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.
In Deep South he turns his gaze to a region much closer to his home. Travelling through North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas he writes of the stunning landscapes he discovers - the deserts, the mountains, the Mississippi - and above all, the lives of the people he meets.
One of my very favourite books of last year, a wonderful all encompassing history of European and American home life as experienced over the past 500 years. Judith Flanders overturns our notions of what home has meant in previous centuries, our own notions of the family home would seem fantastical even to someone from 100 years ago. How advancements have been made are lovingly detailed and the humblest household item is considered alongside more necessary items such as bricks for the walls and glass for the windows. I loved the wealth of detail, the quotations from diaries, letters and literature and how one is left wondering what the future will bring, will future homes be unrecognisable to us? ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home, Lucy Worsley House Proud: 19th Century Watercolour Interiors, Gail S Davidson, Floramae McCarron-Cates & Charlotte Gere
A relationship was a mathematical formula: the correct variables of age, beauty, morality and finances were entered and the output was a successful, peaceful marriage. It couldn't be, therefore, that their Iranian son could feel desire for someone six years his senior,someone who didn't come to him pure and untouched. I was an amusing visitor from another world and soon enough I should return to it, fading quietly into an anecdote ...In her thirties, Jennifer Klinec abandons a corporate job to launch a cooking school from her London flat. Raised in Canada to Hungarian-Croatian parents, she has already travelled to countries most people are fearful of, in search of ancient recipes. Her quest leads her to Iran where, hair discreetly covered and eyes modest, she is introduced to a local woman who will teach her the secrets of the Persian kitchen. Vahid, her son, is suspicious of the strange foreigner who turns up in his mother's kitchen; he is unused to seeing an independent woman. But a compelling attraction pulls them together and then pits them against harsh Iranian laws and customs. Getting under the skin of one of the most complex and fascinating nations on earth, The Temporary Bride is a soaring story of being loved, being fed, and the struggle to belong.
The extraordinary story of one of the survivors of the infamous 1996 Everest disaster - now made into a film, Everest, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley and Josh Brolin. Heartstoppingly exciting and ultimately very moving, Left for Dead is a terrific read. Everest is due to be released in the UK on 18 September 2015. Click below to view the trailer.
Evidence of the Queen's strong sense of humour in Thomas Blaikie's collection of anecdotes revealing her amused reaction to some of the clangers she's been subject to. Taken from commentaries, histories and auto/biographies it's a portrait of the Queen from her childhood showing a sharp, funny and very knowleagable woman. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading Not in Front of the Corgis: Secrets of Life behind the Royal Curtains, Brian Hoey At Home with the Queen: Life Through the Keyhole of the Royal Household, Brian Hoey
Karen Farrington starts her books before 1940 showing the development of flying and how soon the military saw its potential for war. Then there were the bombs themselves, at first hand grenades tossed out of cockpits before more lethal firepower was invented. Finally, there is Coventry, Karen Farrington fills in the manufacturing history detailing the vital engineering works surrounding and in the City, filled with war workers, a crowded and important place. It all comes together in 14th November 1940 when Coventry is the target, 515 German bombers attacked the city, the first of three major raids. Using the words and experiences of those who suffered she paints a vivid picture of the experience and the aftermath of the bombing. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading The Secret History of the Blitz, Joshual Levine The Blitz: The British under Attack, Juliet Gardiner
September 2015 Book of the Month. Stephen Bates, a former Guardian Royal Correspondent, chronicles the ups and downs of the British Monarchy and their evolution into today's Royalty Inc. He writes about how we perceive Royalty, the changes made to accommodate public access via media or the recent invention of “The Walkabout”. Shocking to read of photographers hurling abuse at Royals in the hope of a snap of temper, an ill-judged remark but that seems the least of the relentless press and media attentions matched only by a struggling Royal Household trying to deal with it. It's a portrait of change and adaptation and above all the life of a woman about to become our longest ever serving Monarch. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading On Duty with the Queen, Dickie Arbiter with Lynne Barrett-Lee Behind Palace Doors, Colin Burgess
He crashed on to the pillow next to me, heavy as a felled oak. I slapped his face and told him to wake up. Our daughter, B, appeared in the doorway, woken up by the screaming - I must have been screaming but I don't remember - and she was crying and peering in. I told her the ultimate adult lie; that everything was all right.' Sudden death is rude. It just wanders in and takes your husband without any warning; it doesn't even have the decency to knock. At the impossibly young age of 37, as they were making love one night, Lucie Brownlee's beloved husband Mark dropped dead. As Lucie tried to make sense of her new life - the one she never thought she would be living - she turned to writing to express her grief. Me After You is the stunning, irreverent and heartbreakingly honest result.
Diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer as a young woman, Kate Gross was destined never to see her children grow and mature, leave behind a much loved husband and lose all the possibilities that life and work can bring. She began to write for herself but her writing turned into an exploration of this new person she had become, how a terminal diagnosis can take away but also give knowledge that life is so precious and that we can achieve joy amongst the tragedy. Aged just 36, Kate Gross died on Christmas Day 2014. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading There's Something I've Been Dying to Tell You, Lynda Bellingham Now and Forever, Bernie Nolan
Think you know Agatha Christie? Think again! To the world she was Agatha Christie, legendary author of bestselling whodunits. But in the 1930s she wore a different hat, travelling with her husband, renowned archaeologist Max Mallowan, as he investigated the buried ruins and ancient wonders of Syria and Iraq. When friends asked what this strange 'other life' was like, she decided to answer their questions by writing down her adventures in this eye-opening book. Described by the author as a 'meandering chronicle of life on an archaeological dig', Come, Tell Me How You Live is Agatha Christie's very personal memoir of her time spent in this breathtaking corner of the globe, living among the working men in tents in the desert where recorded human history began.
Have you ever wanted to know what really happens when teams go on tour? Drawing on his extensive experience of touring, former international and acclaimed pundit Brian Moore tells you all you need ever know, with this in-depth but light-hearted expose, covering every level of the sport, from junior club rugby right up to the British Lions. With stories of bikini-clad forwards and Moore's own escapades, many of rugby's best-known names of recent years are featured, and no element of life on tour is left untouched. As they go, readers will learn how to survive the worst room-mates in the world, how to cope with the long hours of travel, and how to get the best room in the hotel. They will learn how the professionals do it - or at least used to - and how their would-be amateur counterparts try to do it; both having a blast along the way. Anyone who has ever gone away with a group of mates - male or female, sporting or not - will recognise similar situations and immediately identify with the book.
The sun is setting on the Western world. Slowly but surely, the direction in which the world spins has reversed: where for the last five centuries the globe turned westwards on its axis, it now turns to the east...For centuries, fame and fortune was to be found in the west - in the New World of the Americas. Today, it is the east which calls out to those in search of adventure and riches. The region stretching from eastern Europe and sweeping right across Central Asia deep into China and India, is taking centre stage in international politics, commerce and culture - and is shaping the modern world. This region, the true centre of the earth, is obscure to many in the English-speaking world. Yet this is where civilization itself began, where the world's great religions were born and took root.
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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