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Christmas Gift Guide: Biographies / Autobiographies

Charlotte Walker

By Charlotte Walker on 7th November 2018

A time for giving, a time for getting,

A time for forgiving and for forgetting.

Christmas often leads to an abundance of memoirs and autobiographies being released, but which one to get? Here are some of the Biographies / Autobiographies we think would be great gifts.

More Dashing

A follow up to Dashing for the Post, Our Editorial Expert Matt Johnson shared his thoughts on this Autobiography:

It should please Fermor fans no end to discover that Adam Sisman has again taken the time to patiently select, edit, analyse and – where necessary – explain more from the vast array on entertaining and fascinating letters penned by Fermor to such a wide range of recipients.

A treat for Fermor’s fans – they won’t be disappointed.

The Life and Times of a Very British Man

Kamal Ahmed's Autobiographical coming-of-age story was also enjoyed by Matt Johnson:

Through a series of personal anecdotes, political comment and astute observations, [this book] makes a compelling case for a new debate about what is it to be British, what makes us who we are and how we view those we consider to be ‘others’.

At times disturbing, at times amusing, The Life and Times of a Very British Man asks searching questions about us, our country and our attitude to change. I recommend it.

Helen Oxenbury: A Life in Illustration

Julia Eccleshare loved this account of esteemed artist Helen Oxenbury's life:

An outstanding book for everyone who has enjoyed We’re Going on a Bear Hunt or any of Helen Oxenbury’s other wonderful books from her board books capturing the smallest details of toddler life to her witty and sophisticated illustrations to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

The wealth of Oxenbury’s exquisite illustrations that have been reproduced in the highest possible quality make it a book that gives hours of enjoyment and inspiration.

Blowing the Bloody Doors Off

A longstanding member of the Britsh film Industry, Michael Caine, now in his 85th year, tells of his remarkable career, which he thought was over before it really begun. 

One of our best-loved actors Michael Caine has starred in a huge range of films - including all-time favourites - from the classic British movies Alfie, Zulu and The Italian Job to the Hollywood blockbusting Dark Knight trilogy, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Hannah and Her Sisters and Cider House Rules. Caine has excelled in every kind of role - with a skill that's made it look easy.

This is a brilliant insight into the life and work of a national treasure and the perfect gift for all Caine fans.

Look on the Bright Side of Life

Eric Idle is known for his unforgettable roles on Monty Python. From writing that popular song for Life of Brian, as well as Flying Circus, Holy Grail and many more.

In this book, Idle has the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of his own life in an autobiography that covers his childhood, school life and brilliant career.

Coming of age as a writer and comedian during the Sixties and Seventies, Eric stumbled into the crossroads of the cultural revolution and found himself rubbing shoulders with a host of world-famous names who became lifelong friends. With anecdotes sprinkled throughout, Eric reflects on his life and work with equal parts hilarity and heart.

George Best: A Memoir

Michael Parkinson puts his decades of journalistic experience to work in this stunning memoir.

Looking back on the life and troubles of a footballing legend and a friend, Parkinson brings a fresh insight into the great Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballer. 

The book weaves together recollections of when the 'the fifth Beatle' ensured it was Manchester, not London or Liverpool, which made the Sixties swing; of Best enjoying a carefree kickabout with the Parkinsons' children in the family garden; and selected transcripts from their endlessly fascinating interviews. 'Where did it all go wrong?' is the punchline to a famous Best story.


An inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States. Michelle Obama has become one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era during a life filled with meaning and accomplishment. 

Presented with unerring honesty and lively wit, Michelle describes her triumphs and disappointments in both her public and her private life in her own words and on her own terms. 

Brief Answers to the Big Questions

The final book from Professor Stephen Hawking, this a must-have book for 2018!

The bestselling author of A Brief History of Time and the most famous scientist of our Aage, this is a profound and accessible and timely reflection on some of the biggest questions in science. 

Looking at God, the start of life, the future, life on other planets, climate change, AI and time travel - let Stephen Hawking expand our understanding of the universe one final time. 

The Diary of a Bookseller

A witty and warm diary of a a bookseller. Shaun Bythell owns the largest second hand bookshop in Scotland, The Bookshop in Wigtown. Filled with hundreds of thousands of books, it's a book lover's paradise.

The book is filled with eccentric customers and staff, as well as book recommendations, annecdotes and adventures. A perfect 'behind the scenes' look at life as an independent bookseller in a small town.

Click here to check out our full Christmas Gift Guide for the perfect gift this Christmas!

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