Chatting to @teacherhugradio about funny and uplifting books

As most of you know, in the dim and distant past I used to work in education; first as an English teacher before becoming Head of Department in a large comprehensive school and then I went over to the dark side into inspection and consultancy. Consequently, I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to contribute to Teacher Hug Radio by lovely Rebecca Keen recently. We recorded a chat about books that I’ve found funny and uplifting which was broadcast over the weekend.

I’d definitely recommend looking at Teacher Hug Radio‘s website as it’s filled with all kinds of interesting things – not just aspects relevant to those in education.

I thought I’d also re-share a few details about the books I chose here on Linda’s Book Bag.

Telling Tales Out of School by Chris Lowe

Chronicling the tales he had collected throughout his career in education started as a lockdown pastime for Chris Lowe. The end result is Telling Tales Out of School: fifty tales to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Prince William School, Oundle. The Tales are all based on true events or stories told to Chris by fellow teachers: stories about growing up, about learning, teaching and coping together.

All proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to the James Rutterford Trust, which is targeted at families who need financial support to enable their children at PWS to take part in school activities, school trips, to provide equipment to aid their study or to support out-of-hours school activities.

Please visit for more information about the project and to buy Telling Tales Out of School.

You’ll find my full review of Telling Tales Out of School here.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Don Tillman has got his love life planned out. He knows exactly who he wants, but is it who he needs?

Love isn’t an exact science – but no one told Don Tillman.

A thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, Don’s never had a second date. So he devises the Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner.

Enter Rosie – ‘the world’s most incompatible woman’ – throwing Don’s safe, ordered life into chaos.

But what is this unsettling, alien emotion he’s feeling? . . .

I read The Rosie Project and the second book in the trilogy, The Rosie Effect, long before I started blogging and reviewing but you’ll find my review of the final part, The Rosie Result here.

The Rosie Project was published by Penguin in 2014 is available for purchase through the links here.

Older and Wider by Jenny Eclair

‘If you’re after an in-depth medical or psychological insight into the menopause, I’m afraid you’ve opened the wrong book – I’m not a doctor . . . However, I am a woman and I do know how it feels to be menopausal, so this book is written from experience and the heart and I hope it makes you laugh and feel better.’ JE

Older and Wider is Jenny Eclair’s hilarious, irreverent and refreshingly honest compendium of the menopause. From C for Carb-loading and G for Getting Your Shit Together to I for Invisibility and V for Vaginas, Jenny’s whistle-stop tour of the menopause in all its glory will make you realise that it really isn’t just you. Jenny will share the surprising lessons she has learnt along the way as well as her hard-won tips on the joy of cardigans, dealing with the empty nest (get a lodger) and keeping the lid on the pressure cooker of your temper (count to twenty, ten is never enough).

As Jenny says, ‘I can’t say that I’ve emerged like a beautiful butterfly from some hideous old menopausal chrysalis and it would be a lie to say that I’ve found the ‘old me’ again. But what I have found is the ‘new me’ – and you know what? I’m completely cool with that.’

Older and Wider was published by Quercus on 2nd July 2020 and is available for purchase through the links here.

You’ll find my full review of Older and Wider here.

Into the Tangled Bank by Lev Parikian

into the tangled bank

Lev Parikian is on a journey to discover the quirks, habits and foibles of how the British experience nature. Open a window, hear the birds calling and join him.

It’s often said that the British are a nation of nature lovers; but what does that really mean? For some it’s watching racer snakes chase iguanas on TV as David Attenborough narrates, a visit to the zoo to convene with the chimps; for others it’s a far-too-ambitious clamber up a mountain, the thrilling spectacle of a rare bird in flight.

Lev Parikian sets out to explore the many, and particular, ways that he, and we, experience the natural world beginning face down on the pavement outside his home, then moving outwards to garden, local patch, wildlife reserve, craggy coastline and as far afield as the dark hills of Skye. He visits the haunts of famous nature lovers reaching back to the likes of Charles Darwin, Etta Lemon, Gavin Maxwell, John Clare and Emma Turner to examine their insatiable curiosity and follow in their footsteps.

And everywhere he meets not only nature, but nature lovers of all varieties: ramblers, dog-walkers, photographers; loving couples, striding singles, families; kite-flyers, den-builders, grass-loungers; young whippersnappers, old codgers, middle-aged ne’er-do-wells; beginners, specialists, all-rounders; or just people out for a stroll in the sun.

Warm, humorous and full of telling detail, Into the Tangled Bank puts the idiosyncrasies of how we are in nature under the microscope. And in doing so, it reveals how our collective relationship with nature has changed over the centuries, what our actions mean for nature and what being a nature lover in Britain might mean today.

Into the Tangled Bank was published by Elliot and Thompson on 9th July 2020 and is available for purchase through these links.

You’ll find my full review of Into the Tangled Bank here. I was also lucky enough to ‘stay in’ with Lev to celebrate his book Music To Eat Cake By here.

Miss, What Does Incomprehensible Mean? by Fran Hill

thumbnail_Miss_What Does Inc_Mean Final

A funny, life-affirming memoir, in diary form. Set in the manic world of a busy teacher, and based on real experiences, Fran Hill’s account of one typical year shows it’s not just the pupils who misbehave.

English teacher ‘Miss’ starts the Autumn term beleaguered by self-doubts. She’s mid-menopause, insomniac, and Mirror and Bathroom Scales are blisteringly unsympathetic. Her pupils make her laugh, weep, fume and despair, often in the same lesson. Her unremitting workload blights family time and she feels guilty for missing church events to catch up on marking. After all, God-lady is watching.

Meanwhile, the new Head of Department seems unreachable, an Ofsted inspection looms, her sixth formers (against school policy) insist on sitting in rows, and there’s a school magazine to produce …

When childhood secrets demand attention Miss doesn’t want to give them, life gets complicated.

Miss, What Does Incomprehensible Mean? is available for purchase in most large book shops, on Amazon in paperback and ebook and from the publisher directly.

You’ll find my full review of Miss, What Does Incomprehensible Mean? here and an interview with Fran here. I understand Fran will be interviewed by Teacher Hug Radio very soon too so don’t miss that.


I hope there’s something in the selection that you might enjoy. I found all these books brought some much needed joy and laughter to my world!

9 thoughts on “Chatting to @teacherhugradio about funny and uplifting books

  1. There are a couple on this list that I definitely want to read, Older and Wider and Miss, What Does Incomprehensible Mean? both call to me. Being a retired teacher/administrator, books by teachers about teaching and their experiences always call to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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