So, Anyway by John Cleese

I read some comments of readers who thought the tone of this was a bit smug and sneery but I didn’t get that impression at all. Unexpectedly, the best and certainly funniest parts are those about Cleese’s childhood and schooldays rather than those concerning his career in comedy. I found it to be a generous, honest and thoughtful book. And it made me laugh a lot.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Puckoon by Spike Milligan

One of the funniest things I’ve ever read. If you like Spike’s sense of humour you’ll enjoy this. He’s also capable of the most beautiful descriptive writing. Maybe the novel isn’t his natural home; there are way too many characters and not much of a story, but this is still a great read. The best bits are not when outrageous, incredible events are happening but when ordinary people are doing ordinary things like drinking in the pub etc.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

Originally released in 2015, the subject matter is still incredibly relevant six years later. With the growth of Twitter and other social media, our need to be offended in order to be right seems to have done the same. Sometimes the people on the receiving end are guilty of quite trivial misdemeanours such as making a poorly judged joke. Interesting how people doing the shaming think they’re doing something good; defending what’s right. The more extreme the shaming the more status people acquire amongst other people on the same side. The book looks at what motivates the shamers and also the effect that shaming can have on them. We can see how this has lead to the rise of ‘echo chambers’ and ‘cancel culture’ in the years since this book was published. The book is non-fiction of course but it’s written in a very accessible, almost thriller-like way with an irresistible hook at the end of each chapter, making it hard to stop reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Really well written with a good story and believable characters. I just don’t really like this genre; I felt too much like I was watching a Hallmark Channel true life movie. Of its type though this is a really good quality addition so don’t let me put you off.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Notes On A Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

Having enjoyed Reasons To Stay Alive by the same author, I struggled a bit with this at first. It felt very disorganised and mixed up. Then 3/4 through I realised that was the whole point. The planet is speeding up and technology our attention is ever more fractured so it’s important to take a step back and make time and space for what’s important. The book is deliberately written in that fractured way. Once I got that, I really enjoyed the book. JK06.05.2021

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

You Are An Artist by Bob and Roberta Smith

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman