gentle soul has gotten a fair amount of attention in books and films since his passing and yet, I'm always willing to hear more about him. I enjoyed The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers by Amy Hollingsworth, but I've yet to read an actual biography about him. The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King has been sitting on my bookshelf unread for too long; I'm hoping to get to it this year finally.


Jimmy Stewart (1908-1997)—I've mentioned my deep love for It's a Wonderful Life before, so it's probably no surprise that Stewart is one of my favorite actors. I'd love to know more about him, so Jimmy Stewart: A Biography by Marc Eliot is on my TBR list.


Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957)—I was a rabid Little House on the Prairie fan as a kid. Although I've seen all the tv episodes and read all her books, I've yet to read any non-fiction about Wilder. Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser sounds excellent.

There you go, ten real people I'd like to read more about. What do you think? Have you read any of these books? Who do you enjoy reading about? What are some good memoirs/biographies you've loved? I'd truly love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I'll gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT! 


  1. Great take on this week's topic, and some great choices for memoirs/biogs! Laura Ingalls Wilder, Harper Lee, Fred Rogers and C.J. Walker - yes, please!

    My post:

    1. I'm excited to learn more about these people! It's weird that I've never read much about their lives, especially these writers whose work I've loved for so long. I'm long overdue for these reads.

      Thanks for popping in, Kristine!

  2. I love this topic! I can think of several people/authors I would love to read more about.

    1. My list seriously could have been miles long. There are so many interesting people out there to read about!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Deanna!

  3. Fred Rogers is an excellent choice!

    My post:

    1. Right? Everything I've ever heard, read, and watched about him talks about what an authentic person he was. By all accounts, he really was as kind, gentle, and accepting as he seemed. I love that!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lydia!

  4. Great list! I also want to read The Good Neighbor, though I don't own it yet. Hopefully you'll enjoy all of these when you read them!

    My TTT:

    1. You know, I checked THE GOOD NEIGHBOR out of the library several times and didn't get it read before it came due. I finally just bought the book and...there it sits, gathering dust on my bookshelf! I don't know why I haven't read it yet. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Nicole!

  5. I'm not much into reading biographies, memoirs or books about real people. I did read a bio on LM Montogmery, she wrote the Anne of Green Gables series, and I sort of wish I haven't read it as her life was so tragic. Your list did have a few people that I would have like to know more about but I probably won't read those books as I really prefer not to know too much.

    Have a lovely day.

    1. I can understand that. I'm reading the Alcott biography right now and it's pretty sad. Her dad was a fanatical dreamer, so the family lived with a lot of poverty and instability. What's interesting is to see how Louisa's life experiences influenced her writing. I'm enjoying learning more about her, even though her life was pretty rough.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lissa!

  6. What a great direction to go with the topic! I really want to read the Fred Rogers book. The Mad Girls of New York sounds really good too and is on my wish list. Thank you for sharing!

    1. THE MAD GIRLS OF NEW YORK is available on NetGalley, if you're on there. It sounds great, doesn't it? I hope we both enjoy it.

      Thanks for popping in, Literary Feline!

  7. Nice list! I want to read the Fred Rogers book. It has been on the TBR for a while. I love Jimmy Stewart, and I'd like to read more about him as well.

    1. I've read one book about Mister Rogers and seen both of the movies about him that have been in the theaters in the last few years. Jimmy Stewart, though, I've read very little about. I'm definitely interested in knowing more about his personal life.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Kami!

  8. I was absolutely fascinated by The Mockingbird Next Door when I read it not long after I had walked through the old neighborhood of Capote's and Lee's there in Alabama. Turns out that Lee changed her mind about the author and the book before they finished the project, but I think it's very insightful.

    As for Alcott, I recommend The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen if you haven't read that one yet...very readable.

    Side note: I've had to shut down Book Chase in order to deal with some health issues my wife is having. No time. I'll still be cheering you on from the sidelines, though.

    1. First of all, I'm so sorry that your wife is struggling. That's tough for both of you. I'll keep you both in my prayers. I'll miss your blog, but know that you always have a fan in me, whether you're actively blogging or not.

      Now that you mention it, I do kind of remember hearing the same thing about Lee's reaction to THE MOCKINGBIRD NEXT DOOR. That will make the book even more interesting to read!

      I'll definitely have to pick up the Reisen book. I'm reading the Alcott biography I mentioned in my list right now and Rosenberg has quoted Reisen's book several times already. This one is written more for younger readers (well, older younger readers), so I'm sure it's not as in-depth as those written for adults. The Alcotts are super interesting, so I'm definitely up for reading more about them.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Sam!

