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Bout of Books 26


Hi everyone! Uni is out for the Summer (only like a month later for us nurses!), so what better time to sign up for a readathon?

BSZIYc0

 

 

“The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 19th and runs through Sunday, August 25th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, Twitter chats, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 26 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team”

The great thing about Bout of Books is that it fits around your life. You can still work, do your chores, go to the shops, and just fit in as much reading as you can around that. My goal is to try and get past the number of books I need to read to be on track with my goodreads goal, which I think should be easy enough as I don’t have tons to do.

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The Radium Girls- Kate Moore


Synopsis

The Radium Girls is the story of the dial painters who worked with radioactive plaint with no knowledge of how dangerous it was, until they found they were starting to get ill. It is a story of their fight to find justice in a system determined that radium was safe.

Review

I saw a lot of buzz around this book a year or so ago, and it won a goodreads choice award in 2017. It had been on my wishlist for quite some time, but I ended up buying it because it was a kindle deal.

The story itself made me angry and upset, with maybe a little hope. The radium companies were painted like the Mr Burns type company that only care about profit. They were determined to show the world that radium wasn’t dangerous, despite the evidence they had seen from elsewhere. Even as the girls were getting sick they continued to deny that the radium was the cause.

mr burns.png

I was also angry at how long it took for something to be done about it, and at how even those not immediately related to the radium industry wanted to deny what was happening.

The girl’s illnesses were not easy to read about. They suffered, greatly, with no possible cure, and all the time they weren’t listened to. To imagine the injuries to teeth and jaws was sort of disgusting and sounded like it would be humiliating if you were suffering,

Moore points out that the suffering of the radium girls was not completely in vain. The knowledge gained from their illnesses and the bodies of those who had died meant that working with radium and radiation could be made safer. However, I became somewhat, possibly irrationally, annoyed at Moore for pointing out that it meant those involved with creating nuclear weapons were kept safe. It felt like Moore agreed with nuclear weapons from the ways she said they helped in ending the war. The knowledge from the radium girls should mean that those weapons should never have been thought possible, because it shows they aren’t just going to affect the people you intend to bomb, but also those around them, and anyone in the area post-bombing. Seeing what the girls suffered should make people not want to see that on anyone, even your enemy.

In terms of the book itself. I found it dragged a little, I feel it could have been stripped down to something like a feature piece in a magazine or newspaper, and it was rather repetitive. I did want to know what happened overall, but little bits in-between were overlaboured, I think. Plus the way Moore had written it as a sort of story seemed like she had used artistic licence, I don’t think she had made facts up but some things I don’t think she can have known, I’m not even sure if people who were there could remember exactly some of the smaller details.

The end was a bit like the end of the Lord of the Rings films, it kept seeming to come to a close, but then didn’t.

A note on the kindle version. It was meant to have photos, but they only seemed to be visible via the picture index at the end. I’m not sure how they would appear in a real book.

3/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£5.99)

Paperback (£8.46)

Other Reviews

Words For Worms

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

Nose in a Book

Did I miss your review? Leave a note in comments and I’ll add it.

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Children’s Hour: The Tiger Who Came to Tea


In memory of Judith Kerr, who died today I thought I would repost this Children’s Hour post.

Judith Kerr was also one of the writers who introduced me to books about war (which are a genre I like to read) through ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’. She is certainly a loss to the world of literature.

Prices in the following post were correct for the original post and may now be changed.

Lucybird's Book Blog

Children’s Hour is a new feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

I had my reservations about taking The Tiger Who came to Tea to work. It’s a book I loved as a child but it is a little old fashioned now and I wasn’t sure if your kids would really connect with it. Happily…

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Vinegar Girl- Anne Tyler


Synopsis

Based on ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ ‘Vinegar Girl’ is the story of Kate Battista. After leaving university early Kate’s life ended up revolving around caring for her Father and sister, and a job she didn’t really like. She was stuck, then her father introduced her to his assistant Pyotr and seems strangely eager for them to have a relationship.

Review

I’ve never read or seen the original Shakespeare of ‘Taming of the Shrew‘, my main knowledge of it comes from the film ‘10 Things I Hate About You‘, so I knew somewhat what to expect, but knew the film wasn’t the same as the original play.

