Category Archives: Biography

Valerie Plame Lecture

Just as Kareem Abdul Jabbar will be speaking at Hopkins next week (on October 28, 2008) as part of the Milton S. Eisenhower Speakers Symposium “A More Perfect Union: Partnership, Progress and Prosperity in a Changing America,” so shall Valerie Plame (on October 30, 2008).

Author of Fair Game: How a Top CIA Agent Was Betrayed by Her Own Government, Plame features heavily in Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War by Michael Isikoff and David Corn.

Click here to read about Hubris (an excerpt may be found here) and click here to read an excerpt from Fair Game.

Doors will open at 7:30 pm at Shriver Hall on the Homewood Campus the talk begins at 8:00 pm and will be followed by a reception in the Clipper Room.

This event is free and open to the public.

Shriver Hall Auditorium is on the university’s Homewood campus, 3400 N. Charles St., in Baltimore.

Visitor parking is available in the South Garage, 3101 Wyman Park Drive, Baltimore, Md. 21211.


Brenda Avadian Lecture

Brenda Avadian, author of eight books, is speaking at the 11th Annual Louis Mary Battle Lecture on  Monday November 3, 2008 at the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Auditorium, Mercy High School.

Dr. Rebecca Elon, director of the Lorien Columbia Nursing and Rehabilitation Center,  will also be speaking.

Avadian’s books include:

The event posting I saw gave this description of the speakers:

Rebecca Elon, MD
The Absence of Presence: Lessons from American Medicine
Dr. Rebecca Elon is the founding medical director of Erickson Health Howard County (EHHC). The outpatient offices of EHHC are housed within the Lorien Columbia Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where Dr. Elon has served as medical director since 2006.

Brenda Avadian, MA

Finding the JOY in Caregiving: When Tears are Dried with Laughter
Brenda Avadian, The Caregiver’s Voice, is a spokesperson and advocate for caregivers and their loved ones with dementia. An eight-book author, she offers sprinkles of JOY from her own experiences caring for her father with Alzheimer’s. For caregiving information, please visit

Reception starts at 6:00pm and lecture starts at 7:00pm at Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Auditorium, Mercy High School, 1300 East Northern Parkway, Baltimore, Maryland 21239.

Open to the public but reservations are required; call 410-252-4500 x7208.

Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics by Joe Biden

Well, I’ve finished reading Joe Biden’s 2007 memoir Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics (click here to view all my posts about this book).

And while I would still recommend it to folks who want to learn more about the Senator and the Democratic Nominee for Vice President, I found that as I got further and further into the book it became clear that it was written as a campaign tool (for his 2008 presidential attempt).

The first half of the book — Biden’s childhood, the love story of meeting his first wife Neila, Biden’s Senate campaign, the tragic death of Neila and his baby daughter Naomi in 1972, meeting Jill and rebuilding his family, and coming into his own as a Senator — is beautiful and moving.

But as the memoir moves into September 11th, Afghanistan and Iraq, I started to lose interest because it felt like Biden was trying to sell readers on a Biden Presidency.

Click here to view the table of contents, here to read an excerpt from Promises to Keep, or here to visit the Senator’s website.

Promises to Keep by Joe Biden

The more I’ve seen of Joe Biden these last few weeks, the more I’ve come to like him.

I’ve started reading his 2007 memoir Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics (click here to view all my posts about this book) and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about the Democratic Nominee for Vice President.

Since Biden took the title of his book from a line from Robert Frost’s famous poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” I thought I’d share it here:

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Click here to view the table of contents or here to read an excerpt.

Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter

I haven’t been interested in reading any of former President Jimmy Carter’s books.

And this Nobel Peace Prize winner has written a lot of books:

I didn’t know that he wrote not just non-fiction but also a book of poetry and a children’s book. And that doesn’t even include the books that he’s written prefaces, forewords or introductions for!

But the one I’m considering reading now is Carter’s Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. I remember reading a less than glowing New York Times review of this book in January 2007 not long after this book came out.

Obviously the publisher thinks much more highly of this book; here’s what the publisher has to say about this book:

President Carter, who was able to negotiate peace between Israel and Egypt, has remained deeply involved in Middle East affairs since leaving the White House. He has stayed in touch with the major players from all sides in the conflict and has made numerous trips to the Holy Land, most recently as an observer in the Palestinian elections of 2005 and 2006.

In this book President Carter shares his intimate knowledge of the history of the Middle East and his personal experiences with the principal actors, and he addresses sensitive political issues many American officials avoid. Pulling no punches, Carter prescribes steps that must be taken for the two states to share the Holy Land without a system of apartheid or the constant fear of terrorism.

The general parameters of a long-term, two-state agreement are well known, the president writes. There will be no substantive and permanent peace for any peoples in this troubled region as long as Israel is violating key U.N. resolutions, official American policy, and the international “road map” for peace by occupying Arab lands and oppressing the Palestinians. Except for mutually agreeable negotiated modifications, Israel’s official pre-1967 borders must be honored. As were all previous administrations since the founding of Israel, U.S. government leaders must be in the forefront of achieving this long-delayed goal of a just agreement that both sides can honor.

Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid is a challenging, provocative, and courageous book.

Having read Queen Noor’s Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life, I’d like to learn more about Israeli-Palestinian history and politics and I’m interested in reading Carter’s Palestine because I suspect that it tells a different side of the story than we normally hear in the United States.

That this book has sparked much uproar makes me think that this is an important book to read — whether or not it is accurate.

Click here to view the table of contents or click here to read an excerpt.

Kelly Corrigan Lecture

Yet another author lecture in Baltimore…

Sinai Hospital Auxillary is celebrating its 60th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, October 2, 2008 with a lecture by Kelly Corrigan, author of bestselling memoir The Middle Place, and music with Three of a Kind.

The event starts at 7:30pm at Beth El Congregation, 8101 Park Heights Avenue, Pikesville, MD 21208.

Free and open to the public but reservations are required; call 410-601-5033.

Here’s a synopsis of The Middle Place:

For Kelly Corrigan, family is everything. At thirty-six, she had a marriage that worked, two funny, active kids, and a weekly newspaper column. But even as a thriving adult, Kelly still saw herself as the daughter of garrulous Irish-American charmer George Corrigan. She was living deep within what she calls the Middle Place—”that sliver of time when parenthood and childhood overlap”—comfortably wedged between her adult duties and her parents’ care. But Kelly is abruptly shoved into coming-of-age when she finds a lump in her breast—and gets the diagnosis no one wants to hear. When George, too, learns that he has late-stage cancer, it is Kelly’s turn to take care of the man who had always taken care of her—and to show us a woman who finally takes the leap and grows up.

Click here to read an excerpt.

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder

Many of my friends idolize Warren Buffett.

Truthfully, I don’t know much about him so I’m happy to hear that Alice Schroeder, former managing director at Morgan Stanley, has just written a biography of Warren Buffett after spending approximately two thousands hours interviewing and observing Buffett.

The book is titled The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life and refers to one of Buffett’s folksy sayings about success: “Life is like a snowball. The important thing is finding wet snow and a really long hill.”

As usual, I heard about this book from the New York Times — Janet Maslin‘s “The Richest Man and How He Grew (and Grew His Company, Too).”

I have no doubt that my local library will carry this unprecedented biography of “The Oracle of Omaha” (after all, even Walmart is selling this book) but I may want to purchase a copy anyway.

Click here to read an excerpt.