Title: Very British Problems – Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time

Author: Rob Temple

Pages: 270 Pages

Publisher: Sphere

The Blurb

There’s an epidemic sweeping the nation. Symptoms include:

*Acute embarrassment at the mere notion of making a fuss;

*Extreme awkwardness when faced with any social greeting beyond a brisk handshake;

*An unhealthy preoccupation with meteorology.

Doctors have also reported several cases of unnecessary apologising, an obsessive interest in correct queuing etiquette and dramatic sighing in the presence of loud teenagers on public transport. If you have experienced any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from VERY BRITISH PROBLEMS. VERY BRITISH PROBLEMS are highly contagious. There is no known cure.

Rob Temple’s hilarious new book reveals all the ways in which we are a nation of socially awkward but well-meaning oddballs, struggling to make it through every day without apologising to an inanimate object. Take comfort in misfortunes of others. You are not alone.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Very British Problems is collection of tweets from the Very British Problems Twitter account that essentially does what it sets out to do – talk abut British problems. The success of this Twitter account and indeed the book is that we recognise ourselves in the things that are being written. If not in ourselves then certainly in someone we know. 

Very British Problems by Rob Temple is the ideal stocking filler and since there is not long until Christmas then you should get buying it now.

Very British Problems – Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time by Rob Temple is available now.

For more information regarding Rob Temple (@RobTemple101) please visit www.verybritishproblems.com.

For more information regarding Sphere (@BooksSphere) please visit the Twitter page.

Title: Me

Author: Elton John

Pages: 374 Pages

Publisher: Henry Holt & Company

The Blurb

In his only official autobiography, music icon Elton John writes about his extraordinary life, which is also the subject of the film Rocketman.

Christened Reginald Dwight, he was a shy boy with Buddy Holly glasses who grew up in the London suburb of Pinner and dreamed of becoming a pop star. By the age of twenty-three, he was on his first tour of America, facing an astonished audience in his tight silver hotpants, bare legs and a T-shirt with ROCK AND ROLL emblazoned across it in sequins. Elton John had arrived and the music world would never be the same again.

His life has been full of drama, from the early rejection of his work with song-writing partner Bernie Taupin to spinning out of control as a chart-topping superstar; from half-heartedly trying to drown himself in his LA swimming pool to disco-dancing with the Queen; from friendships with John Lennon, Freddie Mercury and George Michael to setting up his AIDS Foundation. All the while, Elton was hiding a drug addiction that would grip him for over a decade.

In Me Elton also writes about getting clean and changing his life, about finding love with David Furnish and becoming a father. 

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Elton John has always been a constant in my life. His music was ever present – school journeys home with my mum signing Sacrifice (badly) spring to mind but besides his music I didn’t really know to much about the man himself.

I watched the biopic Rocket Man and I loved it so decided that the natural next step would be to read his autobiography and find out more.

With Me you get more into the nitty gritty. Whilst the film can represent scenes of Elton john’s life and to some extent show the emotion of the moment the written word tells you just how the person was feeling. It guides you, allows you to make up your own mind. You aren’t told to feel a certain way, you are allowed to feel things on your own terms.

What is brilliant about Me is that Elton John does not hold back. Even when he himself does not come across too well. He has led a fascinating life – at times  it has been dark and dangerous and at other times it is just full of brilliant experiences and epic memories. It is such a joy that he has decided to share them.

Me is by far one of the better autobiographies that I have ever read.

Me by Elton John is available now.

For more information regarding Elton John (@eltonofficial) please visit www.eltonjohn.com.

For more information regarding Henry Holt & Company (@HenryHolt) please visit www.henryholt.com.

Title: What I Know for Sure

Author: Oprah Winfrey

Pages: 228 Pages

Publisher: Flatiron Books

The Blurb

As a creative force, student of the human heart and soul, and champion of living the life you want, Oprah Winfrey stands alone. Over the years, she has made history with a legendary talk show – the highest-rated program of its kind, launched her own television network, become the nation’s only African-American billionaire, and been awarded both an honorary degree by Harvard University and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. From all her experiences, she has gleaned life lessons—which, for fourteen years, she’s shared in O, The Oprah Magazine’s widely popular “What I Know For Sure” column, a monthly source of inspiration and revelation.

