Working Class Boy: The Number 1 Bestselling Memoir

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A household name, an Australian rock icon, the elder statesman of Ozrock - there isn't an accolade or cliche that doesn't apply to Jimmy Barnes. But long before Cold Chisel and Barnesy, long before the tall tales of success and excess, there was the true story of James Dixon Swan - a working class boy whose family made the journey from Scotland to Australia in search of a better life.

Working Class Boy is a powerful reflection on a traumatic and violent childhood, which fuelled the excess and recklessness that would define, but almost destroy, the rock'n'roll legend. This is the story of how James Swan became Jimmy Barnes. It is a memoir burning with the frustration and frenetic energy of teenage sex, drugs, violence and ambition for more than what you have.

Raw, gritty, compassionate, surprising and darkly funny - Jimmy Barnes's childhood memoir is at once the story of migrant dreams fulfilled and dashed. Arriving in Australia in the Summer of 1962, things went from bad to worse for the Swan family - Dot, Jim and their six kids. The scramble to manage in the tough northern suburbs of Adelaide in the 60s would take its toll on the Swans as dwindling money, too much alcohol, and fraying tempers gave way to violence and despair. This is the story a family's collapse, but also a young boy's dream to escape the misery of the suburbs with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to join a rock'n'roll band and get out of town for good.

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About the author

Jimmy Barnes is a Scottish-born rock singer-songwriter who grew up in Adelaide. His career, both as a solo performer and as the lead vocalist of the legendary band Cold Chisel, has made him one of the most successful and distinctive artists in Australian music history.
A prolific songwriter and performer, Jimmy has been a storyteller for more than 40 years, sharing his life and passions with Australians of all ages at over ten thousand gigs throughout his adopted homeland. In the process he has amassed more #1 albums in Australia than the Beatles: four with Cold Chisel and eleven as a solo artist, including the iconic For the Working Class Man. Across his career Jimmy has sold over 12 million albums and he has been inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame twice.
Jimmy lives in New South Wales, with Jane, his wife of 37 years, their children, grandchildren and two schnauzers.

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Additional Information

Publisher
HarperCollins
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Published on
Oct 1, 2016
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9781460707005
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Entertainment & Performing Arts
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

With a new bonus chapter

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.
Winner, Book of the Year and Biography of the Year, Australian Book Industry Awards, 2016

Heartbreaking, joyous, traumatic, intimate and revelatory, Reckoning is the book where Magda Szubanski, one of Australia's most beloved performers, tells her story.

In this extraordinary memoir, Magda describes her journey of self-discovery from a suburban childhood, haunted by the demons of her father's espionage activities in wartime Poland and by her secret awareness of her sexuality, to the complex dramas of adulthood and her need to find out the truth about herself and her family. With courage and compassion she addresses her own frailties and fears, and asks the big questions about life, about the shadows we inherit and the gifts we pass on.

Honest, poignant, utterly captivating, Reckoning announces the arrival of a fearless writer and natural storyteller. It will touch the lives of its readers.

Magda Szubanski is one of Australia’s best known and most loved performers. She began her career in university revues, then appeared in a number of sketch comedy shows before creating the iconic character of Sharon Strzelecki in ABC-TV’s Kath and Kim. She has also acted in films (Babe, Babe: Pig in the City, Happy Feet, The Golden Compass) and stage shows. Reckoning is her first book.

‘A brave and tender book about everything that matters most in life.’ Cate Blanchett

‘This is a remarkable memoir, that weaves the tragedy of twentieth century history into a personal narrative of coming to terms with family and self, and manages to honour both stories. The writing is assured and controlled, the storytelling expert and thoughtful, the language eloquent and moving. The writing, the story, the voice—all of it is beautiful.’ Christos Tsiolkas

‘A memoir that will dazzle every kind of reader...Reckoning is a riveting, overwhelmingly poignant autobiography by a woman of genius. It is a book about how someone might live with the idea of killing the thing they love. It is a story of love and death and redemption and a daughter’s love for her father. It is an extraordinary hymn to the tragic heroism at the heart of ordinary life and the soaring moral scrutiny of womankind. Every library should have it, every school should teach it.’ Weekend Australian

‘Unlike most autobiographies by famous people, Reckoning has substance beyond the writer’s fame...Szubanski’s fine memoir, written with great style, adds another layer to our history.’ Crikey

