Related to: 'How to Talk to Your Cat About Gun Safety'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

Hodder & Stoughton

Hot Feminist

Polly Vernon
Authors:
Polly Vernon

'Bold, brilliant, sharp and funny...it urges women to be less judgemental of each other and of themselves. It's an idea that shouldn't be revolutionary but is.' Elizabeth DayPolly Vernon, Grazia columnist, Times feature writer (hair-flicker, Brazilian-waxer, jeans obsessive, outrageous flirt) presents a brave new perspective on feminism. Drawing on her dedicated, life-long pursuit of hotness - having dismissed many of the rules on 'good' feminism at some point in the early 90s - she'll teach you everything you ever wanted to know about being a feminist when you care about how you look. When part of your brain is constantly monologuing on fashion. When you check out your own reflection in every reflective surface. When your depilation practices are pretty much out of control. When you just really want to be fancied.Hot Feminist is based on a principle of non-judgment (because there's enough already), honesty about how often we mess this up, and empowerment through looks. Part memoir, part road map, it's a rolling, raucous rejection of all those things we're convinced we shouldn't think / wear/ feel/ say/ buy/ want - and a celebration of all the things we can. It is modern feminism, with style, without judgment

Hodder & Stoughton

All Questions Great and Small

Adrian Plass, Jeff Lucas
Authors:
Adrian Plass, Jeff Lucas

The whole idea of the SERIOUSLY FUNNY tour was for Adrian Plass and Jeff Lucas to let people in on their conversations about God, life and the universe - and it went pretty well. After all, that's pretty much what they've been doing in their separate writing and speaking careers all these years.All told, people seemed to like the way their trademark styles came together and shed light on even the most difficult subjects, in a way that perhaps made those burdens a little easier to bear.However, as they toured around the country, Adrian and Jeff realised that other people's questions were at least as interesting as their own - possible more so. Eventually they decided they'd better have a go at some answers. This book is the result.They may not have got the answers right, but they have certainly had a good time along the way - and they hope you will, too.

Hodder Paperbacks

The Book of You (and Me)

Joey Essex
Authors:
Joey Essex
Coronet

Word Play

Gyles Brandreth
Authors:
Gyles Brandreth

'No matter how eloquently a dog may bark, he cannot tell you that his parents were poor but honest.' Only words can do that. Words are magic. Words are fun.Join Gyles Brandreth - wit and word-meister, Just A Minute regular, One Show reporter, denizen of Countdown's Dictionary Corner, founder of the National Scrabble Championships, patron of The Queen's English Society, QI, Room 101, Have I Got News For You and Pointless survivor - on an uproarious and unexpected magic carpet ride around the awesome world of words and wordplay.Puns, palindromes, pangrams, Malaprops, euphemisms, mnemonics, acronyms, anagrams, alphabeticals, Tweets, verbiage, verbarrhea - if you can name it, you should find it here, along with the longest, shortest, wittiest, wildest, oldest, latest, oddest, most interesting and most memorable words in the English language - the richest, most remarkable language ever known.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Rumour

Elin Hilderbrand
Authors:
Elin Hilderbrand

Nantucket writer Madeline King has a new novel coming out and it's got bestseller potential. But Madeline is terrified, because in her desperation to revive her career, she's done something reckless: reveal the truth behind an actual affair involving her best friend, Grace.And that's not the only strain on Madeline and Grace's friendship; one fateful night, the two women argue, voicing jealousies and resentments that have built for twenty years. Bereft of each other, they get caught in the snares of a mysterious and destructive stranger. THE RUMOUR is an irresistible novel about the power of gossip to change the course of events, and the desire of people to find their way back to what really matters.

Hodder & Stoughton

Gino's Veg Italia!

Gino D'Acampo
Authors:
Gino D'Acampo
Hodder & Stoughton

The Virgin Mary's Got Nits

Gervase Phinn
Authors:
Gervase Phinn

A touching and hilarious gift book of poetry and prose on the subject of children and Christmas from the Yorkshire school inspector and bestselling author of the Dales series and Little Village School series.

