The books listed below are those that I’d be tempted by rather than a broad selection of all books that are on offer. Clicking on the Kindle will take you through to Amazon’s current Daily Deals.
The price quoted is that given at time of posting, please always check before buying as some prices can change quickly.
(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
Tall Tales & Wee Stories by Billy Connolly
In December 2018, after fifty years of belly-laughs, energy and outrage, Billy Connolly announced his retirement from live stand-up comedy. It had been an extraordinary career.
When he first started out in the late sixties, Billy played the banjo in the folk clubs of Scotland. Between songs, he would improvise a bit, telling anecdotes from the Clyde shipyard where he’d worked. In the process, he made all kinds of discoveries about what audiences found funny, from his own brilliant mimes to the power of speaking irreverently about politics or explicitly about sex. He began to understand the craft of great storytelling. Soon the songs became shorter and the monologues longer, and Billy quickly became recognised as one of the most exciting comedians of his generation.
Billy’s routines always felt spontaneous. He never wrote scripts, always creating his comedy freshly on stage in the presence of a live audience. A brilliant comic story might be subsequently discarded, adapted or embellished. A quick observation or short anecdote one night, could become a twenty-minute segment by the next night of a tour.
Billy always brought a beautiful sense of the absurd to his shows as he riffed on his family, hecklers, swimming in the North Sea or naked bungee jumping. But his comedy can be laced with anger too. He hates pretentiousness and calls out hypocrisy wherever he sees it. His insights about the human condition have shocked many people, while his unique talent and startling appearance on stage gave him license to say anything he damn well pleased about sex, politics or religion.
Billy got away with it because he has always had the popular touch. His comedy spans generations and different social tribes in a way that few others have ever managed.
Too Many Reasons to Live by Rob Burrow
‘I’m not giving in until my last breath’ – Rob Burrow
Rob Burrow is one of the greatest rugby league players of all time. And the most inspirational. As a boy, Rob was told he was too small to play the sport. Even when he made his debut for Leeds Rhinos, people wrote him off as a novelty. But Rob never stopped proving people wrong. During his time at Leeds, for whom he played almost 500 games, he won eight Super League Grand Finals, two Challenge Cups and three World Club Challenges. He also played for his country in two World Cups.
In December 2019, Rob was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, a rare degenerative condition, and given a couple of years to live. He was only thirty-seven, not long retired and had three young children. When he went public with the devastating news, the outpouring of affection and support was extraordinary. When it became clear that Rob was going to fight it all the way, sympathy turned to awe.
This is the story of a tiny kid who adored rugby league but never should have made it – and ended up in the Leeds hall of fame. It’s the story of a man who resolved to turn a terrible predicament into something positive – when he could have thrown the towel in. It’s about the power of love, between Rob and his childhood sweetheart Lindsey, and of friendship, between Rob and his faithful teammates. Far more than a sports memoir, Too Many Reasons to Live is a story of boundless courage and infinite kindness.
The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan
No one is innocent in this story.
First Rule: Make them like you.
Second Rule: Make them need you.
Third Rule: Make them pay.
They think I’m a young, idealistic law student, that I’m passionate about reforming a corrupt and brutal system.
They think I’m working hard to impress them.
They think I’m here to save an innocent man on death row.
They’re wrong. I’m going to bury him.
Beach House Summer by Sarah Morgan
A marriage in the spotlight
Joanna Whitman’s high-profile marriage held more secrets than she cares to remember, so when her ex-husband dies, she doesn’t know what to feel. But when she discovers that he’s left behind a pregnant young woman, Joanna is forced to act. She knows exactly how brutal the spotlight on them both will be…unless she can find a way for them to disappear.
A beach house hideaway
Ashley Blake is amazed when Joanna suggests they lie low at her beach house in her sleepy Californian hometown. Joanna should be hating her, not helping her. But alone and pregnant, Ashley needs all the support she can find.
A summer of new beginnings
Joanna’s only goal for the summer is privacy. All Ashley wants is space to plan for her and her baby’s future. But when an old flame reappears, and secrets spill out under the hot summer sun, this unlikely friendship is put to the test…
A Welcome Misfortune by Kay Bratt
In 1867 an infant girl called Luli is born into a middle-class Chinese family on the mainland. Her fate is altered when instead of being put to the breast of her mother, her father declares her a misfortune and she is left at the famous Chaozhou wall where many parents and grandparents abandon their unwanted girls. But the child’s mother is desperate to save her and beseeches one of her sons to step in and deliver the baby to safety.
At the same time in the affluent house of a scholar on the island of Hong Kong, house slaves Sun Ling and Jingwei are sworn sisters, bound by their shared struggles. When the hardship and abuse become too much too bear, the girls escape and make a run for freedom, then find themselves on a ship bound for the western coast of the Americas.
When the paths of these three forgotten girls of China meet, the ocean journey is treacherous and not for the faint-hearted. In the midst of monumental difficulties, their lives converge, and they traverse many obstacles, but will do anything for one another in their oath to stay together and fulfill their hope for a better future in Chinatown, on the shores of San Francisco.
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