Miles Kington: Fiction that's stranger than truth

'What happens to someone royal when all their blue blood is suddenly taken away from them?'
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Today I am bringing you a further selection of summer reading, gleaned from a quick trawl through the bookshops to see what people are buying for the beach this year.

If you don't find at least one perfect item of leisure literature here, then I'll eat my hat!

 

I'll Eat My Hat! by Jane Asher

The perfect cookery book for those who have uttered rash promises like, well, "I'll eat my hat". Jane Asher shows you how to make cakes into almost every conceivable shape in order to carry out any unpremeditated commitments. "When I first started on this project, I thought I might have to eat my words before I was finished," says author Jane. "Well, I did – and they were delicious!"

 

The Virginia Monologues by various

This is the book of the controversial stage show. Dozens of women who had given up smoking were asked to talk and reminisce frankly about the effect that withdrawal from Virginia tobacco has had on them. Tells you all you ever wanted to know about women and ciggies.

 

Bad Blood by Anthony Holden

When the Queen Mother had her recent 101st birthday, it was preceded by a complete blood transfusion to combat anaemia. But what happens to someone royal when all their blue blood is suddenly taken away from them? How closely is the new blood vetted? If the new blood comes from a commoner, does that make the Queen Mum commoner then before? And what happens to all the blue blood she has just lost? Ace royal biographer Tony Holden tells the whole story in fascinating detail. Not for the squeamish.

 

The Voyager Monologues by various

This is the book of the controversial stage show. Dozens of women who had flown in space were asked to talk and reminisce frankly about the effect on them of being up there while everyone else was down here. Tells you all you ever wanted to know about what women feel like – and what they talk about! – when the nearest man is at least 50,000 miles away.

 

Is Chocolate the New Snow?

by Laetitia Somerville

Have you noticed the way that certain vogue words or sayings creep into our consciousness? Laetitia Somerville certainly has. She has noticed, for instance, that a year or two ago lots of trendy books and films had the word "snow" in the title. Not any more. Now the trendy word is "chocolate", unless of course you're thinking of men's novels, in which case the trendy word is "boy". How do these shifts come about? And will lots of people buy this book on the grounds that it contains both "chocolate" and "snow"? It will be interesting to see, though not very.

 

Gielgud: A Life by the Queen Mother

Apparently the Queen Mum was irked by the fact that everyone had written a life of John Gielgud except her. She was also irked by the fact that more people had written about him than about her. So she has redressed the balance by writing this down-to-earth, no-frills brief life ("If you want all the old Gielgud stories, go to Gyles Brandreth or Sheridan Morley, because you won't find all that stuff here," she says rather tartly at one point) though it is never really apparent whether she had ever met the great man or not.

 

Driving Over Melons by Peter Peerless

Peter Peerless was driven by an urge to go out to the West Indies, start a new life growing melons on his own farm, and then write a best-selling book about it. Unfortunately, he never got further than Berkshire, where he opened an ostrich farm, but just as the demand for exotic meats flattened out and went into reverse. This is the story of the watercress farm he now runs in Wales.

 

The Vegemite Monologues by various

This is the book of the controversial stage show. Dozens of Australian women who had left their homeland to live in Europe and America were asked to talk and reminisce frankly about their umbilical attachment to the famous brown salty extract to which so many Aussies are powerfully addicted, and what it's like to live in a place where it's difficult to find any. Tells you all you want to know about the way Australian womenfolk spread their bread – and never mentions the word "Sheila" once.

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