These books will save your life

OK. So that’s a slight exaggeration. What I really meant to say was “these books will make you laugh / cry and thus fill an afternoon that would otherwise have to be spent nodding as Auntie Felicity shows your 400 of her holiday pictures from Tenerife, including several of her semi-clad that should really never have been taken.” Though in my day it was Uncle Richard and his interminable slideshows of Himalayan climbing trips (“Oooh look, some more snow!”).

So, in no particular order:

  1. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 and ¾ by Sue Townsend.  Thirty this year but still funny and true, and to which Rachel Riley owes a huge debt.
  2. Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce. “In the Turtles” is guaranteed to make me snort with laughter. To find out why, you’ll just have to read it.
  3. The Escaped Black Mamba by Joan Aiken. The funniest of the hilarious Arabel’s Raven series. Even if you think you’re a bit too old, you’re not, you never are.
  4. Clarice Bean Spells Trouble by Lauren Child. Likewise. Never too old.
  5. Finding Violet Park by Jenny Valentine. Funny and sad and true and I so wish I’d written it.
  6. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. You might be too young for this though. Definite teen material.
  7. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green. And this one.
  8. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. But not this one. Just a thing of beauty and incredibleness.
  9. Diary of a Chav by Grace Dent. Kind of Rachel’s polar Essex opposite. And very very funny.
  10. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. Only the first one, not the one pictured here. I would show you the original but Millie has snaffled it and hidden it somewhere.
  11. The Luxe by Anna Godberson. Kind of like Gossip Girl, as written by Georgette Heyer. In other words, Blair in a corset and Chuck in tight white trousers and leather boots. What’s not to love?

And I have just realized that there are eleven. But I am like Spinal Tap in that way… (and that’s something else to while away a long Wintry afternoon…)

About Joanna Nadin

A former broadcast journalist and special adviser to the prime minister, since leaving politics I’ve written more than 80 books for children and adults, as well as speeches for politicians, and articles for newspapers and magazines like The Guardian, Red and The Amorist. I also lecture in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and hold a doctorate in young adult literature. I’m a winner of the Fantastic Book Award and the Surrey Book Award, and have been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Booktrust Best Book award and Queen of Teen among others, and twice nominated for the Carnegie Medal, for Everybody Hurts, and for Joe All Alone, which is now a BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated BBC TV series. I've also worked with Sir Chris Hoy on the Flying Fergus series and ghost-written Angry Birds under another name. I like London, New York, Essex, tea, cake, Marmite, mint imperials, prom dresses, pubs, that bit in the West Wing where Donna tells Josh she wouldn’t stop for a red light if he was in an accident, junk shops, crisps, Cornwall, St Custard’s, Portuguese custard tarts, political geeks, pin-up swimsuits, the Regency, high heels, horses, old songs, my Grandma’s fur coat, vinyl, liner notes, the smell of old books, the feel of a velveteen monkey, Guinness, quiffs, putting my hand in a bin of chicken feed, the 1950s, burlesque, automata, fiddles, flaneuring, gigs in fields on warm summer nights, Bath, the bath.
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4 Responses to These books will save your life

  1. Lizza Aiken says:

    Hi, I’m going to have to steal some of your Mortimer reviews soon! Thanks so much for lovely cheery posts.

    • Joanna Nadin says:

      Dear Lizza

      I feel beyond elated to even hear from you. Your mother was such an inspiration to me throughout my childhood and in my writing too. As are your co-authored books. And to my delight I’ve just found one I haven’t read yet!

      Gosh I am quite overcome.

      Jo x

  2. Lizza Aiken says:

    Wow, thank you – nice to have made contact!

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