Related to: 'Is It Just Me?'

Miranda Hart

Miranda Hart made her mark appearing in shows including Smack the Pony, Absolutely Fabulous and Not Going Out. But when her sitcom Miranda burst on to our screens in 2009, her popularity rocketed. Miranda has since been crowned the Queen of Comedy at the British Comedy Awards and won Best new TV comedy, as well as winning best actress in 2010 and 2011. She has also won three RTS comedy awards and has been nominated for four BAFTAs. Her book Is It Just Me? was the number one best-selling memoir of 2012 and to date it has sold over 580,000 copies. Her stand up show - My, What I Call, Live Show - was a sell-out earlier this year and returns for a week in October. It is also released on DVD in November 2014. Follow Miranda on Twitter www.twitter.com/mermhart or vist her website www.mirandahart.com

Chapter One: Mary

SNAKE ROPES, by Jess Richards

Read the first chapter of Jess Richards' SNAKE ROPES.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Best of Miranda

Miranda Hart

Well hello to you, Dear Book Peruser and thank you for your kind interest in my book o'Miranda. Here you will find my favourite six scripts, hand-picked from all three series, with introductions by moi, and some other tit-bits, and silliness. Because no book of this ilk should be without tit-bits and silliness. If nothing else it's fun to say tit-bits. Repeat after me: tit-bits. You're welcome. I hope you enjoy seeing the scripts in their pure written form on the page before they translated to what you have seen on screen. And if you're a lovely young person still at school let me know if your drama teacher ever lets you do an episode for the school play. Nothing would make me happier. Though I bagsy play Miranda. Your favourite, number one bestselling, comedian Miranda Hart is giving you an access-all-areas VIP backstage pass to her award-winning sitcom. Miranda Hart has won bundles of awards, written a bestselling book and completed a sell-out nationwide tour. But it was her award-winning BBC sitcom Miranda which first made her a much-loved household name. Miranda's identifiable and loveable character, unique wit and physical comedy struck a chord with millions making the show a national institution and Miranda the "Queen of Comedy". Here Miranda gives us an access-all-areas VIP backstage pass to Miranda the sitcom. The Best of Miranda contains the full scripts of Miranda's six favourite episodes (including her original revises and annotations) so that you can, if you wish to, cast your family to re-enact choice moments in your living room. The book also includes Miranda's own account of just what goes in to the process of writing, rehearsing and filming, hilarious gossip from the making of the sitcom, previously unpublished photographs and material which didn't make the final edits. Other extras include recipes for Gary's favourite cakes, cringeworthy childhood photos of our favourite comedian, a step-by-step guide to making your own Fruit Friends and Vegetapals and a Marry Gary Board Game. The Best of Miranda is a beautiful and hilarious book which will delight Miranda's many fans and earn her many new ones.

Hodder & Stoughton

Roasted

Andy Riley

'Their names are Karl, Lottie and Nev, and they work in a coffee shop. That's all you need to know. Actually, you don't even need to know their names that much; you just need to recognise the sort of people they are - the care-worn balding thirty-year-old, keenly aware he's on the final lap of his youth, the girl who frets about everything (but food in particular), and the chirpy big-eyed twat with one of those unfortunate faces that you just want to hit ...' For five years, BUNNY SUICIDES author Andy Riley has delighted Observer Magazine readers with his dark and funny weekly strip - Roasted. Now collected together for the first time, here are the ongoing adventures of three wasters in a coffee shop - making an essential guide to the modern world for fans and newcomers alike.

@mermhart

Follow Miranda on Twitter

Follow Miranda on Twitter for the latest news from Britain's favourite comedienne.

Things you overhear as a thriller writer. . .

