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Our new humour section is filled with books with elements of humour. Books that will make you laugh, chortle and chuckle as you read.
Abbi Waxman’s The Bookish Life of Nina Hill will raise many smiles as it follows twenty-nine-year-old Nina’s journey from self-contained bookworm to open book (pun entirely intended). LA resident Nina is perfectly happy with her life, thank you very much. She loves working in a bookstore, loves her cat Phil, loves excelling at quiz nights and loves how organised her life is. Yet “she had a niggling suspicion she was underperforming in some way. Surely her purpose in life wasn’t simply to read as many books as possible?” And she’s also aware that “the trivia, the reading, the book club... they were simply weapons of self-defense.” These niggles escalate when Nina’s regimentally planned life is disrupted by falling for a member of an opposition quiz team, and discovering a huge new family when the father she never knew passes away and leaves her something in his will. Suddenly – horrors of horrors! – Nina is forced to interact with a whole bunch of strangers, but to her surprise she discovers she actually likes spending time with other people, and that maybe – just maybe – she does have space in her life for a significant other. Truly a treat for bibliophiles who’ll nod knowingly at Nina’s devotion to reading, her complex home library cataloguing system, her observation that “coming out of a book was always painful”, this is also excellent on female camaraderie, anxiety and the complexities of family bonds. Awash with whimsy and peppered with amusing asides addressed to the reader, this is romantic fiction at its feel-good, funny, outlandish best. Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.
A beautifully charming, amusing, and gentle read, visiting with great empathy and grace occasional cloudy darkness. Library volunteer Martha Storm is a quietly helpful, book-loving hoarder. When she finds a mysterious book relating to her past, Martha begins to see the possibilities life can offer. I have used the word quirky previously for Phaedra Patrick’s writing and it again popped into my mind for ‘The Library of Lost and Found’. This is an author who explores different, cheers on quiet, and celebrates the unique properties to be found in each of us. The words sang to me, I gathered them up and hugged every single one as they arrived in my mind. I adored this read, my heart filled with love for the characters as I smiled and felt heart-ache alongside them. Other magical stories can be found within the pages, they arrive and make a considerate, thoughtful point. ‘The Library of Lost and Found’ is there waiting for anyone who has ever felt a little lost or lonely, it is a wonderful read and I have chosen it as one of my picks of the month. Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.
Alice is turning thirty and is stuck in a rut. Her friends are all coupling up and settling down, while she's still working as a temp, trying (and failing) not to shag her terrible ex, getting thrown out of clubs, and accidentally sexting her boss... She decides to throw caution to the wind and jets off on a round-the-world adventure to #FindTheFun and find herself. Of course, she's no more likely to find the answer to true happiness on the beach in Thailand than she is at the electric beach in Tooting, but at least in Thailand there's paddleboard yoga. Can Alice find happiness on her travels? Or is she more likely to lose herself all over again...?
Romantic, wry and fragrant with the intoxicating bouquet of la vie Parisienne, this book will brighten the greyest of days with Gallic charme and enchantement. Paris, 2017, and Hubert invites a few associates to share a bottle of exquisite 1954 Beaujolais. Among his guests are American tourist Bob, and neighbour Julien. For Julien, 1954 has extra significance, for that was when an ancestor of his experienced “something extraordinary”. Namely, he sighted a flying saucer in a year that became known as “The Year of Flying Saucers” due to the prolific number of sightings. Next morning, each of Hubert’s guests themselves experience something extraordinary as they realise they’ve been transported to a Paris of the past, to a city in which citizens exchange lighthearted bonhomie on buses, and cafes allow patrons to “smoke with impunity”. Initially Bob amusingly muses that “despite globalisation, the French had not lost their soul!” Then it dawns on the wine-sharing group how they came to voyage through time: “when the flying saucer flew over, it changed the Saint-Antoine wine and since then whoever drinks it will go back to 1954”. Despite enjoying a very pleasant sojourn in the past - encountering Audrey Hepburn in a bar, dining with Edith Piaf - the question is: how can they return to 2017? Driven by droll humour and romance, and with a miraculous climax, this is a fabulously full-bodied-book with crisply sweet undertones.
