Can'T Believe You Just Said ThatTitle: I Can’t Believe You Just Said That

Author: Danny Wallace

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Penguin Random House UK/Ebury Publishing

The Blurb

Passive aggression. Road rage. Snarky tweets. Queue-jumpers. Idiots who are #justsaying. Fat shamers. Victim blaming. Furious waitresses who refuse to sell you a hot dog… We are ruder than we’ve ever been.

In this incisive and very funny book, Danny Wallace investigates the new wave of rudeness that threatens to overwhelm us. He travels the world, visiting our rudest critics, interviewing psychologists, psychiatrists, bell boys, cab drivers, bin men, barristers, politicians, a limo driver called José and at least one expert in cooked meat production. In doing so he uncovers the hidden truths behind what makes us rude, whether it can be caught, and how one small moment of rudeness—like being declined a hotdog—can snowball into disaster.

From the jihadist who launched a blistering attack on the “bad manners” of his fellow ISIS militants, to the mayor in Bogota who recruited an army of mimes to highlight inconsiderate driving—this is a very funny and powerful exploration into the way humans work and why it is surely time for an anti-rudeness revolution.

The Review

Firstly, massive thanks needs to be said to Rebecca Hibbert at Penguin Random House who sent me a copy of Danny Wallace’s I Can’t Believe You Just Said That to review.

I am overly polite. I know that I am. I apologise when people bump into me and I profusely thank people when they do the smallest things for me. It is a problem. No not me being polite, it is how I respond to people who are impolite to me. As much as I am polite, I am also the person who will tell people that it is ok that they didn’t thank me when I have done something nice. This usually results in me shouting “YOU’RE WELCOME” down a corridor after I have held the door open for someone.

What I am saying is that manners matter and this is the subject of Danny Wallace’s latest book. He discusses the obsession we have with manners and the impact they have on the success of people. Wallace talks about a plethora of topics from hot dogs to Donald Trump. I Can’t Believe You Just Said That is chock full of expert opinions and is thoroughly researched. This could seem a bit heavy and boring but by gum I haven’t laughed this hard in ages. Wallace manages his information brilliantly and breaks things down to make sure that fact and figures don’t seem dry.

Danny Wallace has written a triumph of a book in I Can’t Believe You Just Said That. It is sharp, witty and just damn funny….and I’m not just being polite.

I Can’t Believe You Just Said That by Danny Wallace is available from 15th June 2016.

For more information regarding Danny Wallace (@dannywallace) please visit www.dannywallace.com.

For more information regarding Penguin Random House UK (@penguinrandom) and Ebury Publishing (@EburyPublishing) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.com.

4 Stars

MoranifestoThe Blurb

‘I’ve lived through ten iOS upgrades on my Mac – and that’s just something I use to much about on Twitter. Surely capitalism is due an upgrade or two?’

When Caitlin Moran sat down to choose her favourite pieces for her new book she realised that they all seemed to join up. Turns out, it’s the same old problems and the same old ass-hats.

Then she thought of the word ‘Moranifesto’, and she knew what she had to do…

This is Caitlin’s engaging and amusing rallying call for our times. Combining the best of her recent columns with lots of new writing unique to this book, Caitlin deals with topics as pressing and diverse as 1980s swearing, benefits, boarding schools, and why the internet is like a drunken toddler.

And whilst never afraid to address the big issues of the day – such as Benedict Cumberbatch and duffel coats – Caitlin also makes a passionate effort to understand our 21st century society and presents us with her ‘Moranifesto’ for making the world a better place.

The polite revolution starts here! Please.

The Review

I firmly believe (and have done for some time) that I am a little bit in love with Caitlin Moran.

You see, I read her writings or listen to her in interviews and I think to myself “Dammit, yes Caitlin! You have expressed my thoughts far more eloquently than have now let’s go out for a pow-wow and maybe a game of air hockey.” – why the air hockey? Couldn’t say, but I do know that Caitlin and I would shoot the shit something wicked in a musty old arcade.

