FICTION: Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

New from New York Times bestselling author, Curtis Sittenfeld, Romantic Comedy is a smart, insightful, and funny social commentary on modern relationships, societal expectations, and the ungovernable laws of attraction.

Sally Milz is a talented script writer for long running, late night tv comedy show, The Night Owls. After a series of heartbreaks, she has given up on relationships. When her friend and colleague starts dating an accomplished, gorgeously attractive woman, an exasperated Sally pens a sketch poking fun at this ‘social rule’ which almost never seems to apply in reverse – average women do not usually date hot men. However, when that week’s guest host on The Night Owls is pop star and heartthrob Noah Brewster, her expectations are upended.

Set behind the scenes, on set and in the writer’s room, showing the meticulously managed public personas, paparazzi intrusion and public obsession with celebrity, Sittenfeld explores what we want from relationships as we get older, and the baggage we bring with us.

Talking about attraction, desire, and self-doubt, the use of comedy as a way of avoiding uncomfortable truths, and the need for meaning and connection which typified so many lockdown experiences, Romantic Comedy is a brilliantly observed, laugh-out-loud and smart as hell reminder that none of us get a script for life.


NON-FICTION: All The Wide Border by Mike Parker

A funny, warm and timely meditation on identity and belonging, following the scenic route along the England–Wales border: Britain’s deepest fault line. 

There is a line on the map: to one side Wales, small, rugged and stubborn; the other England, crucible of the most expansionist culture the world has ever seen. It is a line that has been dug, debated, defined and defended for twenty centuries.

All the Wide Border is a personal journey through the places, amongst the people, and across the divides of the border between England and Wales. 

Garlanded author Mike Parker has adored and explored these places his entire life. Born in England but settled in Wales, he finds himself typical of many in being pulled in both directions. 

His journey is divided into three legs, corresponding with the watersheds of the three great border rivers: the Dee in the north, the Severn in the centre, the Wye in the south. Neither quite England nor Wales, the borderland he uncovers — the March — is another country. These are A. E. Housman’s ‘blue remembered hills’ — his ‘land of lost content’ — and ours too.

Picking apart the many notions and clichés of Englishness, Welshness and indeed Britishness, Mike Parker plays with the very idea of borders, our fascination with them, our need for them, and our response to their power. In his hands, England–Wales border is revealed to be a border within us all, and it is fraying, fast.

  • Ruth