‘This is documentary writing of the highest order and Szubanski has given life to an incredible war story...This tale of war and suburbia, sexuality and comedy, is likely to be the most popular Australian book of the year.’ Age/Sydney Morning Herald

‘This is an inspiring memoir of a woman who faced her demons, sought treatment for depression and overcame disappointments.’ Good Reading

‘A page-turner...[Szubanski] is articulate and likeable as she tries to reconcile herself with the many difficult aspects of her past.’ New Zealand Herald

'Reckoning is a beautiful and moving story of a serious, thoughtful and complex person.' Paul Barclay, ABC Radio National Books and Arts, Best Books 2015

‘Magda Szubanski’s brave, compassionate—and hilarious—Reckoning may be some sort of masterpiece of the form.’ Australian, Best Books 2015

‘A deeply personal read—sometimes uncomfortable so—but Magda is an honest, forthright guide, and her love for her parents (and her siblings, especially older sister Barbara) shine through. This is not a sentimental read, nor is it a self-pitying one, but it’s a warm, intelligent, brave and occasionally eye-opening one. I found it utterly captivating and came away from it feeling as if Magda had somehow exonerated the ghosts of her family’s past—or at least come to terms with them.’ Reading Matters

‘This was an interesting read that I would highly recommend to both those who have heard of Magda and for those who haven’t. I am definitely going to be checking out more of her work. 4/5’ Debra’s Book Cafe

‘Hard hitting and superbly told...If there’s one memoir you should read this year regardless of whether or not you know the author, it’s this one.’ Worm Hole

‘This memoir uncovers long-held secrets with disarming candour. Not a celebrity exposé as much as a family history, Reckoning is moving and compassionate. That Szubanski can act is a given fact; that she can also write is revelatory.’ Best Books of 2016, Sydney Morning Herald

‘Magda Szubanski’s memoir, Reckoning, appealed to the genre-loving reader in me. It felt as if I was watching hundreds of movies; wartime espionage, the migrant’s journey, the coming-of-age school saga, the uni student’s journey at the height of 1970s feminism, and more. It was epic, but so uniquely Australian and despite our different upbringings, it felt personal. As if it was written specifically for that younger me who took forever to feel comfortable in her own skin, so she could take on the world.’ Melina Marchetta, Best Books of 2016, Guardian

‘Magda Szubanski lays bare her remarkable family history in the beautifully written, powerful and at time harrowing Reckoning...One of the finest memoirs of the year, through all of the dark places, Reckoning never loses sight of her remarkable wit.’ SBS

‘Honest, poignant, utterly captivating, Reckoning announces the arrival of a fearless writer and natural storyteller. It will touch the lives of its readers.’ Starts at 60

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“Nothing short of riveting...an engrossing first-person account by one of our finest actors” (Huffington Post)—both a coming-of-age story and a meditation on creativity, devotion, and craft—Bryan Cranston, beloved and acclaimed star of one of history’s most successful TV shows, Breaking Bad.

Bryan Cranston began his acting career at the age of seven, when his father, a struggling actor and sometime director, cast him in a commercial for United Way. By fifth grade he was starring in the school play, spending hours at the local movie theater, and re-enacting favorite scenes with his brother in their living room. Cranston seemed destined to be an actor. But then his father left. And his family fell apart. Troubled by his father’s missteps, Cranston abandoned his acting aspirations and resolved to pursue a steadier career in law enforcement. Then, on a two-year cross-country motorcycle journey, Cranston re-discovered his talent for acting and found his mission and his calling.

In this “must-read memoir” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), Cranston traces the many roles he inhabited throughout his remarkable life, both on and off screen. For the first time he shares the story of his early years as an actor on the soap opera Loving, his recurring spots on Seinfeld, and his time as bumbling father Hal on Malcolm in the Middle, to his tour-de-force, Tony-winning performance as Lyndon Baines Johnson in Broadway’s All the Way, to his most iconic role of all: Breaking Bad’s Walter White.

“An illuminating window into the actor’s psyche” (People), Cranston has much to say about creativity, devotion, and craft, as well as innate talent and its challenges and benefits and proper maintenance. “By turns gritty, funny, and sad” (Entertainment Weekly), ultimately A Life in Parts is a story about the joy, the necessity, and the transformative power of simple hard work.
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