Posts Tagged ‘biography’

The Prison Doctor

Sunday, August 16th, 2020 | Books

The Prison Doctor is a book by Dr Amanda Brown. It is an autobiography (or maybe a biography given there is a co-author, although it is written in the first person) that discusses her times working in prisons.

After a spat over the new GP contract, she leaves per practice and goes to work in a young offenders prison, Wormwood Scrubs and later a women’s prison. It’s an okay read. Well written.

Gotta Get Theroux This

Thursday, August 13th, 2020 | Books

Gotta Get Theroux This is an autobiography by Louis Theroux. It was always going to be a half-decent read as Louis is such a good storyteller. Although, he would probably be one of the first to admit that his documentaries are the result of a team of people that he happens to be the face of.

I didn’t know much about Theroux’s persona life. For example, I did not realise that he started by working with Michael Moore. I knew he had a family, but to hear his dreary tales about domestic life was a nice reminder that even rockstars have to do some chores.

Some documentaries get a lot of time. Others don’t get any. As may be expected, there is a lot about Jimmy Savile in the book. The audiobook includes a whole bonus chapter about “Jimmy Savile deniers” have some have dubbed them.

Overall, a good read.

Out of Orange

Tuesday, August 11th, 2020 | Books

Out of Orange is an autobiography by Cleary Wolters, the real-life inspiration for Orange is the New Black‘s Alex Vause.

Although the book makes reference to prison, there is very little about prison in it. It’s mostly about the international drug trade and her involvement in it. Nor does Piper feature much in the story. It probably won’t surprise too many people that the TV show doesn’t draw much from reality.

The book is a slow start and I wondered whether to continue. But I thought I would give it one last chance on a long training session and it picked up as it got into the details. It was an okay read; not one of my favourites.


Friday, March 20th, 2020 | Books

Irongran: How Keeping Fit Taught Me that Growing Older Needn’t Mean Slowing Down is a book by Eddie Brocklesby. She started running in her 50s, took up triathlon in her 60s, and holds the record of the oldest British woman to finish an Ironman, aged 74.

In her biography, she shares her story of how she got involved in endurance sports, went on to found the charity Silverfit, an organisation dedicated to getting older people active, and the many Ironmans she has done. I lost count but I am pretty sure she has finished at least five: Lanzarote twice, Kona, Vichy and Cozumel.

It’s not a rags-to-riches story. She starts by talking about her grandmother who was Winston Churchill’s private cook. But throughout the book, she shows a high level of self-awareness about her opportunities and ability to afford what all of us in triathlon must surely admit is an expensive sport.

Some of the story seems like a sharp contrast. For example, she says she is not well organised. And yet managed to maintain a career, running Silverfit and Ironman training: all things which sound like they need a lot of organisation. Similarly, it’s not like she never got off the couch before 50 as she did play netball competitively, although it is true that she never tried endurance sport until later in life.

Overall, it is a fun and inspiring read.

Mike Reilly Finding My Voice

Monday, March 9th, 2020 | Books

Mike Reilly is a famous race announcer. It is not a field you would usually find celebrities. However, Reilly’s consistent appearances at the Ironman World Championship since 1989, and his having coined the phrase “you are an Ironman” as athletes cross the finish line, mean that many triathletes dream of having Reilly call them across the line. In this book, he tells tales from year decades of race announcing.

It’s a fun book. Sort of. I mean that in an “it’s a good collection of stories” way, as opposed to a book you are going to learn anything about triathlon from. Which is fine, because it doesn’t promise to be anything else.

That said, it is not as fun as it could be. Naturally, Reilly tells inspirational stories about amputees who have completed Kona, horrific accidents people have come back from, and the adversity so many people overcome to complete the greeted one-day sporting challenge there is.

But, to be honest, there is only so many tales of horrible things happening to people, like accidents, cancer, and myriad unlucky turns that, at times, the book becomes depressing.

Reilly’s passion for announcing shines through, though. He is a fellow Toastmaster, and while other people wonder how he can stay passionate for 17 hours of racing, I had no problem understanding how he becomes more energised and more excited the longer the night goes on.

The audiobook version is read by Reilly himself.

Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015 | Books

I have not ready that many biographies, so it is hard to judge quality. However, I was impressed by Walter Isaacson. He has spoken to everybody. Well, perhaps not presidents, but most people not only those at Apple and Jobs’ family but also pretty much everyone who ever talked to Jobs, including many business-celebrities.

Isaacson says he hopes he has presented an honest book. You would certainly hope so, as the idea of Jobs being even more of an insufferable dick that he is portrayed in the book is a scary thing to imagine. A great man none the less, but a difficult one to get along with.

It got quite depressed with the first section of the book. There was Jobs, younger that I was, doing something he loved, building a great company, carving out his place in the tech industry. When I compare that to what I am doing with my life, I come off pretty poorly.

I was comforting to know that Jobs’ live was not all work and no play though. I sometimes wonder, when playing guitar or in the rare moments when I am actually relaxing, whether the true winners in this world are so driven they would never waste their time enjoying themselves and thus I am not one of them. However, Jobs has plenty of time for messing around bootlegging Dylan tapes and shouting at waitresses. That is not to say he was not a hard-worker when needed and an incredibly driven human being. But it does show you can you can something great while still having the time to obsess over a washing machine for a month.


I, Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012 | Books

Given that we saw Alan’s book, Bouncing Back, get pulped due to low sales, it would seem somewhat ironic that his recent book, “I, Partridge” doesn’t seem to be doing too well either – originally priced at £20, I picked my copy up for £3.99. Admittedly, that was on Kindle, but the book shop round the corner has the hardback for £6.

I don’t know why. This is one of the best books I have read recently. I couldn’t put it down – having purchased it one Sunday morning I had read from start to finish by the end of the day.

Presenting a vivid depiction of Alan’s life, often weaving in and out of the TV show, the book reads like you’re in conversation with him – and it works brilliantly. Not to mention his description of a fleeing Dave Clifton probably being the funniest simile you will ever read.

Ironically, as I only started reading it because Elina was keeping me awake by playing Scrabble on her laptop. But ten minutes after she had started playing the site went down for maintenance, so needless to say, I had the last laugh.

I, Partridge book cover