Everybody died, so I got a dog is the memoir of Emily Dean who you might know from the radio show she co-hosts with Frank Skinner. She talks us through her days as a child actress, her chaotic Bohemian parents and the close relationship she shared with her only sibling, Rachel. You hear about her disastrous love life and role as fashion magazine editor whilst her sister falls in love, marries and has children “as if starring in her very own Richard Curtis film”. There are Burmese cats (several of them), rock ‘n’ roll neighbours with Hollywood A List boyfriends, extra marital affairs, celebrity friends (her childhood best friend is Jane Goldman) and a chain-smoking, married-a-bigamist granny. It’s all rather wonderful.
I don’t feel like I’m giving anything away when I say that this book does take a darker turn when her beloved sister and then both parents die. Don’t act outraged at this revelation, the book title should have been warning enough. That said it is a surprisingly funny, endearing and uplifting story (once I’d gotten through the honking sobs and snot). Emily thanks therapy, supportive friends and most notably a little hairy Shih Tzu, named “Ray” (after sister Rachel), for getting her through her darkest days. I expect that most people finish the book wanting to get a dog… whereas I was left coveting her childhood Burmese cats. Can’t win ’em all. Brilliant, brilliant book and if it sounds like your cup of tea you should definitely read it but I wouldn’t gift this to anyone as I’m not convinced everyone would thank you for the heartbreak. And it is heartbreaking.
I can however recommend her brilliant podcast Walking The Dog with Emily Dean to everyone! It features Emily interviewing different celebrities (mostly comedians) whilst out and about walking their dogs. I absolutely love it and have listened to them all. You can subscribe (for free!) through the App Store/Podcast App.
At a party thrown by her parents. Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed – again.
She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. The only way to break this cycle is to identify Evelyn’s killer. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is desperate to stop him ever escaping Blackheath…
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is one of the most popular Book Club reads at the moment. I found it intriguing and frustrating in equal measure. There were times when I threw my hands up but equally I couldn’t stop because I had to find out what happened. It’s been described as Gosford Park meets Inception. A classic country house whodunnit with a sci-fi what-the-hell-is-going-on element. Can’t say any more without spoilers so let’s leave it there. Perfect gift or holiday read for a more patient person than me.
We Were Liars is YA fiction. I’m not snobby about whether a book is written for children or teens. A book is a book as far as I’m concerned. I really loved the conversational storytelling and language of this book. Cadence Sinclair is from a privileged Kennedy-esque family. They spend their sun baked summers on their own island near Martha’s Vineyard eating lobster, swimming and sailing. The summer Cadence is 15 there is a terrible accident. She has no memory of what happened. Two years later she insists on returning to the island for her usual summer vacation to try and piece things together. This story features a small cast of characters that are beautifully observed.
At only 200 or so pages this is a light read but I found it to be an absorbing page turner. Perfect gift for a teen girl (or her 41 year old mother).
This Is Going To Hurt is written by former doctor turned stand up comedian Adam Kay. It’s sold over a million copies so you’ve probably read it already but just in case you haven’t…
This book follows the life of a NHS junior doctor where the average 90+ hour working week is spent balancing life and death decisions through the fog of sleep deprivation. Catapulting from hilarious patient anecdotes to the desperate lows, this book is based on the author’s personal diaries kept at the time. It’s won a record breaking three National Book Awards and deserves them all. A gift for anybody who thinks NHS doctors are lazy/paid too much/superhuman.
Now, every time I link something to Amazon on my blog there’s always at least one person who messages me to bad mouth evil Amazon about how they don’t pay their tax and they don’t pay their workers and are basically destroying the high street and with it the entire world… so I will say you can also buy all these titles online from The Wordery. Just click here and search. Or even better make a trip to Bath and visit my favourite bookshop Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights (click here). Go on, make a day of it! x