This is Bar­bara. She is talk­ing about books.

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

HAVE you read any of the tongue-in-cheek Lady­bird books for grown-ups? Mr F pre­sented me with How it Works; The Hus­band, as a Christ­mas stock­ing filler. At the same time as I was chortling over the book, he was un­wrap­ping How it Works: The Wife, from me.

Both were sur­prises: his bought on Ama­zon; mine at Water­stones in Uxbridge. I use Ama­zon a lot too, but also like to sup­port our book­shops and oc­ca­sion­ally the li­brary.

It has just been re­ported that the pop­u­lar­ity of the grown-up Lady­bird se­ries saw sales in book­shops go up over the fes­tive sea­son, with Foyles re­port­ing a rise of five per cent.

Its head of buy­ing said the blend of irony and nos­tal­gia made th­ese cheeky Pen­guins ir­re­sistible to cus­tomers and ac­counted for seven of its ten best­sellers last month (De­cem­ber). This is great news, as it bucks the pre­vi­ous trend in fall­ing sales. Long Live Real Books!

The eight books for adults are writ­ten by com­edy writ­ers Ja­son Haze­ley and Joel Mor­ris who have writ­ten for shows such as That Mitchell and Webb Look and in­clude ti­tles like The Lady­bird Book of Dat­ing, The Lady­bird Book of Sheds and The Lady­bird Book of The Mid-life Cri­sis.

I looked over Mr F’s shoul­der to see him read­ing: ‘This is a wife. She looks happy, doesn’t she? This is be­cause she is on her se­cond glass of wine.’

Af­ter the lat­est guide­lines by the chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer this might need to change. I’ve stocked up with non-al­co­holic wine but Mr F and I are not sign­ing the pledge just yet.

My favourite bit of the hus­band book is on page 16: ‘The hus­band finds some things very dif­fi­cult. Be­ing wrong is one of th­ese things.’ Hmm..

It wasn’t only the text that made th­ese books so suc­cess­ful when they came out for chil­dren in the 1940s. The colour­ful full page pic­tures, which Haze­ley and Mor­ris ad­mit they have ‘mer­ci­lessly ribbed’ in the mod­ern ver­sions, are al­ways on the right hand side and tell their own story. Re­mem­ber folks, you can’t get them on a Kin­dle.

Peo­ple have been kindly en­quir­ing about Find­ing Tip­per­ary Mary by Phyl­lis Whit­sell, the book (pub­lished by Mir­ror books) in which I have been in­volved. It is due out on Fe­bru­ary 15, later than ex­pected, be­cause we changed pub­lish­ers.

Ev­ery week BAR­BARA FISHER looks at is­sues that af­fect us all – the is­sues that get you talk­ing. You can join in by email­ing bmail­bar­bara@gmail.com

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