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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. 

Confessions of a Chelsea Boy The Autobiography

Confessions of a Chelsea Boy The Autobiography

Author: Spencer Matthews Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/09/2013

Charming, funny, a good friend, a less than perfect boyfriend, Spencer Matthews is one of the most talked-about stars of Made in Chelsea. But what lies behind his sometimes controversial behaviour? In Confessions of a Chelsea Boy, his honest and revealing autobiography, Spencer opens up about life before the cameras,including growing up on the beautiful island of St Barths where his parents own the exclusive Eden Rock hotel. He also writes movingly about the devastating loss of his brother on Everest, and the close family ties that ground him. Spencer describes his antics at Eton, where the masters declared they'd never met a boy like him before (this was not entirely a compliment), and introduces us to his friends Proudlock, Jamie, Hugo and Caggie. He takes us from his first kiss to his many romantic adventures (and misadventures) and describes the four loves of his life so far and why things didn't work out. From St Barths to St Tropez, from London to New York, Spencer also gives us glimpses into his world as he gambles with Hollywood stars, runs away from an enraged Middle-Eastern despot, and narrowly avoids death in a powerboat crash. Sensational, entertaining, full of laughter, this is the real Spenny as you've never seen him before.

Gary The Definitive Biography of Gary Barlow

Gary The Definitive Biography of Gary Barlow

Author: Sean Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/09/2013

Top celebrity biographer Sean Smith tells the story of national treasure Gary Barlow, one of the UK's greatest songwriters and musicians. Throughout a stellar career, nobody has been more misunderstood than Gary Barlow. When he first found fame, he was perceived as too arrogant. Then, after a spectacular slump and amazing recovery, he adopted a modesty that underrates his lifetime achievements. Now Gary redresses the balance by revealing the real man, the romances that shaped his life and the passion for music that drives him. A singer and virtuoso keyboard player who performed in working men's clubs from the age of thirteen, the young Gary Barlow had written more than a hundred songs while still at school. He would go on to achieve phenomenal success as the musical force behind Take That, the most popular boy band of all time. But an eagerly anticipated solo career flopped and Gary became depressed and overweight, while the triumphs of Robbie Williams were a constant reminder of his failure. In 2006 Take That returned bigger than ever and their huge success was followed by an emotional reunion between Gary and Robbie, that was cemented when they put aside past hurts to write and perform new songs together. Now recognized as one of the greatest songwriters and musicians the UK has ever produced, Gary is among the best-known faces on television, returning as head judge on the X Factor in 2013. Featuring original interviews with many people who have never spoken before, Gary is a celebration of a complex and unique talent.

Becoming Johnny Vegas

Becoming Johnny Vegas

Author: Johnny Vegas Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/09/2013

'My name is Michael Pennington, and I am not a comic character. I'm often mistaken for one though. You might know him by another name. Johnny Vegas.' From BBC Dickens adaptations to Benidorm and Ideal to the PG Tips ads, Johnny Vegas has become one of Britain's best-loved comic actors. But before he'd ever drunk tea with a knitted monkey or made himself the exception that proves the rule in terms of the predictability of TV panel game regulars, Johnny Vegas was perhaps the most fearlessly confessional stand-up comedian this country has ever produced. How did an eleven-year-old Catholic trainee priest from St Helens grow up to become the North West of England's answer to Lenny Bruce? That's just one of the many questions answered by this eye-poppingly frank memoir. Becoming Johnny Vegas establishes its author as the poet laureate of the Pimblett's pie. Once you've finished this darkly hilarious tale of family, faith and the creative application of alcohol dependency, you'll never look at a copy of the Catholic men's society newsletter the same way again.

The John Lennon Letters

The John Lennon Letters

Author: John Lennon, Hunter Davies Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/09/2013

A lifetime of letters, collected for the first time, from the legendary musician and songwriter. John Lennon is one of the world's greatest-ever song writers, creator of 'Help!', 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds', 'Imagine' and dozens more. Now, his letters have been collected and published, illuminating as never before the intimate side of a private genius. Hunter Davies, author of the only authorised biography of The Beatles, has tracked down almost three hundred of John's letters and postcards - to relations, friends, fans, strangers, lovers and even to the laundry. Some of the letters are tender, informative, funny, angry and abusive, and some are simply heart-breaking. Many are illustrated with John's own drawings, doodles and jokes. Davies tells the story of each letter and together they form a compelling narrative, from Lennon's earliest surviving thank-you note, written when he was ten, to his last scribbled autograph given on 8 December 1980 - the day he was shot, aged forty.

Stillness and Speed My Story

Stillness and Speed My Story

Author: Dennis Bergkamp Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/09/2013

In Stillness and Speed, one of football's most enigmatic stars finally opens up about his life and career, revealing the things that motivate and inspire him. Viewed by many as one of the most influential figures in Premier League history, and scorer of the goal that Arsenal fans voted the best in the club's history, Dennis Bergkamp is a true giant of the game. As a youngster, Bergkamp learned from the Dutch master Johan Cruyff. By the time the pupil was ready to graduate from Ajax and move abroad, he was ready to spread the word, but in Italy he found few willing listeners. It was only when he moved to Arsenal and linked up with Arsene Wenger that he met someone else who shared his vision for football's possibilities. Bergkamp became central to everything the club did: now he had become the teacher, their creative genius, and the one who inspired some of the wayward old guard to new heights, helping them to seven major trophies. Few footballers' books make you think anew, but in Stillness and Speed Bergkamp presents a new vision for the game and how it might be played. He was a player like no other; his story is told like no other. It is a book that will inspire football fans everywhere, whatever their allegiance.

