Muddy Book Club
How Not To Hate Your Husband After Kids by Jancee Dunn
Now there’s a book title after my own heart. My husband got in a bit of a huff when he clocked me reading this in bed but while it’s an inflammatory pitch, the content is actually eminently useful and sensible. Rolling Stone writer Dunn explores how you can ensure that your relationship doesn’t drop to the bottom of the to-do list once nippers are on the scene. There’s loads of genuinely new advice from various experts and academics – I especially liked the chapter about how to make your weekends not seem like one big tedious chore-fest. And unlike many self-help books it’s hilarious – at one point Dunn takes advice from an FBI hostage negotiator on how to defuse domestic arguments.
Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
Yet another thriller with the word ‘girl’ in the title? I can see your raised eyebrow from here but, trust me, this one’s a doozy. Set in stiflingly hot smalltown Kansas, the story revolves around the wealthy Roanoke family, pillars of the community who are have one humdinger of a skeleton/closet situation going on. Scion Lane Roanoke travels from New York to the family pile after the death of her mother, and quickly discovers there is something very strange going on… What lifts this above the 8 million other psychological thrillers published this year is the highly evocative writing – you may have never been to Kansas, but Engel sure takes you there.
Open by Gemma Cairney
This is one for any teenage girls in your life. Cairney, the Radio 1 DJ and BBC presenter, has written a comprehensive life manual covering a huge plethora of topics: body image, self-harm, eating disorders, sexuality, volunteering, money, feminism, social media and many more. If a young woman is worrying about it, it’s probably here. Cairney has a lovely big sister tone – she’s streetwise, warm and never patronising, and the book is beautifully designed, all zingy colour-pops and cool illustrations. I just wish there’d been something like this when I was 15.
The Secret Diary And Growing Pains of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend
Talking of being 15, back then I was obsessed with Adrian Mole and his willy-measuring, Pandora-wooing antics. So I was most excited to hear about these reissues. The late Sue Townsend’s eight diaries are being reissued, along with a new tome of the hapless schoolboy’s Collected Poems, to mark Mole’s – yikes – 50th birthday. Are you feeling old too?! The first (and best) two – The Secret Diary and Growing Pains – have been bundled together in one new edition. Perfect for a wallow in Eighties nostalgia.