Overheard conversations

IF YOU are interested in the ins and outs of human behaviour, few things are more fascinating than the conversations of people sitting next to you in a cafe. It is part crossword puzzle - the deciphering of this particular relationship - and part psychoanalysis. Why did she say that? What is he really getting at? The way we can say one thing and mean another: this truism is so much more obvious when you are not actually engaged in the conversation yourself. Or to me it is. Weirdly, as we are leaving, I often discover my partner doesn’t share my opinion about the marriage of the couple at the next table. Sometimes he hasn’t even noticed there [start itals]was[end itals] a couple at the next table. I have spent a lot more time than usual in cafes over the last few weeks. I have a novel to finish, a thriller, and we have the builders in. The house is noisy and a man is liable to appear at a window at any moment. Normally I wouldn’t mind a man appearing at the window, but it can be disarming when you are in the middle of a creepy passage. My new book is about an abusive relationship, the possibility of pseudosuicide (pretending you are dead when you are not), the dark side of human nature, but I have been writing it in cosy nooks in south London, helped on my way by a nice cup of coffee and the smell of baking. And the thing is - and I know it might be because, as I am supposed to be working, I am, unusually, trying [start itals]not[end itals] to listen - but I have noticed this odd thing. The conversations around me have started to take a rather sinister turn.  The other day, I was in Lavish Habit in Balham where they sell jewellery and bits of vintage furniture (as well as delicious coconut toast). A young couple eating lunch were idly discussing their future (“I think I could live in Bath”; “Yeah. I could live in Bath. But not ‘til I’m much older, like 30”) when the woman, a petite brunette in clumpy wedge shoes, mentioned she had just declined a party invitation. The man put down his knife and fork and adjusted the neck of his close-fitting polo-shirt. “Did you even mention me?”  “Why? You’ve got to come up with your own excuse.” “We’re a couple aren’t we? We either go together or not at all. Not to is ... it’s not... coupling.” “I’d still go if you were busy.” “Would you?” “Yes.” “You wouldn’t.”
“I would.”
“You wouldn’t.” I felt uncomfortable. Was I just imagining the threat implicit in the repetition of “wouldn’t”? He was just staring at her. She just carried on eating her quiche and salad, but in my own head I fast-forwarded to their life in Bath, aged 30, her isolated from her friends, her family, his increasing demands... Later, three women with babies bustled through the door - a lot of pram negotiation, and chair-scraping. They sat right close to my desk (I mean table), which seemed slightly aggressive in itself, though I was probably being paranoid. I think they had just had been into the nail bar next door, because one of them had the leaflet, and they were looking at it while they talked. Their main topic was another woman they all knew.  “Hannah was quiet for Hannah.” “She’s usually... such a character.” (Small laugh.) “Her heart’s in the right place.” “How is her mother?” “Not long left.” “N’ah. Shame. Particularly as she’s lost just her father as well.” “God, pedicures are expensive.” How extraordinary, I thought, that they could be so callous, move so effortlessly from the death of a friend’s two parents to the price of a gel nail. And not just that. On the surface, they had appeared to be complimentary about poor Hannah - ‘“such a character”,  “her heart’s in the right place” - and yet both comments were actually barbed and not really very kind at all. And if I was Hannah, deranged by grief, and I knew that these smug women with their leisurely lives and their pedicure leaflets were talking about me in that way, well, I wouldn’t like to predict the consequences. I left that cafe, and I went somewhere else the next day - Deli Boutique in Clapham, a new French-run establishment that serves crepes to school children after 3.30pm. It was quiet enough in the morning, though a woman next to me did keep talking about how “disgusting”  it was that her daughter’s teacher didn’t return her emails. (The teeth-clenched force behind that most visceral of adjectives suggested a more generalised anger that could do with specialist help). Lunchtime, though, I became aware of latent violence in many of the throwaway remarks wafting over the aroma of  hot cheese and ham croissant. “I’m going to have to say something. I can’t live like this.” And “It’s the groaning I can’t bear.” And: “If this job doesn’t come up trumps I’m going to slit my wrists.”  Two men in jeans were standing at the counter, waiting for a takeaway chicken pie.  “Who’s left of your team now Andy’s ...gone?” one of them said casually to the other. “Just me and Layla,” the second man said. The first man's mouth dropped open.  “You’re all that’s left?” Left where? I mean, probably they were just talking about work, redundancies, but I didn’t like the rigid fix of the second man’s jaw. Who was Layla? Did she mind being on her own with him? What had happened to all the others? I walked home a little after that - a nice walk across the common. A man with a beard in a heavy camouflage jacket was talking loudly just ahead of me his mobile phone. “Are you still going on about the kitchen?” he was saying. He had a forthright posh accent. “Are you still complaining? What do you want now? I trust them OK?” He listened for a bit and then started really shouting. “I cannot listen to this any more. I have a troop to organise to Afghanistan. Do you really think I care about the kitchen? Just shut up. OK. SHUT UP. If you don’t shut up I’m going to come home and blow your head off. Do you hear me? Blow your head off.” Well. I scurried across the grass pretty quickly after that. I actually think he was  following me because he left the path too, and I don’t know why he would have done that otherwise. I was out of breath when I reached the safety of the main road. A friend was waiting with her dog to cross at the lights. I told her what I had just overheard. I didn’t think he was a real soldier, I said. He was clearly mad. Dangerous. She looked at me and then she looked back over the common. The sun had come out, dappling through the leaves. A few ducks idly floated on the pond. “How’s the book?” she said.

