The great TV tie-in

Nigella, Delia, Jamie, Gordon and his missus Tana, Trinny, Susannah, Gok, Jeremy…… You clever people don’t need their full names because all of the above are TV celebs and they are much, much bigger than piffling surnames. Titles by TV celebrity cooks, fashion gurus, dog and baby whisperers, dodgy doctorate wielding nutritionists and all the other assorted TV tie-ins are the life-blood of the publishing industry. Nigella Christmas, a tie-in for the series of the same name, saw UK sales of  £1.1 million in a single week during the frantic run up to Christmas easily taking the rolling pin to Jamie and Gordon‘s festive offerings. This celeb-chef turkey tussle has become an annual book event and one which the “plumptious” Nigella also won last year with Nigella express: good food fast.

Now personally I loathe cooking and equally problematically I don’t watch the box but I do love some  TV tie-ins.

  •  Who do you think you are? currently screening on Prime has celebrities (including the ubiquitous Nigella) tracing their family trees; the tie-in title features several celebs hunting down their ancestors, some general social history snippets plus practical tips on pursuing genealogy research.
  • Stephen Fry has also been doing a stint on Prime (and on Who do you think you are?) with his Stephen Fry in America series. Stephen tootles around the US States milking sheep, raiding a marijuana farm and generally casting his bemused but genial eye over all things American. The book covers the same ground but with the addition of fabulous pictures and all at your own pace.
  • The 1940s house, The Edwardian country house and 1900 house were all excellent shows recreating and exploring domestic life in times past. These TV tie-in titles stand out as they do more than just parrot the shows and actually go further in building through well researched text and images a feel for life in these eras.
  • But enough with the egg-head stuff , what I really want to know is  How to look good naked to discover how What you wear can change your life and most importantly to unlock the mysteries of looking 10 years younger. Bring it on…

Italian noir

My colleague Mark was complaining in a previous blog about the lack of gritty crime novels. I think he should try Italian crime novels, part of a genre termed “Mediterranean noir” by those who write about books. I’ve long been a fan of Donna Leon’s Commissario Brunetti, but feel that she has “gone off” lately (another highly technical term used by librarians), so I went looking for some more in a similar vein.

I think I found an arterial supply of gritty stuff. Here are some names; Andrea Camilleri, whose Detective Montalbano is refreshingly sardonic. Carlo Lucarelli’s trilogy of crime novels Carte blanche, The damned season, and Via delle Oche feature De Luca, a police officer who changes sides from fascist to whatever will keep his skin in one piece, whilst preserving his passion for the truth in forensics. Ottavio Cappellani’s two novels Who is Lou Sciortino? and Sicilian tragedee (sic) are the Sopranos as filmed by Fellini. I could go on, but discover Italian noir (should that be nero?) for yourselves.