I'm not a fan of biographies or autobiographies. I find that autobiographies and memoirs are self-indulgent and generally boring, unless you were there (only read to confirm that the author is "so wrong"). I think biographies are about the same.... the history of a person, as seen through the lens of another. Many times, there is a bit of scandal tossed in to spice it up. But, mostly.... one person's opinion of how another lived his/her life.
My friend, Kate (who you also know as our Literacy Consultant/ Coach/ ELA Guru) raved about how fascinating this book was and how she stayed up late to read it. Those who know her also know that she stays up late to read books about argumentative essay writing. (I'm not joking- she just did the other day.) So, based on her review, I stepped out of my cynical box last week and picked up the book on Steve Jobs at the library- I was not actually paying for a 500+ page book about tech genius. This was the authorized biography, where the author was given full access and Jobs never asked to read it. Weird, for a control freak. Any way, I slept great last week! Each night, I got through about 5 pages and dozed right off. Clearly- this was my problem..... I've been choosing GOOD books to read before bed. I should have been reading about how bad Steve Jobs smelled and how he thought he was better than everyone else (which he probably was).
After about 150 pages, I gave up (NOT a mistake!). I shared with my students the next day in readers workshop my dilemma. I was teaching them how readers do not let the connection (text to self, text to text, text to media, etc.) get in the way or distract from the book you are reading. I allowed my connection to technology and personal opinions about overly confident people get in the way of what may have been a great story. They were shocked. Here lies my mistake: I don't think I ever told them that it's okay to abandon a book when you are just not making a positive connection or enjoying the experience. I REALLY hope I didn't just shoot myself in the foot here. I've also told them to keep books in their reading bag for about a week :)
The purpose of reading is to understand. Whether it is to learn or feel emotions through a character. The joy of reading is to become fully immersed in your text and allow it to change you or your thinking. Just like visual art, literary art is to be enjoyed and to provide an escape from our every day lives. As an educator, I see it as a tool for people to learn about our world. As a reader, it is a tool to learn about myself.
P.S. I'm reading Tina Fey's book at 5:30am (snow day) and laughing like a crazy person. My 12 year old was not amused when I woke him up on accident. I highly recommend it. I may just change my views if I find more authors like her!