Curling up with a fictional novel might be your activity of choice; but when you fancy a something a little different, there’s an entire world of interesting factual literature out there. In fact, when you take the time to seek them out, there are some truly intriguing celebrity autobiographies adorning the many shelves of bookshops. These intricately knitted life stories can aid you in weathering the many storms of your own life. Each person’s tale contains a wealth of experience and life lessons. If you plan to read an autobiography this year, let it be one of these four.
The Fry Chronicles – by Stephen Fry
If Fry’s all-engrossing narrative is not enough to draw you into his world, then perhaps his charming way with words will do the trick. Most know this man as a mere TV host, but he’s so much more than that. Part actor, part comedian, full human, he tells of a comically tragic past in an exquisitely engaging style. A master of the English language, his writing has a bewitching quality unlike almost any other author. While the book covers just seven years of his life, each chapter comes packed with a life lesson and a pinch of humor.
During that period, Fry had his first taste of fame, began to perfect his comic stylings and started experimenting with drugs (hilariously noting Sugar Puffs as his first real addiction). In short, the book is a large slice of his winning, yet tainted, personality, carefully packaged into just over 400 pages of text.
Not That Kind Of Girl – by Lena Dunham
When Dunham’s candid coming-of-age book first appeared on shelves, it was met with no end of controversy. Like the woman herself, the book pulls no punches and tells everything just as it was – or, at least, as she saw it at the time. If you read any reviews of the autobiography, you’ll come across the same words time and time again. “Narcissistic,” “self-indulgent” and “privileged” all make frequent appearances in both critics’ reviews and posts by the average reader.
It is all of these things, but it’s also worth your time and here’s why:
Dunham tells her story, that is a story of a privileged young woman growing up in an artistic community of actors, writers and the like. The chapters (or essays) may be speckled with grossly overstated first world problems, but they also hold gems of genuine wisdom too. Though it would be all too easy to disregard her problems, they are real and here she spills them out across the pages of her book for all to read and, of course, judge. It’s a brave move; and no matter what, her story will captivate even the most skeptical of readers.
Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance – by Barack Obama
Who wouldn’t want to read a narrative by the most powerful man on earth? First published back in the mid-90s, this is not the tell-all political novel many expect it to be. Instead, it is a far more personal account of the many lessons that shaped the man Obama has become. The fact that the book was written before he had the slightest success in the political spectrum is to its merit. Highlights include a glimpse of his youth, in which he details excessive drinking and mild drug use.
Far from attempting to hide his past, this book lays out his truth, which is that he lived fairly normal teenage years. If you’ve ever pondered who the man behind the title is, this memoir is an excellent place to start.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? – by Mindy Kaling
Though the tone of these essays are light-hearted, that never detracts from the sheer intelligence of the book. Mindy Kaling has a sparkling personality, which is entirely evident in her writing. Reading her prose is like having a heart-to-heart with an old friend; her informal use of language draws you in and engages from the first page. It would be unfair to say that this is a complete overview of Kaling’s life; it’s not. Instead, it reads like random scenes from a movie that hasn’t quite been edited together yet.