Now, for the first time, these thoughtful gems have been revised, updated, and collected in What I Know For Sure, a beautiful cloth bound book with a ribbon marker, packed with insight and revelation from Oprah Winfrey. Organized by theme—joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity, and power—these essays offer a rare, powerful and intimate glimpse into the heart and mind of one of the world’s most extraordinary women—while providing readers a guide to becoming their best selves. Candid, moving, exhilarating, uplifting, and frequently humorous, the words Oprah shares in What I Know For Sure shimmer with the sort of truth that readers will turn to again and again. 

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

I didn’t know much about Oprah Winfrey. I knew that she was one of the most (if not the most) successful black woman on television. I knew that she worked hard to get her production company Harpo. I knew she had won lots of awards and I knew she was generous (YOU GET A CAR) but I didn’t really know anything real about her. 

I decided to read What I Know for Sure and naively I read it with the knowledge that I just mentions. Now What I Know for Sure is a short book and it is told in small standalone chapters but I learned a lot about Oprah Winfrey and my distant knowledge grew to admiration. This woman has lived, she has lived a difficult life and she has worked so very hard for all the success she has had in her life and she is someone who has earned the right to be revered. 

What I Know for Sure is a glimpse at Oprah’s life, yes, but it is also a manifesto on how to be positive. I really enjoyed it. 

What I Know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey is available now.

For more information regarding Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) please visit www.oprah.com.

For more information regarding Flatiron Books (@Flatironbooks) please visit www.flatironbooks.com.

Title: Dear Amy

Author: Helen Callaghan

Pages: 348 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

A local schoolgirl has been missing for weeks when Margot Lewis, agony aunt of the ‘Dear Amy’ advice column, receives a letter:

Dear Amy,

I’ve been kidnapped by a strange man. 

I don’t know where I am.

Please help me,

Bethan Avery

This must be a hoax. Because Bethan Avery is another young girl, who went missing twenty years ago.

As more letters arrive, Margot becomes consumed by finding the sender and – unlike the police – convinced that the girls’ disappearances are connected.

Solving this puzzle could save someone’s life – but could it also cost Margot her own?

The Review

Dear Amy is the story of teacher/advice columnist Margot Lewis. Margot receives a letter from a girl who went missing many years ago. This re-opens the crime files and corresponded to a case of a missing girl – one of Margot’s students – that is currently being investigated. It is a race against time to solve both crimes.

I can honestly say that Dear Amy had me absolutely hooked. The two crimes corresponded so well with each other and the perspective – which is mainly told from Margot’s point of view – cleverly shifts to the victims story which heightens the tension. The drama is also driven by making our protagonist unreliable. Her past influences whether we believe her or not. 

Dear Amy is a page turner. You will fight tiredness, chores, work just so you can finish it because it really is that gripping. I am very impressed. 

Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan is available now.

For more information regarding Helen Callaghan (@hecallaghan) please visit www.helencallaghan.co.uk.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: Furiously Happy

Author: Jenny Lawson

Pages: 329 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

For fans of David Sedaris, Tina Fey and Caitlin Moran comes the new book from Jenny Lawson, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Let’s Pretend This Never Happened… 

In Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson regaled readers with uproarious stories of her bizarre childhood. In her new book, Furiously Happy, she explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best. As Jenny says: ‘You can’t experience pain without also experiencing the baffling and ridiculous moments of being fiercely, unapologetically, intensely and (above all) furiously happy.’ It’s a philosophy that has – quite literally – saved her life. 

Jenny’s first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, was ostensibly about family, but deep down it was about celebrating your own weirdness. Furiously Happy is a book about mental illness, but under the surface it’s about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways. And who doesn’t need a bit more of that?

The Review

In Jenny Lawson’s book, Furiously Happy we learn about daily struggle with her mental health. This kind of subject is hardly new but what is refreshing is Lawson’s unashamedness about her condition. There is so much negativity surrounding the discussion of mental health that here Lawson is saying ‘hello, look at me and my stonking issues’ and I personally feel we need more literature like this. 

Furiously Happy helps to take away the stigma and the sting of mental health and provides a fresh perspective on mental health and how personal acceptance can be very helpful. Besides being really enlightening, Furiously Happy is just damn funny. The situations that Lawson finds herself in had me chuckling aloud and getting some funny looks because I couldn’t keep the laughter inside. 

A very funny look at a very serious subject.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson is available now.

For more information regarding Jenny Lawson (@TheBloggess) please visit www.thebloggess.com.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.