20 Best Cover Versions

It’s easy to scoff at a cover version, but let’s hold off with the music snobbery just one second as some are worth praise. Some are even better than the original. Here’s a run down of my personal 20 favourite cover versions, in descending order. I’ve put the original recording artist in brackets. Spotify playlist at the end as always.

20. The Loco-motion by Kylie Minogue (Little Eva)

19. Dear Prudence by Siouxsie and the Banshees (The Beatles)

18. California Dreamin’ by the Carpenters (Mamas & the Papas)

17. When You Were Mine by Cyndi Lauper (Prince)

16. Brass in Pocket by Suede (The Pretenders)

15. Umbrella by Manic Street Preachers (Rhianna)

14. Piece of My Heart by Janis Joplin (Erma Franklin)

13. Live and Let Die by Guns N’ Roses (Paul McCartney and Wings)

12. Hazy Shade of Winter by the Bangles (Simon & Garfunkel)

11. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Tori Amos (Nirvana)

And the Top Ten….

10. I Heard it Through the Grapevine by the Slits (Marvin Gaye)

9. It’s Oh So Quiet by Bjork (Betty Hutton)

8. Mad World by Gary Jules & Michael Andrews (Tears for Fears)

7. Valerie by Mark Ronson feat Amy Winehouse (The Zutons)

6. Tainted Love by Soft Cell (Gloria Jones)

Top Five…

5. Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley (Leonard Cohen)

4. Hurt by Johnny Cash (Nine Inch Nails)

3. They Won’t Go When I Go by George Michael (Stevie Wonder)

2. Respect by Aretha Franklin (Otis Redding) If you only watch one of these music videos, then please make it this one. Aretha is the QUEEN!

1.Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinead O’Connor (Prince)

So, which one of these is your favourites? And which cover version do you love that doesn’t feature in my top 20? Don’t forget to come back on Friday for my weekly music series. This Friday it’s going to be music from 1986.

Top Ten Tunes- 1985

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1985.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019


Eastenders in 1985

So in 1985, the Sinclair C5 is launched, TV soap opera Eastenders debuts, a fire breaks out at Bradford football stadium during a match killing 56 people, the Football Association bans all English football clubs from playing in Europe due to football riots and hooliganism, the Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior is sunk after French agents plant a bomb, Live Aid concerts in both London and Philadelphia raise over £50,000,000 for famine relief in Ethiopia, the wreck of RMS Titanic is located by an expedition team, rioting as a result of racial tension take place in both Birmingham and Brixton, 55 people are killed in the Manchester Airport disaster when a plane bursts into flames, the first British mobile phone call is made and the films The Breakfast Club, The Goonies and Back to the Future are released. I turned 9 years old.


There’s quite a few repeat appearances here. There’s only two acts here that you haven’t seen before in previous weeks, but it does not make this week’s playlist any weaker. Also, please note how the hair has definitely got a lot BIGGER in 1985.

1.How Soon is Now? by The Smiths


2. Shout by Tears for Fears


3. You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) by Dead or Alive


I kind of feel sorry for the bloke on the right who is lacking in the hair department. Do you think he felt left out?

4. Take on Me by A-Ha

5. I’m Your Man by Wham!


6. Inbetween Days by the Cure


7. Raspberry Beret by Prince

8. Running up That Hill by Kate Bush

Kate Bush Cloudbusting 1985 smusic

9. Crazy for You by Madonna


10. Road to Nowhere by Talking Heads


Whilst Dead or Alive are a close second, it’s Kate that wins again for me this week. One of the best songs ever written and those lyrics are phenomenal “And if I only could, I’d make a deal with God, And I’d get him to swap our places”. So, which one is your favourite?

See you next week for 1986!

In Celebration of Food

Recently, the wonderful food writer and eat what you want advocate, Ruby Tandoh wrote a piece about the nostalgia of food. The simple kind of food that gives you instance gratification. That makes you feel safe and at home and easily fills you with joy. And most importantly the kind of food that makes you feel like you. She talked about Mars Bars and cheddar cheese a lot (girl after my own heart/stomach). Whilst, I’m generally in love with food 99.9% of the time, her piece rekindled my love of food even more. It reminded me that it is only to be enjoyed. That it is never to feel guilty about and that it is a privilege that I have easy, ready access to it. In honour of food and the simple, but wonderful pleasures it brings, I have written a list of food that gives me great oral pleasure (maybe I should reword that sentence, but Imma just gonna leave it as it is). It’s a very personal list, as what food brings you comfort and makes you feel at home, can only be unique to yourself.

