Category: Biographies/Memoirs

New Biographies in Store

Goodbye Sarajevo
Hana Scholfield and Atka Reid   $29.99

1992.  The Bosnian War has been described as the bloodiest European conflict since the Second World War and caught up are families such as that in this novel.  This is a story of two sisters, Hana who is only 12 when she is sent by her family to Croatia on one of the last UN evacuation buses to escape the war and 21 year old Atka who stays behind in Sarajevo to look after their younger siblings.  Hana’s family expects to follow in a few weeks, but the escalation of the Bosnian War stops them, leaving Hana alone, battling for survival in a refugee camp, while her sister, tries to survive in a city where snipers, mortar attacks and desperate food shortages are a part of everyday life.  Will they every see each other again?
Struggle for Freedom: Aung San Suu Kyi
Jesper Bengtsson $35.00
Just like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of Burma’s democracy movement, Aung San Suu Kyi, has become an icon for freedom.  All over the world, she is associated with a peaceful struggle for democracy and human rights.  But who is she really?  And what drove her to make such enormous personal sacrifices for her country?  Author and journalist Jesper Bengtsson pays tribute to Aung San Suu Kyi’s magnetism, charisma and courage in this biography of one of the most talked about political personalities of our time.

No Regrets Edith Piaf
Carolyn Burke $32.99
A new biography of one of the most beloved singers of the twentieth century, this book uncovers the extraordinary life of Edit Piaf – more than just a singer, she was a mentor to other singers, aiding the Resistance in World War II, but was afflicted with her own tragedies losing an daughter in infancy, her greatest love in a plane crash, her illnesses, affairs, and addictions.
Kate McCann $35.00
We all know the story of Madeleine McCann, abducted from a hotel room in 2007 while her parents were having dinner downstairs.  There has been many stories over the last few years as to what happened to Madeleine, but this is the first account from “the horse’s mouth” so to speak.  As Kate McCann writes in the forward to the book “It has always been my intention to set down a complete record of what happened to our family, for our children, Madeleine, Sean, and Amelie, so that, when they are ready, the facts will be there for them to read”.
For the music fans two new biographies have hit the shelves, Does the Noise in my Head Bother You?, an autobiography by Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith and Behind the Shades and updated edition of this biography of Bob Dylan.

Feature Book This Week – “The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating”

This week I thought I would feature a book where the title was so strange that I had to dip in to see what it was all about.  Unlike other in vogue books that feature dogs and cats and other animals such as Marley and Me by John Grogan or Making the Rounds with Oscar by David Dosa, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating really does feature a snail.  Yes, a small brown snail.  How could someone write a book where one of the major characters of the story is so…..bland?  I googled the book and found such positive reviews that I had to start reading it, and now I can’t put it down.

Here’s a synopsis from the Australian publisher of the The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey, Text Publishing:

While an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence on her nightstand. As a result, she discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this mysterious creature brings and comes to a greater understanding of the interconnections between species and her own human place in the natural world.

Intrigued by the snail’s molluscan anatomy, cryptic defenses, clear decision making, hydraulic locomotion, and mysterious courtship activities, Bailey becomes an astute and amused observer, providing a candid and engaging look into the curious life of this overlooked and underappreciated small animal.

Told with wit and grace, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a remarkable journey of survival and resilience, showing us how a small part of the natural world illuminates our own human existence.

I’m looking forward to reading more of this little gem this weekend.  For more feedback on what others think of this book check out the following link to the book on the Goodreads book networking site.

Who’s Story is That? New Biographies and Memoirs

Biographies and memoirs are a popular choice of reading material for my customers and we have a good range building up in the store.  Some that have caught my eye over the last few weeks are:

Even Silence Has to End, Ingrid Betancourt
9781844086122, Hachette Australia, $35.00
Who can forget the television coverage following the rescue of Ingrid Betancourt who had been held by a guerilla terrorist group in the Columbian jungle for six and a half years.  The world was amazed that she had survived, appalled at her story of the abuse and violence she had been subjected to, and sad for the years that she lost unable to watch her children growing up.  Betancourt is an example of the our natural instinct for survival and she tells her story in her memoir released in October this year.  You might want to check out some of this review in Guardian newspaper.

Memories of Spike Milligan, Norma Farnes
Harper Collins, $35.00

Heralded as brilliant and difficult in equal measure, Spike Milligan is one of the most prolific and mould-breaking writers of the twentieth century. Fantastically funny and incredibly talented, on his death in 2002, Spike left behind him one of the most diverse legacies in British entertainment history.
Creative, inspirational, and at times doggedly loyal, yet simultaneously famously tempestuous, treacherous and fickle, Spike was many things to many people. In Memories of Milligan Norma Farnes sets out to interview those who knew him best, amassing an array of personal memories from fellow performers and comedians, long time friends and former girlfriends. Compiled of intimate stories, small exchanges and habits that go into making up a relationship, be it personal or professional, Memories of Milligan captures another side to the performer′s public persona, to build a complete picture of one of the greatest British comic writers to date.

Ranging from interviews with fellow comedian, Barry Humphires, scriptwriters Glaton and Simpson, director Jonathan Miller, stalwart presenters Michael Palin and Terry Wogan, to comic geniuses such as Eric Sykes and producer George Martin, this original book encapsulates a moving portrait of a man who defied definition during his lifetime, but who is synonymous with a unique era in post-war entertainment.

Hey, You in the Black T-Shirt, Michael Chugg
Pan Macmillan Australia, $34.99

Michael Chugg was only fifteen years old when he began managing and promoting music in his hometown of Launceston, Tasmania. That was in 1962. Fast forward to the present, and “Chuggi”, as he is affectionately known, has been a pioneer in bringing the newest, biggest and baddest musical acts to Australia.  These include The Police, Frank Sinatra, Liza Minelli and Sammy Davis Jr., Fleetwood Mac, R.E.M., Bon Jovi, Guns N Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kiss, Pearl Jam, and many more. Chuggi has developed a reputation as a hard-arse, often walking on stage to shout down the crowd or pull the talent into line. He also never minces words – writing in shocking detail about what goes on behind closed doors when big international acts come to town.

This honest, open and blunt expose of the underbelly of Australian music events is both hilarious and fascinating.

(Courtesy of the Pan Macmillan website)

Is That Thing Diesel?  Paul Carter
Allen & Unwin, $24.99

From the author who gave us “Don’t Tell Mum I work on the Rigs….”, comes a new adventure.   At forty years old, a successful writer, husband and father, no longer toiling on offshore drilling rigs, was Paul Carter happily nestled in the cotton wool of suburban life enjoying the fruits of his labour? Was he f**k!

With his manic life left far behind and the perfect opportunity to take it easy stretched before him what else would a middle-aged, bike obsessed, man want?

Yes, that’s right, he’d want to be the first guy to ride around Australia on an underpowered experimental motorcycle that runs on used cooking oil, wouldn’t he? Preferably without getting hit by a semi-trailer full of bridge parts. Is he out of his mind? Quite possibly.
Embark on a rollickingly, downright dangerous and often unhinged quest that starts on an environmentally friendly motorcycle built on a shoestring budget by students, and ends with a plan to break the motorcycle land speed record for bio fuel.
Carter is back to his old balls-to-the-wall style of writing, prepare to laugh out loud.