I’ve never read any Anne Tyler before, although I had heard of her and know she’s popular. I probably wouldn’t have read this one if I didn’t know it was a re-working of Shakespeare. It just sounded too chick-litty. I am not completely anti-chick-lit but I don’t tend to read it as it can be sort of formulaic, and that makes it predictable.

I probably would categorise it as chick-lit, if pushed, although the romance side is not as exaggerated as it would be in most chick-lit, and there was more of an emphasis on Kate as a person. I liked the emphasis on Kate, and I liked her as a character, but I would have liked more romance too, even if it made the book more stereotypically chick-lit. The romance element just seemed very sudden, especially if I compare it to ’10 Things I Hate About You’.

I enjoyed the book overall. It was an easy read, and engaging. I had been feeling that I didn’t really know what to read, it was a good gap filler. I’d like to read some of the others in the Hogarth Shakespeare series.

 3/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.58)

Kindle (£4.99)

Audiobook (free with an audible trial or £15.74)

Other Reviews:

Words for Worms

Sam Still Reading

Did I miss your review? Leave me a link in comments and I’ll add it here

(That trailer is so 90s!)

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Filed under Chicklit, Classics, Contempory, Fiction review, Retelling

Deals of the Moment- May 2019


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but the money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

See all the books in the deals here (all 51 pages!)

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.

The 8th gen. kindle is also currently on offer for £49.99


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking- Susan Cain

This book about why it’s good to be an introvert was very popular a few years ago. I enjoyed it and would recommend it simply because so many people connected with it, although I wouldn’t say I was overwhelmed.

Buy it for just £1.99



The Lovely Bones- Alice Sebold

Another one that other raved over but I thought was ok. The story of a girl what happens after a girl is murdered, told in her voice. It’s unique, although I didn’t really love that aspect.

It is on The Rory List though if you’re working your way through that!

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)



The Travelling Cat Chronicles- Hiro Arikawa

I’ve picked this book up half a dozen times in the bookshop, but never actually bought it. It’s the story of a man travelling around Japan with his cat. I don’t think I will buy it for my kindle, but because it’s a nice looking book, I’d rather own the physical version.

Buy here (only £1.99) 



Still Alice- Lisa Genova

I will forever recommend this real, sad, understanding, book about the professor who develops early-onset Alzheimers. My introduction to Lisa Genova who has fast become a favourite.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Bad Science- Ben Goldacre

This is one I want to read, more so since starting my nursing degree. It’s about ‘fake’ medicine, and unscientific ‘science’.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Radium Girls- Kate Moore

I have seen so many great things about this book. It’s more or less definite that I’ll buy it. It’s the story of the women who used to paint glow in the dark hands on clocks; with radium paint, and what happened to them

Buy it…here (Only £0.99)


Everywoman- Jess Phillips

We read this as one of the books for our feminist book group. We all very much enjoyed her take on feminism and politics. If only more MPs were like her.

Buy it...here (only £1.99)



Dear Ijeawele- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Great little book about raising a feminist daughter. Well worth the read

Buy it…here (only £0.99)


The War on Women- Sue Lloyd-Roberts

Another bookclub pick. This one is important, but not easy. About the thing women are put through, and those who fight against it

Buy it…here (only £0.99)


 

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Deals of the Moment- April 2019


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.

The 8th gen. kindle is also currently on offer for £49.99

and the Paperwhite for £99.99


Grief is the Thing With Feathers- Max Porter

Is a strange, sad, and beautiful book about a family comforted by a crow after the death of their mother/wife.

Buy it for just £2.59



The House at Riverton- Kate Morton

The Story surrounding the suicide of a poet and family secrets. An engaging mystery which I really enjoyed

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)



Moab is my Washpot- Stephen Fry

The first of Stephen Fry’s autobiographies detailing his childhood years. I love Fry’s wit and comedy so this was a really enjoyable one for me, although I possibly prefer his second.

Buy here (only £0.99) 



Oddjobs- Heide Goody and Iain Grant

The government knows the apocalypse is coming, but they want it to go smoothly. That’s why they set up an agency for it.

This is a funny book with its share of excitement. Plus it’s set in Birmingham, which is always a plus!

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Like Water for Chocolate- Laura Esquivel

I remember very little about ‘Like Water for Chocolate’ except that it was strange, about love, and had recipes in it. I must have enjoyed it though because I still have it even after my move

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


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Admissions- Henry Marsh


Synopsis

The second of neurosurgeon Henry Marsh’s autobiographies follows him after retirement, with a look back to significant moments of his career, and his post-retirement trip to help a fellow neurosurgeon in Nepal.

