Books My Portfolio Recents

December In Books

"I literally found myself walking down the street, book in my hands, fully engrossed and unaware of the over-wrought Christmas shoppers barging past me."

Flappy Entertains – Santa Montefiore

It took me about twenty-four hours to read this book, which was record-worthy considering how busy that day was. I literally found myself walking down the street, book in hands, fully engrossed and unaware of the over-wrought Christmas shoppers barging past me.

If you are looking for a heart-warming easy-read, Santa’s novel is precisely that. Set in a picturesque village in Devon, the story’s protagonist, Flappy, is the ‘self-appointed queen bee;’ elegant, cultured and incredibly generous, but also shallow, snobby and an outright social-climber. Santa manages to create a character that is simultaneously heavily flawed and totally lovable. Her life centres around the same busy routine; tending to the house and gardens as well as organising events for the village, all while her husband saunters off to play golf. However, this is turned upside down and her impeccable morals are put to the test when newcomers arrive in the village, Hedda and her extremely attractive and charming husband Charles…

The Glossy Years – Nicholas Coleridge

Nicholas Coleridge’s autobiography is incredibly inspiring as a result of his admirable work-ethic, creative talent and enviable aptitude for story-telling. He blends quips from family life in with those from his career in a way that makes one feel they are included in his journey in its entirety.

While best known for his prestigious position as Editorial Director for Condé Nast Britain, Coleridge begins his story from as early as the day he was born, 4th March 1957. He describes his school days and time at Cambridge University in depth and spares no detail on his early days as a journalist. He was instructed by his first employer to ‘mention as many names as possible’, a directive he has certainly taken into account!

Coleridge’s self-deprecating sense of humor, honesty and genuine gratitude to those who have helped support him on his way prevent the persistent name dropping and endless descriptions of lavish parties from becoming a totally ostentatious display. It is evident from such a varied career (which also includes his current roles as Chairman for the V&A and Prince of Wales’ Campaign for Wool) that much of his success his down to the can-do approach he applies to all aspects of his life. Coleridge has also written several published books, a selection of fiction and non-fiction.

I recommend this book not only to those aspiring for a career in journalism, but to anyone who enjoys a riveting story.

Such A Fun Age – Kiley Reid

Such A Fun Age begins when the story’s protagonist, Emira, is accused by the security guard of an upmarket supermarket in Philadelphia of kind-napping the child (Briar) she is babysitting.

The novel proceeds with Alix’s (Briar’s mother) attempts to develop a friendship with Emira, which spirals into a full-blown obsession. Set in 2015 when Hillary Clinton was running for president, Alix Chamberlain is a wealthy millennial running a business that she started at the peak of the blogger era. She ends up using a Emira as a project to reinforce her reputation as a progressive feminist businesswoman. Meanwhile, Emira, who is struggling to get a career on its feet, begins a relationship with an older man who unbeknown to her has history with Alix, creating one of the many racially charged sub-narratives.

It took me a while to read this novel as the plot develops quite slowly and the characters lack a certain depth with their strong stereotypes, however, Reid’s story against the backdrop of a realistic millennial setting brings to attention how race and class are imbedded in society and how these factors influence how we form relationships.

Milk Fed – Melissa Broder

Milk Fed is not for the faint-hearted, I actually found myself feeling quite sick at times while reading this book.

I had done very little reading around Melissa Broder before I dived in (actually none at all) and only after a good way through did I realise that Milk Fed is a novel, not a memoir.

Broder’s novel centers around a young woman estranged from her family and religion, who is suffering with an eating disorder in a futile attempt to gain control. Her strict rituals around food are interrupted when she meets Miriam, an Orthodox Jewish woman who works behind the till at her favorite frozen yogurt shop. Rachel takes a ‘detox’ in communication from her fat-shaming mother and enters into what I can only describe as a romantic friendship with Miriam.

Milk Fed’s exploration of hunger covers not only that of physical hunger, but also that of sexual desire and spiritual longing. Broder’s dead-pan tone adds humor and tenderness to the story as Rachel embarks on her journey to self-discovery.

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