Recommended titles about creative geniuses.

Compiled by:
Erica B.
American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell

Deborah Solomon
Adult Nonfiction – 750.92 Rockwell Sol

"Norman Rockwell mingled fact and fiction in paintings that reflected the we-the-people, communitarian ideals of American democracy. Who was this man who served as our unofficial 'artist in chief' and bolstered our country's national identity? Behind the folksy, pipe-smoking façade lay a surprisingly complex figure―a lonely painter who suffered from depression and was consumed by a sense of inadequacy." —Publisher

The Collector of Lives: Giorgio Vasari and the Invention of Art

Ingrid Rowland, Noah Charney
Adult Nonfiction – 709.2 Vasari Row

"Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) was a man of many talents—a sculptor, painter, architect, writer, and scholar—but he is best known for Lives of the Artists, the classic account that single-handedly invented the genre of artistic biography and established the canon of Italian Renaissance art." —Publisher

Drawing Blood: A Memoir

Molly Crabapple
Adult Nonfiction – 070.92 Crabappple Cra

"The underground artist and journalist presents a memoir of her years between September 11 and the Occupy movement in New York City to discuss the impact of historical events on her work and her decision to become a witness journalist." —Publisher

Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo

Hayden Herrera
Adult Nonfiction – 750.92 Kahlo Her

"An in-depth biography of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo details her haunting and original painting style, her turbulent marriage to muralist Diego Rivera, her association with communism, and her love of Mexican culture and folklore." —Publisher


Robert Hughes
Adult Nonfiction – 750.92 Goya Hug

"With his salient passion for the artist and the art, Hughes brings Goya vividly to life through dazzling analysis of a vast breadth of his work. Building upon the historical evidence that exists, Hughes tracks Goya’s development from the early works commissioned by the Church, through his long, productive, and tempestuous career at court, to the darkly sinister and cryptic work he did at the end of his life." —Publisher

The Great Nadar: The Man Behind the Camera

Adam Begley
Adult Nonfiction – 770.92 Nadar Beg

"Of all of the legendary figures who thrived in mid-19th-century Paris—a cohort that includes Victor Hugo, Baudelaire, Gustave Courbet, and Alexandre Dumas—Nadar was perhaps the most innovative, the most restless, the most modern." —Publisher

Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs

Sally Mann
Adult Nonfiction – 770.92 Mann Man

"In this groundbreaking book, a unique interplay of narrative and image, Mann's preoccupation with family, race, mortality, and the storied landscape of the American South are revealed as almost genetically predetermined, written into her DNA by the family history that precedes her." —Publisher

Kirby: King of Comics

Mark Evanier
Adult Nonfiction – 741.5 Eva

"Jack Kirby created or co-created some of comic books’ most popular superheroes, including Captain America, The X-Men, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four, The Mighty Thor, Darkseid, and The New Gods. More significantly, he created much of the visual language for fantasy and adventure comics. This is his story, by one who knew him well—Mark Evanier." —Publisher

Listening to Stone: The Art and Life of Isamu Noguchi

Hayden Herrera
Adult Nonfiction – 730.92 Noguchi Her

"A master of what he called 'the sculpturing of space,' Isamu Noguchi was a vital figure for modern public art. Born to an American mother and a Japanese father, Noguchi never felt like he belonged anywhere and spent his life assembling identities in his statues, monuments, and gardens. The result—massive sculptures of interlocking wood, Zen-like gardens of granite, and stone slides—is now seen as a powerful artistic link between East and West." —Publisher

Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies

Ross King
Adult Nonfiction – 759.13 Monet Kin

"The extraordinary story behind the painting of the Water Lilies, chronicling how these entrancing images were produced at a time of terrible private turmoil and sadness and against the backdrop of World War I." —Publisher

The Master of Us All: Balenciaga, His Workrooms, His World

Mary Blume
Adult Nonfiction – 921 Balenciaga Blu

"A sparkling life of the monumental fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga. One of the most innovative and admired figures in the history of haute couture, Balenciaga said that he was the only designer who dared to do as he liked. But despite his extraordinary impact, he was a man hidden from view." —Publisher

POPism: The Warhol Sixties

Andy Warhol, Pat Hackett
Adult Nonfiction – 750.92 Warhol War

"Warhol’s personal view of the Pop phenomenon in New York in the 1960s and a look back at the relationships that made up the scene at the Factory, including his rela­tionship with Edie Sedgwick. In the detached, back-fence gossip style he was famous for, Warhol tells all—the ultimate inside story of a decade of cultural revolution." —Publisher

Turner: The Extraordinary Life and Momentous Times of J.M.W. Turner

Franny Moyle
Adult Nonfiction – 750.92 Turner Moy

"J.M.W. Turner is one of the most important figures in Western art, and his visionary work paved the way for a revolution in landscape painting. Over the course of his lifetime, Turner strove to liberate painting from an antiquated system of patronage. Bringing a new level of expression and color to his canvases, he paved the way for the modern artist." —Publisher

Vivian Maier: A Photographer's Life and Afterlife

Pamela Bannos
770.92 Maier Ban

"Many people know her as the reclusive Chicago nanny who wandered the city for decades, constantly snapping photographs, which were unseen until they were discovered in a seemingly abandoned storage locker. Soon the whole world knew about her preternatural work, shooting her to stardom almost overnight. Bannos contrasts Maier’s life with the mythology that strangers—mostly the men who have profited from her work—have created around her absence." —Publisher