 

Review

I was really looking forward to reading ‘Admissions’ as  ‘Do No Harm‘ was one of my favourite reads of 2017. I bought it just after Christmas and read it quite soon after. I must admit that although I did enjoy it I was a little disappointed, it just doesn’t meet up to ‘Do No Harm’.

It focused a lot more on Marsh’s personal life than ‘Do No Harm’ had. Whilst it was impressive to see what he was capable in other parts of his life (fitting windows, building rooms) I didn’t really care much about it.

I do think however his acquisition of the cottage as well as his trip to Nepal really said something about his character, and of the big change that retirement can be. Marsh seemed almost to fear having nothing to do. He spoke a lot of dementia, and I can imagine that for someone who really has relied on their brain, and who has seen what can happen when it goes wrong the thought that he could loose his own brain function would be especially scary.

I did enjoy the briefer steps into the medical. There were less descriptions of surgery than in the first book, although some may prefer that. We did however get to see more severe brain injuries during his time in Nepal, as the patients had to pay for treatment and had less access so were more likely to further progressed.

Partly because most of the medical sections were done in countries where languages other than English were spoken I felt that we got less of an insight into the patients. Sometimes we did get a little third-hand insight, but that was less detailed. In fact in Nepal Marsh tries to teach the doctors about the importance of seeing the patients as people, rather than something to be treated.

It was also interesting to see medicine in other cultures. I was particularly struck by how important being at home was for those in Nepal, to the point where families would use a hand breathing bag to take an ill person home to die which seems like amazing dedication, but  also seems somehow right.

There was less of his views of the NHS too, which made it somewhat less emotive. You could still get the sense that Marsh loves the NHS though, but hates what is happening to it. I don’t think that’s uncommon in the NHS community.

I think those who preferred the more personal bits of ‘Do No Harm’ will love this one, but as far as medical memoirs go it’s not the most medical. Still a very good overall memoir though

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£4.99)

Paperback (£6.29)

Hardback (£16.99)

FREE audiobook with audible trial (or £17.49)

Other reviews:

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I Love Dick- Chris Kraus


Synopsis

Chris is a middle-aged, married woman when she meets Dick and falls in love. What follows are a series of letters declaring her love for him, but will they ever come to a conclusion?

Review

We read ‘I Love Dick’ as our bookclub book last month and honestly it didn’t go down well, few of us finished, because we didn’t want to, one didn’t even try to read it- she just knew it wasn’t her type of book. I did manage to finish, but not in time for bookclub, I carried on reading afterwards because I was so close to the end, but it took me a long time to read those last 40-50 pages.

Having said that we didn’t enjoy it, it did make for some good discussion- not least that we were trying to disentangle the author Chris from the character Chris, there is definitely an autobiographical element there, and other characters referred to were real people known to Chris (including Chris’ huband; both real and literary).

Overall it was sort of creepy. Basically Chris has this obsession on a person who she has met twice, it’s pretty stalkeresque. She at one point is talking about books of his she has read to his in her letters, almost like she thinks she is having a conversation with him. Another member of the group said the books she talks about are actually books that the writer Chris has written, so maybe this is meant to be some sort of comment on obsessive love being all in the mind.

Apparently the book has been praised as being feminist. I found this hard to see. Chris spoke of other feminists which I suppose could be seen as being feminist in itself- but actually it’s parrotting, I wouldn’t call it any more feminist than one of my book reviews of feminist books. And Chris (the character) was very dependant on men which doesn’t seem feminist at all.

If you’re looking for a book to discuss this may well actually be a good choice, but I wouldn’t recommend if you want to read it just because.

2/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£8.46)

Kindle (£4.69)

Other Reviews:

Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a note in comments and I’ll add it here

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Deals of the Moment- March 2019


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


Where My Heart Used to Beat- Sebastian Faulks

I’m a tentative fan of Sebastian Faulks. I have loved some of his books but am a little bit off buying this one because I haven’t found the same pleasure in reading the last few of his that I have read. I will probably end up buying this one before the month is out though.

This one is a doctor looking back over his life which spanned the twentieth century. It includes the Western Front, and I have always found that Faulks writes especially well about the war.

