The Story of the Great British Bake Off by Anita Singh
Published by Head of Zeus
Publication date: October 10, 2017
Genres: Book Clubs, Non-fiction, History, Pop culture
Your Local Book Store, Amazon
For the last two years, psychological escape has become a vital part of staying sane. There is only so much chaos, uncertainty, and toxicity a single brain can absorb without teetering off its axis. Books are a marvelous option, but sometimes I need to be entertained without any effort on my part at all. To that end, there is one TV option that never fails me. If you haven’t already guessed, it’s The Great British Baking Show. New seasons air on PBS, but past seasons are on Netflix and can be watched practically on a loop to soothe an agitated mind. Now, thanks to The Story of the Great British Bake Off American lovers of the show can learn more about the behind-the-scenes foibles of this quintessentially British icon and those who know nothing about it (are there any of you out there?) can learn why you need to start watching NOW.
The Story of the Great British Bake Off begins with how the show came to be and the process of finding the original judges, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, as well as Mel and Sue, the original hosts. From there the book moves through the show’s first seven series (British to American translation: they say series, we say season). There’s a mix of photographs and the same kind of illustrations used on the show to showcase the bakers’ creations on each episode.
The best part for we Yanks is the deep dive into what was happening on the other side of the pond. If you’ve never watched the show, you won’t know what I mean by the following: Ian’s Baked Alaska debacle, Ruby’s tears, all things Selasi, and the many faces of Nadiya (one of my all-time favorite contestants). If you know what I mean you’re probably running out to buy the book right now.
So, twelve amateur bakers give up their weekends to compete for weeks to win a…cake plate. Another reason the show is so fabulous. There’s no cash prize. You couldn’t do something like that in America—you’d never find people willing to participate. There are no divas, tantrums, backstabbing shenanigans. All of this is to say, much like the show itself The Story of the Great British Bake Off is charming, funny, engrossing, nerve-wracking (will that show stopper collapse?!), and offers pure comfort.
If you’re one of the many facing a potential snow cyclone or polar freeze this weekend you need to take a listen to the latest episode of Sarah’s Book Shelves Live. We discuss our 14 favorite backlist books of 2021, which means everything we talk about should be quick and easy to get online at your library. Click on the graphic to link to the episode.
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Lisa of Lisa's Yarns says
Thank you for bringing this book to my attention! I binged all of the seasons on netflix during my maternity leave last winter. It is DELIGHTFUL!! I love how supportive, kind, and caring the contestants are. I hate the cut-throat nature of some of the US-based reality shows. I think producers look for people who will cause drama and that is a huge turn-off for me! I will definitely read this!
Btw, I just listened to the Patreon episode this morning and you should for sure read The 9 Live of Rose Napolitano. It is excellent. My suggestion is to not worry about keeping the 9 lives straight. I did at first and it wasn’t really worth the effort. She moves between the 9 lives so it can be hard to remember what is happening in each version of her life, but she gives you enough information that it’s not worth it to keep track of it all IMO. But if you do feel like you need to keep track, I’d write some notes about the lives as you read the book because it is A LOT to keep track of in your head, at least for me. But it’s an excellent exploration of how different your life could look based on whether or not you decide to have children.
You’re welcome! Aren’t they all wonderful? I’m so sad that the really seasons are now gone from Netflix. We would rewatch them over and over. You are so right- they couldn’t get people in America to compete unless it was for $$$. Sad.
I am absolutely going to be reading Rose Napolitano this year and I appreciate the advice. I don’t know how I missed the book last year. Maybe because so many people were talking about it? That sometimes makes me nervous.
Thank you so much for reading my blog and listening to the podcast!
Susie | Novel Visits says
I NEED to find the time to read this!
It has so much fun stuff in it. You probably need to find a library with it because it came out in 2017. I wanted to buy a copy but it has to be special ordered.
Thanks so much for this review. I find The Great British Baking show to be so soothing . Even when the contestants are “gutted ” or ” shattered “, they are so respectful . I need a different read right now and I saw this wonderful post. Thanks for all you do for my book life !
Yep, I have to buy this. I didn’t even know it was out. Thank you!!
No one knew it ever came out! I think it’s because it came out in 2017 and GBBO was just starting to get big here. So, it may be a little hard to find, but it is such fun reading. And YES to Selasi!