Biography

The biography section is popular and there's always someone sitting in our comfy chair there, choosing a book to give them an insight into someone else's life. There are biographies and autobiographies of actors, writers, explorers, travellers, musicians, inventors, politicians, ordinary people, animals, and just about anyone else you can imagine!

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Jane Austen at Home
Cover Image, Jellyfish

Lucy Worsley
Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN 9781473632240     
Trade Paperback 2017
Price $AU 32.99
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Step back into the world of Jane Austen with historian Lucy Worsley, as she visits Austen's childhood home, her schools, her holiday accommodation, the houses both grand and small of the relations upon whom she was dependent, and the home she shared with her mother and sister towards the end of her life, where she wrote her famous novels.  This new telling of the story of Jane's life shows us how and why she lived as she did, and the way in which home is used in her novels to mean both a place of pleasure and a prison. Jane famously lived a 'life without incident', but with new research and insights Lucy Worsley will reveal a passionate woman who fought for her freedom.


Woman of Subtance
Cover Image, Long Way Home

Jenny Valentish
Black Inc.
ISBN 9781863959223
Paperback 2017
Price $AU 33.00
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Journalist Jenny Valentish investigates the female experience of drugs and alcohol, using her own story to light the way. Her travels around Australia take her to treatment facilities and AA groups. Mining the expertise of leading researchers, she explores the early predictors of addiction, such as childhood trauma and temperament, and teenage impulsivity. Drawing on neuroscience, she explains why other self-destructive behaviours - such as eating disorders, compulsive buying and high-risk sex - are interchangeable with problematic substance use. Valentish follows the pathways that women, in particular, take into addiction - and out again. Woman of Substances is an insightful, rigorous and brutally honest read.


In the Days of Rain
Cover Image, Long Way Home

Rebecca Stott
Fourth Estate
ISBN 9780008209179
Paperback 2017
Price $AU 27.99
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As Rebecca Stott's father lay dying he begged her to help him write the memoir he had been struggling with for years. He wanted to tell the story of their family, who, for generations had all been members of a fundamentalist Christian sect, the Exclusive Brethren. Yet, each time he reached a certain point, he became tangled in a thicket of painful memories and could not go on. Rebecca was born into the sect, yet, as an intelligent, inquiring child she was always asking dangerous questions. She would discover that her father, an influential preacher, had been asking them too, and that the fault-line between faith and doubt had almost engulfed him. In In the Days of Rain Rebecca gathers the broken threads of her father's story, and her own, and follows him into the thicket to tell of her family's experiences within the sect, and the decades-long aftermath of their breaking away.


Theft By Finding: Diaries Volume One
Cover Image, Jellyfish

David Sedaris
Little Brown
ISBN 97803491207376     
Trade Paperback 2017
Price $AU 29.99
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For nearly four decades, David Sedaris has faithfully kept a diary in which he records his thoughts and observations on the odd and funny events he witnesses. Anyone who has attended a live Sedaris event knows that his diary readings are often among the most joyful parts of the evening. But never before have they been available in print. Now, Sedaris brings us his favorite entries: from the family home in Raleigh, North Carolina, we follow Sedaris as he sets out to make his way in the world; as an art student and then teacher in Chicago he works at a succession of very odd jobs, meeting even odder people, before moving to New York to pursue a career as a writer - where instead he very quickly lands a job in Macy's department store as an elf in Santaland. A rare look into the mind of one of our generation's greatest comic geniuses.


The Moth: All These WondersCover Image, Art Making

Catherine Burns (ed)
Serpent's Tail
ISBN 9781781256633      
Paperback 2017
Price $AU 29.99
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From storytelling phenomenon The Moth: a collection about risk, courage, and facing the unknown, drawn from the best stories ever told on their stages. All These Wonders features voices both familiar and new, including Australian voices. Storytellers include the writers Marlon James and Christina Lamb, as well as a hip hop 'one hit wonder', an astronomer gazing at the surface of Pluto for the first time, and a young female spy risking everything as part of Churchill's secret army during World War II. They share their ventures into uncharted territory - and how their lives were changed forever by what they found there.


