State of Terror is a novel of unsurpassed thrills and incomparable insider expertise. This high-stakes thriller of international intrigue features behind-the-scenes global drama informed by details only an insider could know.
Autobiographies, biographies and memoirs, there is something magical about reading insights into people’s lives and learning from lessons they have grappled with. Perhaps it’s the unspoken trust that comes with them sharing stories so personal with us that makes reading an autobiography inspiring.
We are excited to share these six memoirs that are hot off the press. We know you are going to enjoy them.
Whose memoir do you recommend? Be sure to share with us in the comments below so we can add it to our reading list.
The Asparagus Wars is a deeply moving memoir about the battles waged against terminal illness and a mother’s struggle to comprehend the battlefield in its wake. While some family members wage war against her daughter’s disease with natural therapies, and doctors fight on using the latest developments in medical science, she longs to take her daughter to Paris instead, the city that inspired the young woman’s writing and art. The Asparagus Wars asks questions about notions of victory at all costs. Shot through with fearless wit and resonant description, this story will break your heart but leave you richer for the experience.
This is a memoir as wry, funny, moving and vivid as its inimitable subject himself. This book will be a joy for both lifelong fans and for a whole new generation. John Cooper Clarke is a phenomenon: Poet Laureate of Punk, rock star, fashion icon, TV and radio presenter, social and cultural commentator. At 5 feet 11 inches, in trademark dark suit, dark glasses, with dark messed-up hair and a mouth full of gold teeth, he is instantly recognisable. As a writer his voice is equally unmistakable and his own brand of slightly sick humour is never far from the surface. I Wanna Be Yours covers an extraordinary life, filled with remarkable personalities: from Nico to Chuck Berry, from Bernard Manning to Linton Kwesi Johnson, Elvis Costello to Gregory Corso, Gil Scott Heron, Mark E. Smith and Joe Strummer, and on to more recent fans and collaborators Alex Turner, Plan B and Guy Garvey. Interspersed with stories of his rock and roll and performing career, John also reveals his boggling encyclopaedic take on popular culture over the centuries: from Baudelaire and Edgar Allan Poe to Pop Art, pop music, the movies, fashion, football and show business – and much, much more, plus a few laughs along the way.
In Autumn 2014, Lauren Elkin began keeping a diary of her bus commutes in the Notes app on her iPhone 5c, using it to take in the world around her. During that year, the Charlie Hebdo attacks occurred and Lauren had an ectopic pregnancy, requiring emergency surgery. At that point, her diary of dailiness became a study of how we digest major events personally and collectively as a city, observed from the height of the bus. No. 91/92 is a love letter to Paris and a meditation on how it has changed in the two decades the author has lived there. It’s a celebration of community and a time when we could all observe each other in our fleshy up-closeness.
From the star of The Duchess and the host of ‘Telling Everybody Everything’, the debut book from superstar comedian Katherine Ryan. ‘While I’ve been very blessed to have worked in comedy for over a decade, The Audacity gives me the opportunity to connect with people more fully and honestly than a panel show allows. I’ve learned to be a sharp-shooter on stage, but there are so many stories that I’m eager to tell in more sincere, longer form. I hope it gives people a laugh, an insight, and hopefully some encouragement on how to live their most fulfilled, authentic lives.’ The Audacity details Katherine’s journey from a naive ex-Hooters waitress fresh off the boat from Canada to comedy megastar, chapters cover How to Potty Train Your Baby at 10 Months, How to Cut Off Your Racist Aunties, How to Marry Your High School Boyfriend and How to Co-Parent when you’re a Single Mum. The Audacity combines Katherine’s unerring ear for the perfect line with the warmth, compassion and hard-won wisdom that makes up a life on and off stage.
Coming Clean is a searingly honest memoir of loving an alcoholic both through the heaviest drinking years and into recovery. When Liz Fraser’s partner fell into a catastrophic vortex of depression and alcoholism, Liz found herself in a relentless hailstorm of lies, loneliness and fear, looking after their young child on her own, heartbroken, mentally shattered and with no idea what was happening or what to do. As she and her family moved between Cambridge, Venice and Oxford, she kept the often shocking truth entirely to herself for a long time, trying in vain to help her partner find a path to sobriety, until she herself finally broke from the trauma and started to speak out only to find she was one of hundreds experiencing similar things, also living in silence and fear. Part diary, part travel journal and part love letter, Coming Clean is the true story of addiction of many kinds, mental collapse and heartbreak. Above all, it offers a voice of deep human compassion, strength and hope for recovery.
