Christmas 2014: Waterstones Top 10 Autobiographies

From controversial revelations to side-splitting humour, everyone loves a good nose into the lives of celebrities at Christmas.

Autobiographies are big hitters when it comes to stocking fillers so we’ve got together with Waterstones to pull together our favourites, as well as the big sellers this year, to compile our Top Ten list for Christmas 2014.

More Fool Me by Stephen Fry (Michael Joseph, £18)More Fool Me (Hardback)

In his early thirties, Stephen Fry – writer, comedian, star of stage and screen – had, as they say, ‘made it’. Much loved in A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Blackadder and Jeeves and Wooster, author of a critically acclaimed and bestselling first novel, The Liar, with a glamorous and glittering cast of friends, he had more work than was perhaps good for him. What could possibly go wrong?

Only When I Laugh: My Autobiography by Paul Merton (Ebury Press, £16)only when i laugh

Known for his intelligent and surreal humour, Paul Merton’s weekly appearances on BBC 1’s Have I Got News for You – as well as Radio 4’s Just a Minute and travel documentaries – have seen him become an artfully rebellious fixture in our lives for over 25 years.

In Only When I Laugh, his rich and beautifully-observed autobiography, Paul takes us on an evocative journey from his working-class Fulham childhood, to the present day.

Young Winstone by Ray Winstone (Canongate, £16)young winstone

Revisiting the bomb-sites and boozers of his childhood and adolescence, Ray Winstone takes the reader on an unforgettable tour of a cockney heartland which is at once irresistibly mythic and undeniably real. Told with its author’s trademark blend of brutal directness and roguish wit, Young Winstone offers a fascinating social history of East London, as well as a school of hard knocks coming-of-age story with a powerful emotional punch.

Please Mr Postman by Alan Johnson (Bantam Press £13.99)please mr postman

This sequel to Alan’s bestselling memoir This Boy, describes the next period in Alan’s life with every bit as much honesty, humour and emotional impact as his bestselling debut. Please, Mr Postman paints a vivid picture of a bygone era – Britain in the 1970s was a very different country to the one we know today – and reveals another fascinating chapter in the life of one of our best loved public figures.

So Anyway by John Cleese (Random House £15)so anyway

Candid and brilliantly funny, this is the story of how a tall, shy youth from Weston-Super-Mare went on to become a self-confessed legend. En route, John Cleese describes everything, from his nerve-racking first public appearance, at St Peter’s Preparatory School at the age of eight and five-sixths, to his dizzying ascent via scriptwriting for Peter Sellers, David Frost, Marty Feldman and others to the heights of Monty Python.

Punctuated from time to time with thoughts on topics as diverse as the nature of comedy, the relative merits of cricket and water-skiing, and the importance of knowing the dates of all the kings and queens of England, this is a masterly performance by a former schoolmaster.

Life and Loves of a He Devil by Graham Norton (Hodder and Stoughton £15)the life and loves of a he devil

In his new autobiography, written with characteristic humour and often outrageous candour, Graham shows that life is more than just a series of dates and it’s really the things you love that make you who you are.

It’s been ten years since Graham last hit our shelves and being a decade older he has come to realise that what makes a life interesting is less what happens to you and more what inspires and drives you. He is loved across the nation for his delight in the peculiar for his ability to find humour and a common ground in all that life brings.

KP by Kevin Pietersen (Sphere £13)kp

Kevin Pietersen reveals all in his autobiography, telling the stories behind the many highs and lows of his incredible career. Giving readers the full story of his life, from his childhood in South Africa to his recent experiences as one of the leading lights in the world of international cricket, this is an autobiography that will entertain and fascinate readers in equal measure.

We Need to Talk About Kevin Bridges by Kevin Bridges (Michael Joseph £20)

We Need to Talk About … Kevin Bridges

Aged just 17, Kevin Bridges walked on stage for the first time in a Glasgow comedy club and brought the house down. He only had a five-minute set but in that short time he discovered that he really could earn a living from making people laugh. Kevin’s trademark social commentary, sharp one-liners and laugh-out-loud humour blend with his reflections on his Glaswegian childhood and the journey he’s taken to become one of the most-loved comedians of our time.

Fathomless Riches by Richard Coles (Weidenfeld and Nicolson £16)Fathomless Riches: Or How I Went from Pop to Pulpit

The Reverend Richard Coles is a parish priest in Northamptonshire and a regular host of BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live. He is also the only vicar in Britain to have had a number 1 hit single: the Communards’ ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ topped the charts for four weeks and was the biggest-selling single of its year. Funny, warm, witty and wise, it is a memoir which has the power to shock as well as to console.

Travelling to Work by Michael Palin (Weidenfeld & Nicolson £18)Travelling to Work

This is the third volume of Michael Palin’s widely acclaimed diaries. After the Python years and a decade of filming, writing and acting, Palin’s career takes an unexpected direction into travel, which will shape his working life for the next 25 years.

These latest diaries show a man grasping every opportunity that came his way, and they deal candidly with the doubts and setbacks that accompany this prodigious work-rate. As ever, his family life, with three children growing up fast, is there to anchor him. Travelling To Work is a roller-coaster ride driven by the Palin hallmarks of curiosity and sense of adventure.

All books are available from your local Waterstones bookshop and online at

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