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THINGS I AM ASHAMED OF: A Memoir (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 91 pages (estimated)
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Book Description

Like you, no doubt, Nicholas Clee tends to think of himself as a pretty decent person. He is a family man, he holds all the approved liberal views, and he is well-mannered. But when he really thinks about it, has he lived up to this complacent self-image? He did not always behave well, or kindly, at school, and he was not considerate with girlfriends. He has been lazy and selfish. He has been a neglectful son. The more he scrutinizes his history and his personality, the more he has to acknowledge his shortcomings. What do they reveal, and what do they suggest about all our natures?
Things I Am Ashamed Of is a memoir and a study of ordinary foibles, of the kind to which most of us are prone. Drawing on the works of writers from Anita Brookner to Stefan Zweig, and of musicians from Richard Strauss to Laura Nyro, this is a funny and unsettling account of what it means to behave well, and badly.
Nicholas Clee is the author of Don’t Sweat the Aubergine: What Works in the Kitchen and Why and Eclipse: The Story of the Rogue, the Madam and the Horse that Changed Racing. He lives in North London with his wife, who is also a writer, and two daughters.

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"Things I Am Ashamed Of is an honest book, at points painfully so. Clee follows through on the title's promise, serving up a lifetime of regrets about his behaviour to others and his moral and intellectual failings... The writing must have been a cathartic process, but it is full of pleasure for the reader, too. Clee finds solace in literature and writes perceptively about Philip Larkin, Julian Barnes and Stefan Zweig. He poses interesting philosophical questions: is our childhood self our true self? Why is happiness elusive?" - Anna Baddaley, Observer

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 639 KB
  • Print Length: 91 pages
  • Publisher: NICHOLAS CLEE; 1 edition (17 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JS8B7AW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • : Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #143,952 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I am the author of three books: "Don't Sweat the Aubergine: What Works in the Kitchen and Why" (2005, revised edition 2012), a top cookbook selection in the Sunday Times' Christmas books roundup; "Eclipse: The Story of the Rogue, the Madam, and the Horse That Changed Racing" (2009), runner-up for William Hill Sports Book of the Year and winner of the Best New Writer award at the British Sports Book Awards; and a Kindle Single memoir, "Things I Am Ashamed Of" (2014).

My day job is journalism, mostly writing about books and the book trade. I live in North London with my wife and two daughters.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Facing the follies of youth 11 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A courageous analysis of the follies of youth seen from the perspective of maturity. Clee talks about events from his early life that will strike a chord with most of us - but what we prefer to forget, he faces up with great moral courage. As always, wonderfully written. Not to be missed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A memoir that reveals something about all of us 14 May 2014
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In this fragment of autobiography, Nicholas Clee looks back over his childhood, youth and beyond with a truly unusual honesty. He writes with a self-lacerating regard to accuracy that reminds us all that in many ways we not only reshape our pasts but often do so in a way that smooths over or erases our sins and inadequacies. Lucid and - for once the cliché is justified - compulsively readable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 11 May 2014
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An excellent and very honest memoir that is elegantly written. I don't usual read this sort if book but a friend suggested it and I am very glad I took the time. Well worth reading.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and brave 11 May 2014
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I found this memoir an absorbing and at times unsettling piece of writing. The author is disturbingly honest and so unsparing in his assessment of himself that at first I wondered at the purpose of such self-excoriation. However, as the latter part of the book unfolded, I began to sense the wider point that I think Clee is making, not just in the brutal judgments he makes of what he sees as his own weaknesses, but in the invitation he offers (by implication) to the reader to examine his or her own flaws. This invitation leads to a superb final section in which Clee examines and questions some of the moral choices made by key figures such as Richard Strauss during the hegemony of the Nazis in Germany. His conclusions made me feel deeply uncomfortable and it's only since finishing the book and stepping back from it a little that I've understood that one of the reasons for my awkwardness is the realisation that, after trying to examine my own weaknesses as honestly as the author has done with his, I would almost certainly have acted no better than the figures he describes, had I been in the same situation as them. So it's a very thought-provoking book that starts in a deeply personal way (in relation to the author) but then expands into something far wider. I recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and honest 27 May 2014
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I was attracted by the title and not disappointed. The author doesn’t wallow in shame, but is just honest about the sort of crap things most of us do when young then try and forget but actually keep remembering. His honesty made me feel better about my own youthful failings.

I’ve lopped off a star as I felt the book rambled a bit at the end. He largely stopped talking about his actions, and instead talked about his views – something I find a lot less interesting (I can get views anywhere and everywhere on the Internet for free, but actual personal experience is special).

But overall I really liked this truthful memoir. I liked its brevity, too: a nice ad for the ‘Single’ genre. Good stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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An honest reflection of early years which caused me to reflect on my adolescent years.

There is much in the book that we can all identify with - so many things that with hindsight and the benefit of maturity we'd all say or do differently - unkind comments we've made with the express intention of causing hurt or not caring whether we did or not. Words and deeds better left unsaid or not done, and other things we ought to have said or done but unthinkingly didn't, taking the kindness of others for granted, people we've let down who relied upon us to not do so.

Of course, we're not made wise by the recollections of our past - a past we can't alter, but we are responsible for the future, so rather than paper over the cracks and leave the past where it belongs as we tend to do, whilst not emotionally 'beating ourselves up' over events now long gone, ('raking up the past' as some might say), we can reflect upon and learn from those errors of judgement and try to be a little kinder in future and the book is a gentle reminded that maybe we ought to.

I found the book well-written, succinct and insightful, and could empathise with much that Nicholas recounted.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So candid its uncomfortable but compelling 23 July 2014
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This is an account so candid that at times it makes one squirm with self-recognition. There is something about witnessing another expose their foibles that prompts the question - could I be so honest? So I I can't say I "love it" but I can say it was a totally compelling read. So much so that it was easy to resume the thread whilst I read it in snatches (on my phone) on various tube journeys. The narrative pace is strong so there was never a sense of "now where was I?".
I've met the author Nicholas Clee in a professional capacity several times, yet reading this astonishingly frank self-examination revealed aspects of the private person that made much more sense of the public person. Many of us tussle with aspects of our childhood, upbringing, parents and their influence on our personalities: it is very refreshing to experience someone face their demons without being dragged down by them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest & well written... 20 May 2014
By Mary
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A good reflective read! I enjoyed it and learnt a lot about my own behaviour towards others in life - it made me think
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