The best memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies for the mature reader

Stevie Turner Author Of Waiting in the Wings
By Stevie Turner

Who am I?

I have always had an interest in reading factual information about other people’s lives. I am a realist, and prefer reading non-fiction that is true. I am especially interested in reading inspirational stories from people that have overcome adversity, illness, or discrimination.


I wrote...

Waiting in the Wings

By Stevie Turner,

Book cover of Waiting in the Wings

What is my book about?

When my mother told me that she loved me for the first time, I was dumbstruck, as she had never mentioned this before in all of my 58 years. She obviously was desperate for me to reply in a similar vein, but try as I might I could not.  

This is a memoir of the last few years I had with my mother. Neither of us had been overly demonstrative and we had often argued in the past and had never really got on well. However, when I became her carer, a kind of companionship grew from shared memories and by looking at old family photographs. Slowly but surely a closer relationship grew from the ashes of the old.

The books I picked & why

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The Second Mrs. Astor: A Heartbreaking Historical Novel of the Titanic

By Shana Abe,

Book cover of The Second Mrs. Astor: A Heartbreaking Historical Novel of the Titanic

Why this book?

I love reading biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. This is a well-researched, enjoyable biography about the young Madeleine Force and her courtship and marriage to John Jacob Astor IV, a man 30 years her senior. The book follows their year-long honeymoon and ill-fated journey back to New York on RMS Titanic's maiden voyage. It also features Madeline’s life after Titanic.


Me: Elton John Official Autobiography

By Elton John,

Book cover of Me: Elton John Official Autobiography

Why this book?

Elton drops celebrity names all over his book, and entertaining stories to go with them. There are many laugh-out-loud moments; one that stands out is when he confronts burglars in the middle of the night after thinking he has put his wig on straight. He has a typically British dry sense of humour, and he is surprisingly self-deprecating. He mixes up laughter with misery to give an overall 'feelgood' factor. A very readable autobiography.  


Laugh Out Loud: 40 Women Humorists Celebrate Then and Now...Before We Forget

By Allia Zobel Nolan,

Book cover of Laugh Out Loud: 40 Women Humorists Celebrate Then and Now...Before We Forget

Why this book?

We all need a laugh from time to time, and this book is pleasant light-hearted reading. ‘Ladies of a certain age’ look back with amusement and sometimes embarrassment at their younger selves. All women of a certain age can identify with this group of authors and the silly things we did during our youth way back when there was no internet or mobile phones and we had to actually talk to people face to face!


Dave Allen

By Carolyn Soutar,

Book cover of Dave Allen

Why this book?

I was drawn to this book because I had always loved Dave Allen's humour.  

Through Ms. Soutar's book I learned of his early life in Ireland and how his attendance at strict Catholic schools run by nuns helped to shape his later stand-up comedy routines. Not everybody enjoys Dave's kind of irreverent humour, but for me he was a comedy legend.


Too Close to the Sun: The Audacious Life and Times of Denys Finch Hatton

By Sara Wheeler,

Book cover of Too Close to the Sun: The Audacious Life and Times of Denys Finch Hatton

Why this book?

I enjoyed Too Close to the Sun by Sara Wheeler. This book focused on the free spirit and playboy that was Denys George Finch Hatton, portrayed by Robert Redford in the film Out of Africa. Denys was from an upper-class family and lived an unconventional life according to his own rules. He is buried in the Ngong Hills, Nairobi, where he loved to spend his time hunting. He is a perfect example of doing what you want to do and not having to worry about money.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in gay men, East Africa, and Michael Jackson?

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940, Titanic Love Stories: The True Stories of 13 Honeymoon Couples Who Sailed on the Titanic, and Sweat: The Story of the Fleshtones, America’s Garage Band if you like this list.