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 | Waterstones | WHSmith
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Recommended by:
Leena Normington, Digital Content Producer | Social Media Producer, Vintage Books; YouTube: Creator for Change Fellow 2017, and Vlogger: Leena Norms (also known as ‘Just Kiss My Frog’)

Leena is an experienced producer of podcasts and online video, media presenter, social media consultant, copywriter and workshop leader. She is one of five winners of the Trailblazer Award in 2019, which celebrates young talent under the age of 30 in publishing. Leena creates content that suits the Vintage PRH imprint’s social platforms. On any given day she’ll be editing a podcast, creating a YouTube video, plotting a thread of tweets or building a fun reading list for the Vintage website. Leena also manages the imprint’s social channels so that it has a constant stream of content being uploaded on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, iTunes, YouTube and more. She makes sure everything is scheduled and looking good; and that Vintage responds to readers’ questions and suggestions.

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.

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IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Dubray | Eason | Kennys
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Recommended by:
Penguin: at The Book Marketing Society

Penguin exists to connect the world with the words that matter, through books that spark thoughts, dreams, conversations and learning. Penguin forms part of Penguin Random House, the world’s leading trade publisher. The unit champions the world’s most brilliant voices, bringing them to life in compelling and dynamic ways for audiences everywhere. In addition to books, ebooks and audiobooks, Penguin also play a part in blockbuster films, TV shows, radio, theatre productions, live events and social media. Its books shape the broader cultural life of our society and inform the national conversation. Its brands accompany people of all ages on their journey of discovery of the greatest stories, the smartest thinking and the best ideas.

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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Recommended by:
Patricia Brachet, Coach, MIND PLUS (France)
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.’

Patricia strongly believes in the recognised professional qualities of active and positive listening. She treats each client as an individual, using her coaching experience to tailor a bespoke method. Patricia’s energy, sincerity and drive adds creative flair to her core coaching skills. Her mission is to identify and build resources that clients can use to improve their personal and professional lives.

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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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 | Waterstones | WHSmith
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Recommended by:
Leena Normington, Digital Content Producer | Social Media Producer, Vintage Books; YouTube: Creator for Change Fellow 2017, and Vlogger: Leena Norms (also known as ‘Just Kiss My Frog’)

Leena is an experienced producer of podcasts and online video, media presenter, social media consultant, copywriter and workshop leader. She is one of five winners of the Trailblazer Award in 2019, which celebrates young talent under the age of 30 in publishing. Leena creates content that suits the Vintage PRH imprint’s social platforms. On any given day she’ll be editing a podcast, creating a YouTube video, plotting a thread of tweets or building a fun reading list for the Vintage website. Leena also manages the imprint’s social channels so that it has a constant stream of content being uploaded on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, iTunes, YouTube and more. She makes sure everything is scheduled and looking good; and that Vintage responds to readers’ questions and suggestions.

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.

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IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Dubray | Eason | Kennys
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Recommended by:
Center Street: at BookExpo America

Center Street is a leading publisher in non-fiction Conservative Politics and Military. The imprint forms part of the Hachette Nashville unit, which is comprised of three imprints: the other two are Faithwords, a publisher of the world’s best voices in the growing inspirational market; and Worthy, an inspirational adult and children’s book publisher, specialising in Christian authors and bestselling non-fiction and fiction books. For media inquiries, please email: CenterStreet@hbgusa.com.

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.

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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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Recommended by:
Atria Books: at BookExpo America

Atria, defined as ‘central living spaces open to the air and sky’, perfectly describes the mission of this innovative publisher. Founded in 2002, Atria was from the start intended to be an environment where new ideas could flourish, the best writers of fiction and non-fiction could thrive and connect with an ever-widening readership, and the best practices of traditional publishing could be integrated with cutting-edge developments in the digital world. In short, a place where great books could come to light. In the 16 years that have followed, the Atria Publishing Group has realised this vision with its creative and motivated staff acquiring, publishing, and marketing a list of successful and highly acclaimed books, many of them award-winners and bestsellers. The Atria Publishing Group is now a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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.

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IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Dubray | Eason | Kennys
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Recommended by:
Christina Jansen, Photographer | Photography website: Christina Jansen Photography

Christina is a London-based photographer and artist who has photographed many celebrities from stage, screen, music, and the worlds of music and sport. She has worked on illustrated books, which include Susan Brookes’ Real Home Cooking (1998: Amazon UK | USA), The Complete Guide to Pregnancy and Childcare (2015: Amazon UK | USA), The Joy of Sex (2004: Amazon UK | USA) book covers, Eurotunnel’s book on Northern Europe, and books on beauty subjects. Her photographic commissions have 
covered fashion stills on feature films, album covers, corporate portraiture, weddings, travel, food and interiors, but her main 
work is as a people and portrait photographer. As well as working as a photographer, Christina has been a model, been employed as a photographic consultant, and worked in PR, which 
included running the ‘Jingle Company’ in Soho representing music composers. She has taught photography at Syracuse
 University and was a presenter for BBC Two on The Photo Show (1995).

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 | FoylesWaterstones
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IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon
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Recommended by:
Steve Barker, Technical Production Director, Associated Press Television News (APTN)

As well as his work with APTN, Steve directed the well-received, crowdfunded documentary Rock & Roll’s Greatest Failure: Otway the Movie (2013: Amazon UK | USA) ‘chronicling the ups and downs of never-say-die musician John Otway’. A rating of 9.3 out of 10 at IMDb is testament to appeal of the film an its subject, self-billed as ‘rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest failure. APTN is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Its teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. APTN provides content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.

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 | Waterstones | WHSmith
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IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Dubray | Eason | Kennys
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Recommended by:
Ruth Jackson, Editor, YCW (Youth and Children’s Work) and Head, Youth Apologetics, Premier
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.’

Prior to joining Premier, Oxford University graduate Ruth Jackson worked at the BBC and the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA). She now edits Premier’s YCW magazine and heads up the company’s youth apologetics arm (profile). In her spare time Ruth plays bass in an all-girl rock ’n’ roll band called The Daisy ChainsYCW is a monthly magazine sold at good Christian bookshops and available by subscription from Premier.

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.

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Recommended by:
David Stark, Founder, Editor and Publisher, SongLink and Cuesheet

David is a music-business professional with over 35 years experience in publishing, comprising creative networking between artists, writers, producers, managers, labels, and film/tv composers. He is also accomplished at journalism, editing publications, photography, occasional songwriting and studio production, playing drums, organising showcases, judging song contests worldwide, acting as researcher for industry awards and events. David also works as a 60s/70s music consultant for radio, television and the press. His areas of speciality are: song placement via SongLink International; and film, television and other media music placement via Cuesheet.

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 | Waterstones | WHSmith
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CanadaFindaBookstore.ca (independents) | Amazon | Indigo
India: Bookstores in India (independents) | Amazon | Flipkart | Goodreads | SapnaOnline
IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Books.ie | Dubray | Eason | Kennys
Australia: Bookshops.com.au (independents) | Amazon | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Dymocks | QBD Books
New Zealand: Find a Bookshop (independents) | Amazon | Dymocks | Paper Plus | Whitcoulls
South Africa: Bookshops (independents) | Amazon | Exclusive Books
Rest of the world: Book DepositoryWordery

Recommended by:
Windmill Books: at The Book Marketing Society

An imprint within the Cornerstone division of Penguin Random House UK, Windmill’s mission is to publish exceptional literary fiction and non-fiction paperbacks. Established in 2009, Windmill’s list is bursting with prize-winners, exceptional new voices and expert non-fiction writers, publishing across a broad range of genres.

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