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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.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 19 November 2009. Always topical, Ben Elton centres his new book around the credit crunch. Following his characters from their days at university, through the highs of their careers and domestic lives and up to the point where financial crisis hits and turns their pampered, blissful lives around. Brilliantly crafted characters and Elton's scathing wit make for another very funny and well observed novel.
Back to his modern satires, for his last novel The First Casualty was historical, very special and unusual. With this one he returns to the familiar social territory of Dead Famous and Past Mortem. It centres around the TV Pop Idol shows and the backbiting celebrity world surrounding it. Some quirky characters and amusing ideas, but not his best, although very clever, and as a Ben Elton fan it’s a ‘must read’.Similar this month: None but try Kevin Sampson.Comparison: Stephen Fry, Rupert Morgan, Christopher Buckley.
The king of social satire with a tale of gruesome murders linked to the new craze of retracing one’s past through the web – Friends Reunited. He writes beautifully, a very clever man. You must try him. Comparison: Stephen Fry, Rupert Morgan’s Let There Be Lite, David Nobbs.Similar this month: None but do try William Nicholson or William Sutcliffe.
An enchanting story with real strength, oodles of charm, warmth and laughter. When Nikki starts a teaching job at a temple, she discovers a class of widows full of earthy tales. Her unauthorised story time with the women brings unwanted attention and danger into their lives. Balli Kaur Jaswal writes with a beautiful balance, humour walks alongside menace, while challenging preconceived ideas. I felt as though a door was opened, allowing more than a glimpse into the lives of these Punajbi women. I met them, grew to love them, laughed, celebrated, cried with them. The eye-opening colour and wit of the stories within the story highlight the fear and resignation they feel. With a real sense of community, yet not shying away from darker and more sinister topics, I flew through this novel on rollercoaster rails of emotion. ‘Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows’ is a fiercely alive and resilient tale with real heart and passion, I adored it.
Oh, how I thoroughly enjoyed this feisty, entertaining, full-on read. Working mum Alexis returns to the office after maternity leave. She’s one of only a few women agents at Platform Eight, an especially secret part of Her Majesty’s Secret Service. She now has to prove she can fit motherhood around the male dominated world of being a spy. Alexis stamps her personality all over the prologue, convincingly setting the scene. She tells her own story in a fast, tongue-in-cheek, bright tone, and I immediately warmed to her. Firmly on side and by her side as she races through her first operation I smirked and chortled as I read. Asia Mackay balances the theme of working mum with spy just perfectly, and I didn’t question it once. Killing It is uniquely fabulous and full of attitude, The Nursery is next in what will hopefully continue as a series, and just can’t come soon enough.
A quirky, smirky, entertaining slice of fabulous. Covert ops detective Jan Nyman finds himself investigating a death in a holiday village in Finland and a rather striking lady just happens to be the suspect. I will admit to being rather excited about this novel, Antti Tuomainen’s last offering was the wonderful The Man Who Died which was shortlisted for the Petrona and Last Laugh Awards. The first paragraph of Palm Beach, Finland is beautifully written, it quite literally slapped my attention and I settled in with something approaching ghoulish glee! A wonderful wave of dark humour rolls through this novel gathering raised eyebrows and snorts. The cast increases, the action builds, and oh how my tummy and mind tied themselves in knots as the story spun in ever decreasing eccentric circles. I just want to applaud David Hackston as I completely forgot I was reading a translation. I thoroughly, completely and totally recommend Palm Beach, Finland, do grab yourself a copy and pop a do not disturb sign on your door!
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.
An absolute belter of a novel, amusing, poignant, and hugely entertaining. This is a follow-up to the bestseller I Don’t Know How She Does It, however it could be read without prior knowledge of Kate Reddy's earlier life. Kate herself is fast heading towards 50 and invisibility, life however refuses to listen and keeps setting devious traps. I don't believe that you have to have passed or be nearing 50, to be a parent or even a woman, to be captivated by this tale of family drama. Allison Pearson writes with a witty, exceedingly realistic pen and I found myself nodding along, both smirking and wincing as I read. How Hard Can It Be captures life, proper gutsy, difficult, yet wonderful life, and while making you smile, also makes you think, I loved it.
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | October 2017 Book of the Month An absolute belter of a novel, amusing, poignant, and hugely entertaining. This is a follow-up to the bestseller I Don’t Know How She Does It, however it could be read without prior knowledge of Kate Reddy's earlier life. Kate herself is fast heading towards 50 and invisibility, life however refuses to listen and keeps setting devious traps. I don't believe that you have to have passed or be nearing 50, to be a parent or even a woman, to be captivated by this tale of family drama. Allison Pearson writes with a witty, exceedingly realistic pen and I found myself nodding along, both smirking and wincing as I read. How Hard Can It Be captures life, proper gutsy, difficult, yet wonderful life, and while making you smile, also makes you think, I loved it. ~ Liz Robinson
Gentle and pointed good humour abounds in this lovely read, Alexander McCall Smith excels in creating whimsical yet sharply observed novels with real heart. He was the winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize 2015 with Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party which I absolutely adored, and The Second Worst Restaurant in France certainly lived up to my expectations. Food writer Paul Stewart escapes to France to stay with his cousin Chloe in order to finish his latest book, however, located in the village is the restaurant aptly known as second worst in France. Within a few pages I had an understanding of Paul, he very simply makes himself known and acts as a perfect foil to Chloe, who on occasion rather steals the limelight! A whole host of wonderful characters enter the story as Paul’s livelihood is threatened and everything is thrown into a delightful muddle. The Second Worst Restaurant in France is a gorgeously easy read, I smiled, I laughed, and enjoyed every moment… PS I would love to see Chloe feature in her own story, what a woman!
This is a book for parents to share with their children and indeed for parents to indulge in themselves as they bring back memories of their childhood adventures with the irrepressable Rupert Bear. This is a complete history of Rupert, beautifully presented that provides a fascinating story of how one little bear became a national treasure. It begins with Rupert's first appearance in The Express newspaper and charts his journey to the present day, paying particular attention to the writers and artists who have brought him to life over the years. In his ninetieth year, Rupert Bear is still one of the most popular characters in literature, beloved by generations of children. This book gives a unique insight into the secrets of his success.
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