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

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.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

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

Stevie Turner Why did I love 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.

By Shana Abe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Second Mrs. Astor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Abé is an exquisite storyteller. Rich in detail and deeply moving." —Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Magnolia Palace

"One of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. A gorgeous, phenomenal novel I won’t soon forget.” —Ellen Marie Wiseman New York Times bestselling Author of The Orphan Collector

Perfect for fans of Jennifer Chiaverini and Marie Benedict, this riveting novel takes you inside the scandalous courtship and catastrophic honeymoon aboard the Titanic of the most famous couple of their time—John Jacob Astor and Madeleine Force. Told in rich detail, this novel of…


Book cover of Me: Elton John

Stevie Turner Why did I love 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.  

By Elton John,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In his first and only official autobiography, music icon Elton John reveals the truth about his extraordinary life. Me is the joyously funny, honest and moving story of the most enduringly successful singer/songwriter of all time.

The Sunday Times bestseller with a new chapter bringing the story up to date.

'The rock memoir of the decade' - Daily Mail
'The rock star's gloriously entertaining and candid memoir is a gift to the reader' - Sunday Times
______________

Christened Reginald Dwight, he was a shy boy with Buddy Holly glasses who grew up in the London suburb of Pinner and dreamed…


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

Stevie Turner Why did I love 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!

By Allia Zobel Nolan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Laugh Out Loud as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Remember ironing your hair? Rolling it in soda cans to straighten it? Lacquering it with enough spray that it could ward off bullets? Ever slather on cement-colored lipstick so heavy, you looked like a zombie princess? Remember hot pants and platform heels? The danger of patent-leather shoes? Were you a secretary, nurse, or teacher, but only, as our mothers urged us, until you found “Mr. Right.” In her new book, LAUGH OUT LOUD: 40 WOMEN HUMORISTS CELEBRATE THEN AND NOW…BEFORE WE FORGET, Allia Zobel Nolan and 40 funny ladies from the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop chronicle these blips in time…


Book cover of Dave Allen

Stevie Turner Why did I love 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.

By Carolyn Soutar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dave Allen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The image of Dave Allen is seared into our minds. He sits on a tall chair with a glass of J&B, smoking his Gauloises, a fingertip missing as he tells the most hilarious, rambling stories. But what of the man behind the image? Carolyn Soutar's biography is the most revealing account of the famously private comedian, whose career began in the sixties but who remained influential to a whole new generation of comics in the 21st century. Having worked with him as his stage manager, Soutar was able to see how he behaved both on and off screen. She discusses…


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

Stevie Turner Why did I love 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.

By Sara Wheeler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Too Close to the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Conservationist, scholar, soldier, white hunter and fabled lover - Denys Finch Hatton was an aristocrat of leonine nonchalance. After a dazzling career at Eton and Oxford, he sailed in 1910 for British East Africa - still then the land of the pioneer. Sara Wheeler reveals the truth behind his love affairs with the glamorous aviatrix Beryl Markham, and - famously - with Karen Blixen, a romance immortalised in her memoir Out of Africa.

'No one who ever met him', his Times obituary concluded, 'whether man or woman, old or young, white or black, failed to come under his spell'.


You might also like...

Currently Away: How Two Disenchanted People Traveled the Great Loop for Nine Months and Returned to the Start, Energized and Optimistic

By Bruce Tate,

Book cover of Currently Away: How Two Disenchanted People Traveled the Great Loop for Nine Months and Returned to the Start, Energized and Optimistic

Bruce Tate

New book alert!

What is my book about?

The plan was insane. The trap seemed to snap shut on Bruce and Maggie Tate, an isolation forced on them by the pandemic and America's growing political factionalism. Something had to change.

Maggie's surprising answer: buy a boat, learn to pilot it, and embark on the Great Loop. With no experience, and knowing little about seafaring, diesel motors, or navigation, Maggie, Bruce, and the family dog decided to take on the six-thousand-mile journey down inland rivers, around the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, and across the Great Lakes. They would have to navigate canals, rivers, seas, and locks. But along the way, they made new lifelong friends and were forever changed.

For nine months, Bruce and Maggie navigated shallow rivers, bottomless lakes, joy, and loss. Against all odds, they conquered the Great Loop, and along the way, found common cause across political divides with new friends while blowing the walls off their world.

Currently Away: How Two Disenchanted People Traveled the Great Loop for Nine Months and Returned to the Start, Energized and Optimistic

By Bruce Tate,


Topics
  • Coming soon!

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in gay men, East Africa, and New York City?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about gay men, East Africa, and New York City.

Gay Men Explore 104 books about gay men
East Africa Explore 14 books about East Africa
New York City Explore 954 books about New York City