Saturday, 20 August 2016

Books I read on my holibobs

SpectaclesSpectacles by Sue Perkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A heartfelt memoir about the ups and downs of life - from meeting kindred spirits to the pain of break ups. The Bake off barely gets a mention (one chapter and a reference that to the fact Perkins can't go anywhere - even when coping with a dog with diarrhoea - without someone shouting "bake" at her). In fact, she spends more detailing the things that have gone wrong in her career than the things that have gone right. I much prefer celeb autobiographies to be this way rather than someone blathering on about how great their life has been or how embarrassed they are at how successful/bright they are (unlike some celeb autobiographies I could mention*). It's comforting to know that even household names are muddling along in life just like the rest of us!

* = Stephen Fry's The Fry Chronicles may as well have been called "I didn't choose to be this clever" for the amount of humblebragging that went on (Fry later redeemed himself with the much better More Fool Me).

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Ethel and ErnestEthel and Ernest by Raymond Briggs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A beautiful biography of Riggs' parents - from their first meeting to their deaths. He shows their imperfection (Ethel can be a bit of a snob while Ernest is somewhat insensitive) but most of all, he shows their devotion to each other. Despite spending most of the book bickering, Ethel and Ernest have a deep, obvious love for each other.

As we have come to expect from the author of The Snowman (it's not Briggs' fault it is shown every sodding Christmas), Father Christmas, and When the Wind Blows, the artwork is beautifully understated.

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The Tidal ZoneThe Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very well written, poignant tale of coping with the aftermath of a shocking event (the narrator's daughter stops breathing for no apparent reason) and with the realisation we don't really have any control over the future.

The only reason I've given it three stars is because I felt it was about two or three chapters too long. I felt Moss laboured the end a bit and could have wrapped things up sooner than she did without detriment to the plot or to the characters' development.

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