3 4 Friday - Views from a life spent writing, baking...and looking down on Earth

"History will be kind to me for I intend to write it." - Winston Churchill

We all love a good memoir – thoughtful, insightful, well-written – they can be amongst some of our most cherished and important literature. Or it can just be a peep behind the curtain of a famous sports person, pop star or actor.

At this time of year, amongst the ex-football managers and pop stars grabbing the headlines, we've tried to pick three of our favourite autobiographies for today's 3-4-Friday #FridayReads.

In 'Ammonites and Leaping Fish' author Penelope Lively looks back on her own life in this utterly beguiling and surprising not-quite-memoir. Penelope addresses the realities of ageing, memory, time, and a life lived in the 20th century. As she says: “One of the few advantages of age is that you can report on it with a certain authority”.

Erudite, elegant, moving and deeply enjoyable, it talks about tricks of memory, the objects accumulated on the journey - and a life spent reading and writing. A beautifully designed hardback, and an original memoir by one of our leading writers.

Britain seems to be baking-mad at the moment, and few television presenters spark as much genuine warmth and affection than Mary Berry. Her autobiography ‘Recipe for Life’ is a wonderfully honest and at times unexpected memoir of the life of the ‘Great British Bake Off’ judge – someone who, born in 1935, has spent over half a century teaching Britain how to cook.

Packed full of beautiful colour photos, and interspersed with recipes from a very British childhood, Berry shares her life story and proves that you can still be a style icon and at the pinnacle of your career in your 70s.

For us, Chris Hadfield is one of the biggest stars of 2013. Not since the Apollo missions has an astronaut captured the popular imagination and turned people on to space and science, whether young or old. Remember *that* version of David Bowie’s 'Space Oddity' broadcast from the International Space Station?

Well, Chris has spent an awful lot of time in space, and in his book 'An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth' he looks at his training, experiences and the reasons why he has enjoyed every minute of it. A natural storyteller, his eye-opening, entertaining stories are filled with the adrenaline of launch, the mesmerizing wonder of spacewalks and the measured, calm responses mandated by crises. From his perspective on top of the world, he explains how conventional wisdom can get in the way of achievement -- and happiness. 

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