Jolabokaflod

Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading

Memoirs and autobiographies

Please visit our Book Bulletin 2018 crowdfunding project at CrowdPatch to buy recommendations for our Winter 2018 catalogue and to volunteer your skills, experience and contacts. All funds raised will support not-for-profit Jolabokaflod CIC’s forthcoming programme of events.

Wildflower
Drew Barrymore
(UK: Virgin Books, @virginbooks, 2016; USA: Dutton, @DuttonBooks, 2016)

Born into Hollywood royalty, Drew Barrymore is one of the biggest stars of her generation. Despite an unconventional childhood, she has built a life and career of her own that millions of fans admire.

Wildflower is a portrait of Drew’s life in stories as she looks back on the adventures, challenges and incredible experiences she’s had. It will inspire, delight and show the true meaning of family, happiness and love.

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Leena Normington

The Terrible
Yrsa Daley-Ward
(UK: Penguin, @PenguinUKBooks, 2018; USA: Penguin, @penguinusa, 2018)

This is the story of Yrsa Daley-Ward, and all the things that happened – ‘even the Terrible Things (and God, there were Terrible Things)’. It’s about her childhood in the north-west of England with her beautiful, careworn mother and her little brother who sees things written in the stars.

It’s also about growing up and discovering the power and fear of sexuality, about pitch grey days of pills and powder: going under, losing yourself, and finding your voice.

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Penguin at Book Marketing Society event

Gunshot in Paradise
Craig Hartwell
(UK: WOTS HOT Publishing, @CraigHartwell, 2014)

A dramatic autobiographical account of actual events that took place in the British Virgin Islands in the mid-1990s. This authentic and original true story follows a young couple as they leave behind the grey London skies and routine of normal life to chase a dream and start afresh in the Caribbean. What they find however is tragedy and heartache, as they are terrifyingly plunged into a world they do not understand and over which they have no control.

At times funny and engaging, at others inspirational, it is in essence a gripping life and death struggle for survival set against the backdrop of an incredible tropical hideaway. Everything they knew is suddenly on the line as the two young adventurers battle governments and the laws of a foreign land, and are confronted with a truly shocking incident that is destined to change both their lives for ever. Not all trips to paradise end the same way.

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Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Patricia Brachet, coach
Patricia says: ‘I already knew a bit about this story as I live in the same seaside town the author set off from for the British Virgin Islands. However this in no way spoiled my enjoyment of this gripping and beautifully written book.’

Girl in the Dark: A Memoir of a Life Without Light
Anna Lyndsey
(UK: Bloomsbury, @BloomsburyBooks, 2016; USA: Anchor, @VintageAnchor, 2016)

Once, Anna Lyndsey had an ordinary life. She was young and ambitious and worked hard, she had just bought an apartment, she was falling in love. Then what began as a mild intolerance to certain kinds of artificial light developed into a severe sensitivity to all light. Now, at the worst times, Anna must spend months on end in a blacked-out room, where she loses herself in audiobooks and elaborate word games in an attempt to ward off despair. During periods of relative remission, she can venture out cautiously at dawn or dusk into a world that overwhelms her starved senses with its beauty.

Eventually, Anna’s unthinkable fate becomes a transcendent love story, offering an extraordinary perspective from which we can see light and the world anew.

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Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Dan Calladine, Head of Media Futures, Carat Global Management | Founder, London Pop-ups
Dan says: ‘A fascinating account of what it’s like to live with a rare skin condition.  This divided my book group but I find out very moving and inspiring.’

Dan Calladine is a media industry maven who tracks online and offline media trends and the effectiveness of media strategy for Carat, a media agency within the Dentsu Aegis Network. He is an expert commentator on media, having been interviewed by BBC Radio 4, the Financial Times, Campaign and the Guardian, among other channels and publications. Dan is an expert on social media, including and social media tracking: he is a keen user, being active on YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest. Dan also heads and runs London Pop-ups, a online listings hub for pop-up events in the capital city.

Zayn: The Official Autobiography
Zayn Malik
(UK: Penguin, @PenguinUKBooks, 2016)

ZAYN opens up with this collection of thoughts, inspiration, and never-before-seen personal photographs. After five years of massive success with One Direction, ZAYN launched his career as a solo artist with Mind of Mine, becoming one of the most successful artists in the world. Now, for the first time ever, ZAYN is going to tell and show all in this intimate and raw scrapbook of his life. Never-before-released photos give readers insight to ZAYN, no-holds-barred. Gorgeously designed with hundreds of full-color photographs and Zayn’s notes, drawings, song lyrics, and personal stories, the book captures Zayn’s most private moments and his candid feelings on fame, success, music, and life. The next chapter of ZAYN’S evolution into global superstar, told by the artist who is living it.

