Archive of ‘books’ category

Book Review ~ Eat Like a Gilmore by Kristi Carlson

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With the recent revival, all things Gilmore Girls have been very much en vogue recently, and so when I spotted the Eat Like a Gilmore cookbook, I was rather intriuged!

There’s no denying that when you think of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, one of the first things that springs to mind is just how much food they eat. They manage to stay fabulously slim, but between Friday Night Dinners, meals at the diner, eating Sookie’s incredible food, and the various takeaways that they partake in on a regular basis, they eat a LOT of food.

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This cookbook takes inspiration from all of those places, with Sookie’s Kitchen, Luke’s Diner, Emily’s House and Town Favourites all being given as categories for the different recipes.

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Fans will spot favourites such as The Birthday Girl (a cocktail created for Rory’s 21st birthday – ‘it’s very pink’), the Candy Cane hot chocolate that Lorelai doesn’t actually get to have in the Season 7 episode ‘Santa’s Secret Stuff’, and plenty more.

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Of course, as well as being a gimmick to tie in with the return of the television series, this is also an actual cookbook, so there’s plenty of inspiration for meals and snacks and drinks. I’d just venture a word of caution: real-life calories are not the same as television calories – if you eat like those Gilmore girls, you will probably die.

It’s an unofficial companion piece, sure, but this is a fun book for any fan of the series, and I’m looking forward to making some things out of it!

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Eat Like a Gilmore by Kristi Carlson
First published: October 2016
ISBN: 9781510717343
Sky Pony Press
Provided by publisher

Book Review ~ Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

30253864Lauren Graham feels like a celebrity you could know. She’s amazing at what she does, but she doesn’t feel as though her life is so completely out of step with my own; she easily feels like someone I could grab a coffee with. This is probably due in part to her role as everyone’s favourite television mum, Lorelai Gilmore, but it’s an impression further strengthened for me by reading her memoir, Talking as Fast as I Can.

Now seems the perfect time for this book, not least for all the publicity opportunities, but because it is bookended, more or less, quite perfectly by Graham’s two experiences of working on Gilmore Girls, first time around and for the recent revival. Her memories of the latter are helped by the fact that she kept a diary, and the reader is treated to excerpts of this as she writes about how it felt to return to the role that so many people hold close to her heart.

Her experience of the original run of the series is less well remembered, which is a shame. For the purposes of the the book, instead of reaching back into her memories, Graham rewatches the series and comments on it, almost as though she wasn’t there. We get the odd insight, but for the most part, this is slightly disappointing.

All in all, it’s an enjoyable memoir, and one that I love because of my huge affection for Gilmore Girls, and for Lorelai Gilmore, a fondness that extends to Lauren Graham. But those hoping for juicy gossip from behind the series, particularly the original series, are sure to feel a little disappointed.

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham
First published: December 2016
ISBN: 9780425285176
Virago
Provided by publisher

Talking As Fast As I Can ~ Book Blog Tour

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Today I’m excited to be taking part in a blog tour for Talking As Fast As I Can, the memoir by Lauren Graham. When you’ve been planning a Gilmore Girls party to coincide with the much-anticipated release of four new episodes, and you open your inbox to find an email titled ‘Calling all Gilmore Girls fans’, that’s a pretty good day right there. The party went ahead on Friday with nary a hitch, and I’ll be blogging about it (and my thoughts on the new episodes) later this week.

But for now, to celebrate the release of Talking As Fast As I Can, I’m going to share a couple of my favourite Lorelai Gilmore moments. As an actress, Lauren Graham has done more than just portray one of the titular girls of the Gilmore family, and she’s also written a New York Times bestselling novel. But she will always and forever be known as the wise-cracking, sarcastic, fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore.

To provide a little context to this clip, my favourite, laugh-out-loud Lorelai moment, you need to know this. Rory has been at a party which has descended into chaos due to the fact that Jess, Rory’s boyfriend, and Dean, Rory’s ex-boyfriend, have had a fight, because they are stupid boys fighting over Rory.  Lorelai is asking for the details, and at first, it seems as though Rory is going to get into trouble: “This fence is broken because of you. This crap is on the ground because of you…”

When she starts singing Wind Beneath My Wings at Rory, it makes me laugh out loud. It’s hilarious, but it also exemplifies everything that is great about Lorelai and Rory’s relationship. When Rory needs to be told that what she is doing is wrong, Lorelai has no trouble doing it. But in a situation like this, Lorelai gets to show that their relationship can switch easily between mother-daughter, and best friends, and for me, that’s part of what makes the show so great. Also, did I mention that it makes me laugh out loud? Every single time I watch it.

