I know your hundredth post is supposed to be momentous.
Sorry, I used up all my bombast on genocide posts this week. If you'd like to do something to celebrate my hundredth post, go to http://www.savedarfur.org/ and make a donation, sign a petition, or both.
But I have been meaning to make some book recommendations, so I'll make that my 100th post celebration.
(Readers who've been here since the very beginning know this is actually my 102nd post. Two early, thoroughly indiscreet and thoroughly inappropriate posts got put up here before I realized people I knew would find this thing so fast. They've been deleted forever --- except, I suppose, in the unbelievably robust set of data that never dies, thanks to Google. I'm counting on their "Don't Be Evil" philosophy in hoping those two posts never see the light of day.)
Biographies and autobiographies (and a memoir/ethnography) I've enjoyed in the last couple of years:
Personal History, by Katherine Graham. She did not win the Pulitzer just because she herself was a publisher. This is a warts-and-all look at one of the more remarkable lives of the 20th century. I wish I'd known her.
Life of the Party, about Pamela Harriman, by Christopher Ogden. Great dish. Lots of behind the scenes stories about people who shaped our world and, a woman whose romantic conquests included statesmen, princes of industry, royals, the odd theatrical impresario, Edward R. Murrow and others too numerous to mention. She was Winston Churchill's daughter-in-law. Her foster son from one marriage (Peter Duchin) married her step-daughter from another (Susan Hayward). She ended her life as Bill Clinton's Ambassador to France, and appears to have had a jolly, influential time her whole life long.
Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life, by Richard Ben Cramer. Demythologizes a complicated man who insisted on being introduced as America's greatest living baseball player.
Sandy Koufax, a Lefty's Legacy, by Jane Leavy. The opposite of the DiMaggio book. Koufax, if anything, seems to be a better man than anyone ever gave him credit for. Also, Leavy makes Larry King out to be the ass he really is.
Leavy's recounting of Koufax's stock answer to being asked if he's a recluse is priceless: "Gee, my friends don't think so."
Excelsior!, by Stan Lee. It's not too strong a statement to make to say that Stan Lee helped teach me to read. A must-read for anyone who grew up on Marvel Comics in the 60's through 80's. But it's a piece of fluff. If you have nothing invested Stan Lee to start with, this book won't help you understand why he's one of my greatest heroes.
The Home on Gorham Street and the Voices of Its Children, by Howard Goldstein. Details the history of the Jewish orphanage my father grew up in. It uses him as one case history. Since my dad had killed himself by the time I was 26 months old, this book gave me a lot of details about his life that I'd never known. Caveat: The book contains a characterization of my parents' marriage that my mom found totally inaccurate and hurtful besides. If you read this one, please also read my Amazon review of the book.
Maybe for post 200, I'll recommend the junk science fiction, mysteries and thrillers that would be a more accurate reflections of my typical nightstand reading.