Posted by: billpurdue | December 21, 2012

Very last minute presents

I was planning my December column for the Chad, when I was told that their “What’s On” section won’t be as big during December, so my column will not be needed. Having already done a bit of research for it, I thought I would turn it into the next posting. I’ve been down to WHSmith in Mansfield to find out from Laura, the lady in charge of the books, what is selling well this Christmas.

 I didn’t ask her about E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, which I assume is still going like hot cakes, though I would expect that most people who are going to read it will have done so by now. I did however find that 50 Sheds of Grey, one of the parodies is doing well. It’s not a story at all, but a series of short paragraphs full of innuendo plus lots of photographs of sheds, which are all … er.. grey. Some people like to buy ‘silly’ presents as stocking fillers and this seems to be just the thing.


Now Fifty Shades of Mr Darcy by William Codpiece Thwackery is altogether a more substantial and I would guess funnier parody, which could have you chuckling in the first two or three pages. I can do no better than quote two Amazon reviewers: “This postmodern parody is sure to have all nicely brought up young ladies guffawing into their fans.” and “If you thought that Pride and Prejudice was overwrought and Fifty Shades was overbought then this is the book for you. It satirises both novels in a plot that has the same dramatic tensions as Jane Austen’s original work but for entirely different and hilarious reasons.” Oh, and it’s selling well at WHSmith.


bradly_wiggins_my_time_f_300Now for something quite different. It was hard for anyone watching the BBC News last weekend to avoid the fact that Bradley Wiggins was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2012 (SPOY for short). Wiggo’s autobiography, My Time, is out and it’s doing well. Getting the SPOY award will no doubt boost sales. I didn’t realize that this is the 3rd volume of autobiography, the previous ones being: InPursuit of Glory (2008, Orion Books) and On Tour(2010, Orion Books). I have to say that Mr Wiggins’ photograph on the front of the book does have a rather strange expression – does anyone else think so?



Crime always sells well and Ian Rankin seems unable to do wrong. His latest Rebus novel is called Standing in another man’s grave. This Rebus novel is rather unusual in that Rankin pits two detectives against each other ; the teetotal Fox and the beer swilling Rebus. Have a look at the Guardian review.

It’s impossible to get away from cookery books in WHSmith and two quite different books in that category are/were doing quite well. One is Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s 15 minute meals and the other is the hefty tome by Nigel Slater called Kitchen Diaries. The latter has no doubt been given a boost by the recent TV screenings of Slater’s series “Dish of the Day” on BBC2. Of course there are loads of cookery books to choose from and some are/were at rock bottom prices.

oh dear silviaPerhaps I really ought to read one of Dawn French’s novels. Her latest, Oh Dear Silvia is about a patient lying in hospital in a coma who is visited by various characters from her past life. The Independent reviewer was not impressed – the comment “this could have been a better book” is quite telling. Still it doesn’t have to be a really good book to be a bestseller I suppose.




Finally – and I don’t usually write about  books for younger readers – there are a couple of titles for children that are really doing well: the seventh in the ‘Diary of a Wimpy kid’ series by Jeff Kinney called The Third Wheel and David Walliams’ Ratburger. It’s about a little girl called Zoe who has a small rat called Armitage. The Guardian children’s books site says it’s ‘brilliant’ – what better recommendation could you get?


Have a very happy Christmas and all the best for 2013




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