Airhead

by Emily Maitlis
Airhead
by Emily Maitlis

I'm always interested in reading journalists' stories and this particularly appealed - I'd like Emily Maitlis's job (and I like her style)!

The cover and title were intriguing, hardback and paperback, hinting at the glamour and also a blonde ditziness belying the obvious determination and intelligence of the 'Newsnight' presenter.

I started by dipping into the book - and its format allows for this with ease. The chapters aren't long and are self-contained, usually focusing on just one interview at a time.

But every time I started reading a chapter, I'd rattle along to the next, and the next, and the next, finding it hard to put the book down.

There are interviews with Tony Blair and Donald Trump, Emma Thompson and Simon Cowell. Maitlis relates being annoyed then charmed by Russell Brand, inspired by David Attenborough, disappointed by the Dalai Lama and star struck with Alan Partridge! She shares her experience covering Grenfell and the Paris terror attacks, as well as making the news herself as her stalker is taken to court, again.

It's incredibly easy to read. It's fascinating, as a behind-the-scenes account should be, and it gives an insight into the well-known individuals who have made the news in the past few years, as well as helping us get to the know the author a little more too.

It's funny, it's warm and it's hugely accessible.

I did find it rather incongruous, though, that after an, often demanding and challenging, interview with a high profile individual, the 'Newsnight' team would assemble for a team photo with the subject? That didn't seem quite right for serious newsgatherers!

A handful of the chapters seemed to be little more than a transcript of the televised interview, giving no further detail or insight to the actual conversation. Other chapters were explicit in the setting up the lights and cameras, positioning of chairs etc, which I loved!

Overall this was a fantastic read, and undoubtedly I will return to it, initially to remind myself of a particular interview but ultimately devouring chapter after chapter, all over again.

Review date: December 2019