Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!
Though there is something to be said for an autobiography, and the firsthand knowledge and the alluring intimacy it can offer, I tend to prefer biographies written about people. In a biography, the narrative isn’t filtered through the subject’s own ego, and it may be possible to gain a more objective view. Then again, the fascination of a really remarkable autobiographical document, such as The Kid Stays in the Picture by Robert Evans, is something not to be missed. Of course, there is the danger of a biased biographer, but we must learn to pick and choose our sources for reputable biography, considering them as we would any primary and secondary source materials. No matter which you choose to read, you ought to always consider the bias of the writer: What is their purpose in writing this? What story are they telling?
One thing I enjoy about biographies, is the sometimes vast access to documents both public and private, and they way that these become more accessible to a wider public. And the best ones will have various documents written by the subject, providing those intimate glimpses, those “truths” in which we’re so interested.
Of course, I tend to read biographies of people who are centuries dead, which does bias me, as there is little to no chance of a tell-all biography being published!
Some of my favorite biographies: Queen of Scots by John Guy, Madame Sarah by Cornelia Otis Skinner, Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser, Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman
Favorite autobiographies: The Kids Stays in the Picture by Robert Evans, I’m with the Band by Pamela des Barres