The Book of Emma Reyes
By Emma Reyes
'The moment I finished this memoir I read it again. No other book I've ever read has left me so deeply involved with its author' DIANA ATHILL'Astonishing - I read it in a single gulp' DEBORAH MOGGACH'A jewel of a book' NINA STIBBE'Emma's letters remind me what reading and writing are for' LOUISA YOUNG* * * * This astonishing memoir of a childhood lived in extreme poverty in Latin America was hailed as an instant classic when first published in Colombia in 2012, nine years after the death of its author, who was encouraged in her writing by Gabriel García Márquez. Comprised of letters written over the course of thirty years, it describes in vivid, painterly detail the remarkable courage and limitless imagination of a young girl growing up with nothing. Emma was an illegitimate child, raised in a windowless room in Bogotá with no water or toilet and only ingenuity to keep her and her sister alive. Abandoned by their mother, she and her sister moved to a convent housing 150 orphan girls, where they washed pots, ironed and mended laundry, scrubbed floors, cleaned bathrooms, and sewed garments and decorative cloths for church. Illiterate and knowing nothing of the outside world, Emma escaped at age nineteen, eventually coming to have a career as an artist and to befriend the likes of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Far from self-pitying, the portrait that emerges from this clear-eyed account inspires awe at the stunning early life of a gifted writer whose talent remained hidden for far too long.
By Ray Connolly
What was it like to be Elvis Presley? What did it feel like when impossible fame made him its prisoner? As the world's first rock star there was no one to tell him what to expect, no one with whom he could share the burden of being himself - of being Elvis.On the outside he was all charm, sex appeal, outrageously confident on stage and stunningly gifted in the recording studio. To his fans he seemed to have it all. He was Elvis. With his voice and style influencing succeeding generations of musicians, he should have been free to sing any song he liked, to star in any film he was offered, and to tour in any country he chose. But he wasn't free. The circumstances of his poor beginnings in the American South, which, as he blended gospel music with black rhythm and blues and white country songs, helped him create rock and roll, had left him with a lifelong vulnerability. Made rich and famous beyond his wildest imaginings when he mortgaged his talent to the machinations of his manager, 'Colonel' Tom Parker, there would be an inevitable price to pay. Though he daydreamed of becoming a serious film actor, instead he grew to despise his own movies and many of the songs he had to sing in them. He could have rebelled. But he didn't. Why? In the Seventies, as the hits rolled in again, and millions of fans saw him in a second career as he sang his way across America, he talked of wanting to tour the world. But he never did. What was stopping him?BEING ELVIS takes a clear-eyed look at the most-loved entertainer ever, and finds an unusual boy with a dazzling talent who grew up to change popular culture; a man who sold a billion records and had more hits than any other singer, but who became trapped by his own frailties in the loneliness of fame.
By John McEnroe
He is one of the most controversial sportsmen in history and a legend of Open Era tennis. But after reaching the top of his game - what came next? A decade after his international number-one bestseller SERIOUS, John McEnroe is back and ready to talk.Now the undisputed elder statesman of tennis, McEnroe has won over his critics as a matchless commentator and analyst at Wimbledon and other Grand Slam tournaments - with outspoken views on the modern game and its top players. He has continued to compete on the court, winning the ATP Champions Tour a record six times, and has travelled the globe to play in charity events. More surprising have been the calls from TV producers, inviting John to riff on his famous hot temper in cult shows such as 30 ROCK and CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM. And then there is his long-standing passion for American contemporary art.In BUT SERIOUSLY John McEnroe confronts his demons and reveals his struggle to reinvent himself from ex-champion to father, broadcaster and author. The result is a richly personal account, blending anecdote and reflection in an inspirational re-evaluation of what it means to be - and stay - successful.
Bringing in the Sheaves
By Richard Coles
After a life of sex and drugs and the Communards - brilliantly recounted in the highly acclaimed first volume of his memoirs FATHOMLESS RICHES - the Reverend Richard Coles went on to devote his life to God and Christianity. He is also a much-loved broadcaster, presenting SATURDAY LIVE on Radio 4 and giving us regular reason to PAUSE FOR THOUGHT on Radio 2. What is life like for the parson in Britain today? For centuries the Church calendar - and the Church minister - gave character and personality to British life. Today, however, as the shape of the year has become less distinct and faith no longer as privileged or persuasive, that figure has become far more marginal. In BRINGING IN THE SHEAVES, Reverend Coles answers this question. From his ordination during the season of Petertide, through Advent and Christmas to Lent and Easter, he gives us a unique insight into his daily experience in the ministry, with all the joy, drama, difficulty and humour which life - and indeed death - serves up in varying measures. Written with extraordinary charm and erudition, BRINGING IN THE SHEAVES features a multitude of characters and events from parish life against a backdrop of the Christian calendar.
