Biographies & Autobiographies

Real Lives

  • AMDK
    Julian and Tracy Austwick
    (1)
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    A touching true story about the bond that developed between a girl with Cerebral Palsy and a donkey who was left for dead with seemingly little hope of recovery. After being found, Shocks was taken into care at the Donkey Sanctuary.

    Meanwhile, Amber and her twin sister were born prematurely at 26 weeks and Amber had to be rushed into theatre for an emergency tracheostomy. Her parents were then given the devastating news that she had Cerebral Palsy and it was unlikely that she'd be able to walk or talk.

    When Amber met Shocks at the Donkey Sanctuary, their lives were changed for the better. This heart-warming and poignant book reveals how their company and friendship helped each other on their respective roads to recovery.
  • TMWS
    Christine Lee
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    We've all fallen in love with the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, the East End nurse whose time spent helping the poorer classes inspired her to write the bestselling Call the Midwife book. Here, Jennifer's sister, Christine Lee, opens readers eyes to the lesser-known periods of Jennifer's life.

    From their early idyllic years to the cruelty and neglect they suffered after their parents divorced, and from Jennifer being forced to leave home at fourteen to their training as nurses, The Midwife's Sister is a moving and evocative tale of two lives that always remained intertwined - through marriages, children, joy and heartbreak.

    For anyone who has been unable to put Jennifer Worth's wonderful books down, or fans of the television reimagining of the goings on at Nonnatus House, The Midwife's Sister is emotional and completely absorbing.
  • IOTM
    Paul Archer
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    Taxi! This hardback book tells the astonishing story of three mates, the taxi they drunkenly purchased and a 43,000 mile-round trip of global misadventure.

    Like many, Paul, Johno and Leigh had plans to travel the world. Little did they know that when they bought themselves a London cab, they'd end up embarking on a journey that took them off the beaten track to some of the most fascinating, dangerous and deadly places on Earth.

    From altercations with the Iranian Secret Police to a terrifying experience with the Taliban, the trio had all kinds of experiences on their fantastic, thrilling and dangerous journey. They even managed to break two World Records along the way!

    With its crazy premise and some colourful language, this highly entertaining and quirky memoir will delight fans of Dave Gorman and Danny Wallace.
  • MLIP
    Wendy Hilling
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    Sure to appeal to animal lovers - especially those who love A Street Cat Named Bob - My Life in His Paws is a remarkable true story that celebrates the bond between humans and animals.

    Wendy Hilling has a rare skin condition which means her skin is very delicate and that she is in constant pain. Every moment of her life is difficult - her throat is very narrow and she can stop breathing at any time. When she met the Golden Retriever Ted last year, her life changed forever.

