One of Them – New Biographies and Memoirs in the Collection

It’s a new month and that means a bunch of new biographies and memoirs hitting the shelves.  We’ve got a real mixed bag of goodies for you to dive in to, here are just some of them for you to check out:

One of them / Lal, Shaneel
“What would you do if you were told by the people you loved the most that the way you were born was evil and wrong? For Shaneel Lal, this was their reality from the time they were five. Growing up in a tiny, traditional village in Fiji, Shaneel always knew they were different. After escaping Fiji and moving to New Zealand as a teenager, Shaneel tried to keep their sexuality – and gender – to themself, but gradually found the courage to come out. One day, while Shaneel was volunteering at Auckland’s Middlemore hospital, a church leader came up to them and offered to ‘pray the gay away’. It was a lightbulb moment for Shaneel, who could not believe that the same practices that had scarred their childhood in Fiji were operating – and legal – in New Zealand. Determined to ensure others wouldn’t have to go through what happened to them, Shaneel founded the Conversion Therapy Action Group, which lead the movement to ban conversion therapy in Aotearoa.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Because our fathers lied : a memoir of truth and family, from Vietnam to today / McNamara, Craig
“Craig McNamara came of age during the political tumult and upheaval of the late ’60s. While he would grow up to take part in antiwar demonstrations, his father, Robert McNamara, served as John F. Kennedy’s secretary of defense and was the architect of the Vietnam War. This searching and revealing memoir offers an intimate portrait of one father and son at pivotal periods in American history. Because Our Fathers Lied is more than a family story–it is a story about America.  Because our fathers lied tells the story of the war from the perspective of a single, unforgettable American family.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

bell hooks : the last interview and other conversations / hooks, bell
“bell hooks was a prolific, trailblazing author, feminist, social activist, cultural critic, and professor. Born Gloria Jean Watkins, bell used her pen name to center attention on her ideas and to honor her courageous great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks. hooks’s unflinching dedication to her work carved deep grooves for the feminist and anti-racist movements. In this collection of 7 interviews, stretching from early in her career until her last interview, she discusses feminism, the complexity of rap music and masculinity, her relationship to Buddhism, the “politic of domination,” sexuality, and love and the importance of communication across cultural borders.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Head on : an All Black’s memoir / Hayman, Carl
“Carl Hayman, All Black 1000, once the most highly prized player in world rugby and a giant of the game in every sense – someone who was always respected, even feared. But at the end of seventeen years as a professional rugby player, the last eight played with the sole aim of setting up his family’s future, Hayman’s life began to unravel. In Head On, Hayman relives a remarkable rugby career, living out his boyhood dreams and fast-tracked into the All Blacks at 21, playing in a world cup and then moving to Europe where he became one of the best-paid players on the planet. But this book is also about the pressures on the modern athlete, where physical performance and commerce collide and players become victims of their own success”–Publisher description.” (Catalogue)

Empress of the Nile : the daredevil archaeologist who saved Egypt’s ancient temples from destruction / Olson, Lynne
“In the 1960s, the world’s attention was focused on a nail-biting race against time: Fifty countries contributed nearly a billion dollars to save a dozen ancient Egyptian temples, built during the height of the pharaohs’ rule, from drowning in the floodwaters of the massive new Aswan High Dam. But the extensive press coverage at the time overlooked the gutsy French archaeologist who made it all happen. Without the intervention of Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt, the temples would now be at the bottom of a vast reservoir.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Life keeps me dancing / Kramer, Eileen
“‘I am not old. I’ve just been here for a long time.’ Eileen Kramer has lived the most extraordinary life. Born just after Australia entered World War I, she embraced creativity and adventure from an early age. She danced and painted murals in Karachi; worked as an artist’s model in Paris and London; and learned the twist from Louis Armstrong. In 2013, aged ninety-nine, Eileen returned to Australia. Now, at 108, she is still dancing. Eileen has led a bold and vibrant life, and to this day she is surrounded by creativity and friendship. She makes the most of every moment and brings beauty and joy to those around her. Here, she shares her inspirational story and wisdom, showing others the gift of the dance of life.” (Catalogue)

Owner of a lonely heart : a memoir / Nguyen, Bich Minh
“At the end of the Vietnam War, when Beth Nguyen was eight months old, she and her father, sister, grandmother, and uncles fled Saigon for America. Beth’s mother stayed–or was left–behind, and they did not meet again until Beth was nineteen. Over the course of her adult life, she and her mother have spent less than twenty-four hours together. Owner of a Lonely Heart is a memoir about parenthood, absence, and the condition of being a refugee: the story of Beth’s relationship with her mother. Vivid and illuminating, Owner of a Lonely Heart is a deeply personal story of family, connection, and belonging: as a daughter, a mother, and as a Vietnamese refugee in America.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The empty honour board : a school memoir / Flanagan, Martin
“In 1966, at the age of 10, Martin Flanagan was sent to a Catholic boarding school in north-west Tasmania. Of the 12 priests on the staff, three have since gone to prison for sexual crimes committed against boys in their care. The Empty Honour Board is part memoir, a reflection on truth and memory, and what is lost in rushing to judgement.  A prison diary, a story of brotherly love, a journey of redemption, Flanagan’s book goes inside an experience many have had, but few have talked about.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

When the world didn’t end : a memoir / Turner, Guinevere
” On January 5, 1975, the world was supposed to end. Under strict instructions from the Family leader, seven-year-old Guinevere Turner put on her best dress, grabbed her favorite toy, and waited with the rest of her community for salvation-a spaceship that would take them to live on Venus. But the spaceship never came. Guinevere did not understand her family was a cult. Drawing from the diaries that she kept throughout her youth, Guinevere Turner’s memoir is an intimate and heart-wrenching chronicle of a childhood touched with extraordinary beauty and unfathomable ugliness, the ache of yearning to return to a lost home-and the slow realization of how harmful that place really was.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Helena Rubinstein : the Australian years / Trumble, Angus
“This meticulously researched and wryly entertaining portrait of Helena Rubinstein (1872-1965) focuses on the years she spent in Australia as a young woman, recovering a ‘lost’ chapter in the grand narrative of the woman who created one of the first global cosmetics corporations. Rubinstein arrived in Australia from Poland when she was twenty-three years old. She lived in Australia for the next eleven years, working first as a governess and then as a waitress, before opening her first beauty salon in Melbourne. In later years, owing to the degree of control she exercised over her glamorous image, many details of her early life in Australia were suppressed. In this absorbing book, we see her laying the foundations for a global empire.” (Catalogue)

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

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