Can you please recommend an interesting biography?

(60 Posts)
WetAugust Sat 10-May-14 00:07:58

Preferably an autobiography.

I've recently read Andre Agassi -Open, Joanna Lumley's, Rupert Everett's, Duncan Bannantyne's and Alan Sugar's (which is the best and most candid I have ever read).

Am very open minded, so could be anybody's.

Thank you

Ooh, love biographies.

Frank Skinner, Lee Evans, Tina Fey, Julie Walters have all written great ones imo. Have also just finished a memoir written by a journalist, Damian Barr which was great called Maggie and Me.

Frank McCourt's Tis is wonderful as well.

AnneEyhtMeyer Sat 10-May-14 00:15:36

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a biography with a difference.

That does sound fascinating.

Meglet Sat 10-May-14 00:20:56

These are old(ish) now but a cracking read and very naughty - Cybil Shepherd (moonlighting, Bruce, Elvis!!). Marc Almond - very sweet but daft as a brush and decadent.

And for a much more intelligent read the Waris Dirie book, Desert Flower. She tells her childhood in Somalia, FGM and escape to the UK.

AnneEyhtMeyer Sat 10-May-14 00:24:55

Oh yes, Cybill Shepherd's was good - managed to get that for pennies on my Kindle ages ago.

nettie Sat 10-May-14 00:25:02

Rob Lowe's is very good (first one, think he now has a new one out) and also John Taylors.

Agree on Frank Skinner and the Henrietta Lacks being good reads too. I couldn't get into the Julie Walters one.

WetAugust Sat 10-May-14 00:26:55

Thank you for the recommendations. Us bio fans obviously stay up late!

I watched a Horizon programme many years ago about her and the research. If I remember correctly they couldn't cells that would divide in vitro until her sample was obtained and the scientists wasted many years of research as samples derived from her cells contaminated most if the worldwide research samples.

WetAugust Sat 10-May-14 00:31:13

How about Dawn French, Katie Price, the Liverpool chap who likes dogs and has a c4 late afternoon show and us a friend of Cilla - can't remember his name. Hate the obese that dwell on their miserable childhoods.
Have read Angela's Ashes so us the other Frank McCourt book very different?

WetAugust Sat 10-May-14 00:32:06

Obese??? Should have said 'hate the ones that......'

Shartibartfast Sat 10-May-14 00:35:30

Baroness Trumpington 's autobiography is fairly recent, and has had some good reviews. She's in her 90s, and has led a pretty full and interesting life! I recently read Damian McBride's book about his time as Gordon Brown's spin doctor, and I found that fascinating.

monkeyharris Sat 10-May-14 00:38:23

Kim Woodburns' autobiography - couldn't put it down once I started reading it! smile

monkeyharris Sat 10-May-14 00:45:32

Oh, and Jamie Foreman has led an interesting life (not my usual cup of tea but I bought the kindle addition of his book when it was 99p from Amazon). I am a big fan of David Jason but his autobiography was very disappointing - mostly about his pre TV days in theatre and hardly anything about his OFAH/Frost days, which is what I was hoping to read about.

Tis by Frank McCourt takes his story up when he goes back to America as a young man.

ProfessorBranestawm Sat 10-May-14 14:22:23

I really enjoyed The Genius in my Basement by Alexander Masters. He also wrote Stuart: a Life Backwards which was made into a film I think.

widdle Mon 26-May-14 15:41:20

The Stephen Fry ones are pretty good - Moab is my washpot and the Fry Chronicles

Haven't read it but heard the Jennifer Saunders one is pretty good - might have to steal that one from my mam!

SconeRhymesWithGone Mon 26-May-14 15:45:52

Memoirs more than biography but these are really good:

This is Not About Me by Janice Galloway
What to Look for in Winter by Candia McWilliam

Timeforabiscuit Mon 26-May-14 15:46:23

Tracey Emins autobiography I found really eye opening, especially hailing from the same neck of the woods.

Timeforabiscuit Mon 26-May-14 15:47:39

Oops sorry didn't read the bit about miserable childhoods - scratch the emin one ��

CaulkheadUpNorth Mon 26-May-14 15:59:18

Dawn French is good.

mrsnec Mon 26-May-14 16:00:44

I like the Steven Fry ones and Jennifer Saunders. I am a fan of a good autobiography, I've not read them yet but Harry Redknapp and Patsy Kensit are a couple I'd like to try.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 26-May-14 16:04:11

I thought the Piers Morgan one from his days as editor of The Mirror was interesting.

