Heartburn by Nora Ephron (1983)

Love this lady and this funny book.

It’s Ephron’s story of finding out her husband is cheating on her while she’s pregnant. No, seriously, it really is very funny – Ephron has an amazing ability to laugh at herself and her life.

Love her mum Phoebe, too.

Famously, mum used to say to daughter Everything is copy. She was right: just say what happened.

Here’s a fine example.

[It’s just before Christmas. Their New York apartment has been ‘burglarized’ and the police arrive. Nora’s recounting…]

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Macbeth by William Shakespeare (1606)

Your favourite bit, aside from unsex me here and Show his eyes and grieve his heart; come like shadows so depart?

Mine’s got to be Macbeth’s glum it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Which reminds me, I must get on with my memoirs.

But Hold enough! There is a hidden not often referred to gem that haunts. Can’t really call it a ‘favourite bit’ as it’s pretty grim. Powerful in its wrenching.

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The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare (1623)

Your favourite bit, apart from A sad tale’s best for winter and she is the queen of curds and cream?

Mine’s got to be either let’s be red with mirth or If I might die within this hour, I have lived to die when I desire.

But for now let’s to a favourite theme of Willy’s showing angry middle-aged men as complete oafs. Sit back and listen to one proving it again and again.

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John Thomas and Lady Jane by D H Lawrence (1927)

Aha, gotcha! Expecting saucy bits, eh? Like, then he took her and laid her down, wasting no time, breaking her underclothing in his urgency… or She was like a volcano. At moments she surged with desire, with passion, like a stream of white-hot lava. Eh?

Well tough titties. We’re going to look at Connie with the wide blue eyes and her bored life and broken marriage instead – before she loses her knickers.

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The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (1947)

This book makes me giddy. On weak days, I couldn’t even pick it up.

It’s the pain. The anxiety. Of watching Anne coping and hoping. And the dread of knowing what happens.

We know. She didn’t.

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The Most Excellent Historie of the Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare (1600)

Your favourite bit, aside from But love is blind, and lovers cannot see and All that glisters is not gold?

Mine’s got to be, apart from Portia’s acidic I’d rather be married to a death’s head with a bone in his mouth, Gratiano’s Let me play the fool: with mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.

But hark, I sense a need for one more touch.

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