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Biographies and Autobiographies

In their own words or from the pen of a biographer, the lives of others hold a magnetic intrigue. Indulge your curiosity here… Read and find out more about the lives of well-known figures. Want more inspiration? Head to our 'Best Autobiographies Ever' blog post filled with recommendations from our bookish friends.

This Month's Featured Biography / Autobiography Books

Other Biography / Autobiography Books

Great Paintings

Great Paintings

Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/10/2011

The story of 60 paintings is told, unlocking hidden meanings and symbols and over 700 photographs bring the pictures to life helping you understand the key features, composition and techniques that have made these paintings stand out. Plus, biographies of the artists provide the background to each art work helping you paint your own picture of the historical and social context behind each masterpiece. Great Paintings is a beautiful guide to the paintings that have changed the world, both familiar and new. It really is like having a gallery of all the great paintings at your fingertips.

Bad Education

Bad Education

Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/09/2013

Bad Education, written by and starring Jack Whitehall, follows Alfie Wickers the worst teacher to ever (dis)grace the British Education System, and a bigger kid than the pupils he teaches. Abbey Grove school is populated by some of the weirdest teachers you could ever meet: Fraser the hair-brained Headmaster who longs to be down with the kids, Miss Gulliver the biology teacher with a heart of gold but perhaps a dash too much openness and honesty, Miss Mollinson the happily swinging Head of Maths who won't let her hip replacement get in the way and Deputy Headmistress Miss Pickwell who displays all the charm and sensitivity of a Third Reich Dominatrix. Alfie's class is Form K, a bunch of misfits that have been written off by the rest of the school, but Alfie can't help but see a bit of himself in them. This is about a class of kids and their teacher's quest to get through life and get the best results with the minimum amount of effort possible. Sadly it's not an equation that always adds up. From a disastrous parents' evening to cringe-worthy sex-education lessons to life threatening self-defence classes to school elections full of dirty tricks and a school trip to see a rhino pig; Bad Education is school life as you've never seen it before. Bad Education: The Teachers' Handbook is filled with hilarious content from both the first and upcoming second series from pupils' report cards and the graffiti found in the staff toilets, to Alfie's teaching methods and the best ways to scam a free laptop from the government.

Behind the Sofa Celebrity Memories of Doctor Who

Behind the Sofa Celebrity Memories of Doctor Who

Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/10/2013

Steve Berry decided to do something a little bit different to raise funds for Alzheimer's Research UK. A life-long DOCTOR WHO fan, he began to interview celebrities, writers, actors and people who had worked on DOCTOR WHO, asking for their earliest memories of the show that sent us cowering behind the sofa. Now he presents the fruits of his four years of labour - a beautiful, touching book containing short articles and touching memories of one of the most successful TV shows ever. 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of DOCTOR WHO - this is the perfect way to enjoy those 50 years! This revised and expanded edition includes over 30 new entries from people such as Sophia Myles, Ben Aaronovitch, John Leeson and many more Contributors include comedians Al Murray, Stephen Merchant, and Bill Oddie; actors Lynda Bellingham, Nicholas Parsons, and Rhys Thomas; writers Neil Gaiman, Jenny Colgan, Jonathan Ross and Charlie Brooker and politicians Louise Mensch and Tom Harris. In addition, there is input from a number of the writers, actors and production staff who were involved in creating DOCTOR WHO stories new and old.

ebook of the month
One Direction: The Official Annual

One Direction: The Official Annual

Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/08/2013

The only 100% fully OFFICIAL Annual - written in collaboration with One Direction. This is THE Annual for all 1D fans! The most successful band in the world - One Direction - are having an amazing year. A sell-out tour, bagging number one in 63 countries and the release of their first movie this summer are just some of their achievements. Find out straight from Harry, Liam, Louis, Niall and Zayn what they think about success, their musical influences, making the movie, their style, their amazing fans and much more! With exclusive interviews, up to the minute news and fantastic never-seen-before photos, this is a must-have for all One Direction fans, and a fantastic Christmas gift!

ebook of the month
Love You, Mum

Love You, Mum

Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/02/2014

This is a beautifully packaged and illustrated gift book for girls to give to their best friends, their mums. 'I would rather go an entire week without my mobile phone than go one day without talking to you! Love you, Mum.' 'I promise not to play my music too loudly...If you promise to do the same! Love you, Mum.' Many mothers and daughters now share everything from shoes and make-up to Facebook and Twilight. Packed with gorgeous illustrations, photographs and sayings, Love You, Mum celebrates the growing bond between girls and their mums.

