Sue Perkins – Spectacles

Spectacles

I didn’t really know much about Sue Perkins apart from the things I’ve seen her in on TV, but this book was being advertised on Kindle at 99p, and as I had really enjoyed the things I’d seen her in, I thought it would be an interesting read.

And I wasn’t disappointed. My reading of this book was a bit disjointed, reading it on the bus when it was busy and I couldn’t get my book out, or in the time waiting for the kettle to boil or the microwave to ping. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, but I maybe didn’t get as much out of it as I would have if I’d sat down to read it properly.

The first thing you notice when you’re reading this book is that Sue is funny. Like really funny. It just comes across so naturally on screen so that the book feels completely relaxed and not forced.

What you also notice is that while she treats her ex-partners and friends very favourably, she shows no mercy when describing those closest to her; her family, and of course, Mel Giedroyc. In the nicest way of course!

She will not let it lie that Mel is two whole years older than her, and there’s a particularly funny chapter relating to Mel’s flatulence and toilet troubles, where (among others) we find this jem:

“I find myself standing next to her [Mel] in a cramped bog, palms up, holding the receiver like it’s the Holy Grail. She perches below making low moaning sounds. It begins like a distant rumble, like thunder. The hairs on my arm stand to attention. Then comes the noise. Like a thousand tins of beans being hurled against a wall. The the toxic gust.”

Equally juvenile, but hilariously funny was the tale of her dog Parker in her girlfriend’s car, when he was, shall we say, quite ill. I was laughing out loud at my desk to visions of a car covered in all sorts of bodily fluids, hoping my colleagues weren’t going to ask me to explain why I was laughing!

Obviously, the bit that most people know Sue from is Bake Off, and it was lovely reading Sue’s tales of this time and learning new things that you never realised before. But it was also slightly sad reading about Bake Off knowing that she won’t be presenting it next year!

As well as Bake Off, Sue takes us on a journey through her other TV experiences, from an apperance on a talent show called Maestro where she learned how to be a conductor, to being in a car with Charley Boorman on World’s Most Dangerous Roads. Both things that I wasn’t aware of before, and I might now have to seek out for a watch.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who has watched Perkins on TV and enjoyed her work, it was so lovely to get a glimpse into her life and realising some of the hardships that she has gone through made me respect her even more. I can safely say that she is near the top of the list of people I’d like to have dinner with, I’m sure the stories that didn’t make it to the book would be fascinating!

 

My Rating: 4/5
Year Published: 2015
Number of Pages: 374
Format: Paperback
Date Read: 3rd January 2017 – 5th January 2017
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.1
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Anna Kendrick – Scrappy Little Nobody

Scrappy Little Nobody

This book encompasses two things that I love. Autobiographies and Anna Kendrick. Since I first saw her in Twilight (don’t judge), I’ve loved her as an actress, and I’ve always thought she’s a very relateable person and very funny (especially on Twitter).

Thankfully, her book didn’t spoil the picture of her that I’d created in my mind, I laughed out loud constantly and hard. She’s brutally honest the whole way through the book, not putting on a front to say ‘oh look at how perfect my life is and how easy I found it to become a famous actress’. She details the low points with a humour and a frankness that I found surprising – unlike some other memoirs I’ve read which felt fake somehow – I’m looking at you, Lena Dunham.

From her upbringing in Maine, through to her move to LA and all the bits in between, Anna gives you an insight into the ‘real’ life of an actress, showing you behind the glamour of the film-sets and the red carpets to see what it’s really like – hint, it’s not as glamorous as you would think. But you also see a whole lot of ‘Anna the person’ as well as ‘Anna the actress’, giving you insights into how she grew up (hint – she’s just like you and me!)

The whole book felt like you were sat down having a conversation with a friend, not forced or staged, just a very natural flow of words, which I heard in Kendrick’s voice in my head. She’s kept her way of speaking in the book rather than polishing up the words and that made it so easy to read, I read the whole thing in two sittings, unable to put the book down, even when my fiance was dying to go out for lunch – I just had to read the last 50 pages!

As you can probably tell, I really loved this book and would whole-heartedly recommend it if you’ve seen Kendrick in films and liked her, or if you just want a behind the scenes look at Hollywood. Fantastic!

My Rating: 5/5
Year Published: 2016
Number of Pages: 271
Format: Hardback
Date Read: 30th December 2016 – 31st December 2016
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.03
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Review: Mary Berry – Recipe for Life

20131204-084516.jpgMary Berry. What can you say? When you see her on TV, she’s exactly like your grandma. And her autobiography was less like a book and more like sitting in your granny’s kitchen with a cup of tea and a cream scone and listening to her reminiscing about the old times.

I have to be honest, I’d never heard of Mary Berry until the Great British Bake Off started, but I can see now that she’d actually done a lot before then, even retiring from her career before getting the phone call out of the blue about judging a ‘village fete’ style baking contest.