Being the person you want to be, proving detractors wrong, overcoming fears, and revealing the importance of seeing beyond stereotypes - beauty vlogger and dictionary-lover Tulip does all this and more in this hugely entertaining novel. While she’s frequently dismissed for being “stupid, vain and self-obsessed”, Tulip knows there’s no friction between being having a brain and being a successful vlogger. She adores the metamorphic magic of make-up, the fact you “can transform yourself ” and “make every day beautiful.” As Tulip points out to handsome posh boy Harvey when he belittles her passion, her vlog represents “creativity and hard work and self-expression.” Keen to prove that Harvey’s got her wrong, Tulip takes a place on his dad’s Bear Grylls-esque survival show. With Harvey as her team leader and her fellow contestants expecting her to fail, Tulip digs deep and surprises everyone with her resourcefulness and team-spirited outlook, but not before many comic mishaps, terrifying challenges and conflicted swirls of romance. Funny, gripping and with an inspirational feel-good feminist theme, this will have readers rooting for Tulip every step of the way.
Angela Makholwa’s The Blessed Girl is a wildly witty South Africa-set novel underpinned by smart and serious commentary on corruption, duplicity, drug abuse, sexual abuse, and what it’s like to be “blessed” (“a person, usually female, who lives a luxurious lifestyle funded by an older, often married partner, in return for sexual favours”). Hats off to the author for interweaving a rambunctious, read-in-one-sitting rollercoaster with shining a light on real-life struggles. Super-confident Bontle has been “charming the pants off people since the day I was born” when her parents “knew that I was destined to go far because of the way I looked, hence they named me Bontle – The Beautiful One… Watch out, world!” Bontle sure knows how to get what she wants from one of the many men she has falling over her, paying for her penthouse, flash cars, designer clothes, cosmetic surgery - luxuries her hair extension business would never give her. Bontle may not have excelled at school, but she does have a “PhD in MENcology, baby!” and manages to juggle several men at once, putting her troubled past behind her – for a time at least. Cracks begin to show when some of the men slip from her manicured grasp, when her past starts snapping at her heels, and Bontle must piece herself back together. Balancing outrageous entertainment with exposing ugly underbellies and a young woman’s realignment of a life swerved off-course, readers who enjoyed Sarong Party Girls will adore this. Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers. Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.
What a lovely, charming, friendly read this is, an enticing ‘will they, won’t they’ romance is equally matched by the story of animals in need and children requiring an alternative learning environment. Molly Baker runs her beloved farm as a school, when a new student arrives, Molly’s life is turned thoroughly upside down and in to a roundabout spin. I adored the explanation at the beginning of the novel by Carole Matthews that Hope Farm is based on the real Animal Antiks Farm. The first sentence had me chortling and I settled further down into the comfort of my sofa to enjoy the read. Molly tells her own story, I could really hear her voice and her personality shines through. Can I say that the animals very nearly steal the show for me, having had a downright grumpy (read that as flesh tearing vampire) rescue cat myself, their individual quirks made me smile. ‘Happiness for Beginners’ is entertaining, heart-warming and ever so readable, I raced through in one sitting and enjoyed every second. Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.
If you’ve been following this fabulously enjoyable series by Lindsey Kelk, then just to let you know that this is the eighth and last book about Angela. While you could read ‘I Heart Hawaii’ as a standalone, you will have so much more fun if you join Angela and her friends at the beginning with 'I Heart New York’. Jenny invites Angela on a press trip to Hawaii, as is normal, chaos and havoc accompany them. Our leading lady is gorgeously relatable, even though she lives a covetable life. Part of her charm, as well as her huge heart, is her tendency to stumble from one mess to another. Her friends and family are a gorgeously readable bunch, even the one or two who could charitably be described as frightful. ‘I Heart’ is an entertaining series from start to end, and I smiled, smirked and ahh’d my way through this engaging, toasty-warm read.