  9. My sister was talking about Breedlove not that long ago. She teaches AP US History, so she talks about stuff like that. That woman was so impressive. Not only by the standards of her day, but by today's standards.

    1. I think there's a Netflix movie about Breedlove. I'm sure I saw it advertised somewhere. At any rate, yes, she's very interesting and hers is an amazing success story no matter the time period. I can't wait to read more about her.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Sam!

  10. Quite a variety of people! I'd never heard of Sarah Breedlove!

    1. Like I said above, I think I first heard about her from a movie teaser. I need to look through Netflix and see if I can find it. Her story just sounds so interesting!

      Thanks for stopping in, Gypsi!

  11. This is a great list! I like your take on this week's topic. The Mad Girls of New York sounds really interesting. I'm going to add that to my TBR.

    I haven't read many memoirs. I need to choose one for someone I really want to know more about like one of my top 20 crushes or something. Maybe, if I do that, I'll find that I like memoirs...

    1. I'm super excited about the Nellie Bly series. She had a really interesting life, so I'm kind of surprised there's not more fiction based on her life out there.

      I've never been into celebrity memoirs, but there are a few Old Hollywood actors (like Jimmy Stewart) that I love and would like to read more about. It would definitely be fun to read about your crushes :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Jenni!

  12. I love how you tweaked this week's TTT! Nellie Bly and Fred Rogers are two that I would love to read more about, too. :D

    1. Right? They're both such interesting people. Nellie Bly, especially, broke so many barriers in her time. I can't wait to read more about both of them.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lark!

  13. I read two books about Fred Rogers last year. What an incredibly kind man. I, too, want to read something about Harper Lee. I should look for the book you mentioned here. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    1. Yes, so kind and gentle. A remarkable man for lots of reasons.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Anne!

  14. All fascinating people!

    I had to look twice at the author of The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers; my husband's cousin's name is Aimee Hollingsworth. I had to think about the spelling for a minute. I was wondering how I didn't know that we had an author in the family. :-D

    If you like graphic novels, Around the World by Matt Phelan was good and includes a section about Nellie Bly. She attempted to go around the world in less than 80 days after the Verne novel was published. I'd like to read more about her as well.

    1. Ha ha. It would be fun to discover a secret author in your family!

      I haven't read many graphic novels, but I can definitely stand to broaden my horizons. I'll look for the Phelan book. Sounds intriguing.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Jen!

  15. Great topic for this week. I would love to know more about these people as well. I grew up with Mr. Rogers. I agree that sometimes poetry can be hard to understand. I read a poetry collection about C.J. Walker--Out of No Way by Roje Augustin.

    Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog.

    1. Really? How interesting. I avoid poetry like the plague, but I might have to check out the collection you mentioned. Thanks for the rec!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cheryl!

    2. Aaaaand there's another thing we have in common. LOL

  16. Woah! I love this twist on the topic and you’ve got a great list of people. I have recently learned that I can listen to memoirs if the person is reading it. I love it bc I can’t do any other audiobooks! The Fred Rogers has been one I’ve seen available for hold but haven’t done it yet!

    1. I hear you. I've found that there are certain types of books that work well for me on audio and others that just don't. Memoirs are in the former category for me as well.

      I hope we both enjoy the Rogers book when we get to it!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Leslie!

  17. Wow, this is such a creative take on the topic, and these all sound so interesting!

    1. I don't know why my mind blanked so totally on the prompt this week! Good thing I found a way to tweak it :) LOL.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Leah!

  18. I am not a big biography reader, but the Fred Rogers book is supposed to be really good. And, have you read Prairie Bitch? It's by the actress who played Nellie Olsen and is supposed to be really good. I know, not a historical person, but Laura Ingalls Wilder reminded me of it

    1. Ha ha. No, but it sounds like an entertaining read! Nellie Olsen was such a brat—I bet it was a fun part to play.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Helen!

  19. I love this! I want to read more about Dolly Parton, Julie Andrews...and more! Here's my link for this week:

    1. You know, I'm not a country western fan, but I still think Dolly Parton's memoir sounds interesting! Julie Andrews would be interesting, too - I loved her in Sound of Music and Mary Poppins.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cindy!

  20. Oh! I'm so pleased to meet someone else who is not a poetry fan and feels a bit dumb not getting it. Me too! Me too! Enjoyed this lovely post, so many people I want to read more about but I think I'm done reading about film stars or theatre people because it always seems to turn into a listing of their credits. Lots of others I'm interested in though, Queen Victoria and her offsping to name but a few, oh... Winston Churchill.