Hot crumpets oozing with butter (never margarine).

Jacket potato with baked beans (always Heinz), cheese and yes lots of butter.

Seasonal strawberries and sugar served at room temperature.

Fried halloumi cheese, nicely browned on both sides.

Thin pancakes served on Pancake Day with sugar and freshly squeezed lemon.

Baked bananas with chocolate chips and mini marshmallows down the middle, so it’s nice and gooey when you open up the banana.

Mum’s roast dinner, with the roast potatoes done just right.


Enjoying one of Mum’s roast dinners on Christmas Day in (possibly) 1979. Yes I am the rosy cheeked child and yes that is a bottle of Brut aftershave in the back ground.

Mum’s macaroni cheese with more cheese than necessary.

Homemade bread, still warm, so the butter slightly melts with raspberry jam.

Marmite soldiers dipped in a boiled egg.

Crunchie ice creams.


Tunnock’s Teacakes

Hot chocolate overflowing with mini marshmallows

Fish and chips from the local chippy or eaten at the seaside in the wind.

Toasted brioche with Nutella and mascarpone

Fluffy pancakes served with strawberries and maple syrup on a lazy Sunday morning.

Pret’s chocolate mousse

Sweet potato fries dipped in Mayo.

Wensleydale cheese with cranberries on a digestive biscuit

Thornton’s Mini Caramel Shortcake Bites

Scottish Shortbread

Cinnamon and raisin bagels with, you’ve guessed it, lots of butter.

Marks & Spencer’s Raspberry jelly pots.

Plain bagels toasted with cheese and marmite.

Egg fried rice from the local Chinese takeaway. Preferably eaten whilst drunk.

Spaghetti served in any which way.

Walkers Prawn Cocktail crisps (the Daddy of crisps).

Homemade apple and blackberry crumble served with hot custard.

Maltesers in the cinema.

Bangers and mash with really creamy mash, gravy and peas.

Scones (pronounced like phone, no need to correct me) with BUTTER, jam and clotted cream.

Betty’s Fat Rascals.

Moist chocolate brownies. Oh yes. Moist.

Vegetable Korma with pilau rice and garlic naan bread dipped in mango chutney.

Pizza Express Fiorentina pizza (no olives thanks)

Fresh warm doughnuts served with sugar and cinnamon. This one is officially better than sex.

Nectarines in summer.

Clementines in winter.

Dad’s green beans from the garden.

Cheese and pineapple sticks, straight from the 80s.

Plain chocolate hobnobs

Rich tea biscuits dipped in tea (most underrated biscuits ever)

Lemon curd yogurt

Fishfinger sandwiches (please ignore Em Linthorpe’s view on fishfingers. She knows nothing).

Chocolate buttons.

Licked cake batter off of a wooden spoon.

Marks and Spencer’s Percy Pigs (my version of crack)

Cadbury’s Creme Eggs (I lied. These are my crack)

Nobbly Bobbly ice lollies.

Orange Smarties

Green & Blacks Dark Chocolate

Toasted marshmallows, slightly burnt

Corn on the cob. Lots of butter.

Prawn Cocktail in a glass.

Wagamama’s Katsu Curry

McVitie’s Jamaica Cake

Pub lasagne with bubbling cheese on top served with garlic bread and a token bit of salad (and I always eat every single scrap of it)


Enjoy your food and savour every taste. It’s a privilege.


You can read more about my thoughts on food and body image here

And you can sign up for Ruby’s brilliant tiny letters about food here.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for sometime, but Suzie’s excellent blog post here finally prompted me to.





