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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The Erratics

Cover Image, Binding

Vicki Laveau-Harvie
Harper Collins
ISBN 9781460758250
Paperback 2019
Price $AU 22.99
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This is a memoir about a dysfunctional family, about a mother and her daughters. But make no mistake. This is like no mother-daughter relationship you know.  When Vicki Laveau-Harvie’s elderly mother is hospitalised unexpectedly, Vicki and her sister travel to their parents' isolated ranch home in Alberta, Canada, to help their father. Estranged from their parents for many years, Vicki and her sister are horrified by what they discover on their arrival.

Winner of the Stella Prize 2019.


Stranger Country

Cover Image, Long Way Home

Monica Tan
Allen & Unwin
ISBN 9781760632212
Trade Paperback 2019
Price $AU 32.99
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What happens when a 32-year-old first-generation Australian woman decides to chuck in a dream job, pack a sleeping bag and tent, and hit the long, dusty road for six months? Thirty-thousand kilometres later, Monica Tan has the answer, and it completely surprises her. Stranger Country is the riveting account of the six months Monica drove and camped her way through some of Australia’s most beautiful and remote landscapes. She shared meals, beers and conversations with miners, greynomads, artists, farmers, community workers and small business owners from across the nation: some Aboriginal, some white, some Asian, and even a few who managed to be all three.


We Are DisplacedCover Image, Art Making

Malala Yousafzai
Orion Publishing
ISBN 9781474610049
Paperback 2019
Price $AU 29.99
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We Are Displaced is an important reminder from one of the world’s most prominent young activists that every single one of the 68.5 million currently displaced is a person - often a young person - with hopes and dreams, and that everyone deserves universal human rights and a safe home.  Malala shares the personal stories of some of the incredible girls she has met on her various journeys -girls who have lost their community, relatives, and often the only world they’ve ever known.


I Built No Schools in Kenya

Cover Image, Binding

Kirsten Drysdale
Random House
ISBN 9780857988546
Trade Paperback 2019
Price $AU 34.99
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In September 2010, Kirsten Drysdale was tricked. Her friend called with a job offer too curious to refuse: a cruisey-gig as a dementia carer for a rich old man in Kenya.  It was only on arrival in Nairobi that she discovered the rich old man’s family was fighting a war around him, and that she would be on the front line. Caught in the crossfire of all kinds of wild accusations, she also had to spy on his wife, keep his daughter placated, rebuff his marriage proposals, hide the car keys and clip his toenails, all while trying to retain her own sanity in the colonial time warp of his home.  I Built No Schools in Kenya is a travelogue-tragedy-farce about race, wealth, love, death, family, nationhood, sanity, benzodiazepines, monkeys and whisky. It is almost entirely true.


Becoming

Cover Image, Long Way Home

Michelle Obama
Viking
ISBN 9780241334140
Hardback 2018
Price $AU 45.00
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In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era.  As First Lady of the United States of America - the first African-American to serve in that role - she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments.


Any Ordinary Day

Cover Image, Long Way Home

Leigh Sales
Hamish Hamilton
ISBN 9780143789963
Trade Paperback 2018
Price $AU 34.99
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As a journalist, Leigh Sales often encounters people experiencing the worst moments of their lives in the full glare of the media. But one particular string of bad news stories – and a terrifying brush with her own mortality – sent her looking for answers about how vulnerable each of us is to a life-changing event. What are our chances of actually experiencing one? What do we fear most and why? And when the worst does happen, what comes next?

Shortlisted for the Indie Book Awards 2019.


Calypso
Cover Image, Long Way Home

David Sedaris
Little Brown
ISBN 9781408707821
Trade Paperback 2018
Price $AU 29.99
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With Calypso, Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation toward middle age and mortality. Make no mistake: these stories are very, very funny - it’s a book that can make you laugh ‘til you snort, and much of the comedy here is born out of that vertiginous moment when your own body betrays you and you realize that the story of your life is made up of more past than future.  Highly recommended.