Buy it for just £1.99



Captain Correlli’s Mandolin- Louis de Berneieres

After I read ‘Captain Correlli’s Mandolin’ I kept searching for another de Bernieres book which was as good (‘The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts‘ ended up being better).

It is the story of a Greek island during WW2, the people who lived there and the Italian army who occupied it, but the central story is a love story between an Italian captain and an inhabitant of the islan

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Wool- Hugh Howey

The first (and best) in the Wool trilogy (continued with Shift and Dust).

The only survivors in a toxic world live in a silo. They’re safe, but is everything as it seems?

Buy here (only £0.99) 


Inside the O’Briens- Lisa Genova

A city cop is diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, how will it affect him and his family?

I always like Genova’s books because they have real medicine behind them but also engaging stories and characters.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Curry Easy- Madhur Jaffrey

I’m mainly including this one because I want opinions. I want a curry cookbook, and my parents main cookbook of the type is by Madhur Jaffrey, so I think she’s a good writer to go for.

The thing is I can’t see it being easy to use a cookbook on a kindle (I have a paperwhite) because you can’t really flick through a book on one. Has anyone used a kindle cookbook? What are your experiences?

Buy it…here (only £1.99)

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A Spark of Light- Jodi Picoult


Synopsis

When Hugh McElroy responds to a hostage situation at a women’s clinic he doesn’t realise that one of the hostages is his daughter, and he will do anything to save her.

We hear the story of women at the clinic, and the story of the gunman. Is there really a reason to be so strictly anti-abortion?

Review

It’s no secret that I’m a Picoult fan (and this is a signed edition- eeek) so I was really looking forward to reading this one.

I think recently there has been a bit of a style change for Picoult. She still covers heartfelt topics, but they are wider somehow, and the books come off as more serious (certainly when it comes to this one and ‘Small Great Things‘). Picoult wrote of how she had wanted to write ‘Small Great Things’, or at least something on racism and neo-nazis, for a long time but had wanted to make sure she did it right, I wonder if it is a similar thing for ‘A Spark of Light’. Abortion is a controversial topic, and I feel there is a similar lack of understanding between sides (although I doubt you’ll get many people actually saying they’re pro-racism).

I should probably mention that I generally would consider myself to be pro-choice, although there are very few situations where I could imagine myself having an abortion. I don’t believe that my own preferences should be forced upon others, although I do know that for many abortion is more than just a medical ‘procedure’ and there should be support for those who choose to have one, both before and after, and I know this sort of thing can be seen as a barrier or dissuasive tactic.

Generally speaking Picoult is good at showing both sides of a story, and of showing the ‘bad guy’ as a real person who has a rational behind their actions. To a certain extent we did see this with the shooter, and other pro-lifers in ‘A Spark of Light’, but I did get the distinct feeling that Picoult herself is pro-choice. It’s not exactly that I didn’t see the motivation of the pro-lifers, or that there wasn’t more than the expected shown, it is more that I didn’t feel like there was enough to sympathise with their point of view.’

I suppose what I hoped to see was something more like ‘Nineteen Minutes‘ in which we can sympathise with a school shooter, but whilst we saw some motivation behind the shooter in ‘A Spark of Light’ I felt we didn’t really get to know enough of him to make us care.

There is also the issue that the story started at the end and worked backwards (except for the very end of the book) and that took a while for me to adjust to…although it probably would have helped if I read the chapter names!

I would recommend the book, and it might round your perspective a bit- whether you are pro-life or pro-choice. If you’re a Picoult fan you will almost definitely enjoy it. However there are better Picoult books out there, and I wouldn’t use it as a jumping off point.

4/5

Buy it:

Hardback (£5.99)

Kindle (£5.99)

Paperback pre-order (£7.03)

FREE audiobook with an Audible Trial (or £21.87)

Other Reviews:

Annette’s Book Spot

So Many Books, So Little Time

Did I miss your review? Leave me a link in comments

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Patient H.M- Luke Dittrich


Synopsis

In the 1930s Patient H.M was given a lobotomy by Dittrich’s grandfather William Beecher Scoville as a treatment for his debilitating epilepsy. This procedure led to damage to H.M’s memory which meant he could not form new memories. His case was important for the acquisition of knowledge about the brain and he spent the rest of his life being studied by scientists and doctors.