EduardoBarcelona Wed 28-May-14 15:35:09

Bizarrely the one by Andrea ? Kampusch about her time when she was abducted us not only interesting but very intelligent too.

Patti Smith 'just kids' beautifully written memoir about her and Robert maplethorpe in 70's New York

SatansFurryJamHats Thu 29-May-14 23:11:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Blueuggboots Thu 29-May-14 23:29:14

I really enjoyed Sue Johnston's book - things I couldn't tell my mother I think it's called.

amicissimma Tue 08-Jul-14 16:31:10


It's about an American, Louis Zamperini (who he?). He was a tearaway as a child, became an Olympic hero in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Then joined the AAF in the war, was shot down, survived 47 days in a life raft, with no supplies, was taken POW by the Japanese, eventually returned home and struggled to cope with his POW experiences. It's a bit of a spoiler, but his obituary has just been in the papers.

The book is a real page-turner and I can't believe he survived to 2014.

PetShopGirl Tue 08-Jul-14 16:41:54

I really enjoyed Rupert Everett's Red Carpets And Other Banana Skins.

Southeastdweller Sun 20-Jul-14 14:45:25

Bedsit Disco Queen by Tracey Thorn was the best autobio I've read for quite sometime.

piratecat Sun 20-Jul-14 14:52:31

years ago i bought Daniel day Lewis biography at an airport and really enjoyed it.

piratecat Sun 20-Jul-14 14:56:26

Stuart a life backwards is great film.

it is true story. the book would be good.

Deathraystare Sun 20-Jul-14 16:39:19

Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys by Viv Albertine.

For those who don't know - Viv was the guitarist in the punk band The Slits an all female band and very influential. I guess you have to have an interest in punk at least but even if only mildly curious.... Mick Jones of the Clash (they were an item at one point) comes across as a thoroughly nice chap and was very supportive of her when she decided to play guitar - "Yeah, I 've got a girlfriend who plays guitar!!". At times it is very sweet and funny but on occasion sad, too. She describes her romances, friendships with Sid Viscious and Johnny Rotten etc and tells of her time buying clothes from Sex (Vivienne Westwood's shop), ill health, marriage and motherhood. And of course the music!

DoctorTwo Sun 20-Jul-14 17:16:33

Hitch-22 and the devastatingly beautiful Mortality, both by Christopher Hitchens.

carben Sun 20-Jul-14 22:42:57

When did you last see your father? Blake Morrison.

HappydaysArehere Mon 21-Jul-14 14:40:45

This Boy by Alan Johnson. Loved this fascinating childhood of politician Alan Johnson. I lived through this period and knew many places and events of the time. It is a true reflection of the times told with great humour and self deprecation. Politics not mentioned, just a memorial to the courage of brave women who sustained the young Alan and provided him with the building blocks to climb to a cabinet position in the
Labour Government. Don't be put off by the prospect of a political angle. This is a story of ordinary humanity.

Trooperslane Mon 21-Jul-14 14:43:43

Stephen Fry
David Niven

Pp has just reminded me I want to read Trumpers one.

callipygian00 Thu 21-Aug-14 00:41:36

184 Charing Cross Road or Maya Angelou's I know why the caged bird sings. The last one does chart a difficult childhood but it's not classed as one of the 'hard lives' autobiographies like Angela's ashes or child called it, probably because it was written before the wave of 'misery' autob's came out, it's so well written and it's just generally more inspiring.

skyeskyeskye Thu 21-Aug-14 00:44:56

Currently reading One Unknown by Gill Hicks, a survivor of the 7/7 tube bombings. It's an inspirational, touching read.

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Mon 08-Sep-14 18:26:05

I'm not sure how I came to read it, but Terry Wogan's autobiography was pretty interesting.
Bob Geldof's was very good.

loulougreen Mon 08-Sep-14 18:26:25

Hi there just read 'Coming up Trumps' by the 92 year old Baroness Trumpington, it's excellent , very enjoyable and easy to read, give it a try!

hazelnutlatte Mon 08-Sep-14 18:38:29

The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton (former teammate of Lance Armstrong) I don't think you need to be especially interested in cycling to read it - it's mostly about Lance and how he got away with bullying and cheating his way to the top - fascinating stuff.