Doctor Who: The Doctor - His Lives and Times

Doctor Who: The Doctor - His Lives and Times

Author: James Goss, Steve Tribe Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/09/2013

'I'm the Doctor. I'm a Time Lord. I'm from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous. And I'm the man who's going to save your life.' He's made a mark on almost every era of history, and he's touched millions of lives across space and time. In these pages you'll find just some of the stories behind those brief encounters, each of them addressing the question that must never, ever be answered: 'Doctor Who?' This is the story of an impossible life - of a man who borrowed a spaceship, travelled through time and continually saved the universe - as told by the Doctor's friends, by his enemies, and by the man himself. Letters, journals, trial records, secret government files and the occasional bit of tabloid journalism reveal the never-before-told story of Gallifrey's last Time Lord.

Our Story Union J 100% Official

Our Story Union J 100% Official

Author: Union J Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/09/2013

Join Union J as they embark on their journey to become the next big boyband in Our Story! Only a few months ago Union J were just average guys, dreaming of performing on the X Factor stage, making music and having legions of fans screaming their names. And now that dream has become a reality. Follow Union J's unique journey from ordinary boys to stars as one of the most popular acts on X Factor 2012, in their first official memoir. Packed full of exclusive photos, behind-the-scenes gossip and the individual stories of JJ, Jaymi, Josh and George, Union J's Our Story is the book is a must-have for all J-Cats! Union J shot to stardom after reaching the X Factor finals in 2012. Jaymi, Josh and JJ had originally auditioned as a three piece called Triple J, but Louis selected soloist George to join the group, recognising their potential as a four. They have since played to sold out arenas around the country on the X Factor tour, signed a record deal with Sony Music and recorded their first single to be released in June 2013.

Fighting on the Home Front The Legacy of Women in World War One

Fighting on the Home Front The Legacy of Women in World War One

Author: Kate Adie Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/09/2013

In 1914 the world changed forever. When World War One broke out and a generation of men went off to fight, bestselling author Kate Adie shows how women emerged from the shadows of their domestic lives. Now a visible force in public life, they began to take up essential roles - from transport to policing, munitions to sport, entertainment, even politics. They had finally become citizens, a recognised part of the war machine, acquiring their own rights and often an independent income. Former BBC Chief News Correspondent Kate Adie charts the seismic move towards equal rights with men that began a century ago and asks what these women achieved for future generations. This is history at its best - a vivid, compelling account of the pioneering women who helped win the war as well as a revealing assessment of their legacy for women's lives today.

See You In The Morning

See You In The Morning

Author: Barry Norman Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/09/2013

Barry Norman is one of the nation's most popular and enduring broadcasters. Journalist, writer and presenter, he is best known for having fronted the BBC's flagship Film programme for more than 25 years. While working as a gossip columnist for The Daily Sketch, Barry met a pretty, talented young journalist called Diana Narracott, when they were sent to cover the same news story. Within a year they were married, their union lasting until Diana's untimely death in 2011. In this heartfelt memoir, Barry introduces us to the remarkable woman he knew so well and loved so deeply. He traces their careers and lives together, describing how Diana moved from being an accomplished journalist, to mother-of-two, to best-selling author. Through his writing, we grow to love Diana's irrepressible nature, fierce intelligence, her sense of fun and even her stubbornness. Writing in his entertaining, inimitable style, Barry shows how, like any couple, he and Diana had their disagreements but that the deep-rooted love and respect they had for each other ultimately ensured a long and happy marriage. With heart-breaking honesty, he shares the difficulty he and their family faced while Diana was fighting ill-health, as well as the pain he still feels at the loss of his wife who he describes as 'the best friend a man could ever hope for'.

One Summer America 1927

One Summer America 1927

Author: Bill Bryson Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/09/2013

Britain's favourite writer of narrative non-fiction Bill Bryson travels back in time to a forgotten summer when America came of age, took centre stage, and, in five eventful months, changed the world for ever. In the summer of 1927, America had a booming stock market, a president who worked just four hours a day (and slept much of the rest of the time), a semi-crazed sculptor with a mad plan to carve four giant heads into an inaccessible mountain called Rushmore, a devastating flood of the Mississippi, a sensational murder trial, and a youthful aviator named Charles Lindbergh who started the summer wholly unknown and finished it as the most famous man on earth. (So famous that Minnesota considered renaming itself after him.) It was the summer that saw the birth of talking pictures, the invention of television, the peak of Al Capone's reign of terror, the horrifying bombing of a school in Michigan by a madman, the ill-conceived decision that led to the Great Depression, the thrillingly improbable return to greatness of a wheezing, over-the-hill baseball player named Babe Ruth, and an almost impossible amount more. In this hugely entertaining book, Bill Bryson spins a story of brawling adventure, reckless optimism and delirious energy, with a cast of unforgettable and eccentric characters, with trademark brio, wit and authority.

All the Best Lines

All the Best Lines

Author: George Tiffin Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/09/2013

Pithy put-downs, hard-boiled snarlings, words of love and regret...ALL THE BEST LINES presents 500 memorable movie quotes, embracing both one-liners ('My name is Pussy Galore') and slices of snappy dialogue from pictures as diverse as When Harry Met Sally and Pulp Fiction. Arranged under such timeless themes as Dreams, Friends, Libido and Memories, the quotes juxtapose films and stars from every era and every genre. Dotted throughout the text are feature capsules focusing on themes and stories in the movies from Goldwynisms to Mae West, plus a generous scattering of cinema anecdotes, making the book both a joy to browse and an authoritative reference. Lavishly illustrated with full-colour photographs, ALL THE BEST LINES will delight and entertain you in equal measure, reacquainting you with your favourite movies and introducing you to some forgotten classics. Anyone who loves the movies will be delighted to find it in their Christmas stocking.

From the Horse’s Mouth
… or the Groom’s

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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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