Making it so: New biographies and memoirs

Have you set a reading goal for 2024?  Are you looking for some inspiration to get you rolling?  Look no further than these amazing new biographies hitting our collection this month.  We’ve got everything from a star of the Star Trek universe, to legendary filmmakers, to our former Prime Minister to pique your interest.  Take a look at this selection…

Making it so : a memoir / Stewart, Patrick
“From his acclaimed stage triumphs to his legendary onscreen work in the Star Trek and X-Men franchises, Sir Patrick Stewart has captivated audiences around the world and across multiple generations with his indelible command of stage and screen. Now, he presents his long-awaited memoir, Making It So, a revealing portrait of an artist whose astonishing life — from his humble beginnings in Yorkshire, England, to the heights of Hollywood and worldwide acclaim — proves a story as exuberant, definitive, and enduring as the author himself.” (Catalogue)

Lies my mirror told me : a frank, funny, fearless memoir / Harmer, Wendy
“Wendy Harmer has had an extraordinary life. From being born with a severe facial deformity, to performing as a stand-up comedian, a national television host and then the highest paid woman in the cut-throat world of Sydney FM radio … Wendy’s tale of overcoming adversity is told with her trademark in-your-face frankness and celebrated wit.  In Lies My Mirror Told Me Wendy reflects on her life – one of the most unlikely success stories you will ever read.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sure, I’ll join your cult : a memoir of mental illness and the quest to belong anywhere / Bamford, Maria
“Maria Bamford is a comedian’s comedian (an outsider among outsiders) and has forever fought to find a place to belong. From struggling with an eating disorder as a child of the 1980s, to navigating a career in the arts (and medical debt and psychiatric institutionalization), she has tried just about every method possible to not only be a part of the world, but to want to be a part of it. In Bamford’s signature voice, Sure, I’ll Join Your Cult, brings us on a quest to participate in something.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Every man for himself and God against all : a memoir / Herzog, Werner
“Legendary filmmaker and celebrated author Werner Herzog tells in his inimitable voice the story of his epic artistic career in a long-awaited memoir that is as inventive and daring as anything he has done before. Every Man for Himself and God Against All is at once a firsthand personal record of one of the great and self-invented lives of our time, and a singular literary masterpiece that will enthrall fans old and new alike. In a hypnotic swirl of memory, Herzog untangles and relives his most important experiences and inspirations, telling the full story of his life for the first and only time.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The secret life of John le Carré / Sisman, Adam
“Secrecy came naturally to John le Carré, and there were some secrets that he fought fiercely to keep. Adam Sisman’s definitive biography, published in 2015, provided a revealing portrait of this fascinating man; yet some aspects of his subject remained hidden. Nowhere was this more so than in his private life.  In trying to manage his biography, the novelist engaged in a succession of skirmishes with his biographer.  Following his death in 2020, what had been withheld can now be revealed. The Secret Life of John le Carré reveals a hitherto-hidden perspective on the life and work of the spy-turned-author and a fascinating meditation on the complex relationship between biographer and subject.'” (Adapted from Catalogue)

How to say Babylon : a memoir / Sinclair, Safiya
“Throughout her childhood, Safiya Sinclair’s father, a volatile reggae musician and militant adherent to a strict sect of Rastafari, became obsessed with her purity, in particular, with the threat of what Rastas call Babylon, the immoral and corrupting influences of the Western world outside their home. He worried that womanhood would make Safiya and her sisters morally weak and impure, and believed a woman’s highest virtue was her obedience. Rich in lyricism and language only a poet could evoke, How to Say Babylon is both a universal story of a woman finding her own power and a unique glimpse into a rarefied world we may know how to name, Rastafari, but one we know little about.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Living my best life, hun : following your dreams is no joke / Hughes, London
“London Hughes has come a long way from secretly writing Frasier fan fiction alone in her bedroom. All her life, London longed to be a badass–an awesome bullet-proof woman who nobody could mess with. From birthday parties gone wrong to family drama, from wanting desperately to be famous to starting out on less-than-desirable TV shows, from navigating school bullies and boyfriends, London leaves no stone unturned in Living My Best Life, Hun. It took London some time to find her voice and her people, but now that she has, she’s mentally high-fiving her 14-year-old self every day.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Question 7 / Flanagan, Richard
“By way of H. G. Wells and Rebecca West’s affair through 1930s nuclear physics to Flanagan’s father working as a slave labourer near Hiroshima when the atom bomb is dropped, this genre-defying daisy chain of events reaches fission when Flanagan as a young man finds himself trapped in a rapid on a wild river not knowing if he is to live or to die. At once a love song to his island home and to his parents, this hypnotic melding of dream, history, place and memory is about how our lives so often arise out of the stories of others and the stories we invent about ourselves.” (Catalogue)

One boy, two Bills and a fry up : a memoir of growing up and getting on / Streeting, Wes
“Wes Streeting owes his life to a fry up. And much of the story of his childhood years to the two Bills who were his grandfathers. He might have ended up in prison rather than in Parliament. Honest, funny, unflinching Streeting shares the challenges of growing up in poverty and his optimism that poverty is a trap that we can escape – a conviction which now informs everything about his mission in politics.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Jacinda Ardern / Duff, Michelle
“Michelle Duff delves into Ardern’s beginnings in small-town New Zealand, discovering a nose-ringed teen fighting for equality and her own identity in a devout Mormon family. Duff tracks Ardern’s political career from being dismissed as a ‘show pony’ to her compassion during one of New Zealand’s biggest tragedies, the Christchurch mosque terror attack of 2019. In its aftermath, Ardern has become a global icon for her strength and decisiveness while uniting a country in shock and mourning. This is an engrossing and powerful exploration of one of the most intriguing political stories of our time-telling us as much about one young woman’s ascendancy as it does about the country that elected her.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

For more new books in the collection, go to: What’s new / January 2024 (wcl.govt.nz)

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