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Books.ie | Dubray | Eason | Kennys Bookshop
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Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Leena Normington

Death Need Not Be Fatal
Malachy McCourt
(USA: Center Street@centerstreet, 2018)

During the course of his life, Malachy McCourt practically invented the single’s bar; was a pioneer in talk radio, a soap-opera star, a best-selling author; a gold smuggler, a political activist, and a candidate for governor of the state of New York. It seems that the only two things he hasn’t done are stick his head into a lion’s mouth and die. Since he is allergic to cats, he decided to write about the great hereafter and answer the question on most minds: ‘What’s so great about it anyhow?’

In Death Need Not Be Fatal, McCourt also trains a sober eye on the tragedies that have shaped his life: the deaths of his sister and twin brothers; the real story behind Angela’s famous ashes; and a poignant account of the death of the man who left his mother, brothers, and him to nearly die in squalor. McCourt writes with deep emotion of the staggering losses of all three of his brothers, Frank, Mike, and Alphie. In his inimitable way, McCourt takes the grim reaper by the lapels and shakes the truth out of him.

As he rides the final blocks on his Rascal scooter, he looks too at the prospect of his own demise with emotional clarity and insight. In this beautifully rendered memoir, McCourt shows us how to live life to its fullest, how to grow old without acting old, and how to die without regret.

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Books.ie | Dubray | Eason | Kennys Bookshop
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Recommended by:
Center Street at BookExpo America

Porcelain
Moby
(UK: Faber & Faber, @FaberBooks, 2017; USA: Penguin, @penguinusa, 2017)

In the late 80s and early 90s, Moby – then an underground DJ and musician – was scraping out a living in New York City. In a scene popular chiefly among working-class African-Americans and Latinos, Moby – a poor, skinny, white Christian, vegan and teetotaller – looked like he would never make it. By the late nineties, contemplating the end of his music career, he released what he assumed would be his swansong, Play, which went on to become a multi-million-selling album, opening up an astonishing new phase in his life. Porcelain is an unfailingly honest, funny and brilliantly written memoir about making it, losing it, loving it, hating it and everything in between.

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Books.ie | Dubray | Eason | Kennys Bookshop
Australia: Bookshops.com.au (independents) | Amazon | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Dymocks | Queensland Book Depot
New Zealand: Find a Bookshop (independents) | Amazon | Dymocks | Paper Plus | Whitcoulls
South Africa: Bookshops (independents) | Amazon | Bargain Books | Exclusive Books
Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Dan Calladine, Head of Media Futures, Carat Global Management | Founder, London Pop-ups
Dan says: ‘A brilliant autobiography telling Moby’s own version of the rise of dance music, and his own route to success and musical fulfilment.’

Dan Calladine is a media industry maven who tracks online and offline media trends and the effectiveness of media strategy for Carat, a media agency within the Dentsu Aegis Network. He is an expert commentator on media, having been interviewed by BBC Radio 4, the Financial Times, Campaign and the Guardian, among other channels and publications. Dan is an expert on social media, including and social media tracking: he is a keen user, being active on YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest. Dan also heads and runs London Pop-ups, a online listings hub for pop-up events in the capital city.

Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me
Janet Mock
(USA: Atria Books, @AtriaBooks, 2017)

A few months before her twentieth birthday, Janet Mock is adjusting to her days as a first-generation college student at the University of Hawaii and her nights as a dancer at a strip club. Finally content in her body after her teenage transition, she vacillates between flaunting and concealing herself as she navigates dating and disclosure, sex and intimacy, and most important, letting herself be truly seen. Under the neon lights of Club Nu, Janet meets Troy, a yeoman stationed at Pearl Harbor naval base, who becomes her first. The pleasures and perils of their relationship serve as a backdrop for Janet’s progression through all the universal growing pains—falling in and out of love, living away from home, and figuring out what she wants to do with her life.

Fueled by her dreams and an inimitable drive, Janet makes her way through New York City intent on building a career in the highly competitive world of magazine publishing – within the unique context of being trans, a woman, and a person of color. Hers is a timely glimpse about the barriers many face – and a much-needed guide on how to make a way out of no way.

Long before she became one of the world’s most respected media figures and lauded leaders for equality and justice, Janet learned how to advocate for herself before becoming an advocate for others.

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Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Atria Books at BookExpo America

The Moon’s a Balloon
David Niven
(UK: Penguin, @PenguinUKBooks, 1994)

Beginning with the tragic early loss of his aristocratic father, then regaling us with tales of school, army and wartime hi-jinx, Niven shows how, even as an unknown young man, he knew how to live the good life.

But it is his astonishing stories of life in Hollywood and his accounts of working and partying with the legends of the silver screen – Lawrence Oliver, Vivien Leigh, Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor, James Stewart, Lauren Bacall, Marlene Dietrich, Noel Coward and dozens of others, whilst making some of the most acclaimed films of the last century – which turn David Niven’s memoir into an outright masterpiece.

