Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Who's Story is That? New Biographies and Memoirs

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

Even Silence Has to End, Ingrid Betancourt
9781844086122, Hachette Australia, $35.00

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


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

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


Ranging from interviews with fellow comedian, Barry Humphires, scriptwriters Glaton and Simpson, director Jonathan Miller, stalwart presenters Michael Palin and Terry Wogan, to comic geniuses such as Eric Sykes and producer George Martin, this original book encapsulates a moving portrait of a man who defied definition during his lifetime, but who is synonymous with a unique era in post-war entertainment.
 
Hey, You in the Black T-Shirt, Michael Chugg
Pan Macmillan Australia, $34.99

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


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

(Courtesy of the Pan Macmillan website)
 
Is That Thing Diesel?  Paul Carter
Allen & Unwin, $24.99

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

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

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

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