In the November 2023 newsletter, we asked readers what their favourite autobiographies were. Here are the responses:

Ayesha: I’m not really that into autobiographies but was given Currently Between Husbands by Cathrine Mahoney, which is hilarious! I had no idea who she was & knew basically nothing about her ex (a rugby “great” – I’m Aussie Rules all the way!) but after reading it I’d say his loss… 😂

Vicki: Years ago I am sure I read Jack Lemmon’s autobiography. I can’t find it mentioned online now, but it was written from a first person perspective in my memory. That is still one of my favorite autobiographies. His talk about his movie career and his career in early television was enlightening, showing behind the scenes of some of them. It wasn’t a “tell all” or scandalous book. Instead it followed a respected actor from a time when films and studios were in transition and the growth of popular television.

Christine: Well, I have to give an input for this topic. I have not read lots of autobiography’s since I prefer to read fiction; however, the one that was my favorite was James Patterson by James Patterson. I’ve liked his Alex Cross, Michael Bennett and Women’s Murder Club series, so I thought it would be interesting to know more about the author, and his book did not disappoint! It was actually my most favorite of his books. I listened to him read it (so audiobook) which was the perfect way to read it. His stories about his life are wonderful — it made me laugh, and cry. After reading it I not only like his books, but I think he is a wonderful person. I would highly recommend this autobiography to those individuals who enjoy his books!

Daniel: It’s very tough to narrow down the best biography I’ve ever read, or heard as I prefer to “read” this genre on Audible, especially if the author is the narrator. I really enjoyed the late Matthew Perry’s biography “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.” It’s tragic we lost him in this manner. He told his story very well. The other favorite was written by Bryan Cranston who is one of my favorite actors. His book is called “A Life in Parts.” If you’re a fan of “Breaking Bad” you won’t be disappointed. He does a fine job reading his own audiobook.

Chris: Hi Graeme! I have always loved reading autobiographies to learn how real people went through life and faced challenges-I guess it’s the closest I can get to finding a rule book on life. While I’ve read many autobiographies, one that stands out for me is Jeannette Wall’s story of her life: The Glass Castle. The beginning of the book really sets a scene: a woman in a cab suddenly realizes that the homeless person she sees digging in a dumpster is her mother. The story just gets grittier and more powerful from there, if that’s possible. It was fascinating to see how Jeannette and her siblings made it out of a childhood wracked by poverty and mental illness. It really showed the power of sheer determination, despite all odds. Every person has a story and an autobiography is one of the best ways to hear it.

Doris: In regards to favourite autobiography, I have to recommend WORKING CLASS BOY by Jimmy Barnes. You may not know him but he was the frontman for an Australian band called Cold Chisel, very popular here since the 70’s.
Anyway, he was born in Glasgow and emigrated with his family to Australia when he was 7. A real insight into the life of a dysfunctional, alcoholic, fighting and singing family. Jimmy is lucky to have survived, even through his years in Cold Chisel which is his second autobiography WORKING CLASS MAN.
Well worth a look if you can find it

Sandra: The two most recent biographies I have read are James Patterson by James Patterson and Forever and Ever, Amen by Randy Travis. There is so much more to the person than just the books that are written and the songs that are sung. I find it very interesting to get the person’s perspective and it gives more meaning to everything else related to that person. In Randy’s case, there were and still are struggles in his life that don’t seem apparent from the country star status. For James Patterson, the biography answered some questions I had about how he can produce so many books.

Caroll: Best autobiography Chasing the Light by Oliver Stone.

Bill: While I can’t say that I’ve read a lot of autobiographies, I do like to read at least one a year. And one that I read this year was quite interesting and it was written by Michael Caine, “Blowing the Bloody Doors Off, and other lessons in life.” I admit to not having seen many of the 130 movies that this actor has appeared in and can’t say that I’ve seen much of his earlier works. I think that he captured my attention in his later works only because the movies were a bit lighter in content. Having said that, his book offers incredible insight as to his preparation when going to work and the advice he gives to younger actors. It also shows that Mr. Caine is a nice man, father, grandfather and husband who doesn’t take his fame for granted. It’s a good read for those who enjoy the legends of Hollywood; no mud-slinging here.

Trevor: This month you ask about favourite autobiographies. I would have to say it would be my own. It hasn’t been published and never will be, but brought back lots of good memories as well as exorcising a few demons.

Several years ago I was reading autobiographies about some well know actors in the earlier days of film making. People like Paul Newman, Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda, William Holden, Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck and John Wayne. I suppose I was interested in knowing if these popular actors were real people. As I recall, some were and some weren’t. Many lived lives not so common and many quite a bit on the wild side. I enjoyed many of their films, so I guess that’s all that really mattered.

