Confessions of a librarianTitle: Confessions of a Librarian: A Memoir of Loves

Author: Barbara Foster

Pages: 170 Pages

Publisher: Riverdale Avenue Books

The Blurb

In the spirit of such classic female erotic adventurers as Anais Nin, Erica Jong and Toni Bentley, Barbara Foster shares the story of four women who meet to tell the lurid details of their worldly romantic encounters in Confessions of a Librarian: A Memoir of Loves. From Istanbul, Buenos Aries, Israel and back to New York, featuring young women to women of a certain age, with threesomes and everything in between, these inter-connected tales of love and lust are sure to keep you rapidly turning the pages.

The Review

Oh dear. What a disappointment.

I loved the basis of this book because I personally think that there is something about the juxtaposition of librarians and heightened sexuality that simply go hand in hand. However Confessions of a Librarian didn’t deliver. It was the sexual misadventures of someone who happened to be a librarian.

The book just didn’t tick any of the boxes for me. I felt like I was being told every single thing about what happened, where she was, what colour the wallpaper, etc. in exhaustive detail in exhaustive detail.

Overall, Confessions of a Librarian was not an enjoyable read.

Confessions of a Librarian: A Memoir of Loves by Barbara Foster is available now.

For more information regarding Barbara Foster (@FosterLoves) please visit www.threelovestory.com.

For more information regarding Riverdale Avenue Books (@riverdaleavenue) please visit https://riverdaleavebooks.com.

2 Stars

Trying to FloatTitle: Trying to Float

Author: Nicolaia Rips

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Scribner

The Blurb

“Hysterically droll, touching, elegant, and wise—a coming-of-age story from someone who possibly came of age before her parents” (Patricia Marx,New Yorker writer and bestselling author), Trying to Float is a seventeen-year-old’s darkly funny, big-hearted memoir about growing up in New York City’s legendary Chelsea Hotel.

New York’s Chelsea Hotel may no longer be home to its most famous denizens—Andy Warhol, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, to name a few—but the eccentric spirit of the Chelsea is alive and well. Meet the family Rips: father Michael, a lawyer turned journalist with a penchant for fine tailoring; mother Sheila, a former model and world-renowned artist who matches her welding outfits with couture; and daughter Nicolaia, a precocious high school junior at work on a record of her peculiar “youth.”

Nicolaia is a perpetual outsider who has struggled to find her place in public schools populated by cliquish girls and loudmouthed boys. But at the Chelsea, Nicolaia need not look far to find her tribe. There’s her neighbor Stormy, a tall albino woman who keeps a pink handgun strapped to her ankle; her babysitter, Paris, who may or may not have a second career as an escort; her friend Artie, former proprietor of Studio 54. The kids at school might never understand her, but as Nicolaia endeavors to fit in she begins to understand that the Chelsea’s motley crew could hold the key to surviving the perils of a Manhattan childhood.

With a voice as fabulously compelling as Holden Caulfield’s, Nicolaia Rips’s debut is a disarming, humble, heartfelt, and wise tale of coming of age amid the contradictions, complexities, and shifting identities of life in New York City. A bohemian Eloise for our times, Trying to Float is a triumphant parable for the power of embracing difference in all its forms.

The Review

As far as memoirs about relatively unknown people go, Trying to Float by Nicolaia Rips is pretty damn funny.

Those of you who have read my reviews before will have no trouble believing that I chose yet another book based on the interesting cover. But, you see, if I didn’t have this method of choosing books then I would never have come across this little gem – much like author Nicolaia Rips – Trying to Float is a bit of a diamond in the rough.

Nicolaia is, unbeknownst to her younger self, a little bit odd. This isn’t that unusual; most children are a little bit quirky. For Rips, this has meant that she has been pretty much an outcast and socially stunted by her peers. Again, in real life, this is not something so unusual. As someone who experienced the uncomfortable awkwardness of childhood and teenager-dom I completely empathise – there isn’t anything crueller than school children and no amount of money in the world would make me go back and experience it again. However, I do wish that I had written down my experiences much like Rips has done.

