Tag: Laugh

Alan Bennett – Talking Heads | Review

Title: Talking Heads

Author: Alan Bennett

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 272

Rating: 3.5/5

I was pretty excited when I spotted this going cheap in a charity shop because I’ve read and enjoyed quite a few Alan Bennett books and this is one of his most well-known. I also know that it’s a huge influence on fellow writer and BookTuber Charlie Heathcote, and indeed his Our Doris series is also a series of monologues.

But dare I say it? I think Charlie’s book is better. It certainly made me laugh more, and while the two obviously have a lot in common, I think Charlie leaned more towards writing a good book while Bennett leaned towards writing a good monologue for TV/radio. It’s a subtle distinction, but it just meant that for me, I felt as though I was missing something.

I think that this book is probably better suited to people who are already Talking Heads fans. That’s kind of what it feels like, a sort of spin-off from a TV show. It reminds me of the A Bit of Fry and Laurie book, which was basically just the scripts from the show. It was okay, but seeing them actually performed was better.

I am still glad I read this though, and Bennett as always raises some interesting points and discussion subjects. It just wasn’t quite on the same level as The Lady in the Van, The Uncommon Reader and some of his others. I felt like that about The History Boys too, so maybe it’s just a case of the books sometimes being overtaken by their hype.

Learn more about Talking Heads.


Charles Osborne – Black Coffee | Review

Title: Black Coffee

Author: Charles Osborne

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 186

Rating: 4/5



I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this one, because it’s essentially a novelisation of an Agatha Christie play by an author called Charles Osborne. Osborne is a novelist in his own right, but he’s also a biographer who’s written about Christie at length. It turns out that those fears were unfounded, because this doesn’t read like fan-fiction. It reads like the real deal.

Osborne even mimicked some of the stuff that I’m not so much of a fan of, including Christie’s colonialist approach to the world and the casual racism that her characters seem to display towards foreigners, including a reference to poison being an Italian weapon. That actually made me laugh though, because an Italian once tried to poison me by putting bleach in my drink, but that’s another story for another time.

All in all, I enjoyed this, and I’d definitely recommend it to fellow Agatha Christie fans. Although I do also want to both read and see the play itself.


British writer of crime and detective fiction, Dame Agatha Christie (1891 – 1976). (Photo by Walter Bird/Getty Images)


Click here to buy Black Coffee.