That Woman: The life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor
by Anna Sebba, PB $35.00
This new biography from Anna Sebba examines the intriguing life of Wallis Simpson who went from being an American divorcee to Duchess of Windsor therefore securing her place as one of the most vilified and controversial women of her generation.
Did she deviously ensnare Edward VIII or is this story really an incredible tale of true love and sacrifice? Sebba uses newly available archives and draws on a myriad of sources to bring us a deep, full and impartial picture of this amazing woman.
Lessons in Letting Go is a biography, or perhaps memoir is a better word, by comedian Corinne Grant. Regardless of your knowledge or opinion about the author though this book is an interesting insight into a kind of obsessive compulsion. Everyone knows a hoarder, a lot of people ARE hoarders. But what this taught me are there are hoarders and Hoarders. There people with a few too many CD’s/books/old clothes, and there people who give think of their belongings as companions. Whether you read this or not, remember that is an Important Distinction. Early on Grant tells in her honest, self-deprecating and thoroughly entertaining voice of her sliding scale of hoarding, developed whilst procrastinating after moving into a flat with Only One Cupboard (!!!). LEVEL 1 are those who’ve never even met a hoarder, have a special cupboard for their kettle and one magazine (probably Vogue Living) on the coffee table. And then;
“LEVEL 2: As above but they have bookshelves. It is just possible to discern that the people living here have personalities.”
But you should tell us how you really feel Corinne!…And so it continues all the way to LEVEL 10.
A great thing, for me, is that the fact that Corinne Grant is actually quite famous is completely irrelevant throughout. From moving from the country to a big city and spending time in the Middle East, not once does fame or celebrity come into it apart from a brief (in context) mention of a radio show. This is a triumph because it keeps the focus on the subject matter, not the author. The final chapter is 22 tips to get over hoarding that are practical, well thought out but still entertaining;
“1. You don’t need to travel to the Middle East, lose your best friend or discover an old man has died to find the motivation to start de-hoarding. (Frankly, I went a bit overboard.) But you do need to sit down and figure out why you are holding onto things in the first place.”
Recommended for those wanting a break from fiction. October New Release, $30, Trade Paperback. -Steph.