It’s a very timely question for me this week in three ways with Booking Through Thursdays as it is all about Biographies and Autobiographies. The question is “Which do you prefer? Biographies written about someone? Or Autobiographies written by the actual person (and/or ghost-writer)?” Now my instant and simple answer is that I like autobiographies that are written by the person whose memoirs they are. I am not a fan of ghost written books and even the idea of someone telling the story as another person types it all up for them seems wrong to me. Biographies I haven’t tried really, maybe I should after all certain people from the past can’t write their own autobiographies now can they.
The first reason that this is a timely question is that I have actually been mulling over my biography and autobiography shelf over the last few days as I think I want to read one but am just not sure who by. Is it time for another book about The Mitford’s or maybe one of Nancy Mitford’s biographies of French royalty? Do I want to read about someone political or a celeb? As you can see (there are more books than could get in this picture) there is a range to choose from, will I like a book that isn’t written by the person who it’s about?
I won’t lie to you that I love a good celebrity autobiography. If anyone out there thinks that I am a book snob the next line is sure to make you think twice and possibly make you ponder on how good my choices of reading are. I have read and own every Spice Girl autobiography there is to get, even the books about weight loss and the one about Victoria’s wardrobe. I know its wrong but it’s a complete and utter guilty pleasure and I did actually by them when they came which is almost ten years ago. I also had the Appleton sister’s one, wow telling you all this makes me feel much better. I haven’t read them again though.
I do still have a few celebrity memoirs on the shelves, randomly though yesterday I bought another one. The book that I am not sure I would have admitted to buying if today’s BTT question hadn’t been so apt was ‘Send Yourself Roses’ by Kathleen Turner. Now I am quite picky about these books (I didn’t use to be) these days and it has to actually be someone that I admire and I think Kathleen is a wonderful actress and has been in some of my favourite films plus she has had a very interesting life and so this is going to be an utter guilty pleasure (without any guilt at all) to read. In fact I still have some from last Christmas as though Alan Carr and Dawn French were read speedily I still haven’t read Julie Walters and that’s another one I might dig out now.
Christmas is of course coming, I don’t know if you have noticed but the moment it becomes November 1st in the UK the adverts suddenly have Christmas all over them. It’s still weeks away! However in my other work Christmas is right now if not almost over as we close the issue next week, and being in charge of the book pages now (hoorah) I am hunting down the big Christmas sellers and what have started to creep up? You guessed it autobiographies; as yet though I haven’t seen many I want to read apart from one I must, must read and that is Notes to my Mother in Law by Phyllida Law (Emma Thompsons mum) it looks a hoot. I am sure I will get some rogue ones though, does anyone else’s relatives by them autobiographies at Christmas that are so not them, I got a Katie Price one once, what’s been your worst?
So what are you more a fan of biographies or autobiographies? Who do you like to read about? Which ones have you got? Which ones are on your wish list? What’s been the worst one you have read and what’s been the best?