Top Ten Tunes- 1984

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1984.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019


Band Aid 1984


In 1984, Torvill and Dean wins gold at the Winter Olympics, the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated, the miners’ strikes begin, comedian Tommy Cooper collapses and dies from a heart attack live on TV, police officer Yvonne Fletcher is shot and killed in the Libyan Embassy siege, a Brighton hotel is bombed by the IRA in an attempt to kill PM Margaret Thatcher- she narrowly escapes injury, but 5 people are killed and 31 were injured, the Thames Barrier is opened by the Queen, British unemployment reaches an all time record high, runner Zola Budd controversially collides with Mary Decker during the 3000 metre race at the Los Angeles Olympics, Prince Harry (officially Henry) is born, the Band Aid charity single is released and goes to the top of the charts, pop band Bucks Fizz are involved in a serious road accident, Marvin Gaye is shot and killed by his father and the films Ghostbusters, Gremlins, the Terminator, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Footloose are released. I turned 8 years old.


I think 1984 is another one of my favourite years so far. So many big names this week and our George features twice. So here’s my top ten 10 tunes from 1984, in no particular order. There’s a Spotify playlist at the end as per.

  1. Wake Me Up Before You Go Go by Wham! (This video is pure 80s, pure Wham! and pure George- shaky camera work and bad miming ‘n’ all)

2. White Lines (Don’t Do It) by Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel


Is this the most perfect band photo ever?

3. Borderline by Madonna


4. Hero Takes a Fall by the Bangles (watch the Bangles destroying the patriarchy in this video)

5. Seven Seas by Echo and the Bunnymen

Echo & the Bunnymen

6. Careless Whisper by George Michael


7. Smalltown Boy by Bronski Beat


8. The Power of Love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood


9. Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper


10. Purple Rain by Prince


What?! Now you want me to pick one, singular track from that lot to be my favourite?! When you’ve got George Michael, Cyndi Lauper, Frankie, Wham AND Prince in that list altogether, it’s not possible, surely?…but I’m thinking as I still can’t listen to Purple Rain without getting misty eyes, it’s probably that. So, can you decide which one is your favourite? Let me know below.

See you next Friday for 1985.

Ironing: why bother?

Quite what is the point of ironing? I’ll help you out here: none.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not some kind of useless domestic failure. I love cooking, I’m one of those weirdos that actually enjoys cleaning and tidying and I’m a whizz at organising my daughter’s school/social life. However, ironing can just go swivel.

It’s times like this that I don’t feel like a proper woman. I’m fully aware that that sentence alone smacks of sexism. Just because I don’t iron, why does this make me less of a woman? Now *I* know it doesn’t make me less of a woman and you dear reader, will probably (hopefully) feel like it doesn’t make me less of woman. However, according to a recent study, women do all the ironing in 4 out of 5 households in the UK. Also, when 95% of my female friends all iron and talk about their huge piles of ironing that they have to get done, it’s usually met with either a blank look from yours truly, a slightly disingenuous “oh dear, how depressing” utterance or a hilarious suggestion that they should just get drunk to get through the ironing. In my head, it is also predictably met with “why the fuck do you have to do the ironing every time. What’s wrong with your husband’s arms?”. It is also met with “what even is ironing?”.

So confession time.

I’ve never ironed in my life.

I don’t even own an iron.

Thus, my child’s clothes don’t even get ironed. Not even her school uniform.

Yep, as I was saying. I sometimes don’t feel like a proper woman. Or at least a stereotyped version of a woman. And I definitely don’t feel like an adult, but that could be for a whole host of reasons. Probably best not to pull on that thread right now.

You see, I just don’t see the point. Ironing takes up a lot of time. According to this new study, on average, a woman will spend around 3,000 hours of her life ironing a pile of clothes that is four times taller than the height of the Shard building. Mate, life is too short for that. I can think of better ways to spend my time. Such as watching TV (yeah I know I could iron and watch TV at the same time, but call me foolish, but I like to sit and relax whilst I watch RuPaul’s Drag Race. I know us women are meant to be good at multi-tasking, but we really shouldn’t have to do it all the time), reading, baking, tickling my 7 year old until she vomits (true story, I’ve achieved this several times. It’s a mark of good parenting. Trust me*) blogging about why I don’t iron or anything but ironing.


But aren’t all your husband’s shirts creased, I hear you cry?

  1. The state of my husband’s shirts are solely not my responsibility. If he wants pristine, crease free shirts, he can buy an iron and iron the fuckers himself.
  2. We have found that hanging his shirts up in the bathroom whilst he has a shower, pretty much leaves them crease-free anyway. This is how lazy people try and make themselves look presentable, people. Feel free to take note.