The Boss of Bosses
By Attilio Bolzoni, Giuseppe D'Avanzo
This is the true story of Totò Riina, the Cosa Nostra boss who rose from nothing to become the most powerful man in Sicily. The picture emerges of a bloodthirsty, power-hungry monster who, despite his lowly beginnings, is able to outmanoeuvre the other Mafia chiefs and take control of the organisation. However, the story is not just that of Riina, but also of Sicily itself. D'Avanzo and Bolzoni have transformed a complex series of events spanning several decades into a gripping narrative.In prison for 18 years now, Totò Riina still remains the dictator of the Cosa Nostra. This book tells the haunting and disturbing tale, with thorough investigation and testimony of the Sicilian Corleone.
By Russell Miller
Hugh 'Boom' Trenchard was embarrassed by being described as 'The Father of the Royal Air Force' - he thought others were more deserving. But the reality was that no man did more to establish the world's first independent air force and ensure its survival in the teeth of fierce opposition from both the Admiralty and the War Office. Born in Taunton in 1873, Trenchard struggled at school, not helped by the shame of his solicitor father's bankruptcy when he was sixteen. He failed entrance examinations to both the Royal Navy and the Army several times, eventually obtaining a commission through the 'back door' of the militia. After service in India, South Africa - where he was seriously wounded - and Nigeria, he found his destiny when he joined the fledgling Royal Flying Corps in 1912, where he was soon known as 'Boom' thanks to his stentorian voice. Quick to recognise the huge potential aircraft offered in future conflicts, he rose rapidly to command the RFC in France during the First World War despite handicaps that would have blighted conventional military careers: he was obstinate, tactless, inarticulate and chronically unable to remember names - yet he was able to inspire unflagging loyalty among all ranks. Despite his conspicuous distrust of politicians, he served as a successful Chief of the Air Staff for a decade after the war and then, at the personal request of the King, took over as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, which he reorganised and reformed. He never wavered in his belief that mastery of the air could only be achieved by relentless offensive action, or in his determined advocacy of strategic bombing. His most enduring legacy was the creation of the finest air force in the world, engendered with the spirit that won the Battle of Britain.
The Best in the World
By Chris Jericho
The two-time bestselling author, wrestler and metal rocker returns with another insightful and hilarious memoir.Inspired by Anton Chigurh, Javier Bardem's character in No Country for Old Men, Chris Jericho decided to put down his guitar, ease off on the red-carpet appearances in Hollywood and return to ring. What followed were the best three years of his wrestling career. A trilogy that began with A LION'S TALE and was followed by the bestselling UNDISPUTED now concludes with a behind-the-scenes account of Jericho becoming WON WRESTLER OF THE YEAR for two consecutive years in 2008 and 2009. The book also features the final word on Jericho's feuds with Shawn Michaels and Rey Mysterio, his run-in with Mickey Rourke, life hanging out with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Mike Tyson and Lars Ulrich, and the resurrection of his band Fozzy, which saw them play to huge audiences in the UK and Europe and support Metallica.
By Marie Arana
The dramatic life of the revolutionary hero Bolivar, who liberated South America - a sweeping narrative worthy of a Hollywood epic.Simón Bolivar's life makes for one of history's most dramatic canvases, a colossal narrative filled with adventure and disaster, victory and defeat. This is the story not just of an extraordinary man but of the liberation of a continent.A larger-than-life figure from a tumultuous age, Bolívar ignited a revolution, liberated six countries from Spanish rule and is revered as the great hero of South American history. In a sweeping narrative worthy of a Hollywood epic, BOLIVAR colourfully portrays this extraordinarily dramatic life. From his glorious battlefield victories to his legendary love affairs, Bolívar emerges as a man of many facets: fearless and inspiring general, consummate diplomat, passionate abolitionist and gifted writer.
By Charles Williams
A masterly portrait of cricket's supreme batsman and Australia's greatest hero.Uniquely among biographers of Don Bradman, Charles Williams sets his subject's cricketing achievements within the context of a crucial period in the history of modern Australia, a time when, as the country felt her way towards something that the world would recognise as 'nationhood', Bradman became a focus for national aspirations, a figure of unique status.Brilliantly revealing the phenomenon of Bradman's cricketing genius - and the tensions that genius created for the man, his family, team-mates and the game's administrators - Williams' story is as much about Australia as it is a great Australian.