Things you overhear as a thriller writer. . .

Sabine Durrant - Overheard conversations

IF YOU are interested in the ins and outs of human behaviour, few things are more fascinating than the conversations of people sitting next to you in a cafe. It is part crossword puzzle - the deciphering of this particular relationship - and part psychoanalysis. Why did she say that? What is he really getting at? The way we can say one thing and mean another: this truism is so much more obvious when you are not actually engaged in the conversation yourself. Or to me it is. Weirdly, as we are leaving, I often discover my partner doesn’t share my opinion about the marriage of the couple at the next table. Sometimes he hasn’t even noticed there was a couple at the next table. I have spent a lot more time than usual in cafes over the last few weeks. I have a novel to finish, a thriller, and we have the builders in. The house is noisy and a man is liable to appear at a window at any moment. Normally I wouldn’t mind a man appearing at the window, but it can be disarming when you are in the middle of a creepy passage. My new book is about an abusive relationship, the possibility of pseudosuicide (pretending you are dead when you are not), the dark side of human nature, but I have been writing it in cosy nooks in south London, helped on my way by a nice cup of coffee and the smell of baking. And the thing is - and I know it might be because, as I am supposed to be working, I am, unusually, trying [start itals]not[end itals] to listen - but I have noticed this odd thing. The conversations around me have started to take a rather sinister turn. The other day, I was in Lavish Habit in Balham where they sell jewellery and bits of vintage furniture (as well as delicious coconut toast). A young couple eating lunch were idly discussing their future (“I think I could live in Bath”; “Yeah. I could live in Bath. But not ‘til I’m much older, like 30”) when the woman, a petite brunette in clumpy wedge shoes, mentioned she had just declined a party invitation. The man put down his knife and fork and adjusted the neck of his close-fitting polo-shirt. “Did you even mention me?” “Why? You’ve got to come up with your own excuse.” “We’re a couple aren’t we? We either go together or not at all. Not to is ... it’s not... coupling.” “I’d still go if you were busy.” “Would you?” “Yes.” “You wouldn’t.”
“I would.”
“You wouldn’t.” I felt uncomfortable. Was I just imagining the threat implicit in the repetition of “wouldn’t”? He was just staring at her. She just carried on eating her quiche and salad, but in my own head I fast-forwarded to their life in Bath, aged 30, her isolated from her friends, her family, his increasing demands... Later, three women with babies bustled through the door - a lot of pram negotiation, and chair-scraping. They sat right close to my desk (I mean table), which seemed slightly aggressive in itself, though I was probably being paranoid. I think they had just had been into the nail bar next door, because one of them had the leaflet, and they were looking at it while they talked. Their main topic was another woman they all knew. “Hannah was quiet for Hannah.” “She’s usually... such a character.” (Small laugh.) “Her heart’s in the right place.” “How is her mother?” “Not long left.” “N’ah. Shame. Particularly as she’s lost just her father as well.” “God, pedicures are expensive.” How extraordinary, I thought, that they could be so callous, move so effortlessly from the death of a friend’s two parents to the price of a gel nail. And not just that. On the surface, they had appeared to be complimentary about poor Hannah - ‘“such a character”, “her heart’s in the right place” - and yet both comments were actually barbed and not really very kind at all. And if I was Hannah, deranged by grief, and I knew that these smug women with their leisurely lives and their pedicure leaflets were talking about me in that way, well, I wouldn’t like to predict the consequences. I left that cafe, and I went somewhere else the next day - Deli Boutique in Clapham, a new French-run establishment that serves crepes to school children after 3.30pm. It was quiet enough in the morning, though a woman next to me did keep talking about how “disgusting” it was that her daughter’s teacher didn’t return her emails. (The teeth-clenched force behind that most visceral of adjectives suggested a more generalised anger that could do with specialist help). Lunchtime, though, I became aware of latent violence in many of the throwaway remarks wafting over the aroma of hot cheese and ham croissant. “I’m going to have to say something. I can’t live like this.” And “It’s the groaning I can’t bear.” And: “If this job doesn’t come up trumps I’m going to slit my wrists.” Two men in jeans were standing at the counter, waiting for a takeaway chicken pie. “Who’s left of your team now Andy’s ...gone?” one of them said casually to the other. “Just me and Layla,” the second man said. The first man's mouth dropped open. “You’re all that’s left?” Left where? I mean, probably they were just talking about work, redundancies, but I didn’t like the rigid fix of the second man’s jaw. Who was Layla? Did she mind being on her own with him? What had happened to all the others? I walked home a little after that - a nice walk across the common. A man with a beard in a heavy camouflage jacket was talking loudly just ahead of me his mobile phone. “Are you still going on about the kitchen?” he was saying. He had a forthright posh accent. “Are you still complaining? What do you want now? I trust them OK?” He listened for a bit and then started really shouting. “I cannot listen to this any more. I have a troop to organise to Afghanistan. Do you really think I care about the kitchen? Just shut up. OK. SHUT UP. If you don’t shut up I’m going to come home and blow your head off. Do you hear me? Blow your head off.” Well. I scurried across the grass pretty quickly after that. I actually think he was following me because he left the path too, and I don’t know why he would have done that otherwise. I was out of breath when I reached the safety of the main road. A friend was waiting with her dog to cross at the lights. I told her what I had just overheard. I didn’t think he was a real soldier, I said. He was clearly mad. Dangerous. She looked at me and then she looked back over the common. The sun had come out, dappling through the leaves. A few ducks idly floated on the pond. “How’s the book?” she said.

