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Adam Kay Recommends His Top 5 Reads of 2019

Posted on 9th December 2019 by Mark Skinner

Adam Kay's blisteringly funny This is Going to Hurt ruled the non-fiction roost in 2018 and now the mordant medic is back with a similarly hilarious collection of dispatches from the frontline of the NHS, entitled Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas. Below, Adam takes us through his favourite reads of 2019. 

I Never Said I Love You by Rhik Samadder

Best known for his hilariously sharp Guardian columns, Rhik Samadder’s memoir I Never Said I Loved You is a fascinating platform for his exceptional talent. He does not hold back: all his traumas, regrets, loves and losses, failings and attempts to claw his way back to feeling good again are laid bare and told not just with brutal honesty, but wit and charm. Very real and very funny.

£14.99
Hardback
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A blazingly funny memoir about the depths of depression, I Never Said I Loved You is Rhik Samadder’s unflinchingly frank account of his mental health issues and subsequent empowerment. Mining a rich seam of gallows humour, this is wickedly perceptive and bracingly unsentimental autobiography of the highest order.

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Everybody Died, So I Got a Dog by Emily Dean

If you’re not a fan of spoilers then you’ve already read too far. The title is the story, nutshell-ified. But what a journey to get there. Hilarious, heartbreaking, and hopeful – I went from floods of tears, to wracking sobs, to choking with laughter within seconds. Warning: you may feel an incredible urge to get a dog.

£16.99
Hardback
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Finding humour and warmth in the most tragic circumstances, Emily Dean’s charming and poignant memoir traces the loss of three close family members and the uplifting presence of the pooch that she always craved as a child. Deftly written and laugh-out-loud funny, Everybody Died So I Got a Dog is a beautifully judged exercise in autobiography.

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If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman

All families have their own secrets and grudges – I’ve run out of fingers and toes counting my own. This heartbreaking novel tells the story of a woman desperate for her two daughters to end their decades-long feud before it’s too late. Beautifully written, If Only I Could Tell You deftly reflects on how our relationships with family members can be the most challenging and harmful of all. As the gripping story unfolded, I started to wonder whether it would inspire me to be a bit nicer to, or more understanding of, my nearest and dearest over the Christmas dinner table. Probably not. But the thought was there. Briefly.

£7.99
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A poignant, heartbreaking novel ideal for fans of Jojo Moyes and Marian Keyes, If Only I Could Tell You details the trials and tribulations of Audrey and her family; estranged and divided by a bitter, long-held secret and a life-changing choice made thirty years previously.
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Calypso by David Sedaris

Nobody writes like David Sedaris, and when someone is as incredible as he is, you wonder sometimes where they can possibly go next. Well, he sure showed me. There’s of course the trademark amazing wit, enviable turns of phrase and the ability to turn a mundane observation into sheer poetry, but Sedaris also goes much darker, more political and probably more honest than in any of his previous writing. Dealing frankly with his sister's suicide, Sedaris changes the game yet still stays consistently, untouchably brilliant.

£9.99
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When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. But, as he comes to realise, it's impossible to take a vacation from yourself. Calypso is simultaneously Sedaris's darkest and warmest book yet - and it just might be his very best.
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Cookie and the Most Annoying Boy in the World by Konnie Huq

Oh I do wish these books were around when I was a kid. Cookie is an unashamedly geeky, plus wonderfully sassy and dramatic, central character. Because it’s so funny and smart you don’t notice that the book is utterly packed with stealthy STEM learning. A perfect gift for kids whose toes curl up at the thought of textbooks. Cute and gloriously funny illustrations – also by Huq – help move the story along and grab kids’ attention.

£10.99
Hardback
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The first instalment of an hilarious new series introduces Cookie, an endearing, ever-so-slightly over excitable nine year old girl and the rotten luck and circumstances that life seems determined to throw at her. In this opening book, a seriously irritating boy has moved in next door – and he’s bought the dream pet that Cookie had her eye on to boot!

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