But don’t you feel guilty sending your child to school with a creased uniform?

Nope. Next question.

No, but really don’t you?

Look, her polo shirts don’t really crease and if they are a bit creased, they tend to sort themselves out after hanging in the wardrobe for a bit. Same goes for the dresses. Her pinafore dresses cover most of the shirts anyway, so even if there are a few creases left, nobody will bloody see them anyway. Plus, she’s 7. If you can’t have slightly creased clothes at 7 years old, when can you?

But I find ironing really relaxing. It’s like meditating for me.

Good for you, but it’s not for me. I find drinking copious amounts of Pinot Grigio whilst cyber stalking ex-boyfriends meditative. We all find our peace in different ways.

Sometimes, I feel quite alone with my opinion that ironing is the biggest waste of time. I know there are kindred non-ironing spirits out there. I just feel like either I’m seriously behind society with my lack of ironing participation OR myself and other non-ironers have discovered something that others are yet to (non-iron) cotton on to. And that is, there is literally no point in ironing. In fact, I’d go as far to say that I feel it was designed purely to enslave women to their domestic chores. I’m making a serious point here guys**. Chucking your iron away is as good as burning your bra.

So, are you with me or against me? Do you love your iron or like me, do you never touch one?

*Don’t ever trust me.

**I may be hyperbolising with my theory here




Top Ten Tunes- 1983

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1983.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019


Unemployment was in excess of 3 million in 1983.

In 1983, wearing seat belts in the front of cars becomes compulsory (though this didn’t sway my Grandad to do this), the CD goes on sale for the first time, the one pound coin is introduced in England & Wales, Margaret Thatcher wins the general election again with a landslide victory, Neil Kinnock is elected leader of the Labour Party, an IRA bomb kills 6 and injures 90 people outside Harrods in London, another IRA bombs explodes on Christmas Day in London, but does not harm anyone and Flashdance is released. And I turned 7 years old.


Again, I’ve omitted a very popular tune this week and that tune is Billie Jean by Michael Jackson. As much as I loved that song and still appreciate it’s a great pop tune, I’ve listened to it too many times and it doesn’t quite carry the same sense of magic for me as it used to. So, here are my personal 10 favourite songs from 1983.

  1. Karma Chameleon by Culture Club

2. Modern Love by David Bowie


3. This Charming Man by the Smiths


4. Love Cats by the Cure


5. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These) by Eurythmics


6. Blue Monday by New Order


7. Drop the Pilot by Joan Armatrading


8. Africa by Toto


9. Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler


10. Uptown Girl by Billy Joel

Another strong year for British music, but which is your favourite? Whilst Billy Joel is obviously a very close second, it’s New Order that’s my top tune from this collection of 1983 gems. See you next week for 1984.

Top Ten Tunes- 1982

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1982.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019


The Mary Rose. King Henry VIII’s flagship.

Events in 1982 include Argentina invading the Falklands, Channel 4 is launched in the UK (wow we had a whole 4 channels to choose from back then), the Queen celebrates her Pearl Jubilee, the Eurovision Song Contest is held in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, Prince William is born, a man manages to break into the Queen’s bedroom, the Mary Rose flagship of Henry VIII is raised from the Solent, the IRA detonate two bombs in central London killing 8 soldiers and 7 horses and wounding 47 people and the film E.T. was released. I celebrated my 6th Birthday.


Straight up apologies, for Come on Eileen, but I’ve heard you far too many times to still love you as much as I did. Here’s my top ten tracks of 1982 regardless.

  1. The Lion Sleeps Tonight by Tight Fit (for the love of God- watch this. Watch this now. This video is all kinds of terrible and has to be seen in its entirety).

2. Pass the Dutchie by Musical Youth 

3. Golden Brown by the Stranglers


4. Mad World by Tears for Fears


5. A Town Called Malice by The Jam


6. Heartbreaker by Dionne Warwick


7. (Sexual) Healing by Marvin Gaye


8. Only You by Yazoo


9. Say Hello, Wave Goodbye by Soft Cell


10. Seven Tears by Goombay Dance Band


Come on and tell me your favourite (what do you mean it’s not the Goombay Dance Band?!). Mine’s Tear for Fears. It’s a still mad world lads. See you next week for 1983.