Through all of this, Nicolaia Rips holds on tightly to her unconventional upbringing in the infamous Chelsea Hotel. The cast of characters that she has daily dealings with colour and shape her formative years in the best, most avant-garde way; the hotel and its inhabitants becoming as much a part of Rips colourful tapestry as her experiences outside of her awkward school days.

In Trying to Float, Rips shares her tales of woe, not with sadness or shame but with resignation way beyond her years. A resignation that, to be honest, fills you with hope. This sounds incredibly cheesy but you do get the sense that Rips has a beautiful and creative future ahead of her.

Trying to Float by Nicolaia Rips is available now.

For more information about Nicolaia Rips (@nicolaiarips) please visit her official website www.nicolaiarips.com.

For more information about titles from Scribiner (@ScribnerBooks) please visit the official website www.scribnerbooks.com.

35 Stars

Letters to my FannyThe Blurb

In this hilarious and candid memoir about twenty-first-century womanhood, Cherry Healey shares outrageous, poignant and eye-wateringly funny confessions.

“This book is a love letter, to my body. In fact it’s several letters – to every part from my brain to my belly. I spent most of my life hating by body. I forced it to survive on a diet of ham; I squeezed it into asphyxiating support pants; I accidentally cut my delicate area whilst trimming my lady garden. But now I’ve realized that it deserves some well overdue TLC.

This book is the story of how I’ve come to understand some vital life lessons, and started to love being a woman. I hope you enjoy it. Except you, Mum and Dad. You should stop reading now. It’s for the best. I promise.”

Warm, honest and heartfelt, Letters to my Fanny will have you gasping in recognition. (Amazon)

The Review

Firstly, I have to get this off my chest. I absolutely detest the word ‘fanny’. Much in the way some people find the words ‘succulent’, ‘moist’ and ‘juicy’ to be repulsive I find fanny much the same way. Unless it is used as a verb. I am strangely ok if someone is ‘fannying’ about but the noun ‘fanny’ turns my stomach and I can’t explain why.

With that in mind, every time the word ‘fanny’ came up in Cherry Healey’s Letters to my Fanny I visibly recoiled but I am nothing if not determined so I persevered; I am awfully glad I did. Letters to my Fanny (shudder) is a really funny, warm and entertaining memoir which exudes the message of positive body image.

There are some graphic descriptions of childbirth that, as someone who is physically terrified of the thought of going through labour, I should probably have veered away from (to be fair Healey did give a warning at the beginning of the chapter).

I did feel that some of the chapters lost its way a little bit. Sections of the book discuss feminism and the inequality of wages between men and women but then slips in to a discussion about diet made me a little sceptical. However, by the end of Letters to my Fanny I realised that the overriding message was just to feel comfortable in your own skin and that, for me, is a very powerful message.

I really enjoyed this memoir and – title aside – it made me feel good.

Letters to my Fanny by Cherry Healey is available now.

Follow Cherry Healey (@cherryhealey) on Twitter.

4 Stars

The Actual OneTitle: The Actual One: Or How to Avoid Settling Down For as Long as Possible

Author: Isy Suttie

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: W&N

The Blurb

‘Isy Suttie turns the painful process of growing-up into something laugh-out-loud funny, and for that I could kiss her’ – Bryony Gordon, author of The Wrong Knickers

‘A cross between Lena Dunham and Victoria Wood’ Sunday Times

Isy woke up one day in her late twenties to discover that the invisible deal she’d done with her best mates – that they’d prolong growing up for as long as possible – had all been in her head. Everyone around her is suddenly into mortgages, farmers’ markets and nappies, rather than the idea of running naked into the sea or getting hammered in Plymouth with eighty-year-old men. When her dearest friend advises her that the next guy Isy meets will be The Actual One, Isy decides to keep delaying the onset of adulthood – until a bet with her mother results in a mad scramble to find a boyfriend within a month.

From papier-mâché penguins to being stranded on a dual carriageway in nothing but a fur coat and trainers, THE ACTUAL ONE is an ode to the confusing wilderness of your late twenties, alongside a quest for a genuinely good relationship with a man who doesn’t use moisturiser.