Written in Phoebe’s unforgettable voice and laced with her unparalleled wit and with spot-on pop culture references. From the values she learned from her parents (including, but not limited to, advice on not bringing outside germs onto your clean bed) to her and her boyfriend, lovingly known as British Baekoff, deciding to have a child-free union, to the way the Black Lives Matter movement took centre stage in America, and, finally, the continual struggle to love her 4C hair, each essay is packed with humour and humanity.
It’s insightful, laugh-out-loud funny, and heartfelt, Please Don’t Sit On My Bed In Your Outside Clothes is not only a brilliant look at our current cultural moment, but a collection of essays that will stay with you for years to come.
While in lockdown many of us took up new hobbies, such as bread making, knitting, puzzle building, yoga with Adrienne, or podcasting, some of the clever clogs around the world wrote new books – and gosh are we thankful for that! There are so many new books hitting the market that we know you are going to love. This week we’re sharing new fiction titles and have chosen six that are highly likely to make your Christmas wishlist (is it too early to mention Christmas?). So sit back, and get ready to get clicking to let everyone know whether you want an audio, electronic or actual paper version.
Cracked Pots s the much-anticipated follow-up novel from the author of The Clay Girl. The perfect girl, from the nicest family, vanishes. For once in Ari Appleton’s life, the mayhem is not the fault of her twisted mother or dead father – or is it? The tragedy unfolds, revelations surface, then one misstep cracks everything open, leaving 16-year-old Ari with terrifying questions. Are Appletons the root of all evil? From the waning flower-power ’60s in Toronto, through her East Coast university years, Ari fights to discover who she is and what it means to be the child of an addicted mother and depraved father. With wit, tenacity, and the incessant meddling of Jasper the seahorse in her head Ari rides turbulent waves of devilry and discovery, calamity and creation, abandonment and atonement on a journey to find her true self, and to find Natasha.
Cracked Pots is a story about a girl broken by both cruelty and truth. It is a revelation: that destiny is shaped in clay, not stone. It is also a celebration of rising after the blows, gathering the fragments, and piecing together a remarkable life through creativity, kindness, and belonging.
Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a distribution warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend Eileen is getting over a break-up, and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood. Alice, Felix, Eileen and Simon are still young-but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world? You can find Sally Rooney’s other books here.
Freckles is the brand new novel from million-copy bestselling author Cecelia Ahern. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. When a stranger utters these words to Allegra Bird, nicknamed Freckles, it turns her highly ordered life upside down. In her current life as a parking warden, she has left her eccentric father and unconventional childhood behind for a bold new life in the city. But a single encounter leads her to ask the question she’s been avoiding for so long: who are the people who made her the way she is? And who are the five people who can shape and determine her future? Just as she once joined the freckles on her skin to mirror the constellations in the night sky, she must once again look for connections. Told in Allegra’s vivid, original voice, moving from Dublin to the fierce Atlantic coast, this is an unforgettable story of human connection, of friendship, and growing into your own skin. Five people. Five stars. Freckle to freckle. Star to star.
When Indigenous lawyer Jasmine decides to take her mother Della on a tour of England’s most revered literary sites, Jasmine hopes it will bring them closer together and help them reconcile the past. Twenty-five years earlier the disappearance of Jasmine’s older sister devastated their tight-knit community. This tragedy returns to haunt Jasmine and Della when another child mysteriously goes missing on Hampstead Heath. As Jasmine immerses herself in the world of her literary idols – including Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters and Virginia Woolf – Della is inspired to rediscover the wisdom of her own culture and storytelling. But sometimes the stories that are not told can become too great to bear.
Ambitious and engrossing, After Story celebrates the extraordinary power of words and the quiet spaces between. We can be ready to listen, but are we ready to hear?
The Paper Palace is a magnificent literary debut about the myriad loves that make up a life. Before anyone else is awake, on a perfect August morning, Elle Bishop heads out for a swim in the glorious fresh water pond below The Paper Palace, the gently decaying summer camp in the back woods of Cape Cod where her family has spent every summer for generations. As she passes the house, Elle glances through the screen porch at the uncleared table from a dinner party the previous evening; empty wine glasses, candle wax on the table cloth, echoes of laughter of family and friends. Then she dives beneath the surface of the freezing water to the shocking memory of the sudden passionate encounter she had the night before, up against the wall outside the house, as her husband and mother chatted to the dinner guests inside. So begins a story that unfolds over 24 hours and across 50 years, as decades of family legacies, love, lies, secrets, and one unspeakable incident in her childhood lead Elle to the precipice of a life-changing decision. Over the next 24 hours, Elle will have to decide between the life she has made with her much-loved husband, Peter, and the life she imagined would be hers with her childhood love, Jonas, if a tragic event hadn’t forever changed the course of their lives.
