MSB Book Club – September

The MSB book club has recently finished its latest read and have picked the 10th book which will see them delve back into the world of fiction with Stephen King.

This Much is True

August’s book

August’s book was chosen by Joyce Pink. She chose the memoir of Miriam Margolyes, “This Much is True”.

“Award-winning actor, creator of a myriad of memorable characters from Lady Whiteadder to Professor Sprout, Miriam Margolyes is a national treasure.

Now, at last, at the age of 80, she has finally decided to tell her extraordinary life story. And it’s far richer and stranger than any part she’s played.

Find out how being conceived in an air-raid gave her curly hair; what pranks led to her being known as the naughtiest girl Oxford High School ever had; how she ended up posing nude for Augustus John aged 17, being sent to Coventry by Monty Python and the Goodies and swearing on University Challenge (she was the first woman to say F*** on TV). This book is packed with unforgettable stories from why Bob Monkhouse was the best (male) kiss she’s ever had to being told off by the Queen. With a cast list stretching from Scorsese to Streisand, Leonardo di Caprio to Isaiah Berlin, This Much is True is as warm and honest, as full of life and surprises, as she is.”

Staff reviews

“I’ll give the book 4 stars. To be honest, prior to reading her autobiography I mainly recognised Miriam from social media clips and chat shows, so I didn’t know much about her life and work. I found it interesting to learn about her experiences as a woman in entertainment, and there were some anecdotes which were amusing. As a reader, the book had a tendency to become bogged down in names, as Miriam described the various actors she has worked with over the years, but I appreciate that she will have wanted to honour those who made an impact in her life.”

Michelle Summers, Solicitor ****

I love Miriam; the roles she plays, the interviews she gives and the documentaries she has done, so I was looking forward to this book. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. She has a wonderful way of speaking and describing events, but it can be a bit dry on the page and I would find myself skim reading some sections. I think she could have done with more editing! That being said, I’m sure Miriam wouldn’t care what I think and there are some hilarious moments that had me laughing out loud which redeemed it slightly. I would give it 3 stars.

Rachael Payne, Solicitor ***

“I was really looking forward to reading this book. The first part about her childhood and growing up I found interesting and entertaining. I enjoyed the way she writes as she speaks, and she certainly does not hold back! However, in parts it became a bit monotonous. For this reason, I would give the book 3 stars.”

Joyce Pink, Senior Associate Costs Lawyer ***

“Overall, I quite enjoyed the book. I liked how it examined a wide variety of topics ranging from her upbringing, various roles and performances (and the different process behind each), class and a variety of other topics. While I enjoyed the scope of topics, I think the book tried a little too hard to tackle too many, causing it to feel superficial. Also, while I enjoyed her exploration of class, it seemed at times slightly hypocritical. In the same book she remarks on how she would only ever travel economy yet focuses on earning enough money to afford private healthcare. She also doesn’t seem to really examine the advantages her upbringing brought her or engage in too much self-reflection on this subject and how she herself has benefitted. It feels a lot of the time that she is holding back, not wanting to divulge too much information that isn’t a story or an anecdote, wanting to give across her public persona and less of the real Miriam. It begins strong but feels like often as a subject is unfolding it moves right onto the next. I found myself enjoying several of the stories she provides, and her humour is clearly reflected in the book, but it felt like this was what she wanted to focus on more than anything else. That is why I would give it 3 stars.”

Matthew Park, Paralegal ***

“I find her delightful to listen to on Audible, she did however have a questionable choice of past time during her college years, I’m sure she could have found a different “sport” to take part in! I have always liked her for speaking her mind and asking questions that are often very personal (in the politest manner of course), but she has such a way about her that she is instantly likeable. I would give it 3.5 stars.”

Angela Badrock, Costs assistant ***.5

“I had high expectations for this book, and I was excited to sit down with my cuppa to start it.  My enthusiasm quickly evaporated.  Yes, the book is ‘wickedly honest’, ‘eye popping’ and ‘funny’ but at the same time, it was also boring.  I found myself struggling to get through some chapters, my attention waning.  There is no disputing Miriam Margolyes has had an astonishing career and life so far, she also pulls no punches in relation to some of her more outrageous behaviour, or her attitude to sex and sexuality, but I doubt that I would recommend the book to a friend. I would give it 2 stars”

Louise Murphy, Partner and Head of Social Housing **

September’s book

For September, Angela Badrock, Costs Assistant at MSB, was responsible for choosing the month’s read and selected The Gunslinger by Stephen King. Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Some of his better known works include Pet Sematary, Misery, IT, Carrie, Cujo, and Christine, all of which have been adapted into films or TV series, some of them twice over! The Gunslinger is the first of eight books in the Dark Tower series

‘The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.’ The iconic opening line of Stephen King’s ground-breaking series, The Dark Tower, introduces one of his most enigmatic and powerful heroes: Roland of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger.

Roland is a haunting figure, a loner, on a spellbinding journey toward the mysterious Dark Tower, in a desolate world which frighteningly echoes our own.

On his quest, Roland begins a friendship with a kid from New York named Jake, encounters an alluring woman and faces an agonising choice between damnation and salvation as he pursues the Man in Black.

Angela said she chose this book because “It is the first in the Dark Tower series which is my favourite series of books. I know Mr King is not to everyone’s taste, but I am hoping, as it’s more of a fantasy than a horror, that it’s a more palatable read for the non-horror readers and it’s a relatively short book too that was recently made into a film starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. I hope you all enjoy this as much I will, it’s been quite a few years since I last read this.”

stephen king - the gunslinger

Queen Elizabeth II 1926-2022

Queen Elizabeth II 1926-2022

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