Eggshell SkullCover Image, Long Way Home

Bri Lee
Allen and Unwin
ISBN 9781760295776
Paperback 2018
Price $AU 26.99
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Bri Lee began her first day of work at the Brisbane Magistrates Court as a bright-eyed judge’s associate. Eighteen months later she was back as the complainant in her own case.

This is the story of Bri’s journey through the Australian legal system; first as the daughter of a policeman, then as a law student, and finally as a judge’s associate in both metropolitan and regional Queensland - where justice can look very different, especially for women.
 
Longlisted for the Stella Prize 2019.

Butterfly on a Pincover image a savage image

Alannah Hill
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN: 9781743794258
Trade paperback 2018
Price $AU 32.99
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Alannah Hill grew up in small-town Tasmania, living a childhood of hardship, fear and abuse.  At an early age she ran away from home with eight suitcases of costumes and a fierce determination to succeed, haunted by her mother’s refrain of ‘You’ll never amount to anything, you can’t sew, nobody likes you and you’re going to end up in a shallow grave, dear!‘ 

This extraordinary book is the fierce and intelligent account of how a freckle-faced teenage runaway metamorphosed into a trailblazer and true original.


Adventures of a Young Naturalist

Cover Image, Adventures of a Young Naturalist

Sir David Attenborough
Hodder and Stoughton
ISBN 9781473664968
Paperback 2018
Price $AU 22.99
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THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTELLER 'A charming period piece' Times 'A marvellous book ... unputdownable ... utterly engaging' Telegraph In 1954, a young television presenter was offered the opportunity of a lifetime - to travel the world finding rare and elusive animals for London Zoo's collection, and to film the expeditions for the BBC. This is the story of those voyages. Staying with local tribes while trekking in search of giant anteaters in Guyana, Komodo dragons in Indonesia and armadillos in Paraguay, he and the rest of the team battled with cannibal fish, aggressive tree porcupines and escape-artist wild pigs, as well as treacherous terrain and unpredictable weather, to record the incredible beauty and biodiversity of these regions.  Written with his trademark wit and charm, Adventures of a Young Naturalist is not just the story of a remarkable adventure, but of the man who made us fall in love with the natural world, and who is still doing so today.


An Activist LifeCover Image, Jellyfish

Christine Milne
University of Queensland Press
ISBN 9780702259814
Trade Paperback 2017
Price $AU 32.95
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An Activist Life is the story of an apparently ordinary woman - a high-school English teacher from northwest Tasmania - who became a fiery environmental warrior, pitted against some of the most powerful business and political forces in the country.   Christine Milne tells her story through the objects that have symbolic meaning in both her personal and political life - from the butter pats in her kitchen that represent her journey from farm girl at Wesley Vale - to environmental and human rights activist at the national and global level, and to the Pride t-shirt she wore walking in Mardi Gras next to her son after years of fighting for the legal reform of gay rights in Tasmania.


Light and Shadow: Memoirs of a Spy's SonCover Image, Light and Shadow

Mark Colvin
Melbourne University Press
ISBN 9780522872590
Paperback 2017
Price $AU 24.99
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Light and Shadow is the incredible story of a father waging a secret war against communism during the Cold War, while his son comes of age as a journalist and embarks on the risky career of a foreign correspondent. Mark covered local and global events for the ABC for more than four decades, reporting on wars, royal weddings and everything in between. In the midst of all this he discovered that his father was an MI6 spy. Mark was witness to some of the most significant international events, including the Iranian hostage crisis, the buildup to the first Gulf War in Iraq and the direct aftermath of the shocking genocide in Rwanda. But when he contracted a life-threatening illness while working in the field, his world changed forever.


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.


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.


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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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.


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


Tolstoy: A Russian LifeCover Image, Tolstoy

Rosamund Bartlett
Profile Book
ISBN 9781781251911
Paperback 2013
Price $AU 24.99
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In November 1910, Count Lev Tolstoy died at a remote Russian railway station attended by the world's media. He was eighty-two years old and had lived a remarkable and long life during one of the most turbulent periods of Russian history. Born into a privileged aristocratic family, he seemed set to join the ranks of degenerate Russian noblemen, but fighting in the Crimean war alongside rank and file soldiers opened his eyes to Russia's social problems and he threw himself into teaching the peasantry to read and write. After his marriage he wrote War and Peace and Anna Karenina, both regarded as two of the greatest novels in world literature. Rosamund Bartlett's exceptional biography of this brilliant, maddening and contrary man draws on key Russian sources, including the many fascinating new materials which have been published about Tolstoy and his legacy since the collapse of the Soviet Union.


Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost

Cover Image, Hemmingways Boat

Paul Hendrickson
Vintage Publishing
ISBN 9780099565994
Paperback 2013
Price $AU 24.99
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THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 'She'd been intimately his, and he hers, for twenty-seven years - which were his final twenty-seven years. She'd lasted through three wives, the Nobel Prize, and all his ruin. He'd owned her, fished her, worked her and rode her, from the waters of Key West to the Bahamas to the Dry Tortugas to the north coast and archipelagos of Cuba.'  Even in his most accomplished period, Hemingway carried within him the seeds of his tragic decline and throughout this period he had one constant - his beloved boat, Pilar. The boat represented and witnessed everything he loved in life - virility, deep-sea fishing, access to his beloved ocean, freedom, women and booze and the formative years of his children. Paul Hendrickson focuses on the period from 1934 to 1961, from the pinnacle of Hemingway's fame to his suicide. He has delved into the life of Hemingway and done the seemingly impossible - present him to us in a whole new light.


The Hare With Amber Eyes

Cover Image, The Hare with Amber Eyes

Edmund de Waal
Vintage Publishing
ISBN 9780099539551
Paperback 2011
Price $AU 19.99
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264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox- potter Edmund de Waal was entranced when he first encountered the collection in the Tokyo apartment of his great uncle Iggie. Later, when Edmund inherited the netsuke , they unlocked a story far larger than he could ever have imagined. The Ephrussi's came from Odessa, and at one time were the largest grain exporters in the world; in the 1870s, Charles Ephrussi was part of a wealthy new generation settling in Paris. Charles's passion was collecting; the netsuke, bought when Japanese objects were all the rage in the salons, were sent as a wedding present to his banker cousin in Vienna. Later, three children including a young Ignace would play with the netsuke as history reverberated around them. The Anschluss and Second World War swept the Ephrussi's to the brink of oblivion. Almost all that remained of their vast empire was the netsuke collection, dramatically saved by a loyal maid when their huge Viennese palace was occupied. In this stunningly original memoir, Edmund de Waal travels the world to stand in the great buildings his forebears once inhabited.


Stasiland

Cover Image, Stasiland

Anna Funder
Text Publishing Co
ISBN 9781877008917
Paperback 2003
Price $AU 24.95
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Truth can be stranger - and more fascinating - than fiction. Anna Funder tells extraordinary stories from the underbelly of the most perfected surveillance state of all time, the former East Germany. Funder meets Miriam, the sixteen-year-old who might have started World War III. She visits the regime's cartographer, obsessed to this day with the Berlin Wall, then gets drunk with the legendary 'Mik Jegger' of the east, once declared by the authorities 'no longer to exist'. And she finds spies and Stasi men, still loyal to the Firm as they wait for the next revolution. Stasiland is a lyrical, at times funny account of the courage some people found to withstand the dictatorship, and the consequences for those who collaborated. Funder explores the daily chaos and harsh beauty of Berlin, a place where some people are trying to remember, and others just as hard to forget. Stasiland is a brilliant debut by a prodigiously gifted writer.


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