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A Year .... is Morton's follow-up to highly successful - "How To Walk in High Heels" which led the way for a number of lighthearted womens' 'how to' guides such as 'The Goddess Guide' and 'The Naughty Girl's Guide To Life'.
This follows in the tradition of the first one in that it is lighthearted, slightly tongue in cheek and upmarket but not snobby.
The format which defines this book is that it goes through the year and picks out certain points to write about for each month. Each month has a 'wish you were here' preface which is a mocked up postcard from a noted fashionable person supposedly writing about what they love about a particular location eg: Paul Smith - London, Matthew Williamson - India, Gisele - LA, Giorgio Armani - St Tropez.
Another regular is the Muse of the Month: that is an admirable female role model with a few pages on her life and works eg Jane Austen, Coco Chanel, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth I. 'Page Turner' - refers to a different book each month which is highly recommended and adds a particular something to the reading experience eg Perfume by Patrick Suskind, Rebecca by Daphne Du Monroe, The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. Each month is finished by an appropriately named 'footnote' which describes the history of a particular type of shoe - eg court, boot, stiletto and Wellington.
The rest of the months are filled up with various how-tos. To give you an indication of what is included here are some examples:
*How to blog it
*How to party like a pagan
*How to do Valentine's Day alone
*How to make and acceptance speech
*How to brush up on your Shakespeare
*How to dance
*How to handle hen nights
*How to have festival chic
*How to get a ring on your finger
*How to say something meaningful
*How to make a mojito
*How to strike the right work/life balance
*How to burlesque
*How to get a taste for opera
*How to pick a diamond
*How to deck the halls with boughs of holly
There are also guest written 'how tos' - eg How to source vintage and valuables by Lulu Guinness, accessories designer, How to have a midsummer's night picnic by Michael Howells, set designer.
From the examples that I have given you so far, you will have already formed an impression of what you think this book will be like and I would agree in essence it looks a bit frivolous and snobby on first glance. However, it is actually smarter than it looks. Tips are written with a great amount of humour and are not patronising. There is also the odd bit of really useful/interesting information. That said, I am not going to pretend that this is really something to live your life by but it does have a real sense of fun. I would also say that it is not a book that you would read cover to cover. For me it is something that I dig out if I just want to look at something while I am lounging on the sofa.
As a book it is quite substantial, coming in at 500 pages. In conclusion, this is a fun and sometimes surprisingly interesting girlie book which maintains Morton as being at the top of her game in this particular genre.