Work Strife BalanceCover Image, Art Making

Mia Freedman
Pan Macmillan
ISBN 9781925479935     
Trade Paperback 2017
Price $AU 34.99
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Here is Mia Freedman's low road to the top - a fearless, hilarious, inspiring and surprising collection of modern misadventures to read, relate to and rejoice in, then share with all the women in your life. It's for guilty friends, bad mums, crap wives, imperfect feminists, rebellious daughters and any girl with a big mouth and at least one foot in it. It's for any woman who's ever asked: 'Am I the only one who isn't quite coping?' 


Beyond the RockCover Image, Art Making

Janelle McCulloch
Echo
ISBN 9780500518533     
Hardback 2017
Price $AU 35.00
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This is the story of one of Australia's most famous novels, and the author who kept its secrets until she died.

In the winter of 1966, at sixty-nine years of age, Lady Joan Lindsay sat down and wrote a short novel about a group of upper-class schoolgirls from a prestigious ladies college who disappear while on a country picnic in the summer of 1900. The result was Picnic at Hanging Rock, a literary mystery that has endured for half a century.  Beyond the Rock examines Joan Lindsay's enigmatic life, including her childhood, her complex marriage to Daryl Lindsay of the famous Lindsay family of artists, their enduring love and unconventional bohemian life.


The Return
Cover Image, Great Irish Lives

Hisham Matar
Penguin
ISBN 9780241966280
Paperback 2017
Price $AU 24.99
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The Return is at once a universal and an intensely personal tale. It is an exquisite meditation on how history and politics can bear down on an individual life. And yet Hisham Matar's memoir isn't just about the burden of the past, but the consolation of love, literature and art. It is the story of what it is to be human. Hisham Matar was nineteen when his father was kidnapped and taken to prison in Libya. He would never see him again. Twenty-two years later, the fall of Gaddafi meant he was finally able to return to his homeland. In this moving memoir, the author takes us on an illuminating journey, both physical and psychological; a journey to find his father and rediscover his country.

Winner of The Pulitzer Prize 2017.


Great Irish LivesCover Image, Great Irish Lives

Edited by Charles Lysaght
Times Books
ISBN 9780008211516
Hardback 2016
Price $AU 30.00
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Discover the fascinating lives of the figures that have shaped Ireland from the early nineteenth century to the present day. Explore the rich history of the island's cultural, social and political landscape, with more than 100 obituaries carefully curated from The Times archive. The Irish have contributed richly to the world, most notably in literature, but also in the arts, law, politics, religion, scholarship, science, soldiering and sport. The list includes people who have made the greatest impact in their fields, others who have led particularly interesting or influential lives, and a selection of notable Irish figures in the history of The Times. Compiled and edited by Dubliner, Charles Lysaght, a lawyer, biographer and reviewer, he is a long-time writer of obituaries for The Times. In his introduction, he discusses the nature of Times obituaries and how they have reflected the sometimes troubled and controversial relationship of the newspaper with Ireland. This book features the major Irish figures of influence from the last 200 years including from Daniel O'Connell, Ian Paisley, William Butler Yeats, Maureen Potter, Maeve Binchy, Conor Cruise O'Brien and Mary Raftery.


Lion: A Long Way Cover Image, Long Way HomeHome

Saroo Brierley
Penguin Books
ISBN 9780143572305
Paperback 2016
Price $AU 22.99
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One evening, five-year-old Saroo left his poor village home in India to watch his older brother work at the next town's train station.  Lost and alone on an unfamiliar train, he found himself taken across the country and deposited in a strange city, unable to explain who he was or where he was from. He'd arrived in Calcutta and was taken in by a government agency. After failed attempts to find his family, Saroo was adopted by an Australian couple, the Brierleys, and taken to start a new life in Hobart.  As an adult he never forgot his Indian roots and kept trying to work out where he came from. With the advent of Google Earth, his long inquiry began to bear fruit: as the technology improved, he was able to find what he thought was his home neighbourhood of Ganesh Talai - and go in search of his family. Even more astonishingly, he found them.


