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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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: Susan Willis – The Bake Off

Susan Willis - The Bake OffThis book was a hastily downloaded free kindle book to fill up an empty lunch break, although I didn’t quite expect it to be short enough to read entirely in an hour! I was most disappointed that the last 25% of the book was actually a teaser for another one of the author’s books, I was expecting much more when I got to what turned out to be the end.

The book was short, but not particularly sweet. The premise of the book was basically a local version of the Great British Bake Off, a show that I love. Unfortunately, I found it to be poorly executed and it felt very rushed. I get now from reading the blurb that it was supposed to be a novella, but I found the details of the actual cooking of the recipes to be lacking in detail, and the main focus of the story seemed to be on Nicola’s crush on David and her apparent ignorance of Simon’s crush on her. The ending of the book was boringly predictable, David turns out to be a complete moron and Nicola realises how lovely Simon has been and they end up together.

I don’t really have much else to say about the book really since it was so short, but I do feel that it could have been so much better had it been twice the length with more detail added to pull you into the story. I basically felt after about 10 minutes like I was turning pages without any real connection to the story or any interest in where it was going and how it would finish. A start contrast to the last few books I’ve read.

1-5