If I could write…or, indeed, think 3% as astutely as Caitlin Moran does then I would consider myself to be very lucky. She gets me that riled up with optimistic vibes that I almost want to befriend her and encourage her to run for president. The fact that she is British, be damned! I believe she could do it; I know she would win.

Ok, enough fangirling (don’t worry, there may be some more later). Let us look at her latest book: Moranifesto. It is a glorious collection of her articles and it really does invite you to intimately press your nose between the pages of her mellifluous mind. It is a must for avid “woMoran’s” – ok I tried to create a “Cumberbitch” tag name and it didn’t quite work out but you get what I mean – and also for the “Moranovice” < – admittedly, I am a little proud of that one.

Personally, my favourite articles included: “I Can’t Stop Listening to ‘Get Lucky’”, “Everyone Fancies Britain Right Now”, “A Woman’s Monthly Faultiness”, “My Lady Festival Advice”, “Russell T Davies – The Man Who Changed the World, Just a Little Bit”, “Why Can’t Life be More Like a Musical?”, and “All the Lists of My Life”

This is not an exhaustive list and to be fair it doesn’t do justice to just how brilliant Moranifesto is. This is a book that should be issued to teenagers who are trying to figure things out and trying to form their own opinion away from the beliefs that they have been born into. This book could have been called The Things I Wished I Had Known. Where was this book when I was growing up? is the only negative thing I have to say about Moranifesto. This previously gawky teenager could have used it. I implore everyone to pick up a copy of Moranifesto because it is a treasure trove of fantastic writing. I cannot recommend it enough…and now we have the return of the fangirl.

One final thing, Moranifesto gave me one of my proudest moments as an aunty when my one year old niece picked it up and said “book”. I thought to myself, “Yes, I will make a feminist/humanist out of you.”

Moranifesto by Caitlin Moran is available now.

Follow Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) on Twitter.

5 Stars

The Blurb

Do not miss me, because I will always be with you…I am the air, the moon, the stars. For we are all made of stars, my beloved… Wherever you look, I will be there.

Stella Carey exists in a world of night. Married to a soldier who has returned from Afghanistan injured in body and mind, she leaves the house every evening as Vincent locks himself away, along with the secrets he brought home from the war.

During her nursing shifts, Stella writes letters for her patients to their loved ones – some full of humour, love and practical advice, others steeped in regret or pain – and promises to post these messages after their deaths.

Until one night Stella writes the letter that could give her patient one last chance at redemption, if she delivers it in time…

We Are all Made of Stars is an uplifting and heartfelt novel about life, loss and what happens in between from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Memory Book.

The Review

It is hard to believe that a book that has a central theme of loss can be so life affirming and uplifting but that is exactly what We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman is like.

We Are All Made of Stars centres on three characters: Stella, Hope and Hugh. All three have big life blockers that are either making them deal with loss and death. Stella, married to an ex-soldier who has been wounded whilst on tour, works in a hospice that looks after the dying and the convalescing. She spends her night shifts writing goodbye letters for patients and she spends her days avoiding her own emotional baggage.

Hope is young girl who has spent her life battling with Cystic Fibrosis, a chronic battle that usually comes with an early expiration date. It is at the hospice that she face her on mortality and realises that it is not the illness that will bring on her untimely death but her choice to not live.

Then comes Hugh, a man who has lost both his parents and through this he has kind of lost himself. Life throws him a few unexpected life lines which alter the course of his existence.

Throughout the narratives of these characters we also get to read some of the letters that Stella has helped write for her patients. All of the letters are filled with love: familial love, secret love and romantic love. It makes you wonder if you knew the end was near how would you want your loved ones to remember you? What would you want to tell them?

The concept of this story is wonderful and Rowan Coleman really does give her readers a treat with We Are All Made of Stars. Here characters voices are unique and they complement each other. Her narrative threads are well thought out and do not leave you with questions or with an uncomfortable feeling of ambiguity. Essentially, Coleman gets to the heart of the subject of loss in a way that I have seen some authors struggle to do.