Chapter One

UNEXPECTED LESSONS IN LOVE, by Bernardine Bishop

Read the first chapter of Bernardine Bishop's new book, UNEXPECTED LESSONS IN LOVE, published by John Murray in January 2013.

Sceptre

The Art of Creative Thinking

Rod Judkins

A scuba diving company faces bankruptcy because sharks have infested the area. Solution? Open the world's first extreme diving school. The Art of Creative Thinking reveals how we can transform ourselves, our businesses and our society through a deeper understanding of human creativity. Rod Judkins, of the world-famous St Martin's College of Art, has studied successful creative thinkers from every walk of life, throughout history. Drawing on an extraordinary range of reference points - from the Dada Manifesto to Nobel Prize Winning economists, from Andy Warhol's studio to Einstein's desk - he distils a lifetime's expertise into a succinct, surprising book that will inspire you to think more confidently and creatively. You'll realise why you should be happy when your train is cancelled; meet the most successful class in educational history (in which every single student won a Nobel prize); discover why graphic nudity during public speaking can be both a hindrance and surprisingly persuasive; and learn why, in the twenty-first century, it's technically illegal to be as good as Michelangelo. Be stubborn about compromise. Plan to have more accidents. Be mature enough to be childish. Contradict yourself more often. Discover the Art of Creative Thinking. *From the publishers of the international bestseller The Art of Thinking Clearly*

Hodder & Stoughton

The Broken Woman

Pam Ayres
Chapter One

COLD GRAVE by Kathryn Fox

Read the first chapter of Kathryn Fox's latest thriller, COLD GRAVE.

Chapter One

SUNNYSIDE, by Glen David Gold

Read the first chapter of Glen David Gold's SUNNYSIDE.

I. The Bride for Whom We Dance. The Eleventh Year of the Era of Kansei. 1799.

THE THOUSAND AUTUMNS OF JACOB DE ZOET, by David Mitchell

Read the first chapter of David Mitchell's brilliant THE THOUSAND AUTUMNS OF JACOB DE ZOET.

Extract

GOLD by Chris Cleave

Read an excerpt of Chris Cleave's GOLD.

John Murray

Charge!

Justin Pollard
Chapter One: Murdering Mrs Durance

THE DAUGHTERS OF MARS, by Thomas Keneally

Read the first chapter of Sceptre Booker prize-winning author Thomas Keneally's newest novel, THE DAUGHTERS OF MARS.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Universe versus Alex Woods

Gavin Extence

A tale of an unexpected friendship, an unlikely hero and an improbable journey, Alex's story treads the fine line between light and dark, laughter and tears. And it might just strike you as one of the funniest, most heartbreaking novels you've ever read. Alex Woods knows that he hasn't had the most conventional start in life. He knows that growing up with a clairvoyant single mother won't endear him to the local bullies. He also knows that even the most improbable events can happen - he's got the scars to prove it. What he doesn't know yet is that when he meets ill-tempered, reclusive widower Mr Peterson, he'll make an unlikely friend. Someone who tells him that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make the best possible choices. So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at Dover customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the passenger seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he's fairly sure he's done the right thing . . .

John Murray

The Virgins

Pamela Erens
John Murray

Pol Pot

Philip Short
Hodder Paperbacks

Girl Meets Ape

Chrissie Manby