She led a rather privileged life when she was younger, but worked extremely hard to make it to where she wanted to be, leaving school with no qualifications and working her way up to a regular slot on an afternoon talk show, and even filming segments in her own house, which looks pretty grand by the way. She’s had her fair share of hardships too, from a life-threatening stay in hospital with polio when she was younger, to losing her son in a tragic car accident.

As much as the book was like a nice cosy chat with your gran, there were times when it felt a little preachy, when Mary was talking about the way that she would rather do things, and how everyone else is either stupid or doing it wrong. But I suppose that’s quite like your average gran too.

I found it a rather enjoyable read (and I now keep using the word ‘rather’ far too often, just like Mary). I saw that her life story was actually on TV yesterday, with the second part tonight, so I would kind of like to watch that too, just to see the places she talks about brought to life, especially her beautiful sounding house.

4/5

Review: Miranda Hart – Is It Just Me?

Miranda Hart - Is It Just Me?Anyone who knows me will know that Miranda is my favourite comedian. I can’t watch her show without laughing hysterically, and it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen it, it’s still the same. So it was kind of surprising that I waited so long after this book came out to actually read it. I had it on my Christmas list last year, but when no-one bought me it, I didn’t fancy paying hardback prices and so I waited til it came out in paperback before I ran out and merrily handed over my money.

As I expected, I wasn’t disappointed. The book was a conversation between Miranda and her teenage self, with a comic but realistic outlook on all things life – weddings, birthdays, technology etc. I’m so glad that I read this book in the privacy of my own home, as if I’d read this book in public (i.e. on the bus), I would have had many strange looks for my constant bursts of laughter.

The book was written in the same style as her tv show and her previous radio show, so I couldn’t help but read the books in her voice and imagine her in all these hilarious situations (such fun!). This was brilliant though, it just made the book funnier! There was a sense of comradery through the book, being adressed as ‘My dear reader chum’ makes it all seem very personal and pulls you in in such a way that I almost read the book in one sitting, I had to keep forcing myself to put the book down so I didn’t race through it.

If you like Miranda’s tv show, you’ll absolutely love this book. And if you don’t, well what’s wrong with you?!

Highly recommended.

5/5

Review: Brad Paisley – Diary of a Player

Brad Paisley - Diary of a PlayerI’ve been wanting to read this book since it first came out a couple of years ago, but I’d never been able to justify the price (with it being an American book and not widely available in the UK). But my brother bought me it for Christmas this year and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.

Brad Paisley is one of my favourite artists, and definitely one of my favourite country artists. His music is beautiful and inspiring, but also funny and catchy. I was pleased to find out more about the man behind the music. The book was primarily about his influences and the people who inspired him to become a musician, starting from his Grandfather buying him a guitar for Christmas, right through to meeting these country music legends and being honoured with the ability to play right alongside them.

As well as finding out a lot about Brad Paisley, this book also gave me a small insight into how the country music world works, and it’s a lot like I expected. It seems like no matter how famous you are, you’re still supportive of those up-and-coming artists who are looking to make it as big as you.

The book lets you in on Brad’s personal life too, for example the crazy story behind how he met his wife. But the part of the book that stuck with me the most was the end when he describes how his Grandad died, the biggest influence on his life taken too early and before he could see the success that he inspired. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried when I read this part.

This was a really well written auto-biography, it seemed very personal and friendly, almost like you were sat down with him listening to him reminiscing on the past.

5-5

Review: James Corden – May I Have Your Attention, Please?

james-corden-may-i-have-your-attention-pleaeI do love reading a good autobiography, getting a glimpse into someone’s life is always pretty cool, and for someone as funny as James Corden, I knew I was in for a treat.

I was expecting to be laughing the entire way through the book, but James was refreshingly honest about the harder times in his life too. Often when you think of celebrities, you don’t think about how hard it was before they finally made it to the ‘big time’. But although James knew from an early age that he wanted to be famous, he suffered through rejection after rejection before he finally started to find success.

He was in a lot of things before he finally burst into the spotlight with Gavin and Stacey, but it was very interesting to learn that but for a few hours in a pub with Ruth Jones while filming Fat Friends, it never would have even happened. I’m now also quite interested to watch The History Boys, which was a play in the West End which made it to a world tour: Hong Kong, Sydney, New Zealand and a long streak on Broadway, along with a hugely successful film.

But along with all the hilarious parts of the book, like the filming of the Comic/Sports Relief sketches, James gives us an insight into the tough parts of his life too. There was a pretty rough time in his life when he had all the success he could ever dream of but was not happy personally and didn’t make good decisions. But James didn’t hide this from the book, which made him seem a lot more real. The book started and ended with the best time in his life, the birth of his first son, it was a lovely full circle.

4-5