Biographies & Autobiographies

Real Lives

  • DAFS
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    From the bestselling author of 33 Men, the unbelievable true story of the trapped Chilean miners, 438 Days by Jonathan Franklin explores the shocking tale of Salvador Alvarenga, the Mexican fisherman who survived 14 months adrift in the Pacific Ocean.

    17 November started out as any other day for fisherman Salvador, readying his boat for a two-day fishing trip. The day, however, will change his life forever as when he's out at sea, a vicious storm hits and destroys his engine, with the strong current dragging his boat further and further away from shore.

    As the storm gains strength, Salvador soon finds himself adrift in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. Cruise ships and container vessels passed nearby - not one stopped for the stranded fisherman; and Salvador considered suicide on multiple occasions, including offering himself up to a pack of man-eating sharks. But Alvarenga developed a method of survival that kept his body and mind intact long enough for the Pacific Ocean to spit him up onto a remote island.

    An incredible story of one ordinary man beating the ultimate odds, 438 Days is a terrifying, shocking and ultimately uplifting story of survival that highlights the power of hope.
  • APRL
    Paul Jones
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    A heartbreaking memoir from Paul and Coral Jones, April tells the story of the shocking abduction and murder of their beloved five-year-old daughter, April.

    Throughout the ordeal, Paul Jones kept a diary of his thoughts and feelings and this book reveals them for the first time - portraying a searingly honest account of unimaginable emotional pain. Both parents speak of their love for their daughter, their feelings during the search and the draining ordeal of facing paedophile Mark Bridge in court during the trial in which he was convicted of her murder and abduction.

    The entire nation was shocked by April's disappearance from Machynllech, Wales in October 2012 in shocking circumstances that sparked the biggest police search in UK history. This harrowing book tells of the heartbreak her parents faced throughout this horrific period.
  • SIXL
    Janet Walton
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    A wonderfully heart-warming and uplifting read, Six Little Miracles is the true story of Janet Walton, the mother of the world's first and only all-female sextuplets.

    Janet and her husband, Graham, were told that they could never have children, so you can imagine their joy and surprise when they found out that Janet was pregnant. But the news didn't stop there. Janet wasn't pregnant with just one baby, she was pregnant with six!

    On 18 November 1983, Janet gave birth to Hannah, Luci, Ruth, Sarah, Kate and Jennie, and her life changed forever... From learning to bottle-feed six new-born infants to an unfathomable school run, boy trouble, teenage tantrums and everything in-between, Janet has watched her little girls blossom into confident young women - and loved every minute of it!

    Now 30, Janet's daughters have grown up and flown the nest. For the very first time, in this book Janet tells the moving, humorous and honest story of what it was like to raise her six girls and how they changed her life for the better.
  • YRKS
    Amanda Owen
    (1)
    • £5.99
    • RRP £16.99
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    From Huddersfield to the hillside, The Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owen reveals how she achieved her dream to become a shepherdess - a far cry from her humble beginnings in her industrial northern hometown.

    Seen by the millions of viewers of ITV's The Dales caring for her 900 sheep, seven children, four dogs, husband, pigs, cows, horses and a goat on her Ravenseat farm, life is busy for Amanda but she couldn't be happier.

    From dealing with the tragedy of foot and mouth disease to the challenges of raising children in the remote countryside, the book is a heart-warming and unforgettable memoir that will inspire readers to look at the countryside with a whole new appreciation.
  • BRSL
    Jo Milne
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    • RRP £16.99
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    With the moment an operation enabled her to hear for the first time in almost 40 years being named by Google as one of the most inspiring moments of 2014 and hitting millions of views on YouTube, Jo Milne's memoir Breaking the Silence tells a truly remarkable and uplifting story about how her world changed in incredible ways...

    Deaf from birth, Jo lived in a world of silence for 39 years. Battling deep depression and the difficulties her lack of hearing threw at her, Jo was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called Usher Syndrome, an affliction that will one day rob her of her sight too, before she turned 30. Determined to live her life to the full, in 2014 Jo made the decision to undergo a cochlear implant surgery which would allow her to hear for the first time in her life. Every day since then has become a journey of discovery...

    From hearing the Beatles and Rolling Stones for the first time to finally being able to put a voice to the familiar sight of her own mother, Jo Milne's Breaking the Silence is a beautifully written, heart-warming real-life story about an unbelievably brave woman who always lives life with a smile on her face.
  • AKODG
    Helen Macdonald
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    Winner of the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction and both the Costa Book of the Year 2014 and Costa Biography Award, writer, poet, illustrator and historian Helen Macdonald's H is for Hawk is a beautiful, heartfelt and clever memoir about the devastating experience of losing her father and, stricken by grief, becoming obsessed with the idea of training her own hawk.