    The two shared an unshakeable bond and Ted became Wendy's full-time carer. He's now saved her life more times than she can remember and is always there for her, no matter what. This book finds Wendy talking about her unique relationship with the dog and sharing some of the incredible experiences they have enjoyed together. She reveals how he has helped give her freedom and confidence as she battles against the odds.
  • 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)
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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.
  • HYLS
    Harry Leslie Smith
    (1)
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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!
  • BRSL
    Jo Milne
    (1)
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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.
  • KTAY
    Katie Taylor
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    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.
  • EPSY
    Louise Monaghan
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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.
  • TSIB
    Lynda Bellingham
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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.
  • 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.
  • AMXMB
    James Rebanks
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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.
  • AOWEM
    Cathy Glass
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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)
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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
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    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
    • £67.89
    • RRP £85.00
    • Save £17.11
    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.
  • ANDBJ
    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 III presents the last three years of Pepys's diary. By now he was in his mid-thirties and confident in his ability to deal with differing political factions within the Navy Office; his affection for his wife Elizabeth grows ever stronger despite wandering eyes, and he finds he is worth GBP6,000 and more { a considerable sum for the son of a tailor, who started with nothing. His concerns with his eyes grow, and it is with some regret that he stops writing his diary at the end of May 1669
  • ARMAS
    • £51.99
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    This fascinating study examines Samuel Richardson's letters as important works of authorial self-fashioning. It analyses the development of his epistolary style; the links between his own letter-writing practice and that of his fictional protagonists; how his correspondence is highly conscious of the spectrum of publicity; and how he constructed his letter collections to form an epistolary archive for posterity. Looking backwards to earlier epistolary traditions, and forwards, to the emergence of the lives-in-letters mode of biography, the book places Richardson's correspondence in a historical continuum. It explores how the eighteenth century witnesses a transition, from a period in which an author would rarely preserve personal papers to a society in which the personal lives of writers become privileged as markers of authenticity in the expanded print market. It argues that Richardson's letters are shaped by this shifting relationship between correspondence and publicity in the mid-eighteenth century.
  • AQKHW
    David R. Glover
    • £52.00
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    These are the memoirs of Dr. David R. Glover's professional career in pharmaceutical medicine. His formative school and undergraduate years led to a unique and remarkable journey through medicine and medicines. Like many medical careers there were a number of twists and turns which encompassed clinical and academic medicine, clinical research and drug development. He touched upon or was deeply involved with most types of medicines from simple pills and potions through to stem cells. He has recalled many anecdotes relating to the drugs, the people and the events that enriched his career and included some rarely seen illustrations of old medicines and personal photographs. This is not an in-depth pharmacological treatise but it is sufficiently detailed where merited, particularly regarding the infamous "clinical trial that went wrong" in 2006. In his Vie D'or the reader will find that he enjoyed more than his fifteen minutes of fame.
  • AHDKS
    Giacomo Leopardi
    • £40.00
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    Giacomo Leopardi was the greatest Italian poet of the nineteenth century and was recognized by readers from Nietzsche to Beckett as one of the towering literary figures in Italian history. To many, he is the finest Italian poet after Dante. Leopardi was also a prodigious scholar of classical literature and philosophy, and a voracious reader in numerous ancient and modern languages. For most of his writing career, he kept an immense notebook, known as the Zibaldone, or "hodgepodge," as Harold Bloom has called it, in which he put down his original, wide-ranging, radically modern responses to his reading. His comments about religion, philosophy, language, history, anthropology, astronomy, literature, poetry, and love are unprecedented in their brilliance and suggestiveness, and the Zibaldone, which was only published at the turn of the twentieth century, has been recognized as one of the foundational books of modern culture. Its 4,500-plus pages have never been fully translated into English until now, when a team led by of Michael Caesar and Franco D'Intino of the Leopardi Centre in Birmingham have spent years producing a lively, accurate version. This essential book will change our understanding of nineteenth-century culture. Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837), Italy's first and greatest modern poet, was also a critic, philosopher and philologist. His enormous Zibaldone, or philosophical and critical notebook, which many consider one of the great books of the 19th century, will be published in Penguin Classics in 2012.
  • ALSWA
    John Haffenden
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    The letters between Eliot and his associates, family and friends - his correspondents range from the Archbishop of York and the American philosopher Paul Elmer More to the writers Virginia Woolf, Herbert Read and Ralph Hodgson - serve to illuminate the ways in which his Anglo-Catholic convictions could, at times, prove a self-chastising and even alienating force. 'Anyone who has been moving among intellectual circles and comes to the Church, may experience an odd and rather exhilarating feeling of isolation,' he remarks. Notwithstanding, he becomes fully involved in doctrinal controversy: he espouses the Church as an arena of discipline and order. Eliot's relationship with his wife, Vivien, continues to be turbulent, and at times desperate, as her mental health deteriorates and the communication between husband and wife threatens, at the coming end of the year, to break down completely. At the close of this volume Eliot will accept a visiting professorship at Harvard University, which will take him away from England and Vivien for the academic year 1932-33.
  • AQYYB
    John Haffenden
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    A vivid and personal documentation of T. S. Eliot's most crucial years, both in his private and public life. Despairing of his volatile, unstable marriage, T. S. Eliot, at 44, resolves to put an end to his eighteen-year union with Vivien Haigh-Wood Eliot. To begin with, he distances himself from her for nine months, from September 1932, by becoming Norton Lecturer at Harvard University. His lectures will be published as The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism(1933). He also delivers the Page-Barbour Lectures at Virginia (After Strange Gods, 1934). At Christmas he visits Emily Hale, to whom he is 'obviously devoted'. He gives talks all over - New York, California, Missouri, Minnesota, Chicago - and the letters describing encounters with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edmund Wilson and Marianne Moore ('a real Gillette blade') brim with gossip. High points include the premiere at Vassar College of his comic melodrama Sweeney Agonistes (1932). The year 'was the happiest I can ever remember in my life ...successful and amusing.' Returning home, he seeks refuge with friends in the country while making known to Vivien his decision to leave her. But he is exasperated when she buries herself in denial: she will not accept a Deed of Separation. The close of 1933 is lifted when Eliot 'breaks into Show Business'. He is commissioned to write a 'mammoth Pageant': The Rock. This collaborative enterprise will be the proving-ground for the choric triumph of Murder in the Cathedral (1935).