Holiday readers prepare for annual Martina Cole ordeal

THE UK’s once-a-year book readers are preparing to read about tough-talking East End crime families.

Martina Cole’s novels about people who live outside the law facing heartbreaking decisions about love and loyalty are being flown all over the world, as grudging afterthoughts stuffed into hand luggage.

Donna Sheridan of Harrogate said: “I like how her novels are always about a girl who marries a smooth-talking criminal who turns out to be a wife-beater and then finds herself attracted to his rough-and-ready brother.

“By keeping description to a minimum and making the plotlines insultingly obvious, Cole makes it easier for me to close my eyes and imagine it as an ITV drama starring Martine McCutcheon and the unshaven bloke from Corrie.”

Cole’s work will join books by Dan Brown and various permutations of JK Rowling to be read by swimming pools and on beaches by people who hate the written word.

Father-of-two Stephen Malley said: “When people ask my favourite books, I always say To Kill A Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies and Moonfleet, all of which I’ve only read because they made us at school.

“When I fly out to Cancun I like to struggle my way through an Andy McNab.

“He sensibly limits the vocabulary to an Alsatian-friendly 800 words, plus his books include technical descriptions of what depleted-uranium bullets do to the human body, and don’t have any bloody women in them.

“I read one every year, and actually it’s not that bad. I always think I might read another but then I go home and, thank God, the telly’s on.”

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Life-changing albums downgraded to day-changing

THE unlimited availability of free music means that an album will not change how you see the world for more than a day.

Researchers at the Institute for Studies found that falling musical attention spans meant that even the most remarkable records are a bit stale after 24 hours.

26-year-old music fan Nikki Hollis said: “Hearing The Queen is Dead for the first time, I didn’t feel alone in the world any more. I connected with it on a profound level.

“Anyway that was yesterday. I might listen to it for a second time at some point but I’ve got to crack through Spotify like the pop cultural equivalent of a a machete-wielding jungle explorer.

“It’s not how much you invest in a thing, it’s how many things you invest in.”

iTunes user Bill McKay said: “I’m so deluged with music I can’t tell whether I prefer Revolver, Purple Rain or the jingle.

“Also I really like the jangly guitar music used to promote touch screen technology with a mid-range price point.

“I guess I feel the same about all music. My iTunes playlist is longer than War and Peace – I’ve barely got time to listen to this stuff, leave alone think about it.”