Babs & Revs’ Book Club

So we all know that Richard and Judy may already monopolise this market, but you can’t blame us for trying right?
And with summer coming up and the prospect of endless afternoons spent lounging in the sun clutching at a great novel for entertainment curled up on the sofa as rain spatters the window, what better time than now to invest in some summer reads!?
However instead of Mr & Mrs This Morning, whose only credentials are the fact that they managed to hold the attention of many stay-at-home mums and retired couples for 120 minutes every morning (like attracting 2 million viewers daily is something to be proud of…), you lucky readers are getting the Culture Vultures version. So here are our credentials:
Revs, whilst being a self confessed book nerd, is the first to admit that she’s only doing her English Lit degree so she can drop pretentious references at cocktail parties.
But it only gets worse from there; Babs, the girl who only reads Vogue during term time, will willfully attempt to disguise her love of trashy chic lit in a vain attempt to come across well-read and worldly.
But still, stay with us here.
Just read: Can We Still Be Friends (A. Shulman)
Book Jacket

Ok so having previously admitted to being a Vogue-only term time reader this book seemed like a natural choice for my lengthy plane journeys over the Easter holiday. Whilst not based on fashion this light read is written by Alexandra Shulman the editor of the British magazine. It is a fun, light-hearted read particularly for gurls* facing the imminent prospect of life-post-uni. But whilst it addresses the seemingly pressing female issues of friendship, careers (and of course) romance, don’t expect a cure for cancer any time soon from it!

 The Girl Who Dropped From The Sky (S. Mawer)

I know the saying goes “don’t judge a book by its cover”, however I must admit that when I saw this lying on my parents book shelf the attractive lady on the cover did draw me in. [It was only until half way through the book that I realised it was written by my old Biology teacher, which did make reading the raunchy sex scenes sufficiently awkward.] This is a gripping novel based around a Swiss diplomats daughter living in London who becomes a British spy in German occupied France. It is a classic war time page-turner that will leave you excited, scared and sweaty palmed.

[Which coincidentally has recently appeared on our rival’s inferior attempt at a list, all I’m saying is that I read it first Rich]

Reading right now: The Diamond as Big as the Ritz & Other Stories (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

The great thing about reading a collection of short stories is that you can easily finish one in a sitting and therefore go to bed with a feeling of accomplishment! I love Fitzgerald’s writing and his books always transport me to the most romantic and exotic locations. Whilst I am only two tales into this medley I have already troubled over the pangs of a mid-life-crisis in middle town America and followed the story of a failing marriage from the perspective of the glass punch bowl situated on the dining room side-board. Stay tuned for many more.

Next on the Book Club list: Toast (N. Slater)
Toast by Nigel Slater

As a girl who is passionate about food (read: loves to eat) and who can spend a good few hours reading over recipes I have been sincerely disappointed in myself for years now because I have not read this book. To further exaggerate this self-loathing one evening I succumbed to watching the BBC adaption with my daddy, which means I am now one of those un-cultered heathens who watches the film before reading the book. Unable to live with this guilt any longer I vow to myself and to you my fellow blog readers that this summer will be the holiday I read all about Mr Slaters culinary-catastrophe of a childhood!

On the Road (J. Kerouac)
Not wanting to commit two major book crimes in one list I have successfully stopped myself from watching the K-Stew blockbuster blowout, allowing Jack to tell me the story in his own words. This book is again being saved for the summer when I can dedicate endless hours by the pool and lengthy commutes to it, I feel a summer affair coming along…
But for those of you with less will power than myself (don’t worry I won’t judge, however I will hold a small feeling of higher self-worth) here is the film trailer to tempt you.
Just read: Mary Barton (E. Gaskell) 
This one was for my course and was picked up more for revision than leisure; I was supposed to have read it months ago and it took my looming exam to kick me into gear to open the pages. However it turned out to be immensely enjoyable, getting to the stage where I wouldn’t want to get off at my train stop because I needed to find out what happened. Set where and when it was published, in late 1840s Manchester, it provides one of the first experiments of social realism, under-covering the squalor of working class living conditions. The plot follows Mary Barton (duhhh), and is packed with murder, love and a bit of good old class tension to boot.
Reading right now: The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl (B. De Jour)
Okay don’t judge this one by its cover – while the trashy illustration screams chick lit the narrator is actually rather witty. Drawing from her blog, Belle De Jour (revealed a few years ago to be a PHD graduate from Sheffield) tells her true story of what it’s like to be a call girl in London. Needless to say my innocent eyes were opened, it’s not for the sexually faint-hearted or squeamish.
Next on the Book Club list: The Art of Hearing Heartbeats (J-P. Sendker)
One of the perks of being at The Sunday Times was the massive stack of books in the corner of the office, with the cute little ‘help yourself’ sign sitting perkily above them. These were all books that had been reviewed for the paper, and were now pretty much obsolete. Naturally, I covertly grabbed the first few I could lay my hands on and made off with them rammed in my leather tote. The nicest thing about them is that they are say pre-sale proof read on the front, not to be resold. Cool eh? The top of my pile is The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, a supposedly inspirational story set in the exotic location of Burma, spanning from the 1950s to present, revealing why a New York lawyer disappears and leaves his family. The reviews promise it to be a tear jerker, so I’ll have the kleenex at the ready.

Babs and Revs

*gurls- the awkward age in which you are not yet a lady but definitely not a girl (characterised by the Britney Spears classic, I’m Not a Girl Not Yet A Woman)

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