TV and Radio

Radio review: How to fail - and find books to live by

How to Fail With Elizabeth Day - Podcast

Books to Live By... Mariella Frostrup - BBC Sounds podcast

SAMUEL Beckett had a good take on failure. Ever try? Ever fail? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Best-selling writer and journalist Elizabeth Day spent an evening in 2018 cutting her head out of wedding photographs so that she could send off pictures of her dress, mermaid tail, lace bolero and all to an interested buyer.

The dress had been hanging in her wardrobe for three years - since the end of her marriage.

Although she looked from the outside like a success - she has published four novels - it didn't always feel that way.

The recognition that crisis and failure brought about some of the most transformative moments on her life, prompted her to create a podcast: How to Fail.

Sebastian Faulks, Dolly Alderton, David Nicholls and Chris Patten all have a take on failing.

Journalist Mishal Husain also figures: "My long-time woman crush," confessed Day.

Husain may appear the epitome of cool-headed confidence but she's had her downs too.

One of them was a rejection from a certain Cambridge college where she wanted to study law.

She got into another Cambridge college but couldn't bear looking at the place that had rejected her as she rode past on her bicycle.

Her message was that even if you don't get what you want, things can work out in a way you can't imagine.

As for Elizabeth Day's wedding dress, she sold it on eBay and used the money to fund her podcast.

Books to Live By sees Mariella Frostrup leaving the studio to chat to well-known people in their own homes, hotels and dressing rooms about their favourite books.

Frostrup sounded a little more tentative than usual as she headed off to meet actor Dominic West in his rural idyll.

She was dipping her toe into a more chatty, easy style. At times it seemed a little forced.

"Mariella, how are ya, gorgeous," West bellowed a la Brian Blessed.

West's book choices were not run of the mill - a story book about an ugly monster who dies which was strangely cruel and a poem by Auden that, once read, can never be forgotten.

His themes were sex and death. Beckett would approve.

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