Grace and Gratitude: New Biographies and Memoirs in the Collection

We have really settled into the cold part of a Wellington winter and what better activities to keep you warm than getting cosy with a good biography or memoir.  This month we have a whole host of new books by and about women for you to delve into.  Check these out:

Olivia : grace and gratitude / Young, Miranda
“No matter how far she roamed, Olivia always called Australia home. From the UK to Melbourne and all around the world, Grease superstar Olivia Newton-John is one of the most beloved musical and acting icons in the world. Grace and Gratitude covers Olivia’s journey as a dedicated woman in music who conquered the international entertainment world.  With tributes from famous celebrities and public figures and exclusive insights from some of Australia’s biggest names in music, Olivia: Grace and Gratitude is the perfect tribute to an Australian and world-beloved icon.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Never shaken, never stirred : the story of Ann Fleming and Laura, Duchess of Marlborough / Reindorp, Christopher
“Glamorous, fun and packed with scandalous anecdotes, Never Shaken, Never Stirred tells the story of two extraordinary sisters, Ann and Laura Charteris, who made marrying well an art form. While Laura eventually became the Duchess of Marlborough, Ann became Mrs Ian Fleming, and the antics and attitudes of the two women inspired the writer to create the famous ‘Bond Girl’.   Indeed, the lives of the Charteris sisters are almost too extraordinary to believe, as they bagged husbands, bedded men, threw parties and travelled to some of the most glamorous destinations in the world, all at a time when such behaviour by aristocratic society women was unthinkable.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The last daughter : a true story of love, loss and reconnection / Matthews, Brenda
“When Brenda Matthews was two years old, she and her siblings were taken from their parents. For the next five years she was a much-loved daughter in a white family, a happy child in a country town on the outskirts of Sydney, unaware of the existence of her Aboriginal family or how hard her parents were fighting for her return-unaware of her Aboriginal identity. Then, she was suddenly returned to her Aboriginal family, the last daughter to come home.  It’s a story full of heartbreak, love, hope and healing, one that shows a way forward for all Australians.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A living remedy : a memoir / Chung, Nicole
“From the bestselling author of ALL YOU CAN EVER KNOW comes a searing memoir of class, inequality, and grief-a daughter’s search to understand the lives her adoptive parents led, the life she forged as an adult, and the lives she’s lost. Exploring the enduring strength of family bonds in the face of hardship and tragedy, A Living Remedy examines what it takes to reconcile the distance between one life, one home, and another – and sheds needed light on some of the most persistent and tragic inequalities in American society.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

By your side : my life loving Barbara Windsor / Mitchell, Scott
“In December 2020, while the world was gripped with news of an imminent third lockdown, Scott Mitchell was visiting the care home where his partner and wife of 27 years – Dame Barbara Windsor – was being looked after. At the age of 83, after a career spanning seven decades and a seven-year battle with the debilitating effects of dementia, she was slipping away. Barbara’s illness meant she could no longer remember her magical career, and so Scott sat by her bedside in her final days, telling her tales from their extraordinary life together.  From the madness and the mayhem, the glorious highs and the devastating lows, to the fantastic fun she and Scott had along the way – this is an intimate, honest and incredibly personal account of a life spent loving Babs; a warm, colourful and heartfelt celebration of her rich, varied and remarkable life from the man who knew her best.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Paris : the memoir / Hilton, Paris
“Recounting her perilous journey through pre-#MeToo sexual politics with grace, dignity, and just the right amount of sass, Paris: The Memoir tracks the evolution of celebrity culture through the story of the figure at its leading edge, full of defining moments and marquee names. Most important, Paris shows us her path to peace while she challenges us to question our role in her story and in our own. Welcome to Paris. In this deeply personal memoir, the ultimate It Girl shares, for the first time, the hidden history that traumatized and defined her and how she rose above a series of heart-wrenching challenges to find healing, lasting love, and a life of meaning and purpose.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Honey, baby, mine : a mother and daughter talk life, death, love (and banana pudding) / Dern, Laura
“Award-winning actresses and mother-daughter duo Laura Dern and Diane Ladd are the kind of women who draw strength from their lifelong friendships with other women, and most of all, from each other. Ever since Laura was born, the two have leaned on each other through the trials of everyday life and the tribulations that come with even the most storied Hollywood careers. They were always close, but when Diane developed a sudden illness, their relationship grew even deeper.   The result is a book that will make you want to call your own mom–a testament to the intimacy that can be achieved when we are brave enough to speak our truths to those we love most.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Radical : a life of my own / Guo, Xiaolu
“The world can seem strange and lonely when you step away from your family and everything you have tried to call your own. Yet beauty may also appear. Xiaolu Guo travels to New York to take up a position as a visiting professor for a year, leaving her child and partner behind in London. The encounter with American culture and people threatens her sense of identity and throws her into a crisis — of meaning, desire, obligation and selfhood. This is a memoir about separation — by continents, by language, and from people. It’s about being an outsider and the desperate longing to connect. At once a memoir, a dictionary, and an ardent love letter, it is an expression of her fascination with Western culture and her nostalgia for Eastern landscapes, and an attempt to describe the space in between.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fat girl dancing : a memoir / Kneen, Krissy
“How does a person come to know that they are different from the children around them? To measure themselves against a set normal and find themselves lacking? When did I know that I was plump, and then fat? Fat child, self-denying adolescent, hungry young woman; a body now burgeoning uncontrolled into middle age. Kris Kneen has borne the usual indignities- the confrontations with clothes that won’t fasten, with mirrors that defame, with strangers whose gaze judges and dismisses. This is the story of how Kris learned to look unblinkingly at their recalcitrant body, and ultimately found the courage to carry it to freedom. Fat Girl Dancing is a frank, beautiful and triumphant ode to self-respect from one of Australia’s most original and acclaimed writers.” (Catalogue)

The dead are gods : a memoir / Carson, Eirinie
“In this striking, intimate, and profoundly moving depiction of life after sudden loss, the author, after losing her best friend Larissa, attempts to make sense of the events leading up to her death, alongside a timely, honest, and personal exploration of Black love and Black life.” (Catalogue)


For more new books in the collection, go to: What’s new & Popular / July 2023 (