Oh we love a great biography and autobiography here at LoveReading. What's better than a literary genre that focuses on the life stories and experiences of real individuals. Real stories. Real lives. Real pain. Real learns.
If your favourite is an autobiography, a written account of a person's own life, narrated by that person, then we have added here some of our favourites of all time. We've also added some of the newly published titles hitting the shelves this Autumn ready for your Christmas shopping!
Biography more your thing? A written account of a person's life story, but it is authored by someone other than the subject of the biography. We've got plenty of those too.
Autumn is the time of year that celebrities publish their memoirs ready for the Christmas market. Whether you're wanting to learn more about your favourite actor, singer, comedian or TV star; or you're intrigued about people's lives once the cameras have been put away, the celebrity autobiographies may appeal to you.
Now her 13-year long conservatorship has come to an end, Britney Spears has taken the opportunity to share her story in her own words. The much buzzed about memoir The Woman in Me is a moving story about freedom, fame, motherhood, survival, faith and hope. Fans of Britney Spears and those who followed the #FreeBritney campaign will appreciate one of the greatest pop performers telling her story on her own terms.
The recent unexpected and terribly sad passing of actor Matthew Perry will be a loss to his myriad of fans. Always open about his troubles, his memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing is just as candid as you'd expect. Recorded as saying he wanted to be remembered for helping people, his unflinchingly honest, moving, and uproariously funny book delivers a powerful message of hope and persistence. Although out of stock at the time of writing this, you can add it to your wishlist ready for when it next becomes available.
Comedy legend and national treasure Billy Connolly wrote his first full-length autobiography Windswept & Interesting last year, and this year he releases Rambling Man, a joyful new book that explores a free spirit philosophy and shares Big Yin's ramblings and from his lifetime on the road. It's truly a global adventure with the wittiest possible travel companion.
Also no stranger to the autobiography, Dawn French released Dear Fatty in 2009, followed by the interactive non-fiction Me. You. A Diary and Me. You. Not A Diary in 2017 and 2018 consecutively. This year, the Vicar of Dibley star shares all the mistakes she's made in her life in The Twat Files and celebrates the fact that these mistakes are what make us gloriously human.
Is it really Christmas without hearing from the Mistletoe & Wine singer Cliff Richard? While this isn't a festive tune, A Head Full of Music shares the 30 songs that form the soundtrack to Richard's life, with memories and stories about the ways they've moved him and the legendary artists he has met.
Catch up with farmer-in-progress Jeremy Clarkson at Diddly Squat Farm with his latest book Diddly Squat: Pigs Might Fly. Since taking the tractor wheel three years ago Jeremy has had his work cut out, as documented on the hilarious TV show and in his first book Diddly Squat: 'Til The Cows Come Home. Another year on the farm and Jeremy is still knee-deep in mud and endless challenges.
Politics your thing? There are tons of autobiographies of political figures, including former Prime Ministers and Members of Parliament providing an insight into the country's political history. Arguing for a radical rethink of how we approach our politics and public life, former Home Secretary and Prime Minister Theresa May confronts a series of issues where the abuse of power led to devastating results.
Another searing insider account of ten extraordinary years in Parliament comes from Rory Stewart in Politics On the Edge. Candid, uncompromising and darkly humorous, this is his story of the absurdities and realities of political life today.
The remarkable, and in her time scandalous, seventeenth-century writer Margaret Cavendish's life is explored in Francesca Peacock's biography Pure Wit. In these lively pages, we discover fascinating details of Cavendish’s flamboyant life, and her work too, which covered a remarkable range of prescient topics, from why marriage is bad for women and lesbian love, to scientific and philosophical subjects. Quite simply a must read for anyone interested in history, literature and fabulous women who refuse to play by the book.
No Ordinary Day by Matt Johnson and John Murray is eye-opening and thought-provoking throughout. Read the shocking history and ongoing fight for justice after the murder of Police Constable Yvonne Fletcher in 1984. Described by Liz Robinson as "provocative and gripping" and awarded a LoveReading Star Book, this compelling read comes highly recommended by us.
