Monday, December 24, 2012

Top 5 most requested autobiographies for November 2012

"When my journal appears, many statues must come down."
- Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington

Greetings from the far north! I'm currently visiting the parental unit in Tai Tokerau where, I'd like to briefly brag, the scenery is as total amazeballs as you might think it would be. Also where, oddly enough, I can't get coverage at mum's place in Waipapakauri, but can get full bars while standing on Ninety Mile Beach. That made me LOL in the loudest way.

Today's list is the simplest ever: our Top 5 most requested autobiographies for November 2012. Happy Christmas Eve, people!


Richie McCaw : the open side / Richie McCaw with Greg McGee - 431 requests
Brownlie, Nathan, Tremain, Mourie, Kirkpatrick, Jones, Kronfeld...all products of rugby union's greatest loose forward factory. Now, though, a name stands alone. Richie McCaw has rightly taken his place at the top of tree - the greatest flanker ever to represent New Zealand and, on sheer results, the greatest captain international rugby has ever known. After the All Blacks' all-conquering 2011 Rugby World Cup campaign, McCaw has surged past South Africa's John Smit as the 'winningest' international captain in the history of test rugby. His list of achievements go on and on, including leading his side on 'one leg' to victory over France in the 2011 World Cup final at Eden Park. His stellar career began back in 2001 when he debuted against Ireland at the age of 20. Now, 11 seasons later, he is the most capped All Black in history, with 103 tests under his belt. A measure of McCaw's ability at the very highest level is the fact that he has been awarded the IRB's supreme prize as best player in the world on three occasions - 2006, 2009 and 2010. No other player has ever won the award twice. Unlike many other players of his generation, McCaw has shunned all advances to publish 'interim' books about his career. He has always said that he will do just one book ...and now is that time.

Rod : the autobiography / Rod Stewart - 375 requests
Rod Stewart was born the working-class son of a Scottish plumber in North London. Despite some early close shaves with a number of diverse career paths, ranging from gravedigging to professional football, it was music that truly captured his heart - and he never looked back. Rod started out in the early 1960s, playing the clubs on London's R&B scene, before his distinctively raspy voice caught the ear of the iconic front man Long John Baldry, who approached him while busking one night on a railway platform. Stints with pioneering acts like the Hoochie Coochie Men, Steampacket, and the Jeff Beck Group soon followed, paving the way into a raucous five years with the Faces, the rock star's rock band, whose offstage antics with alcohol, wrecked hotel rooms and groupies have become the stuff of legend. And during all this, he found a spare moment to write 'Maggie May', among a few others, and launch a solo career that has seen him sell an estimated 200 million records, be inducted into the Hall of Fame twice, and play the world's largest ever concert. Not bad, as he says, for a guy with a frog in his throat. And then, there is his not-so-private life: marriages, divorces and affairs with some of the world's most beautiful women - Bond girls, movie stars and supermodels - and a brush with cancer which very nearly saw it all slip away. Rod's is an incredible life, and here, thrillingly and for the first time, he tells the whole thing, leaving no knickers under the bed.

Is it just me? / Miranda Hart - 283 requests
Well hello to you dear browser. Now I have your attention it would be rude if I didn't tell you a little about my literary feast. So, here is the thing: is it just me or does anyone else find that adulthood offers no refuge from the unexpected horrors, peculiar lack of physical coordination and sometimes unexplained nudity, that accompanied childhood and adolescence? Does everybody struggle with the hazards that accompany say sitting elegantly on a bar stool, using chopsticks, pretending to understand the bank crisis, pedicures - surely it's plain wrong for a stranger to fondle your feet? Or is it just me? I am proud to say I have a wealth of awkward experiences - from school days to life as an office temp - and here I offer my 18-year-old self (and I hope you too dear reader) some much needed caution and guidance on how to navigate life's rocky path. Because frankly where is the manual? The much needed manual to life. Well, fret not, for this is my attempt at one and let's call it, because it's fun, a Miran-ual. I thank you.

Valerie : the autobiography / Valerie Adams with Phil Gifford - 244 requests
Valerie Adams is without question the greatest field athlete New Zealand has ever produced - and, if you're looking for confirmation of that fact, you need only scan the giant shot putter's astonishing list of achievements: reigning Olympic champion, reigning world champion and reigning Commonwealth Games champion. Valerie Adams' story, though, does not just revolve around all the success she has achieved over the past eight or ten years. Her story is one of struggle, dedication and an incredible single-mindedness - all life experiences which have seen her become one of the great sporting champions. On top of that, she has become one of New Zealand's great role models, most especially for young Pacific Islanders. In her book the traditionally media-shy Adams will talk about her humble upbringings - she was born in Rotorua to a Tongan mother and an English father - and raised mainly in south Auckland. She will talk about her incredibly successful partnership with coach Kirsten Hellier and, for the first time, shed light on the dramatic disintegration of that partnership in 2010. But perhaps most importantly, she will talk about what it's like to achieve at the very highest level...and to regularly look out from the centre of the sporting dais.

Memé : the three worlds of an Italian-Chinese New Zealander / Memé Churton - 236 requests
Memé is half-Italian and half-Chinese and this unusual combination has coloured her personality and the course of her life. Growing up in Italy, she lived through the rise of Fascism and the Second World War. Next she went to China and found herself in the midst of the Chinese Revolution. Then she travelled to the other side of the world at the invitation of a New Zealand soldier whom she had met at the end of the war. Memé was shocked by the curiously old-fashioned and provincial way of life she found in 1950s New Zealand, but for various reasons she stayed, got married, and became involved in a variety of campaigns to enlarge its culture. She managed one of the first dealer art galleries, started one of its first European-style coffee bars, championed international cuisine, promoted fashion for women, and taught Italian language and culture at the University of Auckland. Memé's account offers rich insights into New Zealand social history and entertaining stories about the colourful people with whom she worked and partied.






No comments: