Recommended biography & memoir

 Read reviewThe Way Through the Woods: Of Mushrooms and Mourning

The Way Through the Woods: Of Mushrooms and Mourning

Long Litt Woon

One woman's journey to overcome grief by delving into an overlooked wonder of nature.

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Once More We Saw Stars: A Memoir

Once More We Saw Stars: A Memoir

Jayson Greene

A moving, transcendent memoir of the loss of a child and the survival of love in the wake of unimaginable tragedy. For readers who loved Paul Kalanithi's When Breath Becomes Air.

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The Ginger Child: On Family, Loss and Adoption

The Ginger Child: On Family, Loss and Adoption

Patrick Flanery (Author)

A raw and heart-wrenching literary memoir about a queer couple's attempt to adopt a child.

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Mama's Boy: A Memoir

Mama’s Boy: A Memoir

Dustin Lance Black

A candid, vivid, powerfully resonant memoir about growing up Mormon in Texas from an Academy Award-winning screenwriter and leading spokesperson for LGBTQ rights.

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Rudolf Nureyev: The Life

Rudolf Nureyev: The Life

Julie Kavanagh

Born on a train in Stalin's Russia, Rudolf Nureyev was ballet's pop icon. Nureyev's achievements and conquests became legendary: he rose out of Tatar peasant poverty to become the Kirov's thrilling maverick star; slept with his...

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The Chronology of Water

The Chronology of Water

Lidia Yuknavitch

A journey of addiction, grief and the healing power of art - the highly acclaimed memoir from the author of The Book of Joan

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The Bells of Old Tokyo

The Bells of Old Tokyo

Anna Sherman

A hauntingly original book about Tokyo and the Japanese relationship to time, memory and history, seen through the eyes of an outsider, searching for the past that underlies the city's arrestingly visible present.

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Split: True Stories of Leaving, Loss and New Beginnings

Split: True Stories of Leaving, Loss and New Beginnings

Lee Kofman

In this compelling anthology of personal essays, curated by award-winning author Lee Kofman, some of Australia's most beloved writers reveal, for the first time, powerful, occasionally funny and often heartbreaking stories of...

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Alice to Prague

Alice to Prague

Tanya Heaslip

A bittersweet story of a search for identity, belonging and love, set in a time, a place and with a man that fill Tanya's life with contradictions.

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How Death Becomes Life

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Joshua Mezrich

A beautifully written and compelling memoir of a largely unexplored area of medicine: transplant surgery.

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 Read reviewBreaking Badly

Breaking Badly

Georgie Dent

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Becoming

Becoming

Michelle Obama

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States

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Childless Voices: Stories of Longing, Loss, Resistance and Choice

Childless Voices: Stories of Longing, Loss, Resistance and Choice

Lorna Gibb

Riveting memoir and first-of-its-kind, global investigation into an issue that affects millions of people.

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 Read reviewStaying: A Memoir

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Jessie Cole

A searing memoir by acclaimed novelist Jessie Cole, about surviving the suicide of loved ones, and finding a place to heal.

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Maid

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Stephanie Land

A beautiful, gritty and poignant account of one mother's journey from cleaning houses to finding a home for herself and her daughter. 

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 Read reviewMiss Ex-Yugoslavia

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Sofija Stefanovic

Unpolished Gem with a touch of Stasiland: a funny, dark and tender memoir about growing up between the lunacy of Yugoslavia's civil war and suburban Australia.

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 Read reviewAlways Another Country

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Sisonke Msimang

A moving portrait of the life journey and all the romance, heartache and grief that has helped to make Sisonke Msimang the writer, activist, mother and woman she is today.

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 Read reviewEducated

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Tara Westover

An extraordinary memoir about a woman's discovery of education, its transformative power and the price she has to pay for it.

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Eggshell Skull

Bri Lee

A fiercely intelligent, heartbreakingly honest memoir and feminist call to arms in the tradition of Fight Like A Girl

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One Hundred Years of Dirt

One Hundred Years of Dirt

Rick Morton

Social mobility is not a train you get to board after you've scraped together enough for the ticket. You have to build the whole bloody engine, with nothing but a spoon and hand-me-down psychological distress.

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 Read reviewHeartland

Heartland

Sarah Smarsh

An eye-opening, topical, and moving memoir of one woman's experience of working-class poverty in America.

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 Read reviewTracker

Tracker

Alexis Wright

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 Read reviewThe Hate Race

The Hate Race

Maxine Beneba Clarke

'Maxine Beneba Clarke is a powerful and fearless storyteller...Clarke is the read deal, and will, if we're lucky, be an essential voice in world literature for years to come' - Dave Eggers, international bestselling author

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Heavy: An American Memoir

Heavy: An American Memoir

Kiese Laymon

In this powerful and provocative memoir, genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon explores what the weight of a lifetime of secrets, lies, and deception does to a black body, a black family, and a nation teetering on the...

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 Read reviewSmall Wrongs

Small Wrongs

Kate Rossmanith

H is for Hawk meets Helen Garner: this fascinating memoir brings extraordinary insight to the huge topics of justice, love and remorse.

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The Argonauts

The Argonauts

Maggie Nelson

An intrepid voyage out to the frontiers of the latest thinking about love, language, and family Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of 'autotheory' offering fresh, fierce and timely...

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I've Been Meaning to Tell You

I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You

David Chariandy

In the tradition of Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me, acclaimed novelist David Chariandy's latest is an intimate and profoundly beautiful meditation on the politics of race today

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A Life of My Own

A Life of My Own

Claire Tomalin

A memoir that follows Claire Tomalin through triumph and tragedy in about equal measure, from the disastrous marriage of her parents and the often difficult wartime childhood that followed, to her own marriage to the brilliant...

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The Enigmatic Mr Deakin

The Enigmatic Mr Deakin

Judith Brett

Alfred Deakin-scholar, spiritualist, prime minister-was instrumental in creating modern Australia. In the first biography of Deakin in more than half a century, the acclaimed political historian Judith Brett deftly weaves together...

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Just Kids

Just Kids

Patti Smith

Winner of the 2010 Non-Fiction National Book Award Patti Smith's evocative, honest and moving coming-of-age story of her extraordinary relationship with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe

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Priestdaddy: A Memoir

Priestdaddy: A Memoir

Patricia Lockwood

The childhood of Patricia Lockwood, the poet dubbed 'The Smutty-Metaphor Queen of Lawrence, Kansas' by The New York Times, was unusual in many respects. There was the location: an impoverished,  nuclear waste-riddled area of...

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Holding the Man

Holding the Man

Timothy Conigrave

At an all-boys school in Melbourne, Timothy Conigrave falls wildly and sweetly in love with the captain of the football team. So begins a relationship that weathers disapproval, separation and, ultimately, death. This book...

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 Read reviewWhen Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air

Paul Kalanithi

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade's training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling...

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No Friend But the Mountains

No Friend But the Mountains

Behrouz Boochani, Omid Tofighian

An account of life inside Manus detention centre, from journalist and asylum-seeker Behrouz Boochani.  

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Kitchen Confidential: Insider's Edition

Kitchen Confidential: Insider’s Edition

Anthony Bourdain

The bestselling author of Don't Eat Before You Read This expands his appetizer into a deliciously funny, delightfully shocking banquet that lays out his 25 years of sex, drugs, and haute cuisine.

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My Place

My Place

Sally Morgan

Traces the experiences of Sally Morgan's life, growing up in Perth in the 50s & 60s. Through the memories and images of her childhood and adolescence, vague hints and echoes begin to emerge and a fascinating story unfolds - a...

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Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

William Finnegan

A deeply rendered self-portrait of a lifelong surfer by the acclaimed New Yorker writer

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Naked

Naked

David Sedaris

A riotous collection of memoirs which explores the absurd hilarity of modern life and creates a wickedly incisive portrait of an all-too-familiar world.

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 Read reviewThe Trauma Cleaner

The Trauma Cleaner

Sarah Krasnostein

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A Mother's Story

A Mother’s Story

Rosie Batty, Bryce Corbett

An updated edition of the profoundly moving and inspiring memoir from Australia's domestic violence crusader, Rosie Batty. Rosie Batty knows pain no woman should have to suffer. Her son was killed by his father in a violent...

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The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle

Jeannette Walls

Jeanette Walls narrates her nomadic and adventurous childhood with her dreaming, 'brilliant' but alcoholic parents. At the age of seventeen she escapes on a Greyhound bus to New York with her older sister; her younger siblings...

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 Read reviewYes Please

Yes Please

Amy Poehler

The highly anticipated memoir of actress, comedienne and writer, Amy Poehler.

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Dreams from my Father

Dreams from my Father

Barack Obama

In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns...

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