I also liked Russell Brands booky wook - much better written than most 'celebrity' biographies but his attitude to women is appalling! It is still a real page turner though

tumbletumble Mon 08-Sep-14 18:45:44

Agree re Frank Skinner. I also enjoyed Michael J Fox's, and I recently read and loved Viv Albertine's - highly recommended.

I thought Dawn French's was okay.

Rivercam Mon 08-Sep-14 18:50:11

Some Other a Rainbow - john McCartney about the time he was a hostage ( not a recent book)

Boris Becker autobiography - good read

Miranda - the book when she 'talks' to her 18 year old self

isitsnowingyet Mon 08-Sep-14 18:55:41

Rob Bryden's - amusing and I found it an interesting read.

damepeanutbutter Mon 08-Sep-14 21:58:37

My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding. Beautifully written and in parts so funny that I had to stop reading and try and control myself. I listened to the audio version - Clare narrates and is utterly brilliant.

damepeanutbutter Mon 08-Sep-14 22:19:03

A Scandalous Life - The Biography of Jane Digby by Mary S Lovell is a biography I read almost 14 years ago for the book group that I was with at the time and we all absolutely loved it. Jane Digby scandalised Victorian England with her unconventional behaviour and today she would be a feminist icon. I found this book un-put-downable. The ending is very poignant and sad. Here is the Amazon link

Let me quote one review on Amazon:
"During her "Scandalous Life" Jane Digby was often written about in the popular press and remained a topic for tea time gossip for more than 50 years! Victorian England was fascinated by this unconventional woman who lived her life as she followed her heart and passions across Europe and the Middle East"

I can guarantee if you read this book you will be gripped.

HolgerDanske Mon 08-Sep-14 22:29:31

I really liked Sir Roger Moore's autobiography:

'My Word is My Bond'

HolgerDanske Mon 08-Sep-14 22:43:57

Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela

My Life, Bill Clinton (Have yet to read Hillary's. Must get that done!)

Not a biography but still a very lovely book and such fun - My Love Affair with Jewelry by Elizabeth Taylor

WetAugust Sat 13-Sep-14 23:19:03

Keith Richards about the Rolling Stones although I think it was ghost written.

Duncan Bannantyne's and Hilary. ?? From Dragons Den. Both really interesting.

arnold schwarzenegger was very interesting.
You do not need to be a fan of his films or his politics.
There is a lot about body building, which you also don't need to know anything about, it was very interesting.
And a lot about the difference in culture between growing up in Europe and living in US.

My DH recommends Chris Evans but I've not read it.

TheDogsMissingBollock Sun 23-Nov-14 21:54:03

Richard e Grant's one

lem73 Sun 23-Nov-14 21:55:56

It's about 25 years old but Tina Turner's autobiography still sticks in my mind. It had a huge impression on me as a teenager about being a strong woman and also how you can come back from making mistakes and unfortunate choices.

Lunastarfish Sun 23-Nov-14 21:56:07

Read Slash from Guns n Roses - he's had a crazy life!

writtenguarantee Sun 23-Nov-14 21:59:26

infidel - ayaan hirsi ali
malcolm X

both good. neither are light (perhaps obvious). I might try something like stephen fry for christmas.

Daydreamersea Sun 23-Nov-14 22:02:54

Bob geldof - is this it - written about 20 years ago

Even though I don't particularly like him I was lent both of Piers Morgans autobiographies which were really interesting, more about the world he inhabited as opposed to the man himself.

Nancy spungens biography by her mother - she was Sid vicious girlfriend.

Toast by Nigel slater

This boy by Alan johnson

Daydreamersea Sun 23-Nov-14 22:07:01

Sharon osbournes is pretty interesting

landrover Tue 25-Nov-14 22:15:18

Steve Brooksteins book just come out, sounds fascinating (but x factor won't be happy!)

gonegrey56 Mon 01-Dec-14 18:52:50

Prue Leith's autobiography was so interesting - she has done so much in her career, and her account was fascinating. I also recently read a biography of the cook Elizabeth David , quite a character ! Well worth getting hold of, can't remember the exact title .

hackmum Tue 02-Dec-14 09:22:02

Rupert Everett's two autobiographies, particularly the first one.

Alan Johnson's This Boy and Please Mister Postman, though again the first one is a better read.

Damian Barr's Maggie and Me.

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