Title: I Work at a Public Library

Author: Gina Sheridan

Pages: 160 Pages

Publisher: Adams Media

The Blurb

Straight from the library–the strange and bizarre, ready to be checked out!

From a patron’s missing wetsuit to the scent of crab cakes wafting through the stacks, I Work at a Public Library showcases the oddities that have come across Gina Sheridan’s circulation desk. Throughout these pages, she catalogs her encounters with local eccentrics as well as the questions that plague her, such as, “What is the standard length of eyebrow hairs?” Whether she’s helping someone scan his face onto an online dating site or explaining why the library doesn’t have any dragon autobiographies, Sheridan’s bizarre tales prove that she’s truly seen it all.

Stacked high with hundreds of strange-but-true stories, I Work at a Public Library celebrates librarians and the unforgettable patrons that roam the stacks every day.

(GOODREADS BLURB)

The Review

I love books like I Work at a Public Library. They put me in mind of Jen Campbell’s two part book series Weird Things People Say in Bookshops. And since I work in a library – a school library that is – I am well versed in hearing the funny conversations around me and being asked random questions. 

The quirkiness of this book is very endearing. The chapters are broken down to numbers within the Dewey-Decimal system and the stories are catalogued alphabetically. 

As you read along – an inevitably snort with laughter – I swear it will make you want to work in a library.

Such a great book.

I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan is available now.

Title: Failosophy – A Handbook for When Things Go Wrong

Author: Elizabeth Day

Pages: 112 Pages

Publisher: 4th Estate

The Blurb

‘Most failures can teach us something meaningful about ourselves if we choose to listen’

In Failosophy Elizabeth Day brings together all the lessons she has learned, from conversations with the guests on her award-winning How to Fail podcast, from stories shared with her by readers and listeners, and from her own life, and distils them into seven principles of failure. Practical, reassuring and inspirational, these principles offer a guide through life’s rough patches.

From failed exams to romantic break-ups, from career setbacks to confidence crises, from navigating anxiety to surviving loss, Failosophy recognises, and celebrates, the fact that failure connects us all. It is what makes us human.

With insights from Malcolm Gladwell, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Lemn Sissay, Frankie Bridge, Nigel Slater, Emeli Sande, Alain de Botton, Mabel, Fearne Cotton, Meera Syal, Dame Kelly Holmes, Andrew Scott and many, many more, Failosophy is the essential handbook for turning failure into success.

The Review

I really like Elizabeth Day. I enjoy her writing – both fiction and non-fiction and I enjoy listening to her podcast. When I was given the opportunity to read How to Fail I jumped at the chance. The same goes for Failosophy. When you get so much from a writer you gorge yourself on all of their works and fortunately for me I have yet to be disappointed. 

Failosophy is an extension of both he book and the podcast How to Fail. Whereas the book How to Fail was about Elizabeth Day’s journey and the podcast invites us to listen to a plethora or diverse and interesting people and their journey what you get from Failosophy is guidance for your own journey. I’ve said journey far too much and now I feel like I am in a montage at the beginning of The X Factor.

This pocket-sized guide is great to dip in and out of and helps to remind you that not all failures are failures. It really is a joyful things to read 

Failosophy – A Handbook for When Things Go Wrong by Elizabeth Day is available now.

For more information regarding Elizabeth Day (@elizabday) please visit www.elizabethdayonline.co.uk.

For more information regarding 4th Estate (@4thEstateBooks) please visit www.4thestate.co.uk.

Title: Back to Amy

Author: Charles Moriarty

Pages: 224 Pages

Publisher: Cassell

The Blurb

Breathtaking photographs of Amy Winehouse on the cusp of fame, including many never-before-seen images

Rare, open and honest, this collection of nearly100 photographs by Charles Moriarty shows Amy Winehouse as you’ve never seen her before.

Consisting of two shoots spread across London and New York in the lead-up to the release of her debut album Frank, these beautiful images capture a sense of fun, mischief and style, giving an early glimpse of a star in the making. The collection includes many photographs that have never been seen before.

With a foreword by Asif Kapadia, Academy Award-winning director of the documentary Amy, and containing contributions from people close to Amy during her career, this book is a celebration of the enduring spirit of a truly special artist.