Review

Patient H.M isn’t really what I expected at all. It was about him to an extent, you heard a bit about what may have led to his epilepsy, and parts of his story post-surgery were described, but really it was about those who worked round him. mainly the surgeon who operated on him. For a pretty well known story it’s kind of nice to have a different approach, and there did seem to be some things uncovered. However to actually learn about H.M it might not be the best book.

It did at times get a bit confusing because of jumping between people and times, but once I got used to it I could generally work out what was going on.

It was a really interesting book, and it covers more than just H.M’s case where it comes to neuroscience. We learn a lot about the history of neuroscience and neuropsychology and neurosurgery. It’s probably good for people with less technical knowledge but an interest.

4/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£9.99)

Kindle (£5.49)

Hardcover (£18.99)

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Children’s Hour: Mr Gumpy’s Outing


In honour of John Burningham who died last week I am re-posting my Children’s Hour post of his book ‘Mr Gumpy’s Outing’

Lucybird's Book Blog

Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

Mr Gumpy's Outing, book, book cover, picture book, John BurninghamMr Gumpy’s Outing, was particularly popular with the toddlers about a year ago- in fact I think one child smuggled it out when he moved up to pre-school, I used to read i to him a lot but I haven’t seen it…

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Milkman- Anna Burns



Synopsis

Told through the eyes of an eighteen year old girl we learn about ‘the troubles’ in Northern Ireland and how it has an effect on a community who live there.

Winner of the Booker Prize 2018

Review

I read this book as out first feminist book group pick of 2019. I must admit to struggling with it for a lot of the time, and if it hadn’t been a book group book I probably wouldn’t have finished, which would have been a real shame because I was really enjoying it by the end.

What made it tough? The writing really. It wasn’t bad writing, it just took a lot of dedication because it was so different to something I would normally read. It reminded me early on of the writing in a YA book which is told in a teenager’s voice, but it was less… organised (I suppose). It was a sort of stream of consciousness and had few, long, paragraphs. The story itself jumped around a lot, almost as if the narrator was having a conversation where things she was talking about reminded her of other things. In that way it was very authentic, but did make the storyline somewhat difficult to follow.

She discussed lots of the different characters in the story and none were given ‘real’ names (in fact we never even know her name). Some of these characters were really intriguing, I was especially interested in ‘Pill Girl’, and I loved the ‘wee sisters’.

One of the main things we saw was that it was a place steeped in tradition, and those who didn’t meet up to these standards were generally seen as ‘beyond the pale’ but generally accepted as people who were just a bit strange. Despite it being in ways a sad story there were funny bits, and I did find parts entertaining.

I won’t say much about the end because of spoilers, but it was definitely for me worth the effort, and I found I had gotten rather attached to the characters.

I’m not giving a rating for this one, because I feel so differently about different parts, but so long as you don’t mind working for it I would definitely recommend. 

If you’re interested in joining our bookgroup for February we’re reading ‘I Love Dick’ by Chris Kraus and we meet at the Cafe Nero on Lower Temple Street, Birmingham, on the 13th at 7pm. Or you can join in via twitter.

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.99)

Kindle (£5.39)

Hardback (£11.99)

Audio (Free with an audible trial or £17.49)

Other Reviews:

HeavenAli

Word By Word

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Deals of the Moment- December 2018


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


Admissions: A Life in Brain Surgery- Henry Marsh

I will definitely be buying this if I don’t get it as a Christmas present. I loved Henry Marsh’s first biography of his life as a brain surgeon (Do No Harm)

Buy it for just £0.99



I Feel Bad About My Neck: and Other Thoughts About Being a Woman- Nora Ephron

I remember reading a really positive review of this book which described it as being funny and feminist. It looks like an entertaining but thoughtful read.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Shift- Hugh Howey

Shift is the second book in the Wool trilogy. (preceded by Wool, and continued in Dust.) A series set in a dystopian future where the world is uninhabitable, except for by the residents in a silo. It’s very good

Buy here (only £1.99) 


Girl Up- Laura Bates

Girl Up is about the things women are told every day, and shouldn’t be.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Delusions of Gender- Cordelia Fine

Delusions of Gender is about how girls and boys are treated differently, and how this creates differences for how they behave. It’s a real eye-openner

Buy it…here (only £3.09)

You can also buy Testosterone Rex from the same writer, which is all about toxic masculinity (and at the same price!)