    1. Other than Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, and Longfellow, I really have never liked poetry. Especially the really abstract stuff. I just DON'T GET IT! Glad I'm not the only one :)

      I've never been into celebrity memoirs, but there are a few Old Hollywood stars I want to read about. I'm not into politics either, but I think Churchill would be interesting to read about. I never realized how quirky he was until I visited his WWII bunker in London last year.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cath!

  21. This is a great way of thinking about the prompt! I've already read some great memoirs this year

    1. Have you? That's great! I'm always up for an intriguing and/or entertaining memoir.

      Thanks for popping by, Sam!

  22. I love this post, especially since one of my goals this year is to read more nonfiction. I'm really intrigued by the books about Harper Lee and Fred Rogers.

    1. Same and I'm actually doing really well at it. Right now, I'm reading my third NF book of the year. That's amazing for this fiction lover :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Suzanne!

  23. To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite also! Such a powerful book. Just today I've heard it's being banned (again!) in some schools. Horrible.

    I just got an ARC for The Mad Girls of New York today! I'm really looking forward to it.

    1. Yeah, TKAM is one of those books that's always getting banned. I can understand why some people have issues with it, but it's such an incredible book that I just love it to pieces!

      I've got an ARC of MAD GIRLS on the way. Yay! It sounds like a great beginning to a really promising series. I hope it's as good as it sounds.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Wendy!

  24. This is such a fun list! I'd love to read more about some of these people, especially Fred Rogers😁

    1. Agreed. Mister Rogers was such a good person. I'm interested to see how his background and life experiences shaped him into the kind, gracious man he became.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Tammy!

  25. What a great twist on this week's TTT. I just requested The Mad Girls of New York, it sounds great. Thanks for the tip, Susan.

    1. I agree! I can't wait to see what the author does with the series. So many possibilities :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commneting, Carla!

  26. I've had To Kill a Mockingbird for years now, I'm dying to finally get around to reading it!

    1. YES! You definitely need to make time for it. It's a great read for lots of reasons.

      Thanks for popping in, Aliaa!

  27. I knew you'd find a way to twist the topic. I looked yesterday but your page still was empty. LOL.

    So many great authors, I will have to look some of those titles up. And I'm not surprised that we share a love for Phil Collins and James Stewart. Not to mention Laura Ingalls Wilder and Louisa May Alcott, of course.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT this week.

    1. I volunteer at a family history research center on Tuesday mornings, so my TTT post often goes up in the afternoon. Sometimes, I'm organized enough to get it up sooner, but not often! Ha ha.

      We're basically long-lost twins, Marianne, so I'm not surprised by our shared loves anymore either :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting!

    2. I know your day starts later than mine anyway but sometimes, I just check whether I've missed it. But that's the main reason why you often comment on my post earlier than I do on yours.

      I've put a few of the books you mention on my wishlist now, hope to get them at one point.

  28. WoW! love your take on TTT. Very innovative. Hilary Spurling's biography of British author Paul Scott is one of my favourites. From your list, I am most keen on reading Sarah Breedlove's bio. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a link.

    1. I'm dying to know more about Breedlove. Rags-to-riches stories are always intriguing to me.

      Thanks for stopping in, Neeru!

  29. Replies
    1. I'm almost finished with the biography from my list and it's fascinating! She lived a sad, but interesting life.

      Thanks for popping by, Andie!

  30. So many great books on this list that I'd also love to read!

    1. I hope we both love them when we read them!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Suey!

  31. I'm a great lover of biographies and memoirs too! I haven't heard of any of these actual books though I've heard of most of the people. I'm a fan of Jimmy Stewart and Phil Collins, and that's an interesting fact about Sarah Breedlove. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

  32. I love this topic! I might borrow this for a post (with credit of course!). I love your choices. There are so many people here that I want to know more about.

  33. This is a great list of biographies. here are some suggestions: Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, Mary Queen Of Scots,Michael Collins the IRA leader- in Ireland,Loretta Young[I just finished the young book. It was quite enjoyable, Marie Osmond and The Lennon Sisters.

  34. Fabulous spin on the prompt!
    I've read the Prarie Fires book....don't do the audio! The narrator is awful and I'm sure it affected my reading experience! The book is interesting (especially the first parts that center around the family)....but it's long and goes off the rails toward the end in my opinion! Definitely worth a read, though!

  35. Some of these I've never heard of but they sound so interesting, especially the historical ones. I'm surprised Nellie Bly doesn't have a Netflix drama about her already!


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