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Christina Jansen, photographer

Cor Baby, That’s Really Me! Rock and Roll’s Greatest Failure
John Otway
(UK: Cherry Red, @CherryRedGroup, 2010)

There was a time when John Otway looked forward to platinum albums, stadium gigs, and a squad of bodyguards to see him safely aboard his private jet. Unfortunately it didn’t happen that way. A series of dreadful career decisions, financial blunders and bad records left Otway down but not out.

This is his true story in his own words. It is the story of a man who has never repaid a record company advance in his life, once put on a benefit concert for his record company after they had cancelled his contract, and signed himself to the mighty Warner Bros label simply by pressing his own records with the WB logo.

\This book is Otway’s hilarious yet moving account of his insane assault on the music industry, a tale of blind ambition and rank incompetence, and a salutary lesson for aspiring musicians on how not to achieve greatness.

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Books.ie | Dubray | Eason | Kennys Bookshop
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Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Steve Barker

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus
Nabeel Qureshi
(USA: Zondervan Publishing, @Zondervan, 2018)

Now expanded with bonus content, Nabeel Qureshi describes his dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity, complete with friendships, investigations, and supernatural dreams along the way.

Providing an intimate window into a loving Muslim home, Qureshi shares how he developed a passion for Islam before discovering, almost against his will, evidence that Jesus rose from the dead and claimed to be God. Unable to deny the arguments but not wanting to deny his family, Qureshi struggled with an inner turmoil that will challenge Christians, Muslims, and all those who are interested in the world’s greatest religions.

Engaging and thought-provoking, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus tells a powerful story of the clash between Islam and Christianity in one man’s heart – and of the peace he eventually found in Jesus.

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Books.ie | Dubray | Eason | Kennys Bookshop
Australia: Bookshops.com.au (independents) | Amazon | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Dymocks | Queensland Book Depot
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South Africa: Bookshops (independents) | Amazon | Bargain Books | Exclusive Books
Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Ruth Jackson
Ruth says: ‘An amazing autobiography charting Nabeel’s journey from Islam to Christianity – would be great in biography section too. I’d go as far as saying this is possibly the best Christian book I have ever read.’

xxxxx

Life
Keith Richards
(UK: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, @wnbooks, 2011; USA: Back Bay Books, @littlebrown, 2011)

With The Rolling Stones, Keith Richards created the songs that roused the world, and he lived the original rock and roll life. Now, at last, the man himself tells his story of life in the crossfire hurricane …

Listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters’ records, learning guitar and forming a band with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones … The Rolling Stones’ first fame and the notorious drug busts that led to his enduring image as an outlaw folk hero … Creating immortal riffs like the ones in ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ and ‘Honky Tonk Women’ … His relationship with Anita Pallenberg and the death of Brian Jones … Tax exile in France, wildfire tours of the US, isolation and addiction … Falling in love with Patti Hansen … Estrangement from Jagger and subsequent reconciliation … Marriage, family, solo albums and Xpensive Winos, and the road that goes on forever …

With his trademark disarming honesty, Keith Richards brings us the story of a life we have all longed to know more of, unfettered, fearless and true.

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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CanadaFindaBookstore.ca (independents) | Amazon | Indigo
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IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Books.ie | Dubray | Eason | Kennys Bookshop
Australia: Bookshops.com.au (independents) | Amazon | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Dymocks | Queensland Book Depot
New Zealand: Find a Bookshop (independents) | Amazon | Dymocks | Paper Plus | Whitcoulls
South Africa: Bookshops (independents) | Amazon | Bargain Books | Exclusive Books
Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
David Stark

Educated
Tara Westover
(UK: Windmill Books, @WindmillBooks, 2018; USA: Random House, @randomhouse, 2018)

Tara Westover and her family grew up preparing for the End of Days but, according to the government, she didn’t exist. She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in hospitals … As she grew older, her father became more radical and her brother more violent. At sixteen, Tara knew she had to leave home. In doing so she discovered both the transformative power of education and the price she had to pay for it.

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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CanadaFindaBookstore.ca (independents) | Amazon | Indigo
India: Bookstores in India (independents) | Amazon | Flipkart | Goodreads | Infibeam | SapnaOnline
IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Books.ie | Dubray | Eason | Kennys Bookshop
Australia: Bookshops.com.au (independents) | Amazon | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Dymocks | Queensland Book Depot
New Zealand: Find a Bookshop (independents) | Amazon | Dymocks | Paper Plus | Whitcoulls
South Africa: Bookshops (independents) | Amazon | Bargain Books | Exclusive Books
Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Windmill Books at Book Marketing Society event [Secret Santa]

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