What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape- Sohaila Abdulali

I reviewed this just last week (link above). It’s about the stories of different rape victims, but it goes beyond their rapes

Buy it…here (only £0.99)


In Shock: How Nearly Dying Made Me a Better Intensive Care Doctor- Rana Awdish

Similar to ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ Awdish’s book is about what it’s like to be a patient when you’re a doctor, plus it’s about how that changed what type of a doctor she is. I love doctor memoirs so will happily add this to my collection

Buy it…here (only £1.99)

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What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape- Sohaila Abdulali


Disclaimer: I was given this book free of charge (via netgalley) in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis

Sohaila Abdulali was raped in her late teens, and nobody really cared. It set her off on a path to reveal the truth behind rape, and its victims. This book is made up of the stories she was told and the things she found out.

Review

Sohaila Abdulali was weeks from moving to America when she was raped in her home country of India. She was discouraged from reporting by the police, the very people who should have been protecting her. It wasn’t an unknown story, rape just wasn’t a topic discussed in India (despite a few exceptions, it still isn’t). A few years later Sohaila returned to India in the hop of exposing the rape culture in the country, but still nobody was willing to talk about it. She released an article, detailing her own experience, and returned to the US.

For thirty years she worked with rape survivors. Then came the publicised rape and murder of Jyoti Singh, and suddenly Sohaila’s story became international news, because she had been talking out against the culture that caused Jyoti’s rape.

This is when Sohaila started speaking out again. She had always wanted to change the world, and had been in her ‘small’ ways, but now she had a platform.

In ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape’ Sohaila talks about her own story, and about Jyoti’s, and other widely known rape cases (like Brook Turner), but mainly she talks about the rape of ‘everyday’ women. Rapes that might have been reported, or might not, might have been taken seriously, or might not.

One thing I got from the book was how she didn’t like seeing the raped woman as a victim. She didn’t like the idea that a rape should define who a woman is. Yes it might be life changing, but it is just one part of a life. She talks about how women who are raped as perceived as overly innocent victims, or women who were asking for it, there’s no in-between where she just a ‘normal’ woman, and that’s what the majority are.

She talks about different cultures and how they view rape, and the damage which can be done by this.

There are some really inspiring and interesting stories. I think it’s good to know them, and I do like the overall message.

However I found in reading the book it was a little bit all over the place. The stories didn’t seem to fit together all that well, and at times Sohaila would go from talking about one ‘victim’ straight to another or to herself. She told her own story, but then peppered other bits throughout in ways that only really sometimes fits with what she had been saying previously. I do wonder if maybe it was on purpose to show the variety of women, that it shouldn’t all fit together like a jigsaw, but it made it a little difficult as a reader to read as a whole book. Part of it may have been because I had an ARC copy, so maybe the end formatting made chapters more obvious, but I still feel that it would be better as chapters for each subject, or each ‘victim’.

It probably is worth reading, for the stories and for the outlook. I’m certainly not regretting reading it.

3/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£1.49)

Paperback (£9.18)

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Filed under Feminism, Memoir, non-fiction review, Politics

Cancerland: A Memoir- David Scadden and Michael D’Antonio


Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book (via Netgalley) in return for an honest review

Synopsis 

From childhood David Scadden had experiences of cancer which led him to a career as an oncologist and researcher of cancer. This book is his account of his experiences.

Review

Well it seems appropriate that my first review after starting my nursing degree is a review of a medical book.

I’ve read plenty medical memoirs before, and I would say they are fast becoming a favourite genre for me. Cancerland though is a bit different from the others.

At the beginning Scadden said that one of his aims in writing his memoir was to increase peoples’ knowledge of cancer. His book certainly succeeded in this aim. I hadn’t realised quite how complex cancercare is, or how frustrating research can be- especially with the media shouting about ‘miracle cures’.

However it didn’t quite hold the personal element that I expect from these types of books. You read little about his patients or his family life, especially once he has become a doctor. That makes it somewhat harder to connect with. It was interesting seeing how he got into medicine however, and I did find it interesting on an intellectual level.

If it’s your first foray into medical memoirs I probably wouldn’t start with this one, but if you want to read more of them then this is a good one to go for for a wider experience.

