Books · Witterings

Autobiographies

The reason I felt compelled to write this post was because I have no book to review as I am still reading it. Having gone back to work after 3 weeks off I have hardly done any reading in the evenings, sleeping was more beneficial for me. Same goes for the stitching.

So what could I talk about on here – autobiographies. Why? Well I was browsing Amazon, looking for who had what books coming out in the future months especially as Christmas is coming (and the geese are getting fat!) and I was looking for some possible Christmas presents for family. Christmas is a key time for a number of autobiographies to be published; cashing in on Christmas. Interestingly, the paperback versions they try to get out for summer; holiday reads!  Now I know Chris Evans next book is due out on 14 October as he has been on about having to get it finished on Twitter (follow him at achrisevans) and also some hints on his Radio 2 Breakfast Show. I highly recommend his first book ‘It’s Not What You Think’. Plus there is Paul O’Grady which is out on 16 September. Again like Chris Evans, this is the second autobiography by Paul. Do not think that this is going to be simply a rehash – they both ended their debut by telling us so much of their story, there was always going to be more to come. So what else did I find that might be good? Well Alan Sugar, not one for me but definitely a present and also Judi Dench (also out 14 October) and Michael Caine (out 30 September) stalwarts of our British culture and of stage and screen. Carol Vorderman (out 16 September) seems to have jumped on the autobiography train as well, will we find out what really happened behind the scenes at Countdown? Michael ‘Parky’ Parkinson (out 14 October) is going to enlighten us on some of his interviews he as done over the past years. Something I think which was missing from his autobiography. So not quite an autobiography but sort of.

Now I have not mentioned here any autobiographies which have been written by someone else. I do not like these unless the subject is sadly no longer with us, then in which case I would consider the book. But still autobiographies appear to be in the news quite a lot. Why?

Well A Journey by Tony Blair, former UK Labour Prime Minister was on sale from Tuesday. I will not bore you with a picture, (we all know who he is and what he looks like). Nothing wonderful about that I suppose, and a political memoir is something which I would probably never pick up BUT why the interest? – it is to do with the sales of the book.

They have broken records. It shot to the top of the Amazon bestseller list and is Waterstones fastest selling biography. It has had coverage galore in the media. This news article will give you more of where I have got some of my facts from. Now if someone gave me the book for free, I would read it. At the moment there is only bits and pieces of it which I would want to dip in and out of. For example, the death of  Princess Diana ….“Through it all, we were trying to work out how it should be managed. I know this sounds callous. I was genuinely in grief. I liked her and I felt desperately sorry for her two boys, but I also knew that this was going to be a major national, in fact global event like no other. How Britain emerged was important for the country internally and externally. I was prime minister; I had to work out how it would work out. I had to articulate what would be a tidal wave of grief and loss, in a way that was dignified but also expressed the emotion and love – not too strong a word – people felt for her…..”. Why this, well I think her death was one of the defining moments of history to the scale of ‘where were you when you heard the news?’.

I will only quote one more thing, and that was the defining moment when everyone knew about Tony Blair when he came to power. The photo I remember was that of Cherie Blair answering the door in her nightie, perhaps a prelude of things to come…“This was not a win. It was a landslide. After about two hours for a time I actually became worried. The moving line at the bottom of the TV screen was showing over a hundred Labour seats. The Tories had just six. I began to think I had done something unconstitutional….”.

I am not going to quote anything else, I refer you to the BBC who made a key summary of quotes about important issues.

Thanks to the BBC as well, which sparked me to think about autobiographies, this article shows about the power and draw of autobiographies and where political memoirs lie in the terms of more celebrity books.  Interestingly 2009 was a slow year for autobiographies, after the previous year of more high calibre books e.g. Julie Walters. Out of the top 5  selling autobiographies between 2004 and 2010, I have read 3. Peter Kay’s The Sound of Laughter, Paul O’Grady At My Mother’s Knee and Dawn French Dear Fatty. Will Tony Blair be up there amongst the best-selling or will he just remain the fastest selling?