The pre-Christmas publishing bulge continues with more biographies, recipe books and ‘coffee-table’ popular history and science from all the usual suspects.
Autobiographies include works from Diane Keaton, Steve Coogan (or rather, Alan Partridge), Alan Sugar, and Rob Brydon. Biographies include mayor Boris Johnson, authors Georgette Heyer, Joseph Heller (it’s 50 years since Catch 22 was published) and Terry Pratchett. There are also biographies of Ernie Wise, Jane Fonda, Spencer Tracy and Steve McQueen.
A biography of someone we’ve probably all seen on film but whose name we might not recognize: Size matters not by Warwick Davis. “Warwick Davis made his screen debut as Wicket the Ewok in 1983’s ‘Return of the Jedi’. His extremely rare medical condition has led to a career as the world’s leading little actor”. He is now appearing in a comedy series on TV alongside Ricky Gervais.
With the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens being celebrated on 7 February 2012, there are two new biographies published. Simon Callow’s Dickens, and Claire Tomalin’s Charles Dickens. Westminster Libraries will be taking part in a Dickens-themed activity called City Read London next year with a mass reading of Oliver Twist.
Best biography title? My dad was nearly James Bond, by Des Bishop.
2012 is also the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the so-called ‘unsinkable’ liner Titanic, which hit an iceberg on 15 April 1912. There are lots of new and reissued titles on the theme such as Shadow of the Titanic, by Andrew Wilson and A hymn for eternity, by Yvonne Speak, which is the re-issued story of Wallace Hartley, Titanic’s bandmaster.
Tim Moore (of Do not pass go fame) is back with another travel account: You are awful (but I like you). It began with an accidental daytrip to an intriguingly awful resort on the Thames Estuary and ended 3,812 miles later. This is one man’s journey through deep-fried, brownfield, poundshop Britain, a crash course in urban blight, deranged civic planning and commercial eccentricity. Sounds fun!
I don’t know how he finds the time but Boris Johnson has a book out on London. It’s called Johnson’s Life of London.
Film fans should enjoy 100 cult films, by Xavier Mendik. This is an accessible and up-to-date guide to 100 of world cinema’s most interesting and influential cult movies. Covering a diverse range of genres and films from 1920 to the present day, the volume includes entries on films ranging from ‘This is Spinal Tap’ to ‘Donnie Darko’.