Hillybilly Elegy
Cover Image, Jellyfish

J.D Vance
Harper Collins
ISBN 9780008220556     
Trade Paperback 2016
Price $AU 32.99
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J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. The Vance family story begins hopefully in post-war America. J. D.'s grandparents were "dirt poor and in love," and moved north from Kentucky's Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance's grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Hillbilly Elegy is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.


The Princess DiaristCover Image, Jellyfish

Carrie Fisher
Bantam Press
ISBN 9780593077573    
Trade Paperback 2016
Price $AU 35.00
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While working on the film set of Star Wars  Carrie Fisher was filling her journal with plaintive love poems and unbridled musings, and now excerpts from these journals have made it into a book, which will sadly be her last. The Princess Diarist reveals what it was like behind the scenes, as well as her growing awareness of the insanity of celebrity.  This is a wonderful addition to the literature on Star Wars, and a great book for fans of her previous memoirs Shockaholic and Wishful Drinking


Down the Dirt RoadsCover Image, Jellyfish

Rachael Treasure
Viking
ISBN 9780143786429
Paperback 2017
Price $AU 24.99
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Country girl and bestselling novelist Rachael Treasure had worked hard to build a long-dreamed-of lifestyle on her own patch of dirt in Tasmania's rugged and beautiful wilderness. But through the breakdown of her marriage, Rachael lost her family farm and, in her words, lost her way in life. Discovering an all-new compass to live by, she took her two kids and her dogs and left the beaten path. Intensive farming, men on the land and women in the home - everywhere Rachael looked she saw ongoing harm to the soil and the foodchain. By going down the dirt roads and getting back to grassroots, she discovered another set of stories about country life in Australia, and a different way to live on the land.


Island Home

Cover Image, Lure of the Thylacine

Tim Winton
Penguin Books
ISBN 9780143574095    
Paperback 2017
Price $AU 24.99
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*New in paperback*

In Tim Winton's novels the natural world is as much a living presence as any character.  From boyhood, his relationship with sea, scrub and swamp has been as vital as blood relations. The country has seeped into him, with its rhythms, its dangers, its strange sustenance. This is the story of how that relationship came to be, and also a passionate exhortation for all of us to feel the ground beneath our feet. Much more so than any political idea, the physical entity of Australia defines us, in ways we too often forget. Wise, rhapsodic, exalted, Island Home is a beautiful, evocative, sometimes provocative, investigation of how the land makes us who we are.


Working Class BoyCover Image, Lure of the Thylacine

Jimmy Barnes
Harper Collins
ISBN 9781460752135     
Hardback 2016
Price $AU 45.00
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Raw, gritty, compassionate, surprising and darkly funny, Jimmy Barnes's childhood memoir is at once the story of migrant dreams fulfilled and dashed. After arriving in Australia in the summer of 1962, things went from bad to worse for the Swan family - Dot, Jim and their six kids. The scramble to manage in the tough northern suburbs of Adelaide in the 60s would take its toll on the Swans as dwindling money, too much alcohol and fraying tempers gave way to violence and despair. This is the story of a family's collapse, but also of a young boy's dream to escape the misery of the suburbs with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to join a rock'n'roll band and get out of town for good. Nothing will prepare you for the power of Jimmy's memoir.


The Story of Beatrix PotterCover Image, Van Gogh's Ear

Sarah Gristwood
National Trust Books
ISBN 9781909881808 
Hardback 2016
Price $AU 35.00
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To this day, Beatrix Potter's tales delight children and grown-ups around the world. But few people realise how extraordinary her own story is.  In The Story of Beatrix Potter, Sarah Gristwood follows the twists and turns of Beatrix Potter's life and its key turning points - including her tragically brief first engagement and happy second marriage late in life. She traces the creation of Beatrix's most famous characters - including the naughty Peter Rabbit, confused Jemima Puddleduck and cheeky Squirrel Nutkin - revealing how she drew on her unusual childhood pets and locations in her beloved Lake District. She explores too, the last 30 years of Potter's life, when she abandoned books to become a working farmer and a pioneering conservationist, whose work with the National Trust helped to save thousands of acres of the Lake District - a legacy that, like her books, continues to enrich our lives today.