(Amazon Blurb)

The Review

I like Isy Suttie. I am going to go out on a limb and say that she is a swell gal. Strangely, the aforementioned reasons were not why I bought her book – The Actual One. If I am being absolutely honest, it took me a while to marry up who Isy Suttie was with the quirky funny girl I sometimes saw on 8 out of 10 Cats does Countdown. Once the two connected I had a ‘Huzzah’ moment because I realised that I was about to enjoy the book I was reading.

You see I have a strange feeling that Isy Suttie is my spirit animal…in human form. When she says things that some would see as quirky or odd I totally get it. I like Suttie’s naïve way of seeing the world.  It is how I see the world; a world where you can make the best out of a bad situation by seeing the funny side of things.

Anywho, in her memoir The Actual One, Suttie discussed the banal life changes that people seem desperate to comment on. Almost like life is a orienteering trail and you have to find certain points to be deemed as doing well. Found a boyfriend yet? Tick. Moved in together yet? Tick. Engaged? Cross. Ouch. It is that period late into your twenties when people start settling down or getting married or having babies and you think should I be playing catch-up? Or should I still be playing beer pong…or in Suttie’s case ‘All Crevices’.

Basically, The Actual One is a book for a) anyone who hasn’t quite got their shit together yet and b) a guide of what not to say for those smug people who have.

This is one of the funniest books that I have read in a while and I implore you all to read it.

The Actual One: Or How to Avoid Settling Down For as Long as Possible by Isy Suttie is available now.

Follow Isy Suttie (@Isysuttie) on Twitter or visit her official website www.isysuttie.com.

For more titles from W&N (@wnbooks) please visit www.wnblog.co.uk.

4 Stars

The Soundtrack to my LifeThe Blurb

Dermot O’Leary has always loved music. Throughout his life and career, music has been a constant companion, best friend, confidant and at times, tormentor.

The Soundtrack to My Life is Dermot’s personal memoir of a life in music told through the songs that were playing at key moments in his life. With a wonderful gift for storytelling, Dermot describes his journey from a childhood in Colchester with his Irish family, to some of the biggest jobs in TV and radio in the UK. It’s a story which is accompanied, in every scene, by music.

Dermot would be the first to admit, they are not all great songs. This isn’t Desert Island Discs; the songs chose him, not the other way round. Dermot went to his first gig at the age of nine, and saw Irish troubadour Brendan Shine, he roller-skated to Baby I Can’t Wait by Nu Shooz and got his first job in TV while the Macarana was playing everywhere. Constantly.

But, other songs playing in the background to his life – songs by The Smiths, Elbow, The Pogues or Bruce Springsteen, are tracks & artists which he truly loves and will always love, and not just for the memories they evoke.

Funny, engaging and full of surprises, this is Dermot’s memoir and his essential soundtrack to his life.

(Amazon)

The Review

Let’s face it, we all love Dermot O’Leary and if you don’t then a) you’re in the minority and b) what the heck is wrong with you?

In his brilliant memoir The Soundtrack to My Life, Dermot tells tales of his growing up and associates them with songs (some good, some downright awful) that have shaped his existence. Now some might say, why has this fresh faced presenter of TV and Radio wrote a memoir, he only, like, 12 (I’m possibly being a tad hyperbolic here) but believe it or not but Dermot is in fact in his forties. Furthermore, his career – which makes up a large portion of his memoir – took years of hard graft, perfecting a craft that we, as audience members, take for granted. I know for one I couldn’t present live TV….that doesn’t mean that I don’t pretend to…at home…to my audience of no one….anyway…awkward.

What is really good about this memoir is that you can hear Dermot O’Leary throughout. I know that sounds a little obvious but I have read memoirs that have been written by ghost writers and you get the sense that the subject of the memoir hasn’t really had much input. Not The Soundtrack to My Life. It screams Dermot O’Leary. His little asides seem natural and truly make you smile. Dermot comes across as self-effacing, humble and most importantly (to me, anyway) a true lover of music.

This is a brilliant memoir, even if Dermot is not your favourite person The Soundtrack to My Life makes you think of your own personal soundtrack. Keep your eyes peeled for my soundtrack post coming soon on LisaTalksAbout.com.

The Soundtrack to My Life by Dermot O’Leary is available now.

Follow Dermot O’Leary (@radioleary) on Twitter.

4 Stars