THE HILARIOUS ANNUAL COLLECTION OF READERS' LETTERS THAT WERE JUST TOO LEFT-FIELD, OUTRAGEOUS OR WITTY TO MAKE THE PAGES OF THE TELEGRAPH. 'SIR - Two days of news about the Duchess of Cambridge, and you haven't yet told us about her hospital gown. Who designed it? How much did it cost? And has she worn it before?' 'SIR - Sede vacante has not always been connected with the death of a pope. When I was growing up in the 1970s we would use the expression at home to denote that the bathroom was free.' 'SIR - Being a devoted husband, as well as a staunch and active member of the Conservative Party, I'd be grateful to learn what further changes it will adopt, especially in regard to monogamy. My wife could do with a bit more help around the house.' 'SIR - Am I alone in wishing for an episode of the BBC's Countryfile in which a presenter's offer to "lend a hand" is turned down?' 'SIR - I see in your Cyprus Bailout Live blog, at 13:55, a reference to the "Finish [sic] Europe Minister". Thank goodness it is all over.' A letters page may seem antiquated in an era of texting and tweets, yet the Telegraph's letters writers - often bemused, sometimes furious, always erudite - are a breed apart.
'Writing to the Telegraph lets off steam,' confesses one regular correspondent - and thank goodness for the rest of us that it does. Now that anyone can publish their opinions online, the Telegraph letters page remains a rare bastion of well-written, carefully edited wit on the topics of the day. In this fifth volume of wise, waggish and downright outrageous letters for which there wasn't enough space - or editorial stomach - in the paper, we offer another hilariously alternative review of the year. With an agenda as enticing as ever, ranging from Chris Huhne's speeding points to a royal baby, a new Pope to Andy Murray, it will prove, once again, that the Telegraph's letters writers have an astute sense of what really matters.
IAIN HOLLINGSHEAD spent two years on the Letters to the Editor desk before becoming a full-time feature writer for The Daily Telegraph. His more serious assignments have included reporting on the student riots in London and interviewing everyone from Michael Atherton to Gurkha veterans to a member of Seal Team Six, the elite unit which killed Osama bin Laden. His less serious assignments have included taking a bath in Las Vegas with six albino rabbits, spending three days behind the scenes at the Miss England competition, camping outside Westminster Abbey for the Royal Wedding, eating in five Michelin starred restaurants in one day, learning to flirt in Pizza Express, learning to Dance in Mamma Mia!, performing stand-up comedy to 300 eight-year-olds, training with the Royal Marines, climbing into a Spitfire and experiencing a Brighton nudist beach first hand. He now writes freelance for the paper. He has edited four bestselling collections of unpublished letters from the Daily Telegraph for Aurum.