    Purchasing Mabel for #800, Helen begins to stock her freezer with food for her new hawk, unplugs the telephone and begins a journey of self discovery, embarking on the unusual business of taming one of the world's most wild of animals.

    A written record of her spiritual journey, the taming of her goshawk provides a stunning contrast to her own untaming and is told with eloquence, intellectual intensity and vigour. A must-read for all fans of non-fiction.
  • UPBE
    Mike Pannett
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    From Mike Pannett, a former Metropolitan Police officer and the author of Not on my Patch, Lad, Up Beat and Down Dale takes a look at the life and crimes that occur in the Yorkshire countryside. Pannett polices one of the largest rural beats in England and in this fascinating book, he investigates a series of burglaries in remote farmhouses and calls out a full-scale search in dreadful weather for a missing man. There's also a night-time operation in an empty museum and the harrowing challenge of taking three children into care against their mother's wishes. This is an insightful biographical read from the 'James Herriot' of policing!
  • ALWH
    Judith Tebbutt
    (2)
    • £3.00
    • RRP £16.99
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    While on an adventurous holiday in Kenya, Judith Tebbutt's life changed forever when she was dragged into the depths of despair in lawless Somalia. After her husband David was murdered, Judith was captured by pirates and forced to endure enforced isolation and near starvation at their hands for 192 days. A Long Walk Home describes this horrific experience and how she managed to survive. Held hostage in a squalid room with a large ransom over her head, Judith learned that the responsibility of securing her release now rested with her son Ollie. With a tremendous amount of faith in her son, Judith resolved she would survive, doing everything she could to make her captors see her as a real human being. A powerful and unflinching account of this awful time, this book is a testament to resilience and the importance of family.
  • SOTS
    Michael Faulkner
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    • RRP £14.99
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    When Mike Faulkner, his wife Lynn and their two dogs first crossed Ringhaddy Sound to the Blue Cabin on an island in Strangford Lough, they planned to stay for a year. Seven years later, the island's magic hasn't lost its hold...

    Still on the Sound: A Seasonal Look at Island Life is an evocative celebration and examination of life on the famous Northern Island destination. From stormy midnight crossings to dramatic sea rescues and the general inconveniences of living in a wooden cabin on a sea lough, the book showcases a life which finds baby seals coming to stay in winter months and the location becoming a haven for yachtsmen in the spring.

    Illustrated with over 200 personal photographs, this is a warm, funny and irresistible love letter to the island.
  • KTAY
    Katie Taylor
    • £2.99
    • RRP £18.99
    • Save £16.00
    When Katie Taylor was chosen to bear the Irish flag at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, the pressure was on for her to deliver gold when she stepped into the boxing ring. It was the first time that the Olympics had included women's boxing as one of its events, and Taylor knew she had to deliver.

    In her new book, My Olympic Dream, Taylor reveals how she trained and prepared for the Olympics, explains what got her into boxing in the first place and details the day she fulfilled her Olympic dream ? winning gold in a close-fought contest.

    A special story from a truly remarkable woman and athlete, the book relives the glorious moment she took home gold and looks back on the triumph that changed her life forever.
  • TSIB
    Lynda Bellingham
    • £4.99
    • RRP £16.99
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    The late actress Lynda Bellingham provides a poignant, moving and uplifting memoir about her battle with cancer in There's Something I've Been Dying to Tell You.

    Diagnosed in 2013, this book shows how Lynda and her family came to terms with a future they hadn't planned. Brutally honest, the book was written in what was to be Lynda's last few months and is full of the warmth and humour she was so loved for; it shows how she brought light to the darkest of times.

    As well as covering her illness, Lynda also looks back on her extraordinary life in the book. From appearances on Loose Women and Strictly Come Dancing to her role as Helen Herriott in All Creatures Great and Small, as well as her iconic role as the long-suffering OXO Mum, the book also takes a look at her tumultuous private life and search for her birth father - which revealed a family with a history in entertainment...

    Heartbreaking but also heart-warming, this highly emotional book is full of tales of love, loss and laughter and is a fitting, inspiring testament to the courage of a remarkable woman.
  • WIKS
    Oprah Winfrey
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    Oprah Winfrey - one of America's most powerful celebrities and a globally respected media star, as well as an Oscar-winning actress - offers plenty of words of wisdom on everyday topics that effect us all in What I Know For Sure.

    Taking articles from the famous column in O, the Oprah Magazine, the book finds Oprah tackling subjects ranging from making the most of life to finding love and dealing with difficult situations. Full of insight and revelation, the book opens with Oprah recalling her time on stage with Tina Turner in a chapter titled Joy - and you're sure to be smiling as you read her wise words of advice.

