Life stories: 4 new memoirs that you need to add to your reading list

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There's been a flood of new celeb memoirs hitting the shelves in time for Christmas but you definitely don't want to miss these ones from Barack Obama, Matthew McConaughey, Mariah Carey and David Attenborough.

A Promised Land

By Barack Obama

Penguin Random House

This is hands-down the most hotly anticipated release of the year. Obama has described his 768-page autography, which is the first of two volumes, as “an honest accounting of my presidential campaign and my time in office, the key events and people who shaped it, my take on what I got right and the mistakes I made.” The former US president also reveals the effect that living in the White House had on his wife and kids and offers a candid assessment of “the political, economic, and cultural forces that my team and I had to confront then – and that as a nation we are grappling with still.”


By Matthew McConaughey


McConaughey delves into his childhood and his parents’ volatile relationship, how he was an outcast at film school because of his frat boy looks and how he got his big break and then what he had to do to break free of rom coms and start doing other films. How he met his wife, Camila Alves and the birth of their three kids – it’s all there along with an explanation of what went down on that infamous night when he was arrested playing bongo drums naked. And interspersed between all this are nuggets of McConaughey wisdom and some fascinating pics which chart his metamorphosis from boy to a man to a star. Even if you’re not a devoted fan you’ll enjoy this book, which hits the shelves later this month.

The Meaning of Mariah Carey 

By Mariah Carey

Pan Macmillan

The pop icon doesn’t hold back as she describes everything from her nightmare marriage to music mogul Tommy Mottola, her infamous mental health breakdown in 2001, her marriage to musician Nick Cannon and the birth of their twins. But it’s her childhood chapters that really stand out as well as her revelations of the racism she had to endure and just how damn hard she had to work to get ahead. By the end of it you’ll understand that her whole “diva” persona wasn’t something she cultivated simply to stand out – it’s her coping mechanism that helps her deal with a lifetime of pain. Fans will hang on her every word.

A Life on Our Planet

By David Attenborough

Witness Books

This book acts as a companion piece to Attenborough’s much-talked-about Netflix movie, A Life on Our Planet, and goes into much more detail about how the world has changed over the past 10 decades – from his boyhood in the 1930s until now – and the devastating effect that humankind has had on the natural world. But it’s not all gloom and doom. Around half the book is devoted to exploring how we can turn things around before it’s too late by changing our habits and learning to lead more sustainable lives. This is a perfect gift for Attenborough fans and anyone else who’s passionate about the environment.

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