The best new memoirs for autumn 2014

October 1, 2014, Article by Tom in Books


Autumn is traditionally the time of year when the great and the good (and, quite often, the not so good) put pen to paper and reval their life stories to the world. 

But which ones are actually worth reading? Here are a few of the best new autobiographies and memoirs deserving of your time and dollar this autumn…

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Here’s the list, for those of you who don’t like photos of book covers:

1. More Fool Me by Stephen Fry (out now from Michael Joseph): You know who Stephen Fry is, you know he’s funny and eloquent and charming, and you know that this book will be all of those things. But there’s also a darker, more troubling side to his life, with Fry addressing addiction and depression. Absorbing stuff.

2. Hopeful by Omid Djalili (out now from Headline): Omid’s done pretty well for a bloke who had to fake his A-Level results to get in to uni. This is the story of his chaotic upbringing and quest for fame.

3. Only When I Laugh by Paul Merton (out now from Ebury): The Have I Got News For You and Just A Minute man tells his life story in his usual surreal and witty fashion. Impossible to read without a) hearing Paul’s voice in your head, and b) imagining Ian Hislop chuckling along.

4. Chapter and Verse by Bernard Sumner (out now from Bantam Press): We will cut to the chase: here’s why we love Bernard Sumner. So you should definitely read this.

5. Taking Command by General David Richards (out 9th October from Headline): Something a bit different, so we will be serious here for a minute. One of the best known British generals of modern times, General Sir David Richards retired in 2013 after over forty years of service in the British Army. On the way to becoming Chief of the Defence Staff, he served in the Far East, Germany, Northern Ireland and East Timor and saw some incredibly shocking, terrifying and historic things along the way. He’s a genuine, real-life hero, and this brutally honest, yet often humorous autobiography is a must-read for anyone with even a passing interest in military history and the armed forces.

6. Play On by Mick Fleetwood (out 30th October from Hodder & Stoughton): As the drummer with one of the most successful and turbulent bands of all time, Mick has seen a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff. This is his story, from his childhood in Cornwall through to opening his restaurant in Hawaii, via debauchery, affairs, drugs and bloody good music.

7. So, Anyway by John Cleese (out 9th October from Random House): By this stage in his career, you’ve probably decided if you’re a John Cleese fan or not. If you are, then this new book from the Monty Python legend is an essential read.

8. Going Off Alarming by Danny Baker (out now from W&N): The second volume of Mr Baker’s autobiography, following the excellent Going to Sea in a Sieve. Apparently he forgot to put in the first volume that he’s been shot twice, so we’ll be intrigued to read about that…

9. Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming (Out 13th November from Canongate): This is set to be a powerful and moving story and the critically acclaimed actor’s memoir has had some pretty stunning pre-publication reviews.

All images © the respective publishers


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