Bits and Pieces: New Biographies in the Collection

We’re chock full of new biographies and memoirs in the collection this month.  Way too many to share here in a blog post, but we’ll give you a selection to get you started.  Be sure to go and look at What’s New in the collection, where you can use the filters to select the genre or subject you’re most interested in.  Take a look at these…

Bits and pieces : my mother, my brother, and me / Goldberg, Whoopi
“From multi-award winner Whoopi Goldberg comes a new and unique memoir of her family and their influence on her early life. If it weren’t for Emma Johnson, Caryn Johnson would have never become Whoopi Goldberg. Emma raised her children not just to survive, but to thrive. In this intimate and heartfelt memoir, Whoopi shares many of the deeply personal stories of their lives together for the first time. To this day, she doesn’t know how her mother was able to give them such an enriching childhood, despite the struggles they faced–and it wasn’t until she was well into adulthood that Whoopi learned just how traumatic some of those struggles were.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

How to avoid a happy life : a memoir / Lawrinson, Julia
“From domestic dysfunction to extraordinary bad luck, Julia Lawrinson reflects on her intriguing and eventful life with disarming honesty and wit. Some people are born into bad situations, some people have bad situations thrust upon them, and some people find bad situations through their dodgy choices, lack of information and personal idiosyncrasies. Julia’s life sits at the intersection of all three.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The rulebreaker : the life and times of Barbara Walters / Page, Susan
“Barbara Walters was a force from the time TV was exploding on the American scene in the 1960s to its waning dominance in a new world of competition from streaming services and social media half a century later. This is the eye-opening account of the woman who knew she had to break all the rules so she could break all the rules about what viewers deserved to know.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Hine Toa : a story of bravery / Te Awekōtuku, Ngāhuia
“In this fiery memoir about identity and belonging, Ngāhuia te Awekōtuku describes what was possible for a restless working-class girl from the pā. After moving to Auckland for university, Ngāhuia advocates resistance as a founding member of Ngā Tamatoa and the Women’s and Gay Liberation movements, becoming a critical voice in protests from Waitangi to the streets of Wellington.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

First things : a memoir / Ricketts, Harry
“In First Things, Harry Ricketts chronicles his early life through the lens of ‘ firsts’: those moments that can hold their detail and potency across a lifetime. Set mostly in Hong Kong and Oxford, these bright fragments include the places, people, writers, encounters and obsessions that have shaped Ricketts’ world, from his first friends and rivals to his first time being caned by a teacher and his first time dropping acid. In First Things, the gaps in between shine as brightly as the memories themselves.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Writers who changed history
“Explore the fascinating lives and loves of the greatest novelists, poets, and playwrights. Lavishly illustrated with photographs and paintings of writers’ homes, studies, and personal artifacts—along with pages from original manuscripts, first editions, and their correspondence—Writers Who Changed History introduces the key ideas, themes, and literary techniques of each writer, revealing the imaginations and personalities behind some of the world’s greatest novels, short stories, poems, and plays. Covering an eclectic range of authors from the Middle Ages to the present day, Writers Who Changed History provides a compelling glimpse of the lives and loves of each great writer.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Nothing significant to report : the misadventures of a kiwi soldier / Nustrini, Dario
“Laugh-out-loud yarns from a soldier in the New Zealand Army. Nothing Significant to Report is the brilliantly entertaining and unvarnished truth of what life is like in the New Zealand Army. From back-breaking exercises designed to make recruits spit the dummy to roleplaying in an SAS manhunt and accidentally starting a rubbish fire in a military compound, these are self-deprecating tales of misfits, mischief and camaraderie.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Across mountains, land & sea / Azadi, Arman
“Arman’s just a boy when he’s forced to leave his home and embark on an incredible journey. Separated from family and friends, he travels across mountains, land and sea to find refuge. Encountering bandits, war and wolves, and surviving a hazardous boat crossing, he arrives at Dover, clinging to the underside of a lorry. His journey had just begun.” (Catalogue)

 

The whole staggering mystery : a story of fathers lost and found / Brownrigg, Sylvia
“When Sylvia Brownrigg received a package addressed to her father that had been lost for over fifty years, she wanted to deliver it to him before it was too late. She did not expect that her father, Nick, would choose not to open it, so she and her brother finally did. Vividly weaving together the lives of her father and grandfather, through memory and imagination, Brownrigg explores issues of sexuality and silences, and childhoods fractured by divorce. In her uncovering of this lost family, she finally makes her own story whole.” (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? There are some experiences that do not want to be remembered. What began as an effort to piece together the facts became an act of decoding the most unreliable of evidence–stories, secrets, silences.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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

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)

Continue reading “One of Them – New Biographies and Memoirs in the Collection”

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)