By Keith Lemon
Since being crowned the Northern Businessman of the Year 1993, Keith Lemon has been going from strength to strength and now is regularly seen sandwiched between two bang tidy lasses on the funniest show on telly, CELEBRITY JUICE.In BEING KEITH, Keith Lemon - international ladies man and national treasure - opens up and shares the juiciest parts of his life from the last five years; from selling Securipoles in America and travelling the world to his first encounter with Holly and Fearne and dirty dancing with Paddy - and all the juicy details in between. Packed with photos and illustrations, this is Keith's story of success told in his own unique style. You'll never dream of him in the same way again ... Ooooosh!
Bread, Jam and a Borrowed Pram
By Dot May Dunn
The compelling and heartwarming story of a young nurse's life and work in 1950s England from the SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author."Three small children peep out, their eyes watching me from beneath tousled but clean hair. Their clothes seem to have been put on their bodies to cover them rather than to fit them, none wears shoes. Two older girls stand by a table, the only piece of furniture I have seen in the house, apart from a rickety pram, which now stands in the doorway. The crumbling remains of a loaf of bread are being coated with jam, and eager fingers await them..."It's the end of the 1950s and Britain is changing. The war's long shadow is fading and while the country gets ready for the swinging sixties, Dot is embarking on an adventure of her own. After qualifying as a midwife, young Dot has taken a job as a health visitor in the back streets of Birmingham. There, she's not just responsible for the babies brought into this world, but an army of toddlers, tykes and tots who all need a helping hand.For Dot it will be a heartrending journey - trying to help families with next to nothing, sharing the struggles of young mums and discovering how the spirit of the community can overcome the toughest of circumstances.
But What Do You Actually Do?
By Alistair Horne
A sparkling memoir by one of our greatest historians.This wonderfully entertaining journey takes us from Alistair Horne's childhood as a wartime evacuee in America to his career as a highly successful historian and biographer, via a stint as a foreign correspondent for the Daily Telegraph. We travel with him from Germany to America, from Canada to France, from Latin America to the Middle East. A consummate biographer, the pages of Horne's 'Literary Vagabondage' abound with vivid character sketches of the friends and foes that have shaped his life.
By Mick Flynn
A raw, honest and evocative account of life as the most highly decorated serving soldier in the British Army.From the breakneck pace of an opening where he is in action in Helmand province, under fire from the Taliban, Mick Flynn pulls no punches. It's obvious that he is a trained killer. But how did it reach this point? The journey starts with his childhood, a working class lad, learning to fight and finding himself repeatedly on the wrong side of the law. Even after joining the Army he is found at fault and jailed, an experience that finally shocks him into behaving himself. From there, it is off to Northern Ireland and straight into hotspots where Mick's courage and determination are all that keep him alive. There's love too: his estranged wife, Denise, is being brought back into the picture, just as Mick tries to start a new life with his girlfriend Rachel. Can he manage to separate his ferocious soldiering persona from the real Mick? As things remain complicated, Mike flings himself into further tours of duty, in Bosnia, Iraq, the Falklands. Action-packed, shoots-from-the-hip narration from an engaging hero, this is gritty realism at its most shocking.
Billy Brown, I'll Tell Your Mother
By Bill Brown
A riveting and hugely entertaining memoir of post-war London told through the eyes of a hilariously opportunistic little boy.By the time he was ten years old, Billy Brown was running a successful little business on the black market: whatever you needed, from bricks and firewood to dress material or machetes, Billy Brown could get it - or knew a man who could. And, for the right price, he would deliver it direct to your door in an old carriage pram.With energy and insight, Billy Brown paints a vivid and lively picture of Britain emerging from the ruins of the war, the hunger for opportunity, the growing pace of modernisation and the pride and optimism that held communities together. Londoners were intent on getting themselves back on their feet, and it provided the perfect opportunity for a boy with ambition and a lively imagination.Born in Brixton, south London, in 1942, Billy Brown was a lovable scamp with a nose for mischief. Left to his own devices while both his parents went out to work, if there was trouble to be had Billy would be in the thick of it. Ignoring the shaking of fists from his neighbours, his mother's scoldings and the regular thwack of the cane on his bottom at school, Billy wheeled and dealed, charmed Woolies' Girls, planned coronation celebrations, ran circles around circus performers and persuaded villains to work on his terms.