A Cook's LifeCover Image, Cook's Life

Stephanie Alexander
Puffin
ISBN 9781921384509
Paperback 2016
Price $AU 24.99
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When Stephanie Alexander, opened Stephanie's Restaurant in 1976, it quickly became part of Melbourne food folklore, permanently raising the bar for restaurant dining in Australia. As a restaurateur, Stephanie championed small, local suppliers and also grew her own fresh produce. A Cook's Life is Stephanie's personal account of her uncompromising commitment to good food, and how this quest for the best shaped her life and influenced the dining habits of a nation.


Hitler: Vol.1 AscentCover Image, Hitler

Volker Ullrich
Bodley Head
ISBN 9781847922861 
Trade Paperback 2016
Price $AU 59.99
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Despite his status as the most despised political figure in history, there have only been four serious biographies of Hitler since the 1930s. Even more surprisingly, his biographers have been more interested in his rise to power and his methods of leadership than in Hitler the person: some have even declared that the Fuhrer had no private life. This fails to explain the spell that he cast not only on those close to him but on the German people as a whole. Drawing on a wealth of previously neglected or unavailable sources, this magisterial study provides the most rounded portrait of Hitler to date. Ullrich renders the Fuhrer not as a psychopath but as a master of seduction and guile - and it is perhaps the complexity of his character that explains his enigmatic grip on the German people more convincingly than the cliched image of the monster. This definitive biography will forever change the way we look at the man who took the world into the abyss. 


Flesh Wounds cover image flesh wounds

Richard Glover
ABC Books
ISBN 9780733334320
Paperback 2015
Price $AU 30.00
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A mother who invented her past, a father who was often absent, a son who wondered if this could really be his family. Richard Glover's favourite dinner party game is called 'Who's Got the Weirdest Parents?'. It's a game he always thinks he'll win. There was his mother, a deluded snob, who made up large swathes of her past and who ran away with Richard's English teacher, a Tolkien devotee, nudist and stuffed-toy collector. There was his father, a distant alcoholic, who ran through a gamut of wives, yachts and failed dreams. And there was Richard himself, a confused teenager, vulnerable to strange men, trying to find a family he could belong to. As he eventually accepted, the only way to make sense of the present was to go back to the past - but beware of what you might find there. Truth can leave wounds - even if they are only flesh wounds. Part poignant family memoir, part rollicking venture into a 1970s Australia, this is a book for anyone who's wondered if their family is the oddest one on the planet. The answer: 'No'. There is always something stranger out there.


William S.Burroughscover image william s burroughs

Barry Miles
Weidenfeld & Nichlson
ISBN 9781780221205
Paperback 2015
Price $AU 30.00
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It has been 50 years since Norman Mailer asserted, 'I think that William Burroughs is the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius.' This assessment holds true today. No-one since then has taken such risks in their writing, developed such individual radical political ideas, or spanned such a wide range of media. Made a cult figure by the publication of NAKED LUNCH, Burroughs was a mentor to the 1960s youth culture. Based upon extensive research, this biography paints a new portrait of Burroughs, making him real to the reader and showing how he was perceived by his contemporaries in all his guises - from icily distant to voluble drunk. It shows how his writing was very much influenced by his life situation and by the people he met on his travels around America and Europe. He was, beneath it all, a man torn by emotions: his guilt at not visiting his doting mother; his despair at not responding to reconciliation attempts from his father; his distance from his brother; the huge void that separated him from his son; and above all his killing of his wife, Joan Vollmer.


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