    Other themes throughout the book include Resilience, Connection, Gratitude, Awe, Clarity and Power - and all are tackled with Oprah's powerful honesty. The articles are candid, moving and sure to motivate. Pure inspiration from one of the world's favourite figures.
  • FIRE
    Malcolm Castle
    (1)
    • £2.00
    • RRP £12.99
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    The longest serving fireman on the watch in Shrewsbury, Malcolm Castle provides a funny, moving and gloriously nostalgic account of just how surprising a fireman's life can be in All Fired Up: Tales of a Country Fireman. When he was 18, Malcolm became a fireman and pictured himself rushing into burning buildings to save fair damsels in distress. Little did he know he would also be jumping into slurry pits to rescue cows and saving stuck sheepdogs from fence panels. Nothing about working for the fire service was quite what he expected and this warming hardback gives an intriguing portrait of both life in the service and rural Britain.

  • HYLS
    Harry Leslie Smith
    (1)
    • £3.99
    • RRP £12.99
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    A breath of fresh air to the world of current affairs, Harry Leslie Smith introduces a new perspective on modern life through the eyes of a man who has seen it all in Harry's Last Stand.

    Claiming not to be a historian - but being living history himself - Harry brings a unique perspective on the issues that affect our everyday lives including NHS cutbacks, benefits policy, political corruption, food, poverty, education and much, much more...

    Following on from where his sensational Guardian article 'This year, I will wear a poppy for the last time' left off, the book delves into Harry's experience of seeing a great civilisation rising from the rubble, the fears of how easily this greatness can be eroded and what he thinks we can do as a nation to change that!
  • TSUK
    Paul Forkan
    • £3.00
    • RRP £16.99
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    The remarkable true-life story of Rob and Paul Forkan - sibling survivors of the 2004 Sri Lanka tsunami who, after suffering the loss of their parents during the disaster, found hope and success with their business Gandy's Flip Flops and charitable organisation Orphans for Orphans.

    Along with their brother and sister Matty and Rosie, the siblings who were only aged between 8 and 17 years old, faced a harrowing and solitary 200km trek across the decimated country to get home to safety. This book shows how their bravery, ingenuity and resilience helped them survive the situation - and how they used the resourceful skills learned in their unusual upbringing (taken out of school at an early age to carry out voluntary work for charities) to help them along the way.

    In the decade since the tsunami, Rob and Paul have gone from strength to strength - Gandy's Flip Flops is now a global brand endorsed by Richard Branson and 10% of the profits go to Orphans for Orphans - helping support children deprived of education, nutrition and medication.

    Tsunami Kids is a heartbreaking, poignant, inspirational and uplifting memoir!
  • SECS
    Helen Edwards & Jenny Lee Smit
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    Helen Edwards suffered a traumatic childhood, suffering years of abuse at the hands of her neglectful mother and violent father. Adopted at six weeks old, Jenny Lee Smith was smothered in love and support as a child, becoming a golfing champion, but she always knew something was missing...

    In her fifties, Jenny decided to search her birth family and found her sister Helen. The siblings together searched for the truth about Jenny's birth - in turn uncovering a legacy of secrets that changed everything Helen knew about her family.

    My Secret Sister is an inspirational and moving true story about braving your past and not letting difficult times and bitterness define you as a person.
  • HICK
    Alice Walker
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    From Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker, The Chicken Chronicles is a truly unique tale of a women?s relationship with poultry and a warm memoir of how keeping chickens led the author to reflect and ask questions of herself. Growing up in the deep south of America, Alice soon became used to the reality of breeding chickens for their eggs and ultimately meat and discovered later in her life, when living in Mexico, how much she missed rearing her own brood. Full of fascinating reflections and plenty of interesting details about the practicalities of looking after animals, this is an intriguing hardback.

  • AMXMB
    James Rebanks
    • £13.59
    • RRP £16.99
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    From James Rebanks, the Herdwick Shepherd, comes The Shepherd's Life, a story of the Lake District and its people which could redefine the literature of rural life.

    Some people's lives are entirely their own creations. James Rebanks' isn't. The first son of a shepherd, who was the first son of a shepherd himself, he and his family have lived and worked in and around the Lake District for generations. Their way of life is ordered by the seasons and the work they demand, and has been for hundreds of years. These modern dispatches from an ancient landscape tell the story of a deep-rooted attachment to place, describing a way of life that is little noticed and yet has profoundly shaped this landscape. In evocative and lucid prose, James Rebanks takes us through a shepherd's year, offering a unique account of rural life and a fundamental connection with the land that most of us have lost.

