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 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…
One of our Great Reads you may have missed in 2011. March 2011 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. Shortlisted for the Galaxy Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2010.Antonia Fraser’s memoir of the love story between herself and Harold Pinter. They spent 33 years together, having found each other somewhat later in life. Since 1968 Fraser has kept diaries and uses these to accurately recollect their first meeting and beyond. A moving, fascinating and life affirming memoir of a partnership between two of the greatest literary talents, with fascinating glimpses into their creativity and their illustrious circle of friends from the literary, political and theatrical world.
From disastrous foreign forays to syphilitic poets, from political intriguing to ambitious young playwrights keen to curry favour with the king, John Stubbs brings alive the vibrant cast of characters that were at the centre of the English Civil War.
As punishment for some youthful high jinks, 16-year-old Jimmy Frazier is made to volunteer in a London hospital. The experience shocks him, and he swears he will never set foot on a ward again. Two decades later, older but not a lot wiser, some strange twists of fate lead Jimmy back to hospital - but this time as a student nurse. Along with a motley crew of fellow students, Jimmy throws himself into the heart of the NHS. Whether caring for patients in children's hospitals, prisons, mental health facilities or post-surgical wards, Jimmy and his fellow students attempt to make a difference. On their way they are inspired by the angelic Super Nurse and the acid-tongued Mr Temple. But can they stick out the three years it takes to make the grade as a fully-qualified nurse...? Fresh, funny and poignant, Amongst the Angels sheds a whole new light on the world of the student nurse.
From the end of the Picadilly line to the plains of Africa, an unlikely journey fired by a childhood reading of Tarzan of the Apes. Tony Fitzjohn found his path in life, helping save the lions of Africa. A particularly valuable guide as he pulls no punches when dealing with the reality of poaching, encroachment and crime and the effects these have on his life-saving work. Like for Like Reading:Born Free: The Full Story, Joy AdamsonWild Life, Amazing Animals, Extraordinary People, Astonishing Places, Simon King
The Allied bombers screamed in from the sea, spilling hundreds of shells onto the troops below. As the air filled with exploding shrapnel, one young German soldier flung himself into a ditch and prayed that his ordeal would soon be over. Wolfram Aichele was nine years old when Hitler came to power: his formative years were spent in the shadow of the Third Reich. He and his parents - free-thinking artists - were to have first hand experience of living under one of the most brutal regimes in history. Wolfram: The Boy Who Went to War overturns all the cliches about life under Hitler. It is a powerful story of warfare and human survival and a reminder that civilians on all sides suffered the consequences of Hitler's war. It is also an eloquent testimony to the fact that even in times of exceptional darkness there remains a brilliant spark of humanity that can never be totally extinguished.
With so many memoirs recalling WWII and the London Blitz, it’s a real eye-opener to read this child’s-eye view of the post-war years in London’s East End. Billy was no stay-at home child, he wanted to be out and doing and the London bomb sites gave Billy, the budding business entrepreneur, the ideal opportunity to make some money. His schemes were audacious, he was a scamp and a chancer but also funny and rather quite loveable. With energy enough for ten his boyhood adventures make for a most entertaining read. Like for Like Reading:The Road to Nab End: An Extraordinary Northern Childhood, William WoodruffNight Song of the Last Tram: A Glasgow Childhood, Robert Dougla
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts at the Hay Festival on 31 May 2011. The astonishing life of a young working-class man who fought throughout the Second World War from Alamein to the invasion of Sicily, was captured at Arnhem and as a POW survived the Allied bombing raid on Dresden
Tells the story of a group of ordinary men, from different walks of life, thrown together by the forces of war. This title also tells the story of those missions above Berlin, as they flew into what seemed certain death, and aircraft all around them were blasted out of the sky. Against this background a friendship was formed that bound the crew of C Charlie together against all odds. Geoffrey King and the crew of C Charlie are unique in having flown together for fifty missions and living to tell the tale.
Winner of the Best Best Rugby Book category of the British Sports Book Awards 2011. Shortlisted in the Best Biography category of the British Sports Book Awards 2011. Longlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2010. This is the real story of an extraordinary game, told with astounding insight and almost unprecedented access to key players, coaches and supporters on both sides. The Grudge brilliantly recaptures a day that has gone down in history. Tom English has produced a gripping account of a titanic struggle that thrusts the reader right into the heart of the action. Game on.
And it is an intimate portrait of the Thirties that Gardiner gives us, renowned for the Great Depression, strikes and hunger marches she shows that the Thirties were also a decade of growing wealth and increased leisure - for some at least. With her extensive use of personal accounts, memoir and media reports we hear from the people themselves - from Wigan Pier to Wimbledon, a portrait of a country undergoing huge change, a decade ticking down into yet another fatal World War. Like for Like Reading Among the Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900-1939, Virginia Nicholson1930’s Scrapbook, Robert Opie
From the Horse’s Mouth
… or the Groom’s
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!
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