Audible: Talk to the Hand by Lynne Truss

I do not naturally excel at audible learning.  So, for me, a book on tape or audible story needs to be amazing.  It has to have all the markings of an incredible story and be read to me in a way that keeps me focused enough to follow along.  It is a high bar.  My two favorite types of audibles are:  (1) when the narrator does all different voices and accents or (2) when the author is also the narrator.

Recently, I requested Talk to the hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door by Lynne Truss from my local library.  

White book cover of Talk to the Hand with anthropomorphic raccoon showing the audience their hand.

Apparently, I requested the book on tape instead of the good ‘ol printed version.  (This happens to me often when I pair requesting things with a glass of wine.  Don’t judge.  My library system is amazing but it has a lot of boxes to check).  Usually, I curse my ineptitude and stick it right back in the return slot.  But, since this is narrated by the author I gave it a go.


I think I have already established my penchant for all things British and Lynne Truss is capital-B British.  Delightful dry British is peppered throughout the book along frequent British slang.  Now, the New York Times review saw the addition of “buffed, posh, tosser and lolly” as baffling to some readers but for me it made it all the more enjoyable.  Honestly, if the inclusion of the word “bloody” in the title doesn’t tip you off then that is probably your fault.

Similarly, you will see reviews for this book by people who consider themselves “younger” and thought that Ms. Truss was an “older” person picking on their generation.  To them I say, “Bugger off.”  She clearly states in the very beginning that if you straighten your arm and you have a little excess skin around the elbow, you are probably old enough to enjoy the book.  However, if your elbow skin springs into a flat plain (I’m paraphrasing here because, you know, listening to the book on tape means I cannot look it up) you are probably too young to understand her perspective.

Really though, I only had one small problems with my experience with this particular book on tape.  I wanted to go back and re-read certain parts.  She makes some really excellent points in this book about the turn modern society has taken in its regards to what is polite and what is rude.  I want to be able to quote her.  I also want to research some of the people she references in explaining the history of manners.  Unfortunately, those names are difficult for me to remember without looking at them in print.  This is an easy fix.  I’ll just buy my own copy of the printed book.




Swept Off Her Feet by Hester Browne


Now, chic lit is often used with great disdain to dismiss a book. Well, I proudly enjoy most stories that would probably be considered chic lit except I just call them fiction. Although, I do wish we could get away from some of the covers (Hello Publishers!) that are typically Barbie pink or feature women in uncomfortable, but beautiful, shoes.  These covers effectively pigeonhole a variety of books related to modern womanhood into one neat subcategory. Girlfriend here on this cover looks like she is using the potty or selling Poo Pourri.

But, crack it open.  This book is a delight.  And, I argue that if this story featured a male protagonist with Encyclopedic knowledge of antiques who travels into the country as a favor to his brother and finds romance and history it would be just regular fiction. But, since this features a woman and there is some kissing, it is automatically chic lit.  Which means they have to use a “girly” cover.

I bought this book because I have loved the author Hester Browne since first reading her Little Lady Agency (pink cover and all).  She has written a couple of other books and I have enjoyed each and every one of them.  Recently, I found there was one I had missed.  Oh, the joy!  To find a book by a personally vetted author is a gift.

Side note: I extra love fiction written by British women set anywhere in England.  Perhaps it is because all the trivialities of life are just so much more iteresting when you incorporate British slang. I mean, ‘loo’ instead of ‘restroom’ or ‘mini-break’ rather than ‘vacation’ is just fancier for me.  I love all of it.  The added benefit is that I (who rarely get to travel) get a free cultural lesson while reading what is, at its heart, a romance book. In the end, I feel smart and charmed which is always a winning combination.

So, I dove into Swept Off Her Feet. I found it extra enjoyable because in addition to being set in London there are prolonged jaunts into Scotland. Yum. Scottish reeling, English antiques and several love interests made for a sweet and fun book that just hits the spot.

Now, the synopsis of this book will tell you that it is about two very different sisters, Evie and Alice, and their intertwining romances and opportunity for true love at a Scottish ball. Really, this story is all from Evie’s perspective. While you get to hear about Alice’s love life, it is Evie and her love of antiques and the history that they tell that guides this story. If you enjoy books with smart, kind women who are brave in the face of social trials and tribulations then go ahead and give this fiction book a go (give it a go being British slang for try it.)