I know have read other biographies but I don’t recall any specifically. I am thinking of reading about Napoleon but the book I want to read is well over 700 pages. Maybe there is something about seeing these people in the spotlight, so to speak, and then reading about their real lives and how their worldly personas conflict with the real person. I would bet the best biographies would come from people unknown to the rest of us.

sven: Grass Beyond the Mountains and Nothing to Good for a Cowboy by Rich Hobson.

Phil: To answer your question, my favorite autobiography is (Johnny U, The Life & Times of Johnny Unitas). I copied this from, it’s perfect. – In a time “when men played football for something less than a living and something more than money,” John Unitas was the ultimate quarterback. Rejected by Notre Dame, discarded by the Pittsburgh Steelers, he started on a Pennsylvania sandlot making six dollars a game and ended as the most commanding presence in the National Football League, calling the critical plays and completing the crucial passes at the moment his sport came of age. – I know you’re a lot younger than me Graeme, but Johnny Unitas was a great quarterback back in the 1960’s and 70’s for the Baltimore Colts (before the greedy owner moved them to Indianapolis). Johnny U was slow moving around in the backfield, but he sure could throw a football. I was a young kid back then and really admired his leadership. Unitas took the Colts to a Super Bowl victory in 1970. –

Peggy: Favorite recent biography was by Molly Shannon, Hello Molly! Her book was funny and very heartwarming. She is from Cleveland also, so I picked it up at the library a few months back, always interested in folks who have made it big with CLE as their hometown. Her mom and sister were tragically killed in a car crash when she was young. I had no idea. She talks about her struggles with that and it was just a very interesting read. She references places I went to as a kid also, including her elementary school.

Mike: I’m torn between two!


A Low Life in High Heels: The Holly Woodlawn Story, by Holly Woodlawn with Jeffrey Copeland and an introduction by Paul Morrissey.

I had the privilege of meeting Holly Woodlawn (She’s the Holly in Lou Reed’s song, “Walk on the Wild Side” for those who are unfamiliar) back in the 90’s when she was in Columbus, OH on her book tour and being featured at artist, Corbett Reynold’s, circuit Red Party that year. Holly was delightful and her book is a total hoot, telling about her journey to NYC and getting involved in the amazing art/music scene including the Andy Warhol Factory experience during the 70’s and 80’s. A delightful, informative and humorous read.


I’ll Never Write My Memoirs, by Grace Jones (as told to Paul Morley)

I love Grace Jones, her music and her performance art. As one might imagine, she’s had quite an audacious life and she does not hold back in sharing it with the reader and in a very entertaining way. From growing up in a very conservative religious family to becoming an international model in the 70’s and then musical diva and actress, there isn’t much she hasn’t experienced. Sipping a cocktail by the pool while reading about her journey was one of my favorite experiences last summer. I only wish I had been fortunate enough to see her perform live – still on my bucket list!

Jessica: I don’t normally read autobiographies. But I have read Leah Remini’s book on her experience with Scientology. I love learning about cults and I was wanting to know more about Scientology. I want to read some more autobiographies from other Scientologies. I also read Ronda Rousey’s book. I like Ronda and I wanted to read her book. I also read Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by: Koren Zailckas. It sounded like a good book and it was.

Emery: I have a recommendation I’m sure you’d like. I recommend “Never Quit” by Glenn Cunningham. I think this book came out around 1980-1981 or so. Glenn Cunningham was an Olympic miler in 1932 (Los Angeles) and 1936 (Berlin). As a young schoolboy he and his brother would get to their country schoolhouse early in the winter to get the stove going and heat up the one-room structure before others arrived. An unlabelled fuel can held gasoline rather than kerosene which resulted in a horrible accident which caused fatal wounds to Glenn’s brother and left Glenn himself badly burned. Doctors wanted to amputate his legs. Glenn’s story of overcoming this situation, regaining the use of his legs, and eventually competing in the Olympics is truly inspirational. Cunningham grew up in Elkhart, KS where my own father was raised, and I was lucky enough to meet him a number of times. Along the same lines, though with much less life-and-death drama, “In Quest of Gold” by Jim Ryun is another recommended read. Ryun was also an Olympic miler in 1968 (Mexico City) and 1972 (Munich). I’ve also been fortunate enough to meet Ryun a few times as well.

Favorite autobiography: Cheaper by the Dozen, plus sequels. I have heard that it is maybe exaggerated, or possibly not strictly true, but I don’t think I really care; it’s a rollicking good story! Also really good: Golden Boy, by Martin Booth, about childhood in Hong Kong, EVERYONE should read this book!

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