Annik LaFarge's Chasing Chopin is a slim book but it stands out because it's a hybrid work—biography and journalism—with utterly lovely, vivid descriptions of Chopin's music.
Through a brazen performance, one to obliterate all performances that came before, Isabelle Adjani gives her Claudel a true body in which to house all her drive and desire in Bruno Nuytten's Camille Claudel.
Bhogwan Singh performed with snakes for a beach sideshow in Los Angeles before he got his chance with Universal Studios to fix Rudolf Valentino's turban.
Ravi Shankar was bemused by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds and other bands using the sitar in rock music. Enjoy this excerpt from biography Indian Sun, by Oliver Craske (who worked with Shankar on his 1997 autobiography), courtesy of Hachette Books.
The story of one of Frida Kahlo's short affairs, captured in Marc Petitjean's excellent book, The Heart, offers an inspired glimpse into the surreal Parisian art scene of 1939.
Polymath Girolamo Cardano was beaten, imprisoned, survived a plague, and was banned by the church. Yet his work in medicine, engineering, mathematics and more is present in our lives today.
The Curmudgeonly King of Noir Chronicled in 'Notes From the Velvet Underground: The Life of Lou Reed'
Howard Sounes' Notes From the Velvet Underground is a beautifully considered book, with enough detail about the life and career of Lou Reed for the geeks, enough context for the historians, and just enough juicy stuff for everyone else.
Exploring the interplay of Irving Berlin's life with the life of New York City, noted biographer James Kaplan offers a visceral narrative of Berlin as self-made man and witty, wily, tough Jewish immigrant. Enjoy this excerpt of Kaplan's book, Irving Berlin: New York Genius.
Cynthia Erivo's transcendent turn as Union spy, escaped slave, and Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman shines through Kasi Lemmons' heroic but oversimplified biopic, Harriet.
Recent queer icon films Judy, Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman tease their key audience while keeping one foot solidly in straight land. Is this progress?
Director Craig Brewer helms his breezy tribute to Rudy Ray Moore, the '70s Blaxploitation icon who influenced an entire generation of young Black performers, with Dolemite Is My Name.
Critic Casey Rae depicts William S. Burroughs as a wise sage whom the wild creatives seek out for his wisdom... well, almost.
Gwyneth Jones's masterly account of the life and times of Joanna Russ serves as a timely reminder of the strides made in visibility and diversity in science fiction literature —and the distance still left to traverse.
Gavin Hood's thriller about British whistleblower Katharine Gun's attempt to stop the Iraq War, Official Secrets, is nothing special artistically, but its intense relevance burns the screen.
John Hersey covered Hiroshima and America's race riots with empathy, courage, and profound humility. Jeremy Treglown's biography, Mr. Straight Arrow, should bring a new generation of readers to Hersey's work.
Looking upon Virginia Woolf with an immature and childish creative lust, writer/director Chanya Button and co-writer Eileen Atkins reduce her to a bland literary figure in Vita & Virginia, leaving us to remember the contrarian truth.
From Marion Turner's work, Chaucer: A European Life, Chaucer emerges as a man who lived through intrigue, rebellions, a peasant's rising, and above all, a determination to translate.
Stylistically risqué, The Favourite relates to a certain type of subversive British cinema from filmmakers such as Peter Greenaway, although it is not an imitation.
Author C. M. Kushins talks with PopMatters about the complicated legacy of Warren Zevon, from crack-up to recovery and back again, and his research for Nothing's Bad Luck: The Lives of Warren Zevon.
Noted historian David W. Blight offers readers the fullest portrait of Frederick Douglass yet in this "biography of a voice".
These days, when personal grief becomes a public performance on social media, it's heartening to have a book such as Katharine Smyth's All the Lives We Ever Lived, wherein deep introspection is given space and literature provides both solace and inspiration.
The revised and expanded version of Will Friedwald's acclaimed Sinatra book, The Song Is You, is about the music and nothing but the music.
Saul Bellow has won many literary awards, including the Nobel, Pulitzer, and National Book Award. Yet Zachary Leader's thorough work, The Life of Saul Bellow: Love and Strife, 1965-2005, a PopMatters pick, begins with Below asking himself, "Was I a man or was I a jerk?"
Joshua Sperling's biography of John Berger is more of an art history text that's focused on specific social and political elements as they are connected through Berger's perspective.
Adam McKay's gonzo Dick Cheney biopic satire, Vice, won't be compared to Shakespeare, but it shares the Bard's disinterest in supervillains' motivations.