Book Review – Mother for Dinner by Shalom Auslander

books, reviews

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve finally got to the end of this one. After not sleeping well for a week or so, I managed to focus for long enough to complete this book. Admittedly, I had to buy the audiobook to do it but I really wanted to get to the end. This was the book that everyone picked for me on Instagram and I was really looking forward to it. The premise was so different and original. It’s a shame that I didn’t pick it up when I was a better reader.

Book Review – No Shame by Tom Allen

books, reviews

Rating: 4 out of 5.

There are a lot of British comedians who I would love to see live. One of them is Tom Allen. I think he’s amazingly funny and I enjoy seeing him appear on various TV shows. It also makes me feel slightly better about living at home that he’s only just moved into his own house! When this came up on Audible, I knew that I had to get it. Then I stumbled across a hardback copy in a charity shop and it seemed like something or someone was telling me to read it. I was meant to be reviewing my current read today but, thanks to my inability to read much, I knew I wasn’t going to manage it. I decided it was a good time to listen to the audiobook while I was working.

Book Review – Taste by Stanley Tucci

books, reviews

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I wasn’t expecting to read this book last week but I ended up needing a pick-me-up at work. It was when I was feeling shit and I was desperate for something to distract me. Otherwise, I would have sat in front of my computer feeling sorry for myself. So, I started listening to Stanley Tucci narrate his book Taste. I’d bought the hardback when it came out but I always like to experience this type of book in the writer’s own voice. Especially when that voice is a very talented and funny actor.

TBT Review – Between Two Ferns: The Movie (2019)

films, reviews, TBT

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I was at university when Between Two Ferns started, which was perfect timing. I spent all my free time on the internet and, as an English literature major, I had plenty of free time. It was as if it has been tailored my sense of humour. I was a huge fan of awkwardness and making people uncomfortable. So, watching Zach Galifianakis play the role of an awkward interviewer was perfect. Of course, it’s good that the show didn’t run on for years and years because it’s the kind of premise that would have got tired very quickly. So the announcement that there would be a movie spin-off was interesting. We know from the likes of SNL that short skits don’t translate well into a longer form. Which is probably the reason that I’m only just getting round to watching it now.

Book Review – The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

books, reviews

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Considering the obsession with the royal family in last week’s newspapers, it seems appropriate that I’m reviewing this novella. I don’t know what the absolute fascination with the Queen and her offspring is. I’m don’t consider myself ardently anti-royal because I can see some of the benefits of their existence. However, I wouldn’t be sorry if we got rid of them altogether. It’s an outdated institution and they do waste a lot of taxpayers money each year. I know The Crown is trying to make the seem like ordinary human beings but you just need to look at the reaction to Harry and Meghan taking a step back from public life. Given the media response, I can see why they’d want to. The Queen and her family just seem so far removed from the rest of the world. It seems like such an odd dynamic. I realise that they’re meant to be part of our great traditions but do they have to be quite so archaic about it? But I’m digressing. The fact is, there is such a fascination about their lives that people have always used them as a basis for their stories. After all, nobody can really imagine what life as a royal is really like. There will always be a market for books like The Uncommon reader and there will always be writers willing to imagine life behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace.

Book Review – All My Friends are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman

books, reviews

Rating: 5 out of 5.

One of the positive side effects of taking part in my friend’s virtual book club is that I find out about loads of great books. Of course, most of the time we don’t end up reading the ones that I’m really interested in, so I have take it upon myself to read them. This book was my pick or February’s Valentine theme and it was one that I knew I had to buy for myself. It just sounded like such a different take on a love story. Although, I did have some fears about it. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel about super heroes that I’ve enjoyed. The superhero genre is such a visual one that I think it’s really hard to translate that in words. Could you imagine trying to write a novelisation of some of the most popular graphic novels? It’d be so difficult. As this book didn’t sound quite as bothered about the superhero element, I figured that it might be a bit safer.

TBT Review – Gremlins (1984)

films, reviews, TBT

Rating: 4 out of 5.

We’re used to the “is it a Christmas movie?” debate surrounding Die Hard and it seems that every year someone takes the opportunity to write another article about it. But it’s not as if Die Hard is the only film that may or may not be a Christmas movie. There’s every Shane Black film, Trading Places, Batman Returns, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I’ve argued plenty of times with a friend of mine about Meet Me in St. Louis. She claims it’s a Christmas movie and I am adamant that it’s not. There are plenty of films that are set at Christmas that don’t focus on the holiday itself. Films that barely even recognise that the festive season is upon us. Many of these films are just old favourites that people enjoy watching. Like Gremlins. People like the film so why not watch it at Christmas? After all, it’s a time when we’re meant to embrace the people we love so why not the films too?

TBT Review – Borat (2006)

films, reviews, TBT

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The first Borat film came out just before I headed off to university, which meant my entire 3 years were full of bad impressions and catchphrases. I lived on a floor with about 50 people in total and there were a lot of idiot guys who thought the only indication of their sense of humour was being able to regurgitate film quotes. Oh, and let’s not forget one of flatmates who bought the character’s trademark mankini and wore it to every social event possible. I know it sounds like I hated the film but I didn’t. It was just fucking endless. It was everywhere. My undergraduate course was defined by Borat quotes and that Linkin Park and Jay-Z Numb/Encore mash-up. It was an interesting time.

Book Review – Top Ten Greek Legends by Terry Deary

books, reviews
Hand holding teacup, a plate of toast, a bowl of strawberries and the book Top Ten Green Legends by Terry Deary

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Do you ever revisit the books of your youth? It’s one of those big dilemmas. Do you reread them to see if they’re as good or do you not take the risk? It’s awful going back to something that you loved and realising that it’s just not that great. That was my quandary with this book. I had thought about it for years but couldn’t find it anywhere. It didn’t help that I’d forgotten the full title and didn’t know who wrote it. There was a point where I genuinely believed that I’d made it up. Although, I also remembered how much I loved this book. I am sure that it was the reason that I love Greek mythology. It must have been my introduction to them. I can’t remember where I bought it but it was probably at the Scholastic book fair. Those places were magical. I miss the rush you’d get at one of those. Nothing in adult life can match it.

Book Review – Heartburn by Nora Ephron

books, reviews

wp-15923476140881336085707848777981.jpg 5_star_rating_system_3_stars I had to take a quick break from my current anti-racist reading list to read my book club’s choice for this month. I’d put it off for ages because it was only short but we’re meeting over Zoom on Thursday. That meant I only had a couple of days to get through it. Thankfully, it’s only 170 odd pages and I managed to get in a quick read of Noughts and Crosses over the weekend first. This was the book that I voted for because I really did want to read it. I can’t say that I’m a massive fan of Nora Ephron’s films. I’m not a huge romantic comedy fan. I even disliked When Harry Met Sally and that’s a film that nearly everyone has seemingly agreed to enjoy. I admit, she certainly has a way with words and it’s not necessarily the writing that I dislike. Okay, that’s not true because the story is the writing. But it’s not a matter of quality, it’s just not my thing. I am convinced that she is a great writer and, provided I could find a story that I can get on board with, I was confident I’d enjoy it. So, why not this one? After all, people have been showing off their copies on Instagram for ages now. Although I have to admit, I hate the Virago Modern Classics diamond cover. I love a cover with texture but it doesn’t wow me. I tried so hard to track down the cover I wanted but it would have taken ages thanks to bloody Coronavirus. Of course, without Coronavirus, I wouldn’t have been in the book club anyway.