Royal Book Club #6

September – December 2022

Dear Bookworms,

The season was all about new beginnings which allowed little time for regular reading. In other words I only just managed to go through the trimester’s requisite (minimum of) 10 books and was left largely unimpressed.

In any event, the selection is as follows.
This time I am pairing the books with mugs from my just-launched ceramics collection, The Royal Artefacts.

1. Medium Raw – Anthony Bourdain

In one line or less: One more page-turner by Anthony Bourdain.
Tell me more: I like Bourdain’s writing so much I could just keep on reading him ad infinitum. That aside, the author returns to reveal more about the culinary world and his own adventures & demons, in his lovable, signature style. He does tend to repeat himself but if you are into him this is anything but a problem.
I like it with: The Rock Star Mug
The Queen’s Grade: 9
(commoner’s Grade: 7)

2. The Long Knives – Irvine Welsh

In one line or less: Another Welsh classic, at last.
Tell me more:
I am so biassed pro Irvine Welsh that it is hard to rate this one objectively. The author’s entire arsenal is at play here: the typically absurd plot, the eccentric wording, the old characters’ cameo appearances, the flair for exaggeration, sex and drugs and the full monty. In truth it is a somewhat tired repetition of same ol’. Still, I couldn’t put the book down; reading it was a proper treat.
I like it with:
The Thinking Person Mug
The Queen’s Grade:
commoner’s grade: 7)

3. Think Like A Monk – Jay Shetty

In one line or less: Advice on developing higher order thoughts.
Tell me more: I have yet to finish this one but I expect no radical surprises. It is a feel-good book, full of practical advice on how to cultivate a more collected approach to life. Jay Shetty’s writing is relatable and convincing – you put the book down and becoming a better person makes perfect sense. By the morning you have forgotten all about it.
I like it with: The Top Model Mug
The Queen’s Grade: 7
(commoner’s grade: 9)

4. Good Vibes Good Life – Vex King

In one line or less: How to develop a positive mindset.
Tell me more: The book offers interesting propositions on how to improve your life through positive positioning but it is better suited to growth culture newbies. Nevertheless, it works as an interesting reminder and even introduces a couple of instantly helpful takeaways.
I like it with: The Nice Person Mug
The Queen’s Grade: 7
(commoner’s grade: 8)

5. Watch Her Fall – Erin Kelly

In one line or less: Ballet-centric identity thriller
Tell me more: A slow starter but persist and you will be rewarded: once it gets flowing it becomes hooking. Refreshingly original storyline with consecutive, unpredictable plot twists. Slightly overworked towards the end but all in all a satisfactory proposition.
I like it with: Oops, I forgot to update this one with a mug!
The Queen’s Grade: 7
(commoner’s Grade: 8

6. Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell

In one line or less: Some people have more opportunities in life. Don’t say!
Tell me more: The promising title fails to deliver, the book doesn’t reveal anything in particular about success and how to attain it. It is in fact a collection of (interesting and well written) stories highlighting obvious facts such as “rich people have a head start in life”. Fast and fun to read but no particular takeouts.
I like it with: The Great Friend Mug
The Queen’s Grade: 6
(commoner’s grade: 8)

7. Instagram Rules – Jodie Cook

In one line or less: A (good-looking) book to help you navigate Instagram.
Tell me more: More useful to complete amateurs (it tends to be repetitive and patronising) it still offers a solid recap and a few helpful takeaways to anyone interested in the platform. Do note that some of the advice is already dated, but this would be impossible to avoid in a world of perpetually changing social media. In the spirit of Instagram the book is ultra presentable; if anything, something to have casually resting on your coffee table.
I like it with: The Rich Artist Mug
The Queen’s Grade: 6
(commoner’s grade: 8

8. Adults – Emma Jane Unsworth

In one line or less: Babblings of a social media obsessed woman.
Tell me more: The title and jacket description hint to a more promising story. A clueless heroine and her pathetic journey through a meaningless existence dictated by social media anxiety. Scary in the contempt it manages to raise against a fictional character (I suppose we can call this successful writing). Also, not funny despite clearly trying to be.
I like it with: The Top Bitch Mug
The Queen’s Grade: 5
(commoner’s grade: 7)

9. The Fine Print – Lauren Asher

In one line or less: Jumping the 50 shades of grey wagon with an extra serving of cheese.
Tell me more: This is the first read of the trimester and it goes straight to position 10, positive that I cannot be tricked into reading something lesser. To plot goes like this: Misanthropic billionaire falls in love with [clumsy, cheeky, poor, “girl next door”] employee to the point of turning his life around for her. By the end of the book they get married, have an adoring baby and become anti-capitalistic philanthropists. This plot unravels in between excessive amounts of embarrassingly corny and utterly unnecessary sex. EDIT: I read “The Fine Print” before (attempting to read) the book that ended up featuring in position 10 and I must say it is a literary masterpiece by comparison.
I like it with: The Fashion Icon Mug
The Queen’s Grade: 3
(commoner’s grade: 8 for age-appropriate readers, i.e. teenagers who have yet to have their first sexual encounter)

10. Sex / Life: 44 Chapters About 4 Men – BB Easton

In one line or less: Possibly the worst book I have ever read.
Tell me more: But wait! Despite persistent attempts I didn’t manage to finish it. In fact the journey went like this: Speed read to page 50, then vertical reading & skipping all the (utterly hideous) sex descriptions (which occur roughly every couple of pages and extend to several consecutive pages at a time) through to page 130, where eventually I gave up. The book is a continuous sexual rant, while at the same trying (too hard) to be funny. Neither sensual nor funny, just embarrassing.
I like it with: The Skilled Housewife Mug
The Queen’s Grade: 1 (I never thought I would rate something with 1 but here we are)
(commoner’s grade: 6? Assuming it is someone who hasn’t had sex in 5-6 years or so?)

See the full Mugs collection HERE and check out more book reviews below:

Summer 2022
Spring 2022
Winter 2022
Autumn 2021
Summer 2021


The commoner’s grade is what The Real Queen of Stuff imagines a commoner would grace said books with.

All images © The Real Queen of Stuff

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