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 Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (1945)

It’s the hokey-cokey. (Behave, hokey-pokey is an ice cream.) And before you go there, Looking for Nookie lacks gravitas.

How apt that it should start with a chase.

“Child hunt tomorrow, Fanny.”

What a boring life I lead. Walked through the market in the rain today.

This caused the most tremendous stir locally, the Kentish weekenders on their way to church were appalled by the sight of four great hounds in full cry after two little girls. [aged about eight, I think] My uncle seemed to them like a wicked lord of fiction, and I became more than ever surrounded with an aura of madness, badness, and dangerousness for their children to know.

Neat nest of nesses. And here’s another, more insidious.

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