I am the Secret WAG The True Story of My Life as an England Footballer's Wife

I am the Secret WAG The True Story of My Life as an England Footballer's Wife

Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/06/2014

Money, cars, homes, holidays, parties and all the shoes you've ever dreamed of. The life of a footballer's wife or girlfriend must be as glamorous and exciting as her other half, right? But behind the closed doors of the Wag's world, there are all the pressures as well as pleasures of success. So what is it really like? The Secret Wag lays bare the reality of existence under the celebrity spotlight. It is about fashion and fame, sex and scandal, but, like the bestselling Secret Footballer books, is also an honest appraisal of life on and off the field of play which will change your preconceptions about footballers and their partners. It is sassy, outspoken, funny and above all, written from the heart. Meet The Secret Wag.

ebook of the month
Girl for Sale The Shocking True Story from the Girl Trafficked and Abused by Oxford's Evil Sex Ring

Girl for Sale The Shocking True Story from the Girl Trafficked and Abused by Oxford's Evil Sex Ring

Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/04/2015

At the vulnerable age of 13, Lara McDonnell was picked out by a gang of men who befriended her, showered her with attention and gained her trust. Manipulated and groomed, her life quickly spiralled out of control as the men trafficked her around the country, deliberately keeping her compliant with drink and drugs. Deeply disturbed, and frightened about what the gang would do to her if she tried to break free, it would take over 4 years for Lara to find the strength to fight back, flee Oxford and escape her nightmare. This is her heartbreaking story.

ebook of the month
Breaking Ground Classic Travel Writing from Pioneering Women

Breaking Ground Classic Travel Writing from Pioneering Women

Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/07/2015

Celia Fiennes travelled the length and breadth of England, riding side-saddle, at the dawn of the eighteenth century. o Discover the multiple journeys around the world undertaken in the 1840s by the Austrian Ida Pfeiffer. Dora d'Istria, a mountain-climbing duchess and polymath, travelled widely through Europe but her account of ascending Mont Blanc in 1860 is perhaps the most striking. Read about Isabel Burton's adventures as a government employee's wife stationed all over the world. Explore the writing of Isabella Bird who travelled around the world on doctor's orders - until finally retraining as a doctor and missionary in her sixties for a trip to India and its surrounding countries. Find out what motivated Marie Kingsley to travel solo to the deepest parts of West Africa and how her journeys shaped not only her own way of thinking but that of Europe as whole. Learn how May Kellogg Sullivan undertook her journey to Alaska and the Yukon to seek her fortune in the gold-mining world. Astonish yourself by finding out that, on a trip to Burma, India, Ceylon and Indonesia with her husband, Fanny Bullock Workman cycled 15,000 miles (as a welcome break from glacier-climbing in the Himalayas). Follow investigative journalist Nellie Bly as she takes up Jules Verne's gauntlet to travel around the world in eighty days. Or find out how Ella Sykes once rode on horseback from the Caspian Sea all the way to India.

There are people who just read biographies, interested only in the details of the lives of real people. There are others, like us, who enjoy dipping a toe, every now and then, into the deep inviting waters of the biography pool, to see first-hand the experiences of a person, past or present, who captures our imagination or pique’s our interest. From the First Man on the Moon to the latest winner of a jungle-based reality TV programme; sport-star to leading politician; religious leader to Arctic explorer, the choice is vast!

Want more inspiration? Head to our 'Best Autobiographies Ever' blog post filled with recommendations from our bookish friends.