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)

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To the one I love the best: New biographies and memoirs

It’s a new month and that means new books. In our biographies this month we have a selection of fascinating individuals, from stars of popular culture and film, to migrants and refugees, power brokers and photographers. Take a look at some of them here…

To the one I love the best / Bemelmans, Ludwig
“A witty and charming account of the wildly entertaining Elsie de Wolfe in 1950s Hollywood, recounted by her dear friend, the beloved creator of Madeline.  To the One I Love the Best (which refers to de Wolfe’s dog) is a touching tribute to a fabulously funny woman and an American icon. “Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you.” –Elsie de Wolfe” — .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Still life at eighty : the next interesting thing / Thomas, Abigail
“In her new memoir, Abigail Thomas ruminates on aging during the confines of COVID-19 with her trademark mix of humor and wisdom, including valuable, contemplative writing tips along the way. As she approaches eighty, what she herself calls old age, Abigail Thomas accepts her new life, quieter than before, no driving, no dancing, mostly sitting in her chair in a sunny corner with three dogs for company–three dogs, vivid memories, bugs and birds and critters that she watches out her window. No one but this beloved, best-selling memoirist, could make so much over what might seem so little. Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea and enter Abigail Thomas’s funny, mesmerizing, generous world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Kennan : a life between worlds / Costigliola, Frank
“A definitive biography of the U.S. diplomat and prize-winning historian George F. Kennan. The diplomat and historian George F. Kennan (1904-2005) ranks as one of the most important figures in American foreign policy-and one of its most complex. An absorbing portrait of an eloquent, insightful, and sometimes blinkered iconoclast whose ideas are still powerfully relevant, Kennan invites us to imagine a world that Kennan fought for but was unable to bring about-one not of confrontations and crises, but of dialogue and diplomacy.” (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)

My what if year : a memoir / Miranda, Alisha Fernandez
“On the cusp of turning forty, Alisha Fernandez Miranda has climbed to the peak of personal and professional success, but at a price; she’s overworked and exhausted. Bravely, Alisha decides to give herself a break, temporarily pausing her stressful career as the CEO of high-powered consulting firm. With the tentative blessing of her husband and eight-year-old twins, she leaves her home in London to spend one year exploring the dream jobs of her youth, seeking answers to the question, What If?” (Catalogue)

A stone is most precious where it belongs : a memoir of Uyghur exile, hope, and survival / Hoja, Gulchehra
“In February 2018, twenty-four members of Gulchehra Hoja’s family disappeared overnight. Her crime – and thus that of her family – was her award-winning investigations on the plight of her people, the , whose existence and culture is being systematically destroyed by the Chinese government. A Stone is Most Precious Where it Belongs is Gulchehra’s stunning memoir, taking us into the everyday world of life under Chinese rule in East Turkestan (more formally as the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China), from her idyllic childhood to its modern nightmare.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hereafter : the telling life of Ellen O’Hara / Groarke, Vona
“Hereafter tells the story of Ellen O’Hara, a young woman emigrant from Ireland at the end of the nineteenth century who, with courage and resilience, made a life for herself in New York, firstly as a domestic servant and later in her own boarding house-all the while financially supporting those at home.” (Catalogue)

 

Second chances : facing my demons and finding a better me / Holt, Hayley
“A raw and honest story of alcoholism, recovery and courage in the face of loss. Hayley Holt grew up in the public eye. Now it’s time to share her side of the story. Heartbreaking and inspiring, filled with Hayley’s wicked wit, Second Chances is about finding the courage to face up to your mistakes, and learning that even the deepest pain can be followed by the greatest joy.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Resilience : a story of persecution, escape, survival and triumph / Woolf, Inge
“Resilience is a Holocaust story and a New Zealand story. Born to a prosperous family, Inge Woolf witnessed the Nazis marching into Vienna in March 1938 and fled with her family to England, escaping certain death. Hiding their Jewish identity until after World War II, Inge and her family were impoverished refugees. A move to New Zealand signalled new beginnings. Inge met the love of her life, Ronald Woolf, and together they created the country’s pre-eminent photographic studio – before catastrophe struck. In her later years, Inge was pivotal in establishing the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand and was its founding director. She was dedicated to educating thousands on the Holocaust and the dangers of racism and prejudice, often observing that hate starts small. After experiencing so much loss, Inge’s life is testament to the power of resilience.” (Catalogue)

For more new items in the collection, go to: What’s new & Popular / May 2023 (wcl.govt.nz)