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Hello literature lovers, I’ve got a fresh new batch of marvellous March reads for you. But first up, a public service announcement for those with small children: don’t forget it’s World Book Day this coming Thursday, 7 March. Or as I call it, World Trolling Working Parents Who Don’t Have Time To Make A Bloody Costume Day. Although that doesn’t trip off the tongue quite so easily though, perhaps?
Book of the month – Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant by Joel Golby
I must admit this doesn’t initially sound like an obvious choice for Muddy readers. It’s a collection of personal essays by a millennial male journalist who writes for culture magazine, Vice, aka hipster central. Some of Golby’s obsessions are lost on me – gaming (yawn) and his hatred for Wayne Rooney, for example. But there’s lots to love in Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant (apart from the title which is pretty annoying to type out, let alone ask for at the bookshop). Subtitled “modern life as interpreted by someone who is reasonably bad at living it”, it’s witty, wry and surprisingly poignant as it pinballs between such ridiculously random topics as his dad’s moustache and attending a camel convention in Saudi Arabia. He’s particularly, well, brilliant when writing about his family and upbringing – the opening story is a gorgeous piece of writing about the aftermath of his mother’s death, detailing the tragic absurdity of sourcing a consoling gift for the neighbour who’d discovered her body. Golby settles for a snazzy gift basket of craft beers. Well, you’ve gotta laugh, otherwise you’d cry, right?
Also out this month…
Daisy Buchanan has five sisters – growing up, their household was a cross between Pride and Prejudice and The Simpsons, she says. Her new book The Sisterhood is a funny, thoughtful celebration of those bonds but also looks at the concept of being sisterly in the broader sense. It’s not to be confused with The Sisterhood collection – new editions of six Penguin classics by female writers, published in time for International Women’s Day on 8 March. Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Heidi, A Little Princess, The Railway Children and Anne Of Green Gables have been gussied up with cute new cover illustrations by Hülya Özdemir and introductions by Scarlett Curtis, author of Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies).
Talking of cool women, meet Daisy Jones and The Six. I’m a sucker for a retro rock’n’roll tale and LA novelist Taylor Jenkins Reid totally delivers on that front. Daisy’s the frontwoman of a ’70s Californian rock band (think Fleetwood Mac) and this is the story of her rise and fall. Reese Witherspoon loved it so much she’s snapped up the rights – look out for a 13-part Amazon TV drama rocking up soon.
Meanwhile, I picked up Don’t You Forget About Me purely on the basis that the author, Mhairi McFarlane, is hilarious on Twitter. Happily, she’s hilarious in print too – if you’re into smart romantic fiction, this one’s for you. Talking of funny, award-winning Normal People author Sally Rooney is a fan of fellow Irishwoman Nicole Flattery‘s witty, playful writing and I can see why. Show Them A Good Time is Flattery’s debut collection of short stories about modern relationships. Make a beeline for the one about a young woman dating a semi-famous comedian who acts like a complete tool towards her – her method of revenge is as modern as it is sweet. Finally, it’s time to relax with Gretchen Rubin‘s new manual, Outer Order, Inner Calm. There’s a post Marie Kondo influx of decluttering books currently, er, cluttering up my bookshelves but this is one that’s definitely worth a look. Self-help superstar Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, tends to talk sense and this is no exception. It’s crammed with bite-size, simple tips and strategies to help you create a more serene living space and thus brain.
I’m off to sort the kitchen cutlery drawer – until next time!