What are your all time favourite autobiographies?

(127 Posts)
GetOrfMo1Land Wed 28-Sep-11 18:53:50

I want to find something new to read, I love autobiogs.

Mine (off the top of my head, after not too much thought)

Biography of Gayatri Devi (last Maharani of Jaipur) - a brilliant story about a rich Maharani and her life pre war.

Chance Witness by Matthew Parris - I would not normally say I would rate the autobiography of a Tory boy but this is brilliant, he is really engaging and has lived a fascinating life.

Hons and Rebels by Jessica Mitford - it's just so funny. Also, whislt not strictly an autobiog, The Letters of Decca Mitford is brilliant as well.

Ricky by Ricky Tomlinson - not normally my cup of tea, would not choose a sleb autobiography, but he is very honest about his ups and downs and being imprisoned as a political prisoner in the 70s.

rubyrubyruby Wed 28-Sep-11 20:59:37

Toast.

Nigel Slater.

Cartoonjane Wed 28-Sep-11 21:01:51

Lucky Man by Michael J Fox is good

bibbitybobbityhat Wed 28-Sep-11 21:05:47

Oh yes, Toast is a good one.

And not an autobiography, but I can't recommend the Kenneth Williams diaries enough.

bibbitybobbityhat Wed 28-Sep-11 21:06:43

And for a biography:

Harry Thompson's bio of Peter Cook is an unforgettable book. So brilliant.

wigglesrock Wed 28-Sep-11 21:12:42

I enjoyed Ricky Tomlinsons as well, Holly Johnstons was very good and obv David Niven. A friend really recommended Rob Lowes to me this weekend.

DeepLeafEverything Wed 28-Sep-11 21:17:08

Bad Blood by Lorna Sage. It won the Whitbread Biography prize. Fab.

Agree David Niven's is amazing.
Serious - John MacEnroe

If you like Chris Evans, then both his are marvellous. He writes exactly as he talks though, so if that bugs you, scrap that recommendation.

HedleyLamarr Wed 28-Sep-11 21:25:52

A funny thing happened on the way to the club - Ludovic Kennedy.
Margate of the marshes - John Peel (and family, it was finished after his death).

Kveta Wed 28-Sep-11 21:25:56

does Testament of Youth count? by Vera Brittain. that's such a bloody sad story.

also yes to Roald Dahl's 2.

And the Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson is marvellous grin

but my absolute favourite is Matt Ridley's Genome, the autobiography of a species in 23 chapters. brilliant, brilliant book.

might have to try chris evans books now, I was very disappointed to turn the radio on on monday morning and have bloody richard madely wanking on about fuck all. instead of chris evans doing exactly the same grin

diedandgonetodevon Wed 28-Sep-11 21:33:24

David Attenborough - Life on Air

CuppaTeaAndAJammieDodger Wed 28-Sep-11 21:53:35

Another "vote" here for Boy & Going Solo (Roald Dahl)

zukiecat Wed 28-Sep-11 21:57:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I actually really like Dear Fatty by Dawn French
I also enjoyed reading ozzy ozbournes blush
Maybe I ought to leave now grin

Does stuff like travel writing count?
Time of Gifts by Patrick Lee Fermor, Congo and the Cameroons by (I think) Mary Kingsley

Of course there are the great long Simone de Beauvoir epistles...d'une Jeune fille Rangee is the best "young" autobiography I've read.

IMSORRY Wed 28-Sep-11 23:12:45

The letters of Patrick Leigh Fermor and Deborah Devonshire are brilliant.

maras2 Thu 29-Sep-11 00:29:02

I read Scar Tissue by Anthony Kedis (RHCP's) when between hospital appointments, and was quite impressed.However my all time favourite is Borstal Boy by Brendan Behan.

I was impressed by Scar Tissue too...he seemed very sincere. Better than David Cassidy's!

yy Cartoonjane to Michael J Fox, I loved it.   I'm not an autobiography fan as such (tried Julie Walters more recently and it was like wading through treacle), but I really must pick up some of the suggestions on this list.   

Oh a mention for John Steinbeck's 'Travels with Charlie'.  Again not an autobiography as such, but a lovely account of him travelling round the US with his dog.   

PetiteRaleuse Thu 29-Sep-11 08:09:36

I really enjoyed Piers Morgan's diaries. They're a bit of a guilty secret.

Paschaelina Thu 29-Sep-11 08:22:53

A few Mitfords mentions here. I would recommend Letters Between Six Sisters for a lifelong overview, absolutely fascinating.

Also Chris Evans second one was surprisingly interesting.

festivalwidow Thu 29-Sep-11 11:08:31

The autobiography of Malcolm X is fantastic.

FreckledLeopard Thu 29-Sep-11 11:12:41

Marianne Faithfull
Hillary Clinton
Bill Clinton (anyone sensing a theme?!)
Auberon Waugh
Anthony Kiedis (though he got a bit annoying by the end of the book)
Love love love Roald Dahl's 'Boy' and 'Going Solo'.

My Family and Other Animals (Gerald Durrell) was brilliant - not exactly autobiographical but so funny nonetheless.

I quite liked reading Jean Shrimpton's autobiography.

ripstheirthroatoutliveupstairs Thu 29-Sep-11 11:22:45

Kenneth Williams is great.
Alexis Sayles I read recently, tis very good.
Currently reading Pete Postethwaite's. It is OK, a bit of a journey around his theatrical experiences, but I feel I ought to read it since I am now living where he was born.
Chris Evans, both were good and I liked him even more after reading them.
The most interesting one I read was called the King who doesn't smile (or something similar). It is about King Bhumipon of Thailand and is banned! It deals with issues around his assencsion to the throne and curious death of his brother amongst other things.
It is considered most daring to have a copy if you live in the Kingdom, you can go to prison.

Ungratefulchild Thu 29-Sep-11 11:29:35

The Kenneth Williams diaries is one of my favourite books ever.

GetOrfMo1Land Thu 29-Sep-11 14:22:33

Yes, anything Mitford is completely addictive.

Such a shame that Nancy Mitford never wrote an autobiog (mind you, her novels were autobiographical I suppose).

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