19 Jun 2019

book reviews: books by people in comedy (Joe Lycett, Sarah Millican, James Acaster, Aziz Ansari)

I've been reading solidly this year (twenty-one books so far!) and thought I'd return to doing a few brief book reviews. This year, I thought I'd categorise them a bit so in this first instalment: books by people in comedy. I watch a lot of comedy on TV and have yet to go to a proper show in person. It's actually one of my goals for this year and once I start my new job in August (which is purely Monday to Friday, 9-5, no weekends/nights/antisocial shifts), I am hoping to head to one then. Especially as one day a week is spent in Central London!

Anyway, there are many comedians I have found funny over the years. Some I didn't think were funny to begin with but seeing them on a programme they wouldn't usually be on changed that (James Acaster is the perfect example here: I didn't find him hilarious on Mock the Week but when I watched an episode of the Great British Bake Off: Stand Up to Cancer where he was one of the bakers, I found myself belly laughing at every quip he came up with!). This post features books from Joe Lycett, Sarah Millican, James Acaster (of course) and Aziz Ansari. I was going to put Adam Kay's This Is Going to Hurt in here too but I have saved that for a more medical/science edition!

Parsnips, Buttered: How to win at modern life, one email at a time - Joe Lycett


If you've ever seen Joe Lycett on 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, you'll know that he loves writing a complaint email or two. And he does them extremely well! This book just expands on that and how he manages to create hilarity out of even the most mundane of situations. His drawings in it also add to this hilarity and I found myself laughing out loud at least once every five minutes - good job I live alone, eh! 

If you love a book that is full of anecdotes of situations where Joe capitalises on the opportunity to write a sassy email or two about something negative that has happened to him, this is the book for you. You'll tear through it in no time. I found myself finishing it in two evenings! 8/10

How to be Champion: My Autobiography - Sarah Millican


I love a strong female comedienne and Sarah Millican is definitely one of those! Her book has done a good job of transferring her Geordie humour onto paper, whilst still maintaining a moderately serious tone with her tips at the end of each chapter on 'how to be champion'. She writes about romance, friendship, being bullied, each career she's had and also about family. Though not an autobiography in the chronological sense, it touches on each part of her life and how it has made her the person she is now. And with plenty of humour too. 

And I also like how she writes about not having kids. I think too many women are judged on whether or not they've given birth, and if not, when they are planning to have children. In this day and age, why can we not just be career women, or a someone who likes their life the way it is? For me, this was the best message she could have conveyed in her book and I would urge all young, strong women read her book just for this alone. 9/10

James Acaster's Classic Scrapes - James Acaster


Having seen James Acaster on Would I Lie to You?, I knew the stories about 'cabbaging' and him sleeping in a dress would come up. And I was not disappointed! These are just two of many funny stories of situations James has got himself into. I'm sure if we all looked back on our own lives, there would be stories similar to his but he manages to tell them all in an endearing way. I think he's a comedian who has grown and got funnier over the years and this book is evidence of that.

If you're after a light-hearted read or have had a spate of bad luck recently, this is definitely the book to get stuck into. 8/10

Modern Romance - Aziz Ansari


One of my friends from medical school actually recommended I read this a number of years ago. With the rise and success (if we can call it that) of various dating apps worldwide, this book writes about how romance and dating have changed to the state it is in now. If you've ever used a dating app, it actually makes a lot of sense! Our generation meet people very differently. I've met patients in their 80s and 90s who have been married for 50/60/70 years and met their partner at a dance or were neighbours, etc. Now? We meet people through jobs, through friends of friends, through apps! And we're very much an 'instant' generation which makes it enticing to swipe for a date. Aziz backs up his observations with studies and expert opinions too so it's not just a bloke who's opinionated about dating!

Definitely worth a read. I'm not ashamed to admit I've used a dating app or two and it's interesting how much of it you can relate to if you've ever gone through all of that! 8/10


** all book covers from Amazon.co.uk **

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