Anything Can Happen – New Biographies and Memoirs in the Collection

The nights are getting shorter and colder, it’s time to curl up with a good book and a warm beverage of choice.  Biographies and memoirs are always good to curl up with on a winter evening, and we’ve got some fabulous new ones in the collection.  Take a look at these we’ve selected from this month’s new stock.

Anything can happen / Hampton, Susan
“Funny, heartbreaking, it has exactly the arc of a good story, with a theme about storytelling and lies and how truth and memory are complex. It keeps in play so many things: irony and spirituality, a slice of social history of Sydney’s inner west, a farm in Victoria, a lesbian subculture, Mardi Gras, the literary pleasures of teaching writing. With the eye of a poet, and the dry drollery of someone who has experienced it all, straight and married, gay and married, mother, friend, lover, writer, this is a raw and powerful account of a life lived fully.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

No son of mine : a memoir / Corcoran, Jonathan
“Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Jonathan Corcoran was the youngest and only son of three siblings in a family balanced on the precipice of poverty. His mother, a traditional, evangelical, and insular woman who had survived abuse and abandonment, was often his only ally. In No Son of Mine, Corcoran traces his messy estrangement from his mother through lost geographies: the trees, mountains, and streams that were once his birthright, as well as the lost relationships with friends and family and the sense of home that were stripped away when she said he was no longer her son.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Missing persons : or, My grandmother’s secrets / Wills, Clair
“When Clair Wills was in her twenties, she discovered she had a cousin she had never met. Born in a mother-and-baby home in 1950s Ireland, Mary grew up in an institution not far from the farm where Clair spent happy childhood summers. Yet Clair was never told of Mary’s existence. How could a whole family–a whole country–abandon unmarried mothers and their children, erasing them from history? To discover the missing pieces of her family’s story, Clair searched across archives and nations, in a journey that would take her from the 1890s to the 1980s, from West Cork to rural Suffolk and Massachusetts, from absent fathers to the grief of a lost child.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Mickey : the cat who raised me / Brown, Helen
“The youngest daughter of an eccentric engineer and a musical theater fanatic, Helen Brown grew up in the New Zealand coastal town of New Plymouth in a crumbling castle overrun by nature, and overshadowed by nearby, beautiful Mount Taranaki. It’s 1966, the Pacific Islands are being used for atomic bomb testing, and her parents and siblings are swept up in their own lives. Twelve years old, struggling in school, and facing eye surgery-for the second time-Helen feels lonely and lost … Until her father gives her a three-month-old, gray-and-brown tiger-striped tabby with extra toes on each paw. Noticing an M design on the cat’s forehead, Helen names her new companion Mickey.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Candy Darling : dreamer, icon, superstar / Carr, C.
“Growing up on Long Island, lonely and quiet and queer, she was enchanted by Hollywood starlets like Kim Novak. She found her turn in New York’s early Off-Off-Broadway theater scene, in Warhol’s films Flesh and Women in Revolt, and at the famed nightclub Max’s Kansas City. She inspired songs by Lou Reed and the Rolling Stones. Yet Candy lived on the edge, relying on the kindness of strangers, friends, and her quietly devoted mother, sleeping on couches and in cheap hotel rooms, keeping a part of herself hidden. Candy died at twenty-nine in 1974, just as conversations about gender and identity were beginning to enter the broader culture. Cynthia Carr’s Candy Darling is packed with tales of luminaries, gossip, and meticulous research, laced with Candy’s words and her friends’ recollections, and signals Candy’s long-overdue return to the spotlight..” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Island girl to airplane pilot : a story of love, sacrifice and taking flight / McLeod, Silva
“This is the life story of Silva Mcleod, the first Tongan woman to become an airline pilot. She’s still one of only a handful. Told by Silva with frankness and wit, it’s quite a story. Silva takes us on a journey of cultural change from her beginnings as a poor island girl to her marriage to an Australian. The challenges of pursuing a flying career and its impact on her family are set against the backdrop of the love story of her life with her husband and his battle with cancer.” (Catalogue)

The Orwell tour : travels through the life and work of George Orwell / Lewis, Oliver
“Following in the footsteps of his literary hero, researcher and historian Oliver Lewis set out to visit all the places to have inspired and been lived in by George Orwell. Beginning in Northern India, where Orwell was born in 1903, and ending in the Oxfordshire village of Sutton Courtenay, where he was laid to rest in 1950, The Orwell Tour offers an accessible and informative new biography of Orwell through the lens of place.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The long and winding road / Pearse, Lesley
” Lesley Pearse didn’t publish her first novel until she was 48. Now she has sold over ten million books around the world and is a constant presence on the bestseller chart. A writer of heart-stopping stories, Lesley’s books are filled with heroines struggling to make it in a difficult world. Yet this description could apply to Lesley herself. In this, her first ever autobiography, she tells of growing up in an orphanage after her mother’s death, her racy twenties in London during the swinging sixties and working as a bunny girl and dressmaker.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The light room / Zambreno, Kate
“Moving through the seasons, returning often to parks and green spaces, Zambreno captures the isolation and exhaustion of being home with a baby and a small child, but also small and transcendent moments of beauty and joy. How will our memories, and our children’s, be affected by this time of profound disconnection? What does it mean to bring new life, and new work, into this moment of precarity and crisis? In The Light Room, Kate Zambreno offers a vision of how to live in ways that move away from disenchantment, and toward light and possibility.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The promised party : Kahlo, Basquiat & me / Clement, Jennifer
“Growing up in ’60s Mexico City, Jennifer Clement lived next door to Frida Kahlo’s house. It was an unorthodox and bohemian childhood, living alongside artists, communists, revolutionaries and poets, and one that allowed an awakening of creative freedom and curiosity about the world. Leaving behind the revolutions in Latin America for the burgeoning counter-culture scene in ’80s New York, Clement quickly became a fixture on the art scene. From the author of cult classic Widow Basquiat, this memoir is a tale of two cities and their artists. It recreates the fury, ecstasy and danger that made ’70s Mexico City and ’80s New York two of the greatest places to be young, free and alive.” (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)

There is no blue / Baillie, Martha
“Martha Baillie’s richly layered response to her mother’s passing, her father’s life, and her sister’s suicide is an exploration of how the body, the rooms we inhabit, and our languages offer the psyche a home, if only for a time. Three essays, three deaths. The first is the death of the author’s mother, a protracted disappearance, leaving space for thoughtfulness and ritual: the washing of her body, the making of a death mask. The second considers Baillie’s father, his remoteness, his charm, a lacuna at the center of the family even before his death, earlier than her mother’s. And then, third, shockingly, the author’s sister, a visual artist and writer living with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, who writes three reasons to die on her bedroom wall and then takes her life, just before the book the sisters co-authored is due to come out.” (Catalogue)

For more new books in the collection, go to: What’s new / May 2024 (

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