Just Another Book Club- December Book

Please leave your comments below or within the appropriate post on my Facebook page. Please feel free to peruse other people’s comments and respond to them.

***Please be aware this is a book club discussion, so there is the possibility that my review or the comments left by others will contain spoilers***

At the end of this post, I’ve listed the 6 books we read in 2017 in my order of preference. I’ve also listed my 3 favourite books that I’ve read this year that weren’t part of the book club.

My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises

by Fredrik Backman



7 year old Elsa is left letters from her grandmother, apologising to all the people in her life she has wronged. This sends Elsa on quite the adventure as Elsa’s grandmother was not your average grandmother. It’s a part-fantasy/part-reality book, where you are are often transported to the imaginative world that Elsa’s grandmother created for her through epic story telling.

My Quick Review

I always say these are going to be quick reviews by me, but they never seems to be. I’m going to try my best this time. So, the first chapter of this book is quite simply one of the most beautiful beginnings to a book that I have ever read. As someone who was very close to her grandmother, it moved me immeasurably, as I imagine it would a lot of people. The author does an excellent job of illustrating the valuable closeness that exists between Elsa and her grandmother and it’s incredibly heart warming.

I like how the author intertwined philosophy throughout the book especially through the stories that the grandmother told Elsa.

As I mentioned above, Elsa’s grandmother is not your usual grandmother. A doctor who saved numerous lives during the war, a woman who never wanted to settle down with one man, a smoker, a terrible driver, a poker player not to mention an excellent story teller. She is by far the best character in it (followed by Britt-Marie), so it is with great shame that she dies so early on in the book. However, I understand why this was necessary and her character still manages to dominate the rest of the book. I loved that the grandmother was Elsa’s hero, but she is not her hero for the obvious acts of heroism in the war (in fact she’s quite cross with her grandmother with regards to that), she is her hero for much smaller reasons that are important to a 7 year old child. One of my favourite scenes with the grandmother is when they were in the headmaster’s office and Elsa’s grandmother ends up throwing a globe at the headmaster’s computer. This was a reaction to the headmaster suggesting that Elsa should take part of the blame for a boy hitting her as she had provoked him and that he had problems controlling himself. “I WAS PROVOKED” Elsa’s grandmother screams at the headmaster as she throws the globe “I COULDN’T CONTROL MYSELF”. Do you see what I mean? She is my hero too.

Moving on to my second favourite character, Britt-Marie. I wonder if she is possibly one of the most tragic characters I’ve read in a book. So desperately lonely and in need of human contact, she purposely loses her husband’s items just so he’ll say her name when he asks her where things have gone. And of her own admittance, she has become a busy-body in her life just so her presence has some effect on people even if it is a negative effect. Otherwise, she would feel like she didn’t exist and would feel an overpowering numbness. It’s so sad and it made me think about people who I know act like Britt-Marie. It made me have sympathy towards them and made me think that in the future I would act differently towards them. A book that makes you look at things differently, is a good book indeed.


Here comes my big but (I said BUT not butt thank you).

A third of the way through the book, my interest started to wane. I’m generally not a fan of fantasy. I’ve tried to get into Neil Gaiman and authors similar to him, but I always struggle. I have little patience for it and the last fantasy book I enjoyed was Alice in Wonderland when I was 9 years old. So, I found myself losing my concentration every time we visited the fantasy world of Elsa and her grandmother. Whilst, I appreciated how lovely it was that her grandmother had created this fantasy world for her and whilst I also appreciated how this fantasy helped Elsa make sense of the world and also helped her deal with issues, it just wasn’t for me. It was the weakest parts of the book and I also think it didn’t quite work in combination with the harsh realities of Elsa’s real world.

Nevertheless, I got back into the book again for the final third of the book.

In general, this book is worth the read. It is beautiful, profound and entertaining and I am not afraid to admit that it made me cry at the end (for those that have read the book I’m referring to the scenes with the Wurse).

