What is your favorite type of book and why?
My favorite types of book to read are biographies.
Why? Because if someone whether living or dead has done something worthy of being remembered in the form of a biography then I want to know why. I’m reading a biography on Vincent Van Gogh right now. He was a famous painter, this I already knew. But what was his life like? I knew he dealt with Mental Illness and lost an ear somehow. But what were his formative years like? Who did he know? Whom did he love during his time on Earth.
These are the types of questions that surround the lives of every great man and woman in history. They were not born in a vacuum. Some may have been child prodigies like Mozart, but most were not born into greatness. So what were the circumstances of their lives. What made them great? I wonder whether scientists will one day discover some gene that can be flipped on in ordinary men and women that can somehow enable them to become great. I’ve heard stories about men and women undergoing some sort of trauma like a lightning strike and then suddenly being world class artists. I’m too lazy to look up the term but it was something to do with savants. But imagine if scientists one day found the gene behind such sudden savants and were able to switch it on from birth. I wonder how that hasn’t happened already. Would the world be able to handle a few million more Van Goghs? He was a terrific artist in retrospect, but his family considered him a drain and a disgrace while he lived.
I suppose a lot of this comes from another non-fiction book I’m reading called The Future of the Mind. It talks about the possibility of activating a smart gene. But I’ll leave that tangent alone.
I guess I just enjoy biographies because they enable me to see what is possible. I’ve read enough to know that almost every one of the greats had their own unique path to said greatness.
So I ask again, what is your favorite type of book to read and why?