The Boy From Baby House 10
By Alan Philps, John Lahutsky
Gripping expose revealing one of the last secrets of the Soviet empire: its abuse of children in state institutions.This is the affecting true story of a remarkable young boy named John Lahutsky. John, born in Russia in 1990, was afflicted with cerebral palsy, abandoned by his birth mother and consigned to certain death in the deplorable orphanages and asylums of Russia. He was discovered, living half naked and confined in an iron-barred cot for 24 hours a day. But he refused to succumb to the regime of abuse, and enlisted a range of people to help him escape. For three years he was under constant threat of being returned to an asylum but, after a series of miraculous coincidences and terrible disappointments, he moved to America. He has been able to start a new life and, now aged eighteen, is a full partner in this book, with his memories supplemented by outsiders who battled the system on his behalf. Life in these appalling institutions has remained a closely guarded secret. But the author has managed to gain unprecedented access and has uncovered a true portrait of a child-care system which was founded by Stalin but exists to this day.
By John Browne
An inspirational memoir from a remarkable leader.Once a lacklustre organisation, BP became one of the world's biggest, most successful and most admired companies in the new millennium. John Browne, the company's CEO for 12 years, invented the oil 'supermajor' and led the way on issues such as climate change, human rights and transparency.In BEYOND BUSINESS, Browne brings to life what he learned about leadership in a tough industry. His story encompasses the insights gained as he transformed a national company, challenged an entire industry and prompted political and business leaders to change. He takes us across the world on adventures that include going toe-to-toe with both tyrants and elected leaders, and involve engineering feats which in many ways rival those of going to the moon. And he shares his views on the true purpose of business and the leadership needed to tackle the grand challenges of our era.It is also a story of failure and human frailty, as Browne reveals how his private and public lives collided at frightening speed in full view of the world, prompting his abrupt resignation as CEO of BP.
Byron In Love
By Edna O'Brien
BYRON IN LOVE - the nobility, arrogance and sheer theatre of Byron's life.Byron, more than any other poet, has come to personify the poet as rebel, imaginative and lawless, reaching beyond race, creed or frontier, his gigantic flaws redeemed by a magnetism and ultimately a heroism that by ending in tragedy raised it and him from the particular to the universal.Everything about Lord George Gordon Byron was a paradox - insider and outsider, beautiful and deformed, serious and facetious, profligate but on occasion miserly, and possessed of a fierce intelligence trapped forever in a child's magic and malices. He was also a great poet, but as he reminded us, poetry is a distinct faculty and has little to do with the individual life of its creator. Edna O'Brien's exemplary biography focuses upon the diverse and colourful women in Byron's life.
Belle's Best Bits
By Belle de Jour
From the summer of 2003 Belle charted her day-to-day adventures on and off the field in a frank, funny and award-winning diaries. She was the first to reveal (among other things) how she became a working girl, what it feels like to do it for money, and where to buy the best knickers for the job. She also discusses her efforts to change from 'working girl' to working girl, whilst sneaking off to visit clients in her lunch hour. From debating the literary merits of Martin Amis with naked clients to smuggling whips into luxury hotels, this is a no-holds barred account of the high-class sex-trade, and an insight into the secret life of an extraordinary woman.
Bringing Nothing to the Party
By Paul Carr
A fascinating and hilarious expose of how a group of young opportunists, chancers and geniuses found instant fame and fortune by messing about on the web. And one man's attempt to follow in their footsteps.Having covered the first dot com boom, and founded a web-to-print publishing business during the second one, Paul counts many of the leading Internet entrepreneurs amongst his closest friends. These friendships mean he doesn't just attend their product launches and press conferences and speak at their events, but also gets invited to their ultra-exclusive networking events, and gets drunk at their parties.Paul has enjoyed this bizarre world of excess without having to live in it. To help the moguls celebrate raising millions of pounds of funding without having to face the wrath of the venture capitalists himself. But in 2006, Paul decided he didn't want to be a spectator any more. He had been harbouring a great dot com project of his own and decided it was time to do something about it.
By Judith Mackrell
The story of the splendidly unpredictable Russian dancer who ruffled the feathers of the Bloomsbury set and became the wife of John Maynard KeynesBorn in 1891 in St Petersburg, Lydia Lopokova lived a long and remarkable life. Her vivacious personality and the sheer force of her charm propelled her to the top of Diaghilev's Ballet Russes. Through a combination of luck, determination and talent, Lydia became a star in Paris, a vaudeville favourite in America, the toast of Britain and then married the world-renowned economist, and formerly homosexual, John Maynard Keynes.Lydia's story links ballet and the Bloomsbury group, war, revolution and the economic policies of the super-powers. She was an immensely captivating, eccentric and irreverent personality: a bolter, a true bohemian and, eventually, an utterly devoted wife.