History in the making, The War Came To Us by Christopher Miller is a breath-taking exploration of Ukraine's past, present, and future, and a heart-breaking account of the war against Russia, written by the leading journalist of the conflict. In a war of propaganda, this book offers both context and truth and is riveting, informative and heart-breaking in equal measure.
If you are an avid royalist, you might not want to read Spare by Prince Harry. However, you might have seen the onslaught of media coverage and, much like Britney Spears' autobiography, you may wish to hear Prince Harry's perspective in his own words and make up your own mind. Regardless of opinion, it more than earned its place in our list as earlier this year it became the UK's fastest selling non-fiction title ever when it sold 400,000 copies on its first day of publication.
In The Palace Papers, bestselling author Tina Brown takes readers on a tour de force journey that shows the Queen's stoic resolve as she coped with the passing of Princess Margaret, the Queen Mother and her partner for seven decades, Prince Philip, and triumphed in her Jubilee years even as the family dramas raged around her.
In Shakespeare, Dame Judi Dench opens up for the very first time about every Shakespearean role she has played throughout her seven-decade career. She guides us through Shakespeare's plays with incisive clarity, revealing the secrets of her rehearsal process and inviting us to share in her triumphs, disasters, and backstage shenanigans. Instructive and witty, provocative and inspiring, this is ultimately Judi's love letter to Shakespeare, or rather, The Man Who Pays The Rent.
In A Memoir of My Former Self Hilary Mantel tells her story from her unique childhood to her all-consuming fascination with Thomas Cromwell that grew into the Wolf Hall Trilogy. This autobiography reveals the shape of Mantel's life in her own dazzling words, 'messages from people I used to be.' Compelling, often very funny, always luminous, it is essential reading from one of our greatest writers.
The authoritative and illuminating biography of T. E. Lawrence - the man who inspired the iconic film Lawrence of Arabia - is delivered and makes this list thanks to the world's greatest living explorer Ranulph Fiennes. He can claim a true insight into the kind of life that Lawrence lived - bold and adventurous to the end.
Twenty years after leaving London, Nina Stibbe is back in town with her dog, Peggy. Together they take up lodging in the house of writer Deborah (Debby) Moggach in Camden for 'a year-long sabbatical'. Whether you fell for Nina in Love, Nina or you read her multi-award winning Reasons to be Cheerful, this is one read you won't want to miss out on.
Take a look at the man behind James Bond in Ian Fleming by Nicholas Shakespeare, or uncover The Secret Life of John le Carré in their respective biographies. With unprecedented access to both world famous authors their books cast fresh light on their subjects, whether through new material or information that they didn't want shared whilst alive.
Inspirational Life Stories
Now two of our absolute fave autobiographies of all time have to be mentioned here. We love reading autobiographies of individuals who have overcome significant challenges or achieved extraordinary feats and they don't come much better than Educated by Tara Westover. An inspiring tale from one incredible individual that blew our mind.
Equally, In The Shadow of the Mountain by Silvia Vasquez-Lavado is an incredible and inspirational story of triumph through adversity. As one of the first women in the world to climb the Seven Summits, this is a vivid an honest story that cemented it's place in our Star Books category.
Looking for more practical inspiration? Then why not take advice from the Terminator himself? Arnold Schwarzenegger's Be Useful contains the seven rules to follow in order to realise your true purpose in life. Inspired by his own journey and ceaseless reinvention, written in his uniquely earnest and blunt voice, this book takes readers through Arnold's toolkit for a meaningful life.
Are you wanting 2024 to be the year that you finally achieve those long put off goals? Diary of a CEO by Steven Bartlett shares a set of principles he's noticed through his own successes and failures in life as well as those people he's interviewed on his podcast.
Talking of epic feats and epic failures, there are few people in the world who are quite as divisive as Elon Musk. Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and other bestselling biographies had two years of unprecedented access to this mercurial and powerful man and has penned an astonishingly intimate story of Elon Musk, the most fascinating and controversial innovator of our era.
We hope you enjoy this collection of LoveReading's best biographies and autobiographies, curated especially for you in time for Christmas 2023. It's a Christmas cracking list.