Here are a few of my favourite quotes (oh I really didn’t do a good job of doing a quick review, did I?):

“Having a grandmother is like having an army. This is a grandchild’s ultimate privilege: knowing that someone is on your side, always, whatever the details. Even when you are wrong. Especially then, in fact”

“The Noween hates children, because children refuse to accept the Noween’s lie that time is linear. Children know that time is just an emotion, so ‘now’ is a meaningless word to them”

“Because you can be upset while you’re eating chocolate Santas. But it’s much, much, more more difficult”

“We want to be loved. Failing that, admired; failing that, feared; failing that, hated and despised. At all costs we want to stir up some sort of feeling in others. Our soul abhors a vacuum. At all costs it longs for contact”

“And Maud bakes biscuits, because when the darkness is too heavy to bear and too many things have been broken in too many ways to be fixed again, Maud doesn’t know what weapon to use if one can’t use dreams. So that’s what she does. One day at a time. One dream at a time. And one could say it’s right and one could say it’s wrong. And probably both would be right. Because life is both complicated and simple. Which is why there are biscuits”

“Because if a sufficient number of people are different, no one has to be normal”

Questions to consider

1. My Grandmother Send Her Regards and Apologises begins with the pronouncement, “Every seven-year-old deserves a superhero.” (page 1) Do you agree? Why is it so important that children have heroes? Who were your heroes when you were a child?

2. Names play a significant part in Elsa’s grandmother’s stories. How do the various kingdom and heroine names from the Land-of-Almost-Awake (Miamas, Miploris, Mimovas, Wolfheart, the Chosen One, the sea-angel, etc.) inform your understanding of Granny’s stories? Did you agree with how their real world counterparts were portrayed in the stories?

3. Elsa’s mother grew up in a nontraditional family environment. Do you think this influenced her parenting style with Elsa? In what ways?

4. Were you surprised by the ways in which each of the apartment tenants were connected to the others? Which relationship surprised you the most? Why?

5. Granny is a polarizing figure in My Grandmother Send Hers Regards and Apologises. Describe the way each of the characters reacts to her. Do you think their opinions of her are justified? Why or why not? What did you think of Granny? Do you know anyone like her?

6. Discuss the role that books, especially the Harry Potter novels, play in Elsa’s life. Why do you think Elsa relates to the Harry Potter books more than other novels? When you were growing up, were there books you particularly loved? Which ones and why?

7. What did you think of Britt-Marie when you first encountered her? Did she remind you of anyone in your life? Where do you think Britt-Marie goes at the end of the novel?

8. Elsa believes that her “teachers are wrong. [She] has no problems concentrating. She just concentrates on the right things.” (page 47) What kinds of things does Elsa concentrate on? How does this create problems for her? Do you think that Elsa is a good student? Why or why not?

9. Which of the characters in My Grandmother Send Her Regards and Apologises surprised you the most? Why?

10. Discuss Britt-Marie’s marriage to Kent. Did you think they were well suited for each other? Do you think the marriage changed Britt-Marie? How can being in a bad relationship affect someone’s personality?

11. Fairy tales can provide a way to teach children some fundamental truths about the world. How do Granny’s fairy tales help Elsa understand the world around her? What lessons does Elsa take away from the tales her Granny tells her about life in the land of Miamas?

12. When her grandmother dies, Elsa is of course sad, but she also experiences a wide range of other emotions, including anger. Can you name some of the others? Consider how the loss of a loved one can lead us to have feelings that are much more complicated than sadness.

13. In this book, as in his previous novel A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman paints a vivid portrait of the relationship between an older person nearing the end of his or her life, and a young child. What can people at the opposite ends of life learn from one another? How are the very old and the very young alike? How are they different? When you were very young, was there an elderly person who played a significant role in your life? What did you learn from them?

(Questions issued by the publisher)

January’s book is Sweatpea by C.J. Skuse. I’ll be starting the conversation for this on Monday 5th February.

A list of the new books we’ll be reading for the first half of 2018 can be found here

My order (by how much I enjoyed them) the 6 books we read in 2017 (click on title for book club discussion):

6. Hotel Alpha by Mark Watson

5. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

4. My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises by Fredrik Blackman

3. Irresistible by Adam Alter

2. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

1.Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi


My 3 favourite books that I read this year (but weren’t part of the book club):

3. My Name is Leon by Kit De Waal

2. Half the Sky: how to change the world by Nicholas D. Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn

1.The Sellout by Paul Beatty


My absolute favourite book this year was Homegoing.

See you in February!