Darkly playful, Jeanette Winterson’s Frankissstein is an astonishing intertextual re-conjuring of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece, melding an interpretation of Shelley’s novel and life with an exploration of what it is to be human, freedom, sex, gender and love. It’s thought-provoking, thrilling, and funny to boot. Contextualised in - and interspersed with - Shelley’s writing of Frankenstein, we are transported to Memphis where modern-day transgender Dr Ry Shelley attends a robotics expo to “consider how robots will affect our mental and physical health.” Here Ry encounters Ron, the Welsh inventor of a new range of Sexbots he believes will provide a woman to satisfy every male need, from deluxe bots who can hold a conversation (“she waits till you’re finished, of course, no interrupting”), to Germaine, a “70s feminist version with no bra, messy hair and a dildo for anal play”. It’s at the expo that Ry first encounters - and later falls for - Professor Victor Stein, a leader in the field of Artificial Intelligence who has dealings with The Alcor Life Extension Foundation, an Arizona facility that processes dead bodies with the aim of indefinitely extending life. Alongside the love story, and the juxtaposition of Frankenstein with contemporary conversations around A.I., the novel also addresses Brexit, bigotry, racism and English insularity: “The English are serial racists – one group gets accepted, another group becomes the scapegoat”. And back in Shelley’s day, England is described as, "small-minded, smug, self-righteous, unjust, a country that hates the stranger, whether that stranger be a foreigner or an atheist, or a poet, or a thinker, or a radical, or a woman.” Profound, absurd and mischievous, this is an incisive, suggestive romp for our times.
A seriously fabulous, gritty, and whip-cracking humour filled read. Mary Shields is a menopausal probation officer on the edge, when a murderer is released into her care events soon spiral out of control. The first line smacked me in the face, I half flinched, half blurted with laughter. Just a note of warning, while I discovered a smirk lurking on nearly every page, some may see the humour as warped. It is the type of dark humour typical of anyone who has worked in some seriously difficult situations, where if you didn’t laugh you’d cry. Helen Fitzgerald is the author of the BBC TV series The Cry, and previously worked as a criminal justice social worker. Her knowledge shines through, I didn’t stop, I didn’t question, I simply sank into the deep murky depths of the story and believed. When I reached the oh so beautiful end I wanted to leap to my feet and give Helen Fitzgerald a standing ovation. I absolutely adored Worst Case Scenario, this is short, sharp storytelling at its very best, which has earned it a place as one of my picks of the month and a LoveReading star book.
A wonderful, decidedly different, and rather charming mystery heralding bygone days. This is the seventh in a series, however, can easily be read as a stand-alone novel. Having said that I entered with no prior knowledge, finished the first chapter, and then immediately read it again… ahah! The characters are cats, living their lives as humans do, with Hettie and Tilly running their detective agency and taking on a case involving a number of murdering spirits who are haunting the local psychic. It works, just as The Wind in the Willows does, you just have to believe. Set in the era of Agatha Christie (or should I say Agatha Crispy), their lives centre on food, glorious food, and they travel around in the sidecar belonging to a marvellous motorcycle called Miss Scarlett. Beyond the Gravy has been written with a lovely light touch and is an entertaining oh so readable tale, it made me smile inside and out.
I did enjoy this book and was intrigued why a procession of men were walking together with their hands round each other's necks. I loved some of the characters trying to find out why and found Alice and Max very believable if a little slow on the uptake. They stayed near the place where one of the 'processions' started and enlisted other people to help them investigate. I find it hard to write a review without giving away the whole plot but I will say it was rather unusual and yet strangely compelling even if a little slow in the middle, it is worth the read though. Carol Peace, A LoveReading Ambassador
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