Coronet

Alan Stoob: Nazi Hunter

Saul Wordsworth
Authors:
Saul Wordsworth

Alan Stoob, hero of this hilarious novel has been described as a new member of the great pantheon of British comic characters - genus awkward old bastard - that already includes Mr Micawber, Mr Pooter and Captain Mainwairing.Originally a Twitter sensation, whose fans include India Knight and Dara O'Brien, he now walks the pages of this book finding Nazi conspirators in the most ordinary surroundings. Alan Stoob is a retired policeman who worries about his piles, suspects his wife had an affair with Henry Cooper and is outraged when people wastefully use A4 sheets to photocopy A5 documents. Into this very ordinary, domestic setting comes world famous Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, who invites Alan to take on responsibilities for hunting Nazis in hiding in the county of Bedfordshire. Alan agrees and finds that wherever he looks he sees evidence of Nazi conspiracy and he begins to follow a trail of evidence that leads him to members of the UK Cabinet and even the President of the United States.'Alan Stoob and its hero are laugh-out-loud funny... the human story at the heart of the diaries charting Alan's failing marriage and his relationship with his depressed fortysomething son is tragically comic amid the increasingly surreal plot.' - The Times

Sceptre

Thistle Versus Rose

Susan Morrison, Albert Jack
Authors:
Susan Morrison, Albert Jack

'Ask a Scotsman for directions and he'll tell you which way to go. Ask an Englishman and he'll try to sell you a map.' Anon'Oats. A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people. 'Samuel JohnsonIt's 700 years since the Scots and English went head-to-head at the Battle of Bannockburn... and we've been winding each other up ever since. Has there ever been a better time to celebrate seven centuries of love, hatred and indifference?Susan Morrison and Albert Jack offer the view from each side of the border in this hilarious miscellany of Anglo-Scots rivalry, featuring quotes, stories and trivia from Stephen Fry, Bill Bryson, Jimmy Carr, Robert Burns, Billy Connolly, Frankie Boyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, Samuel Johnson and many, many others.

Hodder Paperbacks

The School Inspector Calls: A Little Village School Novel (Book 3)

Gervase Phinn
Authors:
Gervase Phinn

The third Little Village School novelSummer has arrived in Barton-in-the-Dale and as a new term begins at the little primary school, it's not just the warm weather that's getting people hot under the collar.Meetings with the teachers from Urebank School to discuss the merger are producing more than a few fireworks, a disruptive new pupil arrives, set to cause trouble, and a surprising staff love affair is exposed. There's also a big school production of The Wizard of Oz to organise as well as an impending visit from the Minister of Education. Headteacher Elisabeth Devine certainly has her work cut out for her.And that's just some of the drama set to shake-up the village. Throw in a sprinkling of secrets, shocking revelations, old flames, new liaisons, psychics, weddings and misfortune . . .There's plenty to gossip about this term.

Hodder & Stoughton

When Fraser Met Billy

Louise Booth
Authors:
Louise Booth
Teach Yourself

Keep Talking English Audio Course - Ten Days to Confidence

Rebecca Moeller
Authors:
Rebecca Moeller
Coronet

The 100 Most Pointless Arguments in the World

Alexander Armstrong, Richard Osman
Authors:
Alexander Armstrong, Richard Osman
Coronet

Bad Education

Bad Education
Authors:
Bad Education

Bad Education, written by and starring Jack Whitehall, follows Alfie Wickers the worst teacher to ever (dis)grace the British Education System, and a bigger kid than the pupils he teaches. Abbey Grove school is populated by some of the weirdest teachers you could ever meet: Fraser the hair-brained Headmaster who longs to be down with the kids, Miss Gulliver the biology teacher with a heart of gold but perhaps a dash too much openness and honesty, Miss Mollinson the happily swinging Head of Maths who won't let her hip replacement get in the way and Deputy Headmistress Miss Pickwell who displays all the charm and sensitivity of a Third Reich Dominatrix.Alfie's class is Form K, a bunch of misfits that have been written off by the rest of the school, but Alfie can't help but see a bit of himself in them. This is about a class of kids and their teacher's quest to get through life and get the best results with the minimum amount of effort possible. Sadly it's not an equation that always adds up. From a disastrous parents' evening to cringe-worthy sex-education lessons to life threatening self-defence classes to school elections full of dirty tricks and a school trip to see a rhino pig; Bad Education is school life as you've never seen it before. Bad Education: The Teachers' Handbook is filled with hilarious content from both the first and upcoming second series from pupils' report cards and the graffiti found in the staff toilets, to Alfie's teaching methods and the best ways to scam a free laptop from the government.