There’s also this one, in which Lorelai pretends that her mother’s phone is broken, pretending she can’t hear her and proceeding to leave a message on her answer phone.

I was reminded of that particular one when I was searching YouTube for ‘Lorelai phonecall’, because I wanted to include Lorelai’s standout moment from the revival episodes – the phone call to Emily while she stands and looks at the view. To say more would spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but if you have, you know what I mean.

talking-as-fast-as-i-canTalking As Fast As I Can is out on December 6th, and you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be reviewing it here just as soon as I have my hands on it.

What’s your favourite Lorelai Gilmore moment?

Book Review ~ Sheila by Robert Wainwright

9781760113087Before I picked up this book on a whim in the library, I had no idea who Sheila Chisholm is. There’s not necessarily any reason why I should have – she was a notable figure in British society almost a century ago, but did nothing of particular note that should mean that hers is a household name. But I’ve read a fair amount about this period of history, and about these people, most notably the likes of the Mitfords, who seem to have run in the same circles at the same time. From my reading about that notable family, I certainly recognised a fair number of the names mentioned here, including Diana Cooper and Idina Sackville, as well as the Churchills and the likes of Cecil Beaton, to name but a few.

So I have gone from knowing nothing about this Australian woman who travelled to Europe before the First World War began, and settled in London, to feeling as though I am intimately acquainted with her, such is the depth of research that has gone into writing this biography. She was married three times, to men at varying levels of aristocratic breeding, and had various affairs, including a lengthy relationship with the future King George VI. She was close friends with his brother, the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, in his pre-Wallace Simpson days, and ended her life as the wife of an exiled Russian prince.

Though sometimes the writing is a little heavy-handed, it’s obvious that Wainwright found much to admire in this seemingly universally adored and fêted socialite. Written after his editor read one paragraph about Sheila in a biography about the Queen Mother, the level of detail is certainly helped by the unpublished memoir to which the author had access, and the sheer number of letters she seems to have kept from friends and lovers past.

Despite the slight feeling of social justice-inspired unease I have when reading about this amount of wealth being paraded around while people were living in extreme poverty, I can’t help but be fascinated by this period of history, and this group of people. I love to read about how they lived, and how their lives changed throughout the decades as society altered following two world wars. Although this was a library book, I think it may be a rare convert to a purchase, so I can add it to my small collection of books about women who gadded about town in the first half of the 20th century.

Sheila by Robert Wainwright
First published: 2014
ISBN: 9781743316825
Allen & Unwin
Library Book

Book Blog Tour ~ Because of You by Hélene Fermont

exclusive-because-of-you-by-helene-fermont-extract-1Because of You tells the story of Hannah, a young woman at the beginning of her adult life at the start of the book, following her through her life for 36 years. A Swedish Jew, she spends time in London before returning to Sweden for her career, and the reader is taken along on her journey.

Of course, it’s a story of love and relationships, primarily with two men in Hannah’s life, but also with her friends, both old and new, her parents, brother and grandmother, and her colleagues. Hannah’s life in London is a whirlwind of social engagements – she is a regular at various clubs that have a distinctive late 70s feel, which is where she meets Mark – an attractive and charismatic man about whom her friends warn her, but whom she can’t help falling for. The second man in her life is Ben, for whom Hannah is his soulmate, he falls deeply in love with her immediately, but is forced to wait while she realises that Mark is not the man for her.

Some of my very favourite stories are ones which span decades in the life of characters, and the same is true here. It was a pleasure to follow Hannah on her journey and get to know her, both celebrating in her triumphs and despairing in her ill-advised decisions. She’s an honest and kind character who begins the novel a little innocent, and by necessity, has to become a little wiser to the world, but this does nothing to affect the reader’s fondness for her, and ultimately, you just want her to be happy.

The author’s own experiences have clearly come to bear on this novel, as London and Sweden throughout the different eras are well-realised. In the end, it’s a great story, and one that had me racing through it to find out what the ending would be.

Because of You by Hélene Fermont
First published: August 2016
ISBN: 9780995490703
Fridhern Publishing
Review copy provided by Bookollective

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