The Review

The story of Amy Winehouse’s meteoric rise to fame and indeed the crash and burn that led to the death of on of the most talented singer/songwriters of my generation. 

What is beautiful about Back to Amy is that we get to see Amy before she was ravaged by her demons. You get the impression that Moriarty struggled with releasing this book. He seemed torn between showing Amy at her cleanest and how he wants her to be remembered against selling his memories. Personally, I am glad that we got to see these pictures and got to hear about Amy from people in her life who got to see the best side of her.

Back to Amy is a beautiful book and a lovely celebration of her short life. 

Back to Amy by Charles Moriarty is available now.

For more information regarding Charles Moriarty (@charlesmoriarty) please visit his Twitter page.

Title: Life in Pieces

Author: Dawn O’Porter

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins UK

The Blurb

Dear 2020 – can we just start over?

Dawn O’Porter has been thinking about life. In lockdown. Mostly from a cupboard.

From reflections on grief and identity, bad hair and parenting, sleep and spirituality, to the things we can control and the things we cannot, Dawn’s daily diaries track the journey – for a hilarious, heartbreaking and highly entertaining glimpse into the new normal.

LIFE IN PIECES is a book for anyone who’s been thrown into a life they didn’t plan, or who just wants to stick it to 2020. When it looks like everything’s falling apart, we’ll piece it back together.

Love Dawn x

The Review

One of the things that I wish I had done was to have made a record of all the weird things that happened during lockdown. Like when I lost my sense of taste and smell or how we had a mouse and it terrorised us so much that we were held hostage by it, or how we would watch the daily briefings with shock, despair and anger at our governments handling of the whole ordeal. Alas, I did not. But Dawn O’Porter did.

In her latest release, Life in Pieces, Dawn O’Porter tells us about her lockdown and how she handles things such as the isolation, Covid-19, home schooling etc. It was such a tonic reading it and knowing that you weren’t alone in the weird lockdown feelings. 

Some of the more poignant parts of Life in Pieces came when O’Porter talked about the death of her friend Caroline Flack. Her moments of stillness allowed you to take a moment yourself and realise that in times as strange as these have been to take note of the people around you that you love.

Another wonderful piece by O’Porter.

Life in Pieces by Dawn O’Porter is available now.

For more information regarding Dawn O’Porter please visit her Instagram page.

For more information regarding Harper Collins UK (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit the Twitter page.

Title: How to Own the Room – Women and the Art of Brilliant Speaking

Author: Viv Groskop

Pages: 214 Pages

Publisher: Transworld Digital

The Blurb

Most books about public speaking don’t tell you what to do when you open your mouth and nothing comes out. And they don’t tell you how to get over the anxiety about performance that most people naturally have. They don’t tell you what to do in the moments when you are made, as a woman, to feel small. They don’t tell you how to own the room. This book does.

From the way Michelle Obama projects ‘happy high status’, and the power of J.K.Rowling’s understated speaking style, to Virginia Woolf’s leisurely pacing and Oprah Winfrey’s mastery of inner conviction, what is it that our heroines do to make us sit up and listen – really listen – to their every word? And how can you achieve that impact in your own life? Here’s how.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Speaking in public is hard. It can be made even harder when your gender is an additional factor into why you may be judged, not listened to or respected. Viv Groskop’s brilliant book How to Own the Room is a powerhouse of a book. It is empowering and give amazing information, advice and real life stories on how to build up your confidence and to be able to give amazing speeches. 

I took a lot from this book. I work in a school and I don’t really have a problem with speaking to my students but I  know I would feel very different if I was speaking to my peers. If I am ever asked to address people on my level or higher I know I will return to How to Own a Room to help me with the delivery of my speech.

Additionally, it is the stories of well known people and how they deal with making speeches that makes you feel a little bit better about your own nerves. How to Own a Room is a practical guide and an enjoyable read.

How to Own the Room – Women and the Art of Brilliant Speaking by Viv Groskop is available now.

For more information regarding Viv Groskop (@VivGroskop) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Transworld Digital (@TransworldBooks) please visit the Twitter page.