3/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£10.44)

Hardback (£21.99)

Listen for free with an audible trial

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Filed under Biography, health, medical, Memoir, non-fiction review

Children’s Hour: Winston Was Worried


It’s my last week at the nursery before I leave for my nursing degree, so I thought I really should do a Children’s Hour post this week. Hopefully I’ll still manage to get a few out from my memory after I’ve left (and I’ve bought the kids some books as a goodbye present so I may be able to review those…if I get a chance to read them)


 

I’ve heard other staff reading Winston Was Worried to the kids, I think generally when the kids pick a book from the bookcase (we have some accessible to the kids and a few ‘nice’ ones which we keep on a shelf but let the kids choose from in group time). Somehow though, even though it’s a popular choice, I hadn’t read it myself until today…and I really missed out on that!

You see the thing that really makes this story is the pictures. All throughout Winston is bemoaning his paw which has a splinter in it

“There is nothing as bad as having a splinter in your paw. I am so unfortunate. Everything always happens to me”

but he doesn’t realise that the friends he is walking away from are much more unfortunate as they have their own accidents. The story itself is very simple, but by looking at the pictures you can add to the story yourself or -as in this case- you can ask the listener questions about what they can see. This is great for making the kids feel that they are reading themselves, and for helping them pay attention to the book- plus they love seeing what is happening to Winston’s friends

Winston is worried is no longer available new but you can buy it used

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Filed under Children's, Children's Hour, Fiction review

Transcription- Kate Atkinson


Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

 

Synopsis

During the war Juliet Armstrong worked for MI5, just as a secretary though, now she works for the BBC, but something strange is happening, could someone be after Juliet? And what did she actually do during the war?

Review

(You know what is an exciting this as a reviewer? When you get offered a book from an author whose work you previously loved.)

I make no secret of the fact that ‘Life After Life’ is one of my favourite ever books. This makes me sort of apprehensive about approaching a new book by Atkinson, but also super excited. When you loved a book by an author you are going to compare everything else by them to it, which can skew your view a bit. With ‘A God in Ruins’ I think this led to too high an expectation, so I tried to approach ‘Transcription’ as if it wasn’t by the same author (It didn’t really work…expect the comparisons!).

Juliet’s story jumps between her life during and shortly after the war. We start off with her life ‘now’ which I think was a good choice because otherwise we would think that it was just a story about a secretary- not exactly the most exciting premise for a novel!

It was the war side of the story which initially made me want to read the book however (we all know how I love a war story). In terms of being a war story it wasn’t exactly classic war literature. Most of Juliet’s job was transcribing conversations between an undercover agent and Nazi sympathisers in the UK. After some time Juliet’s life gets more exciting, but what really interested me, and kept me turning pages was that we didn’t seem to have the full story.

You see Juliet is being threatened, possibly followed, and we as the reader don’t know why, or even if the reason is legitimate. That means that everything you read you are trying to read more into. Did she do something awful that we haven’t yet found out about? Are there parts of her story that are more than they seem?

Whilst taking part (largely) during wartime I wouldn’t really say that ‘Transcription’ is a war story, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it.

It isn’t quite to the level of ‘Life After Life’, I am likely to suggest it to others, but I am unlikely to force it on anyone (even though it doesn’t contain a woman dying multiple times…according to my sister that’s a downer…who knew?). Having said that it did get pretty close, and it is one of those strange books that gets better the more you think about it.

4.5/5

‘Transcription’ is released tomorrow (6/9/18) but you can pre-order it now:

Hardback (£13.99)

Kindle (£9.99)

Paperback- released April ’19 (£7.91)

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Historical

Happy Birthday to Me


lucybird2.png I was going to write a review today, then I can to wordpress and had a surprise. It’s my blogiversary! 9 years! So I decided to do a lazy celebration post…because it’s last minute.

As it’s 9 years here are 9 amazing books to read… and 9 popular posts

1

Great book: Brooklyn Bites series- Scott Stabile

Popular post: Top 10 Books set During Wartime

2

Great book: The Crimson Petal and the White- Michael Faber

Popular post: The Color War- Jodi Picoult

3

Great book: Handle with Care- Jodi Picoult

Popular post: When God was a Rabbit- Sarah Winman

4

Great book: The Horologican- Mark Forsyth

Popular post: How Winning the Lottery Changed my Life- Sandra