The Autobiography of Gucci Mane

Gucci Mane
Adult Nonfiction – 780.92 Gucci Mane Guc

"For the first time Gucci Mane tells his story in his own words. It is the captivating life of an artist who forged an unlikely path to stardom and personal rebirth. Gucci Mane began writing his memoir in a maximum-security federal prison. Released in 2016, he emerged radically transformed." —Publisher

Born to Run

Bruce Springsteen
Adult Nonfiction – 780.92 Springsteen Spr

"Bruce Springsteen describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger, and darkness that fueled his imagination. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. He also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work." —Publisher


Jay Z
Adult Nonfiction – 780.92 Jay-Z Jay

"A collection of lyrics and their meanings that together tell the story of a culture, an art form, a moment in history, and one of the most provocative and successful artists of our time."

Diary of a Player: How My Musical Heroes Made a Guitar Man Out of Me

Brad Paisley, David Wild
Adult Nonfiction – 780.92 Paisley Pai

"Brad Paisley is one of country music’s leading men—admired as a recording artist, a performer, a songwriter, and a guitar slinger. This was not always so. In Diary of a Player, Paisley for the first time fully retraces his entire musical and personal journey to date." —Publisher

Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny

Nile Rodgers
Adult Nonfiction – 780.92 Rodgers Rod

"Today's pop music—genre-crossing, gender-bending, racially mixed, visually stylish, and dominated by dance music with global appeal—is the world that Nile Rodgers created. In the 1970s and 1980s, he wrote and produced the songs that defined that era and everything that came after. Here he gives us the behind-the-scenes tales of the songs we all know, and lovingly re-creates the outsider subcultures that live on in the world of pop he helped to set in motion." —Publisher

Hit So Hard: A Memoir

Patty Schemel, Erin Hosier
Adult Nonfiction – 780.92 Schemel Sch

"Patty Schemel's story begins with a childhood surrounded by the AA meetings her parents hosted in the family living room. Their divorce triggered her first forays into drinking at age twelve and dovetailed with her passion for punk rock and playing the drums. By the late '80s she had focused that anger, confusion, and drive into regular gigs with well-regarded bands in Tacoma, Seattle, and Olympia, Washington."

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir

Carrie Brownstein
Adult Nonfiction – 780.92 Brownstein Bro

"A narrative of rock guitarist and actor Brownstein's escape from a turbulent family life into a world where music was the means toward self-invention, community, and rescue. Chronicles the excitement and contradictions within the era's flourishing and fiercely independent music subculture, including experiences that sowed the seeds for the popular television series Portlandia years later." —Publisher

It's a Long Story: My Life

Willie Nelson
Adult Nonfiction – 780.92 Nelson Nel

"The iconic Country Music Hall of Fame artist and 10-time Grammy winner shares the story of his personal life and career, from his early ambitions and indelible relationships through his bankruptcy and founding of Farm Aid." —Publisher

Johnny Cash: The Life

Robert Hilburn
Adult Nonfiction – 780.92 Cash Hil

"A noted music critic who knew him tells the unvarnished truth about Cash, whose personal life was far more troubled and his artistry much more profound than even his most devoted fans have realized." —Publisher

Just Kids

Patti Smith
Adult Nonfiction – 780.92 Smith Smi

"In this tough, tender memoir, singer-songwriter Patti Smith transports readers to what seemed like halcyon days for art and artists in New York, and her new life in Brooklyn with a young man named Robert Mapplethorpe—the man who changed her life with his love, friendship, and genius." —Publisher

Lady Sings the Blues

Billie Holiday, William Dufty
Adult Nonfiction – 780.92 Holiday Hol

"The fiercely honest, no-holds-barred autobiography of Billie Holiday, the legendary jazz, swing, and standards singing sensation." —Publisher

Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Ben Greenman
Adult Nonfiction – 780.92 Questlove Que

"A punch-drunk memoir in which Everyone's Favorite Questlove tells his own story while tackling some of the lates, the greats, the fakes, the philosophers, the heavyweights, and the true originals of the music world. He digs deep into the album cuts of his life and unearths some pivotal moments in black art, hip hop, and pop culture." —Publisher

My Cross to Bear

Gregg Allman
Adult Nonfiction – 780.92 Allman All

"For the first time, the author, a rock music icon, and one of the founding members of The Allman Brothers Band, tells the full story of his life and career. No subject is taboo, as one of the true giants of rock 'n' roll opens up about life on the road in one of rock's most legendary bands." —Publisher

Not Dead Yet: The Memoir

Phil Collins
Adult Nonfiction – 780.92 Collins Col

"The Genesis front man and successful solo artist presents a reflective memoir that shares insights into the remarkable experiences behind many of his iconic songs and performances, discussing his early years, relationships with fellow artists, and struggles with addiction." —Publisher

Rat Girl

Kristin Hersh
Adult Nonfiction – 780.92 Hersh Her

"After leaving home at the age of fifteen, the precocious child of unconventional hippies had enrolled in college while her band, Throwing Muses, was getting off the ground amid rumors of a major label deal. Then everything changed: she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and found herself in an emotional tailspin. An intensely personal and moving account of that pivotal year." —Publisher