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The best reads that have landed on our desks this week

Published on November 22nd 2011.


Chanel Hi Res Chanel: An Intimate Life by Lisa Chaney



It is no secret how incredibly influential Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel was to the world of fashion and design, however, Lisa Chaney’s biography Chanel: An Intimate Life reveals more than we ever knew about the creator of glamour.

Chaney’s incredible book merges fantastic discoveries with brilliant detective work, ultimately producing a unique and perhaps controversial piece of literature, allowing the reader to understand more about Chanel’s huge effect on the culture of the time and delve deep into her relationships with Picasso, Diaghilev, Cocteau, Dalí and many more famous names.

Chaney states, “As I became more familiar with her story, however the gaps were more tantalising… little did I know the trails I was to follow and the raft of discoveries I would be fortunate enough to make over the next three years.”

Infamous for her rebellious and progressive style, the book scrutinises Chanel’s battle with power and her suffering behind closed doors, including many poignant details which have failed to be unveiled by previous biographers. The rags to riches tale of a young woman, gives the solid evidence concerning Chanel’s experiences with the English playboy, Boy Capel and the truth involving her drug habit.

We also get exclusive access into the darkest depths of personal unpublished diaries from the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, another of Chanel’s lovers. The epitome of the modern woman in early twentieth century bohemian Paris, Chaney takes us on a journey through the life of the iconic however persecuted designer and highlights her extensive associates within the world of art and fashion.

Chanel: An Intimate Life (Fig Tree) is available now, £25




Milligan's Meaning Of Life Hi Res

Milligan’s Meaning Of Life: An Autobiography Of Sorts by Spike Milligan


Recognised by children and adults worldwide, the prolific poet, novelist and scriptwriter has been brought back to life through several volumes of memoirs, compiled by his long-time manager, companion, counsellor and confident, Norma Farnes.

With an infallible ability to produce oddity from the ordinary by breaking conventions, Terence Milligan, or Spike, as he would rather be known, will always be remembered for his quick-wit, uninhibited imagination and his ear for the absurd. Farnes has assembled a range of pieces of literature, gathering together and tying loose threads left by the ground-breaking comedian.

She creates a compilation of Milligan’s works, where she reads between the lines and entices the reader to engage with the full extensiveness of Milligan’s writing to present his life through his own verses and lyrics, ultimately producing his own autobiography of sorts. The revolutionary comic has etched himself firmly within the history of literature and comedy through his life, influencing many people and sketches, including Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Eddie Izzard and Stephen Fry. A humorous, yet extremely interesting look into the world of Spike Milligan and the autobiography he never wrote.

Milligan’s Meaning Of Life: An Autobiography Of Sorts (Viking Hardback and eBook) is available now, £20

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