We Are All Made of Stars was a pleasure to read and has joined the high calibre of books that will stay with you for a very long time after you have turned its final page.

We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman is available now.

Follow Rowan Coleman (@rowancoleman) on Twitter.

We Are All Made of Stars

The Blurb

How To Be Parisian brilliantly deconstructs the French woman’s views on culture, fashion and attitude.

Bohemian free-thinkers and iconoclasts, Anne Berest, Caroline De Maigret, Audrey Diwan and Sophie Mas cut through the myths in this gorgeous, witty guide to Parisienne savoir faire.

These modern Parisiennes say what you don’t expect to hear, just the way you want to hear it. They are not against smoking in bed, and all for art, politics and culture, making everything look easy, and going against the grain. They will take you on a first date, to a party and through a hangover. They will tell you how to be mysterious and sensual, make your boyfriend jealous, the right way to approach weddings and the gym, and they will share their address book in Paris for where to go at the end of the night, for a birthday, for a smart date, for vintage finds and much more.

Full of wit and self-deprecating humour, How To Be Parisian explains those confusing subjects of clothes, makeup, men, culture and lifestyle as only a true Parisienne can.

The Review

Anyone who knows me will know that I have been having a serious love affair with Paris for pretty much the entire length of my existence. I’ve travelled (not extensively) but I have yet to travel to a place which has the same style of class and attitude and sexiness as Paris does. Therefore, me reading a book on how to be Parisian seemed such a natural fit.

How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are is sharp, sassy and poetic about the life of Parisian women; it debunks myths that we may have believed about the way they live their lives but equally enforces some of these “clichés.” The themes travel from love to fashion to food among a plethora of other things. It all comes across with a dismissive air that somehow fits the Parisian outlook. In total, it is just rather wonderful.

This is a must for those who like to travel; those who like style and class; and for those avid Francophiles out there.

How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are by Sophie Mas, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret and Anne Berest is available now.

How to be Parisian

Title: Secret Santa

Author: Scarlett Bailey

Pages: 106

Synopsis

It is but a few days before Poldore’s annual Christmas pageant and Sue’s usual Santa Claus has retired, parked the reindeer and hung up his present sack. Sue has to ensure that the event runs as smoothly as it does every year, not just because she is a control freak and town matriarch but also because the people of Poldore are only just getting over the devastating impact of last year’s inclement weather. On a more personal note, Sue also is trying to hold things together ever since her husband walked out on her a few days earlier. No, she needs to make this year special. She needs a Christmas miracle.

Review

Whilst I did enjoy this short story I felt at a slight disadvantage being that I hadn’t read its predecessor. This is no fault of the authors or should in any way reflect on the short story Secret Santa; the fact that I knew that the characters had previously been written about is because of the conscientious writing of Bailey who introduced all the main players with thoughtful information from their book past. What Bailey has managed to do with this short story is intrigue me enough to want to read the rest of the books in the Poldore series.

Focusing on Secret Santa, this story gave me what the other festive texts have yet to do. It gave me that added bit of Christmas magic. There was a slight element of the unnatural, the unrecorded and whilst I have loved the books that I have read in my festive feature they have all lacked that element of magic that you can really only get away with at Christmas.

I loved how strong willed Sue was, how her determination to look after everyone took precedence over her own life. She seemed to be such a giving person. What I loved more about her though is that we were able to see moments of self doubt and weakness and that she wasn’t too proud to let others help her. Her strength didn’t become a detriment.

I was really impressed by Secret Santa and I am intrigued to read about the rest of the characters. This book should be on your Christmas to be read list. I know the rest of the series has been added to mine.

Secret Santa by Scarlett Bailey (Rowan Coleman) is available now.

You can follow Scarlett Bailey (@ScarlettBailey) on Twitter.