It all started one winter when my husband asked me to sit in a cold, drafty hunting cabin with him. I piled old blankets on top of myself, stared out into the snow-covered pines, and opened my copy of Get Happy, a biography of Judy Garland. It was one of the most euphoric reading experiences, both because of the picturesque yet rustic scene that I found myself inĀ  and because of the wondrous opportunity of peaking into the life of such a beloved entertainer and the times she lived in.

Since then, I’ve made it my winter tradition to read biographies about fascinating people. Granted, most of them are artists (musicians and actors primarily), but I relish in the opportunity to peak “behind the curtain” and catch a glimpse of what their lives were like. Mostly I am surprised by the hard, sorrowful life most celebrities lead, but more so I drink in all of the stories of eras gone by, major historical events witnessed firsthand, etc.

So, in honor of my winter tradition, I am currently reading the memoir of probably my most beloved musician of all time, Joan Baez, whose haunting, resplendent voice and commitment to non-violence continue to both inspire and comfort me.

Here are some other terrific biographies/memoirs of people I love that I recommend:

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