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Books with Extraordinary Characters

Carole Barrowman's picks
Posted at 10:53 AM, Apr 20, 2021

Our book guru Carole Barrowman is celebrating her birthday. So in honor of the big day she is sharing books about extraordinary characters. Lots of studies show that reading can help develop empathy, and Carole thinks reading about people who have lived extraordinary lives can be an important way to self-actualize too. We can learn from their trials and triumphs.
Here are her recommended reads

Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life by Julianna Margulies
If you’ve followed Margulies professional journey from ER to the GOOD WIFE, you’ll find this memoir about her personal life as fascinating as any characters she’s played. In many ways, each of the women she’s played on TV share similarities with experiences in her own life. The lessons she’s learned from her experiences are often quite enlightened.
Grace O’Malley: The Pirate Queen by Tony Lee and Sam Hart
If you’ve a restless teen reader (picks up books & puts them down unfinished) or a reluctant reader in your household, I highly recommend this recent graphic novel based on the extraordinary life of Grace O’Malley, who was known as the Pirate Queen of Ireland. She was skilled with a sword and an exceptional sailor, and, in the 16th century, she was more famous on the high seas than any of her bearded counterparts.

The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock: An Anatomy of the Master of Suspense by Edward White In this insightful biography, the phenomenon that was Alfred Hitchcock is explored through his relationships and his films. What made him such a cultural icon? What did he think of Cary Grant? Of Grace Kelly? This is a big meaty well-written book with each of the 12 chapters focusing on key events of his life. You’ll want to re-watch his films after reading this.
I Am a Girl from Africa by Elizabeth Nyamayato (Simon & Schuster)
“I am because we are” is the mantra and the message at the heart of this exceptional autobiography about humanitarian and UN senior advisor, Elizabeth Nyamayato. When she was a child a UN worker saved her life and inspired her to follow in their footsteps. I think this would be a great spring book club pick. It’s incredibly moving, rich in areas for discussion and its overall message is everything.