Plum is the wildly impressive, raucously funny and deeply moving second novel from award-winning writer, actor and director for television, theatre and film, Brendan Cowell. Peter ‘The Plum’ Lum is a 48-year-old ex-star NRL player, living with his son and girlfriend in Cronulla. He’s living a pretty cruisey life until one day he suffers an epileptic fit and discovers that he has a brain disorder as a result of the thousand-odd head knocks he took on the footy field in his twenty-year-career. According to his neurologist, Plum has to make some changes, right now, or it’s dementia, or even death. Reluctantly, Plum embarks on a journey of self-care and self-discovery, which is not so easy when all you’ve ever known is to go full tilt at everything. On top of this, he’s being haunted by dead poets, and, unable to stop crying, discovers he has a special gift for the spoken word. With spectral visits from Bukowski and Plath, the friendship of local misfits, and the prospect of new love, Plum might just save his own life. Plum is a powerfully moving, authentic, big-hearted, angry and joyous novel of men, their inarticulate pain and what it takes for them to save themselves – from themselves. It’s got a roaring energy, a raucous humour, a heart of gold and a poetic soul.
Spring cleaning is usually associated with physical spaces, but our mental spaces can benefit from cleaning and decluttering too. If the new season has inspired you to aim for a fresh start, here are some books to help you declutter your mind, learn better habits, and strive for greater calm and happiness:
It’s so easy to accumulate clutter when we live in a consumerist culture – but clutter can impact our emotional wellbeing by leaving us feeling stressed, overwhelmed and out of control. So it is no surprise that Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and regular explorer of the topics of habits and happiness, looks at how to improve mental clarity and happiness by decluttering your home. Outer Order Inner Calm is is full of advice on how to develop your own system to reduce and manage clutter; it also gives inspirational examples of how decluttering can reduce our sense of paralysis around the status quo, by creating headspace for considering new possibilities.
For many people, overthinking causes spiralling negative thoughts that affects both physical and mental health. It is exhausting, distracts you from what’s truly important, and can feel inescapable. In Stop Overthinking, Nick Trenton offers 23 techniques that help us learn about our negative spiral triggers, identify and manage anxiety and stress attacks, declutter our minds as well as adopt relaxation techniques. Together these tools become a transformative strategy that ends vicious thought patterns by helping us control our thoughts, change our habits and ultimately rewire our brains.
Have you ever felt that devices and apps are taking over your life, or that you are wasting too much time, energy or focus on your smartphone? Such problems seem more urgent than ever, but Digital Minimalism in Everyday Life is here to help. James W Williams and Amy White offer useful discussions, tools and tips to help you regain control over your tech, using it in a more intentional, effective and ultimately enjoyable way. There are chapters covering very timely issues including digital detox; digital addiction; decluttering your inbox/ desktop/ home screen; minimising the distraction of notifications; and excessive screentime for kids.
Kindfulness weaves together two self-care tools – mindfulness and self-compassion – into a powerful approach that can lower stress and anxiety, and improve your relationships with yourself and with others. Kindfulness can be particularly helpful in managing perfectionism and self-criticism, and allows you to overcome procrastination and get on with your true goals. Kindfulness is a gentle, easy-to-read book with plenty of approachable exercises and affirmations to help you get into kindful thinking.
Rebecca Pacheco is a yoga teacher and blogger who has been informing and entertaining her fans with her understanding of yoga traditions. In Still Life, she explores the practice and the misconceptions around mindfulness and meditation. Her tone is wise but tough – she explains that mindfulness is not a cure-all, nor is it always easy or full of positivity; yet the process can improve our lives. Still Life offers readers practical tools for developing a consistent mindfulness practice, as well as funny and compassionate anecdotes about Rebecca’s own experiences with mindfulness.
The Practice of Not Thinking, a bestseller from Japan, helps us live more mindfully by re-engaging with our senses. Tune into the present by looking instead of merely seeing, listening instead of hearing, and feeling instead of touching; this acts as an alternative to (over)thinking, which tends to create negativity and anxiety. Zen priest Ryunosuke Koike uses his understanding of Zen and Buddhism to develop practical tips on how to breathe, listen, speak, laugh, love and sleep in ways that help us improve calm and appreciate more.
Don’t feel like creating with a hug? No worries! We can say hello with a smile, a wave or even a high five! How to Say Hello supports children in establishing boundaries as they navigate relationships.