Coronet

Love...And Sleepless Nights

Nick Spalding
Authors:
Nick Spalding

When Nick Spalding self-published Love... From Both Sides and Love... And Sleepless Nights he became one of the bestselling ebook authors of 2012. Now for the first time the Love... books are being published in a longer format with more of the love story, more of Laura and Jamie's ups and downs and more of the laugh-out-loud hilarious moments that fans have come to know and love. Sometimes, the hardest part of becoming a parent is keeping a straight face...Just ask Jamie and Laura Newman, who (thanks to a rather relaxed attitude to contraception) find themselves about to have a baby. It's obviously a terrifying prospect for a newly married couple, but as long as they stick together they'll be just fine... right? They'd better because the path between falling in love and those first few baby steps is littered with obstacles. Featuring a hilarious cast of characters including an overbearing mother-in-law, a terrifying midwife and at least one chorus of mating humpback whales, Love... And Sleepless Nights is the hilarious follow-up novel all about what happens beyond the happy ever after. Falling in love with another person is easy, making a new one is where things get complicated.

Hodder Paperbacks

An Open Book - My Autobiography

Darren Clarke
Authors:
Darren Clarke

A golfer loved for his courage and charisma,Darren Clarke has the crowds behind him.They know he is a warm, funny raconteur who likes a Guinness, who both works hard and plays hard. More important, they know that this man pulled himself up by his bootstraps, having lost his wife Heather to cancer, to triumph at the 2006 Ryder Cup.Just days before the start of the 2011 Open at Royal St George's, Darren's game had once again deserted him, leaving him 'putting like a man with blurred vision'. A month before his 43rd birthday he was not in a good place. But Heather was 'watching from above', the crowd were roaring him on, golf guru Dr Bob Rotella was telling him to 'go unconscious' - and something sparked inside him. The rest is golfing history.Born in Dungannon, Northern Ireland, Darren caddied for his golf course greenkeeper father, turning pro in 1990. He has played in four victorious Ryder Cup sides and beat his close friend Tiger Woods in the 36-hole final of the 2000 WGC-Andersen Consulting Match Play. In 2002 he became the only player to win the English Open three times.In An Open Book he speaks candidly about fellow-players, coaches and golfing psychologists; about how he was bullied at school, narrowly missed and IRA bomb and eventually set up a foundation to develop junior golf in Ireland; and about how he found personal happiness again, marrying Alison Campbell in April 2012. Most vividly of all, he takes the reader down those rainswept fairways to the ecstasy of that final putt when, at his 20th attempt, he lifted the silver claret jug.

Coronet

The 100 Most Pointless Things in the World

Alexander Armstrong, Richard Osman
Authors:
Alexander Armstrong, Richard Osman

The world is full of pointless things. From rail replacement bus services to chip forks. From war to windchimes. From people who put cushions on beds to people who read the bit they write about the book on amazon.Look around you right now. See how many pointless things there are in just this one shop (or this one school playground if you've picked this up at a car boot fair)... Just about the only thing that isn't pointless is you. You look amazing.Join Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman, the hosts of BBC1 quiz show Pointless as they take you on a journey through The 100 Most Pointless Things in the World. Filled with play-along quiz questions and unlikely facts, their hilarious collection of musings on some of the most pointless things found in everyday modern life is the perfect blend of the obscure, the fascinating and the downright silly.

Hodder Paperbacks

Sh*tty Mum

Mary Ann Zoellner, Alicia Ybarbo, Karen Moline, Laurie Kilmartin
Authors:
Mary Ann Zoellner, Alicia Ybarbo, Karen Moline, Laurie Kilmartin
Hodder Paperbacks

Cuckoo in the Nest

Nat Luurtsema
Authors:
Nat Luurtsema
Hodder & Stoughton

Walking with Sausage Dogs

Matt Whyman
Authors:
Matt Whyman