Recent months have seen the release of some wonderful biographies, memoirs and non-fiction books which many readers would love to have under their Christmas trees. Some well-known memoirs include the latest from David Attenborough, Adventures Of A Young Naturalist.
It follows his beginning years of travelling the world with the BBC, kicking off his lifelong love affair with animals and one of the most amazing broadcasting careers, bringing us extraordinary wonders and an understanding of the natural world.
The illustrious Stephen Fry has captured the power of the past in his retelling of the Greek myths in Mythos, whilst the last book from the late esteemed author and neurologist, Oliver Sacks, The River of Consciousness, explores his fascination with memory, time and consciousness.
A couple of quirky non-fiction titles include The Secret Life of Cows by English farmer Rosamund Young, highlighting the intelligence, humour and playfulness of our bovine friends.
A new collection of cartoons from Australia’s eminent cartoonist Michael Leunig, Ducks For Dark Times, is sure to deliver a shot of irony and humour, whilst Five Go Down Under is another hilarious take on the Famous Five series for grown-ups, featuring summer holidays in Sydney.
There is a huge array of Australian memoirs and historical biographies with one of the biggest being the latest Peter Fitzsimons book, Burke & Wills. Detailing the ill-fated explorers’ attempts to be the first Europeans to cross the expanse of Australia, it is big in scope as well as size, being just shy of 700 pages. New military biographies include John Curtain’s War by John Edwards; Monash & Chauvel from Roland Perry; and the latest from eminent historian Paul Ham, Young Hitler.
Other historical titles are an account of the Bounty Mutiny from Diana Preston, Paradise In Chains, and a fascinating look at Australian Gypsies by author Mandy Sayer.
Some other popular new memoirs include Danger Music from Eddie Ayres, whom many will know as the former ABC Classic FM radio presenter; Unbreakable, from Australian tennis player Jelena Dokic, and The Commando by Ben McKelvey, the powerful story of one of our most decorated soldiers, Cameron Baird.
Lovers of politics will not be disappointed this Christmas with Dare Not Linger, an account of his presidential years from Nelson Mandela, along with Hilary Clinton’s revealing story of her bruising US election campaign in What Happened. More locally, there are also new memoirs from Kevin Rudd, Gareth Evans, Christine Milne and Warren Mundine.
One of the most interesting non-fiction books I’ve read of late is Tracker, from Miles Franklin award-winning writer, Alexis Wright. This is a wonderful account of the life of Tracker Tilmouth, who was removed as a child from his family and who went on to become one of Australia’s foremost Indigenous leaders.
Told from the perspectives of many of those who knew him, it is a fascinating collection of stories about one of our most interesting and remarkable thinkers about Aboriginal politics.