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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.
A raw, honest and evocative account of life as the most highly decorated serving soldier in the British Army. Action-packed, shoots-from-the-hip narration from an engaging hero, this is gritty realism at its most shocking.
April 2011 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. On arriving in Nepal Conor Grennan found a desperate situation, thousands of children separated from their homeland and families, many victims of Maoist guerrillas and most shockingly – of child traffickers. His original two months of volunteering turns into a lifetimes work. Determined to reunite the children in his care with their families he undertakes a fearsome journey to the most remote regions of Nepal. Vividly told, his dangerous trek to reach tiny mountain villages is successful in finding many of the children’s families. The plight of the children in a country with no social safety net is dire and the work goes on to save them from beggary and servitude, Connor Grennan is one of the good guys, his book a ray of hope for Nepal. Like for Like Reading:Stones into Schools, Greg MortensonOn Juniper Mountain: A Journey in the Himalayas, Angela Locke The Lovereading view... A truly inspirational story that began as a 3 month stint volunteering in the Little Princes Orphanage in war-torn Nepal which transformed the life of a rather privileged and spoilt single American Conor Grennan. Drama, love, child trafficking and corruption make this compulsive reading as Conor finds himself risking life and limb to save the children he had come to love as his own. This incredible true story combines the drama of Into Thin Air with the compassion of Three Cups of Tea. ...and a comment from a Lovereading member: I'd like to save a mafahoosive thank you for the recommendation of 'Little Princes' by Conor Grennan (non-fic read of the month). I bought a copy as I am going to Nepal next week and have been alternately laughing and sobbing my way through it in the staff room!”
Arriving at the great houses of 1920s London, fifteen-year-old Margaret's life in service was about to begin...As a kitchen maid - the lowest of the low - she entered an entirely new world; one of stoves to be blacked, vegetables to be scrubbed, mistresses to be appeased, and even bootlaces to be ironed. Work started at 5.30am and went on until after dark. It was a far cry from her childhood on the beaches of Hove, where money and food were scarce, but warmth and laughter never were. Yet from the gentleman with a penchant for stroking the housemaids' curlers, to raucous tea-dances with errand boys, to the heartbreaking story of Agnes the pregnant under-parlourmaid, fired for being seduced by her mistress' nephew, Margaret's tales of her time in service are told with wit, warmth, and a sharp eye for the prejudices of her situation.
A 2013 World Book Night selection. Shortlisted for the Galaxy Biography of the Year Award 2011. Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 17 March 2011. This charmingly written autobiography - about a young girl with a Nigerian father adopted by a wonderfully humane white Scottish couple - could have been a dark, complicated to read. But it isn't. There is clarity, warmth and a twinkle in the eye. A sense of someone who is comfortable in her own skin as she comes to terms with the meaning of love and her own sexuality. Thoughtful, tender, gentle and humane, Red Dust Road is a delight to read.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 19 May 2011. A remarkable memoir, the inspiring account of a child's instinct for survival in a hostile world.
Winner of the Best Biography category of the British Sports Book Awards 2011. Shortlisted for the Best Football Book and Best Publicity Campaign categories of the British Sports Book Awards 2011. Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2010.From an amateur footballer working on a bomb disposal unit in Liverpool, to celebrated Manchester City goalkeeper adored by thousands, Catrine Clay charts Trautmann's conversion from Hitler Youth star to all-England football hero, mirroring Europe's own journey through the horrors of war to a fragile post-war peace.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 17 March 2011. Kaye Webb, a journalist with no publishing experience, burst into the world of children's books in 1961 and changed the face of children's publishing forever. Her child-like enthusiasm and shrewd business mind led her to become Puffin's most successful editor and the genius behind the Puffin Club.
This autobiographical tale by a part Irish American writer uses the thread of family insomnia, perhaps inherited, to glue the story together and link episodes in it. Analysing and dissecting the meaning both cerebral and practical of sleep deprivation, Patricia Morrison shows us how through history it has been a problem for all races and for all ages, even though her grandfather had a theory that people of Irish extraction were particularly light sleepers! Using her own experiences, we are able through her, to visit a sleep laboratory; take sleeping tablets and observe their effect; investigate the lack of sleep caused by bedbugs (considerable); and visit psychological experts specializing in sleep problems. She tries New Age therapies; investigates SAD (the phenomena of depression caused by light deprivation in the winter); and finally uses meditation. By the end of the book those with similar problems will at least know they are not alone. An interesting subject covered in depth against her day to day life and her search for a solution.
As the clock struck midnight on 31 December 1999, Jean Baggott vowed that from that point on her life would be devoted to the happiness of 'the girl on the wall' - a 1948 photograph taken of Jean when she was eleven, recreated in needlework. Reflecting on her hopes and dreams 60 years on from that photo, Jean stitched a remarkable tapestry looking back on her life and the changing world around her. The tapestry consists of 73 interlocking circles, giving a unique portrait of everyday life for the working people of the industrialised West Midlands, and the wider world. Each chapter of her book relates to one circle in the tapestry as Jean explores the memories the circle evokes.
In April 2009, a modest middle-aged woman from a village in Scotland was catapulted to global fame when the YouTube video of her audition for Britain's Got Talent touched the hearts of millions all over the world. From singing karaoke in local pubs to live performance with an eighty-piece orchestra in Japan's legendary Budokan arena and a record-breaking debut album, Susan Boyle has become an international superstar. This astonishing transformation has not always been easy for Susan, faced with all the trappings of celebrity, but in the whirlwind of attention and expectation, she has always found calm and clarity in music. Susan was born to sing. Now, for the first time, Susan tells the story of her life and the challenges she has struggled to overcome with faith, fortitude and an unfailing sense of humour. 'When I strutted onto the stage for that audition, I was a scared wee lassie, still grieving for my mother, not caring how I looked. I think I've grown up a lot in the last year, become more of a lady, and I'm not so frightened anymore. I'm telling my story to try and show that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, that you shouldn't just look at the label - you must look at the whole person, emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. I hope that it will show that dreams are not impossible, if you've got courage and a willingness to go on no matter what the circumstances.'
A vivid and compelling memoir recounting the real lives, loves and friendship of 1940s Soho and its working girls. Reading like fiction it's utterly gripping.
March 2011 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. As one would expect from the daughter of the famous and respected writer Alan Coren, it is no surprise Victoria Coren can herself write.What makes her book interesting is the life path she has chosen which, in every aspect, seems to be neither one thing nor another. A well-educated, 'nice young girl' compromises social respectability with the seedy world of poker (and the even seedier world of porn films). The daughter of a celebrity father mixes with celebrities such as Stephen Fry, Ricky Gervais and Nigella Lawson (whose surname, curiously, she avoids identifying) but, at the same time, keeps company with the low life world of illegal poker hucksters in seedy, smoky vice dens. As a woman in the man's world of professional poker where, as Coren herself writes 'if this really were an upside-down world where all the gamblers were women, poker would be a much friendlier game. But I'm not sure I want it to be'. And even as a woman in an American-dominated 'sport', she remarks on her own 'crooked English teeth'. First published in 2009, there are numerous reviews of this book (and views on its author) available online including this by her acquaintance and fellow poker player Martin Amis: "For Richer, For Poorer seizes the reader with its first sentence and never lets go. Victoria Coren writes, on several levels, with wit, honesty, and perfect freshness." If this is an honestly objective review, then who are we to disagree? What we would say is that many reviews of this book state that you don't have to understand poker to enjoy it but, it does have to be said, you will probably enjoy it more if you do and you never know it might also teach you how to win a million…
From the Horse’s Mouth
… or the Groom’s
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