    It is a story of working lives, the people around him, his childhood, his parents and grandparents, a people who exist and endure even as the world changes around them. Many stories are of people working desperately hard to leave a place. This is the story of someone trying desperately hard to stay. James Rebanks is the Herdwick Shepherd. His family has farmed in the same area for more than six hundred years.
  • EPSY
    Louise Monaghan
    • £4.99
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    Stolen: Escape from Syria describes how, as one of the worst civil wars in Syria's history raged throughout the country, Louise Monaghan walked across a heavily guarded border to save her six-year-old child from the father who had so callously kidnapped her.

    She encountered captivity, beatings and cruelty beyond belief along the way, but miraculously both Louise and her little girl escaped. Their journey back, led by illegal people-smugglers, took them through bomb attacks and sniper fire and is actually a miracle in itself.

    This emotional read is a breathtaking true story about survival.
  • SUGA
    Brenda Ashford
    • £4.99
    • RRP £12.99
    • Save £8.00

    A Spoonful of Sugar is a heart-warming memoir from 91-year-old Brenda Ashford as she looks back over the 62 years of her life she spent working as a Norland Nanny. As a young trainee at the outbreak of World War II, Brenda worked with poverty-stricken evacuees from London's East End as well as in the nurseries of smart Kensington homes. She also frequently put her life at risk and made a number of sacrifices for the children she loved so much. Throughout the course of her career, she looked after over 100 children and this book shows how much she cared for every single one of them. Warm, funny and moving, this is a true story that brings to life the colourful world of wartime England.

  • AOWEM
    Cathy Glass
    • £6.39
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    Aged nine Joss came home from school to discover her father's suicide. She's never gotten over it. This is the true story of Joss, 13 who is angry and out of control. At the age of nine, Joss finds her father's dead body. He has committed suicide. Then her mother remarries and Joss bitterly resents her step-father who abuses her mentally and physically. Cathy takes Joss under her wing but will she ever be able to get through to the warm-hearted girl she sees glimpses of underneath the vehement outbreaks of anger that dominate the house, and will Cathy be able to build up Joss's trust so she can learn the full truth of the terrible situation?
  • ADVPT
    Cathy Glass
    (1)
    • £6.39
    • RRP £7.99
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    What could cause a mother to believe that giving away her newborn baby is her only option? Cathy Glass is about to find out. From number 1 bestselling author of Damaged comes a harrowing and moving memoir about tiny Harrison, left in Cathy's care, and the potentially fatal family secret of his beginnings. When Cathy is first asked to foster one-day old Harrison her only concern is if she will remember how to look after a baby. But upon collecting Harrison from the hospital, Cathy realises she has more to worry than she thought when she discovers that his background is shrouded in secrecy. She isn't told why Harrison is in foster care and his social worker says only a few are aware of his very existence, and if his whereabouts became known his life, and that of his parents, could be in danger. Cathy tries to put her worries aside as she looks after Harrison, a beautiful baby, who is alert and engaging. Cathy and her children quickly bond with Harrison although they know that, inevitably, he will eventually be adopted. But when a woman Cathy doesn't know starts appearing in the street outside her house acting suspiciously, Cathy fears for her own family's safety and demands some answers from Harrison's social worker. The social worker tells Cathy a little but what she says is very disturbing . How is this woman connected to Harrison and can she answer the questions that will affect Harrison's whole life?
  • ALZGI
    Samuel Pepys
    • £80.00
    • RRP £100.00
    • Save £20.00
    The Diary of Samuel Pepys is one of the most entertaining documents in English history. Written between 1660 and 1669, as Pepys was establishing himself as a key administrator in the Navy Office, it is an intimate portrait of life in 17th-century England, covering his professional and personal activities, including, famously, his love of music, theatre, food, wine and his peccadilloes. This Naxos AudioBooks production is the world premiere recording of the diary in its entirety. It has been divided into three volumes. Volume I covers the opening years of the Restoration and introduces us to many of the key characters { family, government and royalty. Pepys was there when Charles II returned to England, and he lived through those opening years of the Stuart monarchy, with its revenge on the regicides. He also recorded the reopening of theatres, and how England relaxed from years of the Puritan way of life.
  • AMOWU
    Samuel Pepys
    • £68.00
    • RRP £85.00
    • Save £17.00
    The Diary of Samuel Pepys is one of the most entertaining documents in English history. Written between 1660 and 1669, as Pepys was establishing himself as a key administrator in the Navy Office, it is an intimate portrait of life in 17th-century England, covering his professional and personal activities, including, famously, his love of music, theatre, food, wine and his peccadilloes.This Naxos AudioBooks production is the world-premiere recording of the diary in its entirety. It has been divided into three volumes. Volume II covers some of the most famous passages in the diary. Pepys was there, in London, during the terrible Plague of 1665. And he was there during the Great Fire of London the following year, playing an active role in the actual event and the aftermath.