Our Pick of the Best Autobiographies, Biographies and Memoirs for Christmas

If you know someone who loves reading, it’s a pretty sure bet that you’ll also know the kind of subjects and people they are interested in. There are a plethora of books in the stores at the moment about people who are either comedians, actors, footballers and musicians who have either put pen to paper themselves or had someone do it for them. And I can tell you that as an avid book reader, there is nothing better than unwrapping a crisp, new hardback on Christmas Day, which features a person you are obsessed with, to really get your juices flowing! We have chosen a myriad, well, quite a few books to showcase to make sure there is at least one book that catches either your fancy or makes you think “Oh, so and so would LOVE that!” Check these out:

James Corden – May I Have Your Attention Please? – £10.99

Our Pick of the Best Autobiographies, Biographies and Memoirs for Christmas 1As far back as he can remember James Corden has only ever wanted to be in one place: in front of you, doing something to make you cry, shout, scream or giggle uncontrollably; whether it’s entertaining the congregation at his baby sister’s christening at the age of four, clowning around in class, or snogging Sue Barker in front of thousands of people at Sports Relief. But it wasn’t that easy getting there. Growing up, his dad would drive him up and down to London for auditions, sometimes three or four times a week, only to be met with constant knockbacks. Even the teenage distractions of girls, forming his own pop group, attempted (and failed) shoplifting, or the endless detentions he’d get from exasperated teachers didn’t put him off. He knew where he wanted to be and he’d keep on trying until he got there. This the story of how it all happened. From his time as one of the founding players of his school’s first ever rugby team to nationwide fame as the lovably loud Smithy in the award-winning Gavin and Stacey, this is a tenderly – and very funnily – told story of what it’s like to try, try to try again and get there in the end.

Steve Jobs – The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson – £25.00

Our Pick of the Best Autobiographies, Biographies and Memoirs for Christmas 2For a full review of this book, head over to our article on Shoppersbase. This is the exclusive biography of Apple’s Steve Jobs, written with his full cooperation. Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years – as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues – this book chronicles the rollercoaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing. At a time when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first-century was to connect creativity with technology, so he built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering. Although Jobs cooperated with this book, he asked for no control over what was written nor even the right to read it before it was published.

Joanna Lumley – Absolutely: A Memoir – £20.00

Our Pick of the Best Autobiographies, Biographies and Memoirs for Christmas 3Joanna Lumley is one of Britain’s undisputed national treasures, an English actress, voice-over artist and author, best known for her roles in the British television series Absolutely Fabulous portraying Edina Monsoon’s best friend, Patsy Stone, as well as parts in The New Avengers and Sapphire & Steel. A former model and Bond girl, her distinctive voice has been supplied for animated characters, film narration and AOL’s “You’ve got mail” notification in the UK. She has spoken out as a human rights activist for Survival International and the recent Gurkha Justice Campaign, and is now considered a ‘national treasure’ of Nepal as well as the UK because of her support. She is an advocate for a huge number of charities. She has won two BAFTA awards, but it is the sheer diversity of her life that has made her so compelling a personality – early years in Kashmir and Malaya, growing up in Kent, then a photographic model before becoming an actress, appearing in a huge range of roles.

Paul Lake – I’m Not Really Here – £14.99

Our Pick of the Best Autobiographies, Biographies and Memoirs for Christmas 4Paul Lake was Manchester-born, a City fan from birth. His footballing talent was spotted at a young age and, in 1983, he signed coveted schoolboy forms for City. Only a short time later he was handed the team captaincy. An international career soon beckoned and, after turning out for the England under-21 and B teams, he received a call-up to the England training camp for Italia ’90. Despite missing out on a place in the final squad he suitably impressed the management, with Bobby Robson earmarking him as an England captain in the making. As a rising star Paul became a target for top clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool, but he always stayed loyal to his beloved club, deeming Maine Road the spiritual home where his destiny lay. But then, in September 1990, disaster struck. Paul ruptured his cruciate ligament and sustained the worst possible injury that a footballer can suffer. And so began his nightmare. Neglected, ignored and misunderstood by his club after a succession of failed operations, Paul’s career began to fall apart. Watching from the sidelines as similarly injured players regained their fitness, he spiralled into a prolonged bout of severe depression. With an enforced retirement from the game he adored, the death of his father and the collapse of his marriage, Paul was left a broken man.

Alan Partridge – I, Alan Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan – £20.00

Our Pick of the Best Autobiographies, Biographies and Memoirs for Christmas 5Alan Gordon Partridge is the best – and best-loved – radio presenter in the region. Born into a changing world of rationing, Teddy Boys, apes in space and the launch of ITV, Alan’s broadcasting career began as chief DJ of Radio Smile at St. Luke’s Hospital in Norwich. After replacing Peter Flint as the presenter of Scout About, he entered the top 8 of BBC sports presenters. But Alan’s big break came with his primetime BBC chat show Knowing Me, Knowing You. Sadly, the show battled against poor scheduling, having been put up against News at Ten, then in its heyday. Due to declining ratings, a single catastrophic hitch (the killing of a guest on air) and the dumbing down of network TV, Alan’s show was cancelled. Not to be dissuaded, he embraced this opportunity to wind up his production company, leave London and fulfil a lifelong ambition to return to his roots in local radio. Now single, Alan is an intensely private man but he opens up, for the second time, in this candid, entertaining, often deeply emotional – and of course compelling – memoir, written entirely in his own words. (Alan quickly dispelled the idea of using a ghost writer. With a grade B English Language O-Level, he knew he was up to the task.)

Alistair Darling – Back From The Brink: 1000 Days at Number 11 – £19.99

Our Pick of the Best Autobiographies, Biographies and Memoirs for Christmas 6“In the summer of late 2007, shares of Northern Rock went into free-fall causing a run on the bank – the first since the Great Depression. Northern Rock was only the first: in the ensuing months, Alistair Darling stood firm in the eye of this perfect storm – all over the world financial institutions thought ‘too big to fail’ were falling prey to the lethal toxicity of the US sub-prime mortgage market. Back from the Brink tells the gripping story of one thousand days of crisis. As Chancellor, Alistair Darling sanctioned the GBP 37bn bailouts of RBS and HBoS just minutes before their cash machines would have ceased to function; at the 11th hour, he prevented Barclay’s from acquiring Lehman Brothers, telling US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson that he wouldn’t allow British banks to import America’s economic cancer; he used controversial legislation to stop Icelandic banks from withdrawing funds from the UK. From all night meetings at the White House, to confrontations with the titans of international banking and fractions relations with Gordon Brown, Darling places the reader in the rooms where the destinies of millions weighed heavily on the shoulders of a few.

All books are available to buy from www.amazon.co.uk