The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 8: 1965-1966 by Charles M. Schulz

GENRE: Graphic Novel / Comic, Humour | PAGES: 323

My rating: ★★★★

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Peanuts, in a word, is CLASSIC. It really is.

I never tire of it. This is the first full volume I’ve read all the way through, and yet I would happily build my collection of Charles M. Schulz’s work in its entirety.

Snoopy is my personal favourite; loud, obnoxious Lucy a very close second. Honestly though, it’s impossible not to love the whole damn bunch of ’em.

Wit, irony, and Peanuts’ shining glory of presenting – amidst the comedy – real-life issues, all combine to make a world you want to visit again, and again. The stories are clever, cute, rolling-on-floor-laughing, but mostly I find them touching.

Schulz takes all of life’s little lemons, and through the miniature ‘old souls’ that form the Peanut gang, gets us chuckling-drunk on the lemonade.

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  The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 8

 

We are now in the mid-1960s, one of Schulz’s peak periods of creativity (and one third of the way through the strip’s life!). Snoopy has become the strip’s dominant personality, and this volume marks two milestones for the character: the first of many “dogfights” with the nefarious Red Baron, and the launch of his writing career (“It was a dark and stormy night…”). Two new characters—the first two from outside the strip’s regular little neighborhood—make their bows. Roy (who befriends Charlie Brown and then Linus at summer camp) won’t have a lasting impact, but upon his return from camp he regales a friend of his with tales of the strange kids he met, and she has to go check them out for herself. Her name? “Peppermint” Patty. With an introduction by filmmaker Hal Hartley.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

GENRE: Humour, Romance, Suspense | PAGES: 290

My rating: ★★★

Stephanie Plum is a brilliantly ‘real’ woman. The scrapes she gets herself into however are something else entirely. It makes for an action packed, fun-filled read. The mystery element is contemporary and intriguing, well thought out, and written even better. Each character in the story is a life force of its own – realistically flawed, sufficiently developed – and after this exciting start to the series, I’ll definitely be checking out the others, and not just for Morelli.

  One for the Money

 

Stephanie Plum is down on her luck. She’s lost her job, her car’s on the brink of repossession, and her apartment is fast becoming furniture-free. Enter Cousin Vinnie, a low-life who runs a bail-bond company. If Stephanie can bring in vice cop turned outlaw Joe Morelli, she stands to pick up $10,000. But tracking down a cop wanted for murder isn’t easy… And when Benito Ramirez, a prize-fighter with more menace than mentality, wants to be her friend Stephanie soon knows what it’s like to be pursued. Unfortunately the best person to protect her just happens to be on the run…

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

GENRE: Humour, Romance | PAGES: 357

My rating: ★★★★

How to Build a Girl is Georgia Nicholson meets Bridget Jones with lots of swearing and lots of sex. It’s funny, insightful and engaging and has only reaffirmed my crush for Caitlin Moran’s work.

 

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  How to Build a Girl

 

My name’s Johanna Morrigan. I’m fourteen, and I’ve just decided to kill myself. I don’t really want to die, of course! I just need to kill Johanna, and build a new girl. Dolly Wilde will be everything I want to be, and more! But as with all the best coming-of-age stories, it doesn’t exactly go to plan… A Number One Sunday Times bestseller in hardback and now Number One in paperback, from Caitlin Moran, the award-winning and Sunday Times bestselling author of How to Be a Woman. (Selected by Emma Watson for her feminist book club ‘Our Shared Shelf’)

No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday by Tracy Bloom

GENRE: Humour, Romance | PAGES: 190

My rating: ★★★

No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday is lighthearted and witty, and refreshingly real in places. British wit at its best. Will definitely be checking out other books by this author.

  No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday

 

Never has a late-night stand led to such chaos! Childhood sweethearts Matthew and Katy agree they must never see each other ever again after they end up in bed together following a school re-union. So all is forgotten…until eight months later when a shock meeting at an antenatal class forces them to confront the fact that Matthew could be the father of Katy’s baby. Oblivious to the mayhem unfolding, Matthews highly strung wife frets over giving birth to twins and Katy’s much younger boyfriend refuses to take fatherhood seriously. Love and life are messy but Katy and Matthew take things to a whole new level as deep emotions begin to resurface and hormones run riot. How will they navigate their way through this almighty pick-up?

Welcome To The Working Week by Paul Vlitos

GENRE: Humour | PAGES: 345

My rating: ★★★★

Welcome To The Working Week was brilliantly funny. So dry and witty, and down to earth.

The way it was written was in the form of emails in and out of Martin Sargeant’s email account, in much the same style as Holly’s Inbox, if anyone has read that. (I started it but didn’t finish, but plan to go back to it now that I’ve read this, to compare the two.)

The format of the story is clever – it relays just enough information of actual events to the reader without actually reading any of that action as it’s happening, but we do get a clear insight into the character’s themselves through their communication with one another. It works marvellously!

