The Best Biographies To Listen To On Audible | sheerluxe.com
Whether you’re spending more time at home or find yourself in need of an inspiring listen in these uncertain times, Audible offers plenty of options – with most of them read by the author. From Louis Theroux and Elton John, to Princess Margaret’s lady in waiting, here are 15 great biographies to add to your playlist…
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Behind The Mask by Tyson Fury

Even if you don’t like boxing, you can’t deny the pull of Tyson Fury. A Manchester lad from Irish Traveller stock, born three months premature and weighing just a pound at birth, Tyson grew up to become one of the most unlikely heavyweight champions in history. This ‘dream come true’ soon turned to nightmare, however, as alcohol and cocaine abuse took hold and Tyson was stripped of his titles. What followed was the darkest moment of his life – detailed in this book for the first time – in which he came within seconds of ending everything. Like all the greatest stories, though, there is redemption. Speaking candidly about his struggles with mental health, this is the boxer as you have never heard him before – an unflinching autobiography from one of the greatest athletes of our time and a man who has demonstrated strength of a very different kind by conquering his demons.

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Gotta Get Theroux This by Louis Theroux

In 1994, fledgling journalist Louis Theroux was given a one-off gig on Michael Moore’s TV Nation, presenting a segment on apocalyptic religious sects. Gawky, socially awkward and totally unqualified, his first reaction to this exciting opportunity was panic. But he’d always been drawn to offbeat characters, so maybe his enthusiasm would carry the day. In his book, Louis takes the listener on a joyous journey through his life and unexpectedly successful career. Nervously accepting the BBC’s offer of his own series, he went on to create an award-winning documentary style that has seen him immersed in worlds as diverse as racist US militias and secretive pro wrestlers, the violent gangs of Johannesburg and extreme drinkers in London. Filled with wry observation, larger-than-life characters, and self-deprecating humour, this is Louis at his insightful and honest best.

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Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner

This is the remarkable life of Princess Margaret’s lady in waiting – who’s rumoured to be a major character in The Crown this autumn. Glenconner has been close to the royal family since childhood. The eldest child of the 5th Earl of Leicester, she was, as a daughter, described as 'the greatest disappointment' by her family as she was unable to inherit. She married the charismatic but highly volatile Colin Tennant, Lord Glenconner, who became the owner of Mustique. Together they turned the island into a paradise for the rich and famous, including Mick Jagger and David Bowie. But beneath the glitz and glamour there has also lurked tragedy. In this book, Glenconner writes with extraordinary wit and courage, and she exposes what life was like in her gilded cage, revealing the role of her great friendship with Princess Margaret and the freedom she can now finally enjoy in later life.

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A Bit Of A Stretch by Chris Atkins

Like most people, documentary-maker Chris Atkins didn't spend much time thinking about prisons. But after becoming embroiled in a dodgy scheme to fund his latest film, he was sent down for five years. His new home would be HMP Wandsworth, one of the oldest, largest and most dysfunctional prisons in Europe. Horrifying, moving and darkly funny, this is the unvarnished depiction of what he found. With a cast of characters ranging from wily drug dealers to corrupt screws to senior officials bent on endless (and fruitless) reform, this is the reality behind the locked gates. Full of incredible and hilarious stories, A Bit of a Stretch reveals the true scale of our prison crisis.

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Educated by Tara Westover

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and then to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d travelled too far, if there was still a way home.

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Me by Elton John

We all know his songs, but what do we know about the star behind the piano? Christened Reginald Dwight, the man who would become 70s rock icon Elton John was a shy boy with Buddy Holly glasses who grew up in the suburbs of London. From quiet beginnings, he burst onto the music scene with huge aplomb – sequins, silver hot pants, crazy glasses and all. Me is his first and only official autobiography. It’s a joyous, moving account that reveals candid details about his life – including his friendships with the likes of Freddie Mercury, Georgie Michael and John Lennon, and his drug addiction. He writes honestly about getting clean, finding love and becoming a father. It’s a touching book and the messages inside will stay with you.

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The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein

Sandra Pankhurst founded her trauma-cleaning business to help people whose emotional scars are written on their houses. From the forgotten flat of a drug addict to the infested home of a hoarder, Sandra enters properties and lives at the same time. But few of the people she looks after know anything of the complexity of Sandra's own life. Raised in an uncaring home, Sandra's gift for warmth and humour in the face of unspeakable personal tragedy mark her out as a one-off and make this biography unmissable. Author Sarah Krasnostein gives listeners a window into a life in a way only unforgettable pieces of writing can: in Sandra Pankhurst, she discovered a woman capable of taking a lifetime of hostility and transphobic abuse and using it to care for some of society's most in-need people.

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Perfect Sound Whatever by James Acaster

Perfect Sound Whatever is a love letter to the healing power of music and how one man's obsessive quest saw him defeat the bullsh*t of one year with the beauty of another. In 2016, comedian and podcaster James woke up heartbroken and alone in New York, his relationship over, a day of disastrous meetings leading him to wonder if comedy is what he wants to be doing anymore. A constant comfort in James' life has been music, but he's not listened to anything new for a very long time. Idly browsing 'best of the year' lists, it dawns on him that 2016 may have been a grim year for a lot of reasons, but it seemed to be an iconic year for music. Looking back on this yearlong obsession, parallels begin to grow between the music and James' own life: his relationship history, the highs and lows of human connection, residual Christian guilt, and mental health issues that have been bubbling under the surface for years. 

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Open by Frankie Bridge

In Open, Frankie Bridge opens up about her ongoing journey from breakdown to breakthroughs and through self-loathing, self-acceptance and self-love. Part narrative exploration, part practical guide, this book will help you to understand the importance of talking and helping each other in an imperfect world. It also features practical guidance and advice from the psychologist and psychiatrist who pulled her back from the brink along with their notes and conversations throughout her recovery. By sharing her battles, Frankie wants to help a generation of people to be more open about their mental health. It's a very simple four-letter word, but one of the hardest words to put into practice, this book is about how to be open.

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My Friend Anna: The True Story of the Fake Heiress Who Conned Me and Half of New York City by Rachel DeLoache Williams

This is the true story of Anna Delvey, the fake heiress whose dizzying deceit and elaborate con-artistry deceived the Soho hipster scene before her ruse was finally and dramatically exposed. After meeting through mutual friends, the 'Russian heiress' Anna Delvey and Rachel DeLoache Williams soon became inseparable. Theirs was an intoxicating world of endless excess: fine dining, personal trainer sessions, luxury holidays... and Anna footed almost every bill. But after Anna's debit card was declined in a Moroccan medina while on holiday in a five-star luxury resort, Rachel began to suspect that her increasingly mysterious friend was not all she seemed. This is the incredible story of how Anna Sorokin conned the high-rollers of the NYC social scene and convinced her close friend of an entirely concocted fantasy, the product of falsified bank documents, bad cheques and carefully edited online photos. 

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Broken Greek by Pete Paphides

When respected music journo – and Caitlin Moran’s husband – Pete Paphides' parents moved from Cyprus to Birmingham in the 60s, they had no money and only a slight grasp on the English language. Shy and introverted, Pete stopped speaking from age four to seven and found refuge instead in the embrace of pop songs, thanks to Top of the Pops and Dial-A-Disc. From Abba to The Police, music provided the safety net he needed to protect him from the tensions of his home life. But with every passing year, his guilty secret became more horrifying to him: his parents were Greek, but all the things that excited him were British. And the engine of that realisation? 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart', 'Tragedy', 'Come On Eileen', and every other chart hit blaring out of his parents’ chip shop radio. A must for music fans.

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How To Fail by Elizabeth Day

Inspired by her hugely popular podcast, How To Fail is Elizabeth Day’s brilliantly funny, painfully honest and insightful celebration of things going wrong. Part memoir, part manifesto, and including chapters on dating, work, sport, babies, families, anger and friendship, it is based on the simple premise that understanding why we fail ultimately makes us stronger. It's an audiobook about learning from our mistakes and about not being afraid. Uplifting, inspiring and rich in stories from Elizabeth’s own life, How To Fail reveals that failure is not what defines us; rather it is how we respond to it that shapes us as individuals. Because learning how to fail is actually learning how to succeed better.

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Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Whether you suffer from depression yourself or hope to gain a better understanding of someone who does, Reasons To Stay Alive is an unfailingly honest account of life at its bleakest, but one that simultaneously manages to deliver a powerfully positive message. What does it mean to feel truly alive? Aged 24, author Matt Haig's world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons To Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.

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Things I Learned From Falling by Claire Nelson

In 2018, Claire Nelson made international headlines. She was in her 30s and was beginning to burn out. And although she was surrounded by people all the time, she felt increasingly lonely. When the anxiety she felt brought her to breaking point, Claire decided to take some time off and travelled to Joshua Tree Park in California to hike and clear her head. But during the hike, Claire fell 25ft, gravely injuring herself while alone in the desert – mistakenly miles off any trail, without phone signal and fighting for her life. She lay exposed to the elements for four days until she was miraculously found. In Things I Learned From Falling Claire tells her incredible story and what it taught her about loneliness, anxiety and transformation and how to survive it all.

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The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, the couple lose their home and their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset via Devon and Cornwall. They have almost no money for food or shelter and must carry only the essentials for survival on their backs as they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter, and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable journey. The Salt Path is an unflinchingly honest, inspiring and life-affirming true story of coming to terms with grief and the healing power of the natural world.

 

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