New releases: December 2017 – memoir & autobiography

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It’s been a long time since I looked at the newest releases in the genre of memoirs and autobiographies. In fact, after checking my statistics, I can see I only ever did it once before. No time like the present to make up for that! So this week I will be looking at the top 5 of new memoirs and autobiographies coming out this month. Other new releases of December 2017 can be found by genre right here on Goodreads.

  1. The Only Girl in the World: A Memoir by Maude Julien
    Publication date: December 12th, 2017
    Maude Julien’s childhood was defined by the iron grip of her father, who was convinced his daughter was destined for great deeds. His plan began when he adopted Maude’s mother and indoctrinated her with his esoteric ideals. Her mission was to give him a daughter as blonde as she was, and then to take charge of the child’s education. That child was Maude, on whom her father conducted his outrageous experiment—to raise the perfect ‘super-human’ being. The three lived in an isolated mansion in northern France, where her father made her undergo endless horrifying endurance tests. Maude had to hold an electric fence without flinching. Her parents locked her in a cellar overnight and ordered her to sit still on a stool in the dark, contemplating death, while rats scurried around her feet. How did this girl, with her loveless and lonely childhood, emerge so unscathed, so full of the empathy that was absent in her childhood? How did she manage to escape? Maude was sustained by her love of nature and animals and her passion for literature. In writing this memoir, Maude Julien shows that it is possible to overcome severe trauma. She recounts her chilling and deeply moving story in a compelling and compassionate voice. 
  2. Waking up in Winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife by Cheryl Richardson
    Publication date: December 19th, 2017
    Internationally recognized coach and bestselling author Cheryl Richardson has toured the world empowering others to make lasting change. But when Richardson’s own life no longer worked as it once had, a persistent, inner voice offered unmistakable guidance: it was time to reevaluate her life to uncover what really mattered. Waking Up in Winter is the candid and revelatory account of how at midlife, Richardson found renewed contentment and purpose through a heroic, inward journey. The unfolding story, told through intimate journal entries, follows Richardson from the first, gentle nudges of change to a thoughtfully reimagined life – a soulful, spring awakening. With an experienced coach’s intuition and an artist’s eye, Richardson reexamines everything – her marriage, her work, her friendships, and her priorities – gracefully shedding parts of the self that no longer serve along the way. In the end, she not only discovers what really matters at midlife, she invites readers to join her in the inquiry process by providing thought-provoking questions designed to usher them through their own season of transformation. Offering up Richardson’s most powerful teaching tool yet – her own life – Waking Up in Winter takes readers on a brave, spiritual adventure that shows us all how to live a more authentic and meaningful life.
  3. This Is Not Fame: A “From What I Re-Memoir” by Doug Stanhope
    Publication date: December 5th, 2017
    Doug Stanhope has been drunkenly stumbling down the back roads and dark alleys of stand-up comedy for over a quarter of a century, roads laden with dank bars, prostitutes, cheap drugs, farm animals, evil dwarfs, public nudity, menacing third-world police, psychotic breaks, sex offenders, and some understandable suicides. You know, just for levity. While other comedians were seeking fame, Stanhope was seeking immediate gratification, dark spectacle, or sometimes just his pants. Not to say he hasn’t rubbed elbows with fame. He’s crashed its party, snorted its coke, and jumped into its pool naked, literally and often repeatedly–all while artfully dodging fame himself. Doug spares no legally permissible detail, and his stories couldn’t be told any other way. They’re weird, uncomfortable, gross, disturbing, and fucking funny. This Is Not Fame is by no means a story of overcoming a life of excess, immorality, and reckless buffoonery. It’s an outright celebration of it. For Stanhope, the party goes on.
  4. 147 Things: My User’s Guide to the Universe, from Black Holes to Bellybuttons by Jim Chapman
    Publication date: December 1st, 2017
    In 147 Things, Jim takes us on a whistle-stop tour of the best bits of everything, from the mind-blowing to the ridiculous. As with his videos, no subject is off-limits and he’ll lift the lid on his life and his relationships, sharing embarrassing stories and things he’s learnt along the way. If you’ve ever felt weirded out by the fact we’re seven billion (mostly) hairless apes spinning around a giant ball of flaming gas, or that we all begin as tiny humans INSIDE our mothers, or that many of us keep slightly-less-dangerous wolves in our homes, then you need this book in your life. Jim wants to inspire you with the sheer unlikelihood of us all being here and equip you to feel just a little less overwhelmed by the small stuff.
  5. Access All Areas: Stories from a Hard Rock Life by Scott Ian
    Publication date: December 12th, 2017
    Scott Ian, famous for co-founding legendary thrash metal band Anthrax and only slightly less so for his iconic beard, has done and seen a lot in his decades of touring. In his more than thirty years immersed in the hard rock scene, Scott has witnessed haunting acts of depravity backstage, punched a legendary musician, been a bouncer at an exclusive nightclub, guest-starred with Anthrax on Married with Children, invaded a fellow rock star’s home, played poker professionally, gone on a non-date with a certain material girl, appeared on The Walking Dead, and much more. Access All Areas allows its readers to do just that. With humour, candour, hindsight, and writing chops that would make Stephen King jealous (nope, not even on Bizarro world), Scott Ian takes his fans along for the ride at all the parties, hot spots, and behind-the-scenes shenanigans they will never hear about from anyone else. And none of it would have happened without a bit of divine inspiration from KISS. (No, seriously. Read chapter two.) Best of all, Scott seemingly lacks the ability to be embarrassed, making Access All Areas howlingly funny, self-deprecating, and every bit as brash and brazen as one would expect from one of the original architects of speed metal.

 

I remember now why I don’t often look at the memoirs and autobiographies. I won’t read the first one because it’s too gruelling for me. I’m still too young for the second book! I don’t like Doug Stanhope as a comedian, and I don’t like (reading about) that ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll’ lifestyle. The fourth book sounds kind of fun, but I’m not a big fan of Jim Chapman, so I’m on the fence about this one. And much like the third, the fifth book is about that ‘rock ‘n roll’ lifestyle that I’m not too fond off.

Happy reading,

Loes M.

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