There’s a lighthearted little story here, with massive doses of humour. Reads like a funnier, more clever (and obviously male) version of a tech-savvy Bridget Jones, and will make you laugh out loud whilst reading it. *stifles giggles on public transport*

 

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 Welcome To The Working Week

 

‘Welcome To The Working Week’ is the debut novel by Paul Vlitos. He offers a flinchingly funny look at modern life and the friends, flirtations and foolishness that keep it running.

True Confessions of Margaret Hilda Roberts Aged 14 ¼ by Sue Townsend

GENRE: Humour | PAGES: 27

My rating: ★★★

True Confessions of Margaret Hilda Roberts is funny stuff!

Tuesday May 24th

Had a lie in until 6am. Then got out of bed and had a brisk rub down with the pumice stone. I opened the curtains and saw that the sun was shining brightly. (A suspicion is growing in my mind that the BBC is not to be trusted.)

It took me a while to realise who this fictional diary belonged to but when I did, it really clicked into place; the over achieving teenager is hilariously unmistakable!

 

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  True Confessions of Margaret Hilda Roberts

 

Margaret Hilda Roberts is a rather ambitious 14-year-old grocer’s daughter from Grantham. She can’t abide laziness, finds four hours of chemistry homework delightful and believes she is of royal birth – or at least destined for great things. But Margaret knows that good things never come to those who wait . . . These are the secret diary entries of a girl born into an ordinary life, yet who might just go on to become something really rather extraordinary, and she is brilliantly brought vividly to life by bestselling author Sue Townsend, Britain’s favourite comic writer for over three decades.

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

GENRE: Humour, Non-fiction | PAGES: 312

My rating: ★★★★★

“So here is the quick way of working out if you’re a feminist. Put your hand in your pants.
a) Do you have a vagina? and
b) Do you want to be in charge of it?
If you said ‘yes’ to both, then congratulations!
You’re a feminist.”

Moran is witty and clever and candid. Easily one of my new favourite books, How To Be a Woman is a must-read!

Read it! Read it now! NOW!

 

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  How to Be a Woman

 

Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven’t been burned as witches since 1727, life isn’t exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women’s lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother.

A Tiny Bit Marvellous by Dawn French

GENRE: Contemporary, Humour | PAGES: 352

My rating: ★★★

A Tiny Bit Marvellous is a light and lovely read. Funny at minimum, hilarious at best! And surprisingly touching in places.

I found the differences in style of diary entry for each character quite refreshing if a little confusing to begin with. The characters themselves were reasonably believable though Oscar was hard to wrap my head around and Dora annoyed me as most real girls her age annoy me also! Mo was the favourite of the three for me; fairly rounded and the most relatable of them all. She underwent the most development in the book as well, pleasingly – since the others I found to be a bit lacking in that sense.

That said, not every novel HAS to be a journey or some great lesson in life. For what it is, this first fiction novel of Ms French was delightfully easy to get through, much the same as a delicious girly night in with pizza and ice cream.

 

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A Tiny Bit Marvellous

 

This is a poignant novel by Dawn French which is told through the eyes of a mother and her two teenage children. Each chapter is narrated by a different voice, telling the story of a modern family, all living in their own separate bubbles, lurching towards meltdown.

Mrs Fry’s Diary by Mrs Stephen Fry

GENRE: Humour | PAGES: 346

My rating: ★★★★

Mrs Fry’s Diary is hilariously clever!

Taken at face value this had me giggling. Looking beneath that and actually imagining the wonderful Stephen half-cut and sat on the sofa with his hand in his pants had me rolling on the floor laughing!

The author behind the Spam-loving Edna is something of a creative genius!

 

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  mrs fry's diary

 

Stephen Fry’s secret wife speaks out at last… Enjoyed a nice cuppa this morning with a HobNob and Jeremy Kyle. There was a woman on there who’d been married 16 years without realising her husband was gay. Extraordinary! Which reminds me, it’s our 16th anniversary in a few weeks. What a coincidence. Stephen Fry – actor, writer, raconteur and wit. Cerebral and sophisticated, a true Renaissance man. Or is he? Finally, his secret double life – the womanizing, the window-cleaning, the kebabs, the karaoke – is exclusively revealed by Edna, his devoted wife and mother of his five, six or possibly seven children. These diaries take us through a year in the life of an unwitting celebrity wife, and are rumoured to include: scandalous nocturnal shenanigans, advice on childcare, 101 things to do with a tin of Spam. ‘A good diary should be like a good husband – a constant companion, a source of inspiration and, ideally, bound in leather.’ – Edna Fry

Bart Simpson’s Guide to Life: A Wee Handbook for the Perplexed by Matt Groening

GENRE: Humour | PAGES: 187

My rating: ★★★★

Made me cackle! I’m sure a twenty-something female was not the target audience but I’d recommend it to any fan of the show!

Bart Simpson's Guide to Life

 

Starved for the whole truth, man? Take a bite out of this bitsy but beefy package, brimming with morsels of wit, wisdom and worldly knowledge brought to you by the one and only Bartholomew J. Simpson. Get the hard–knocks facts of life from the guy who’s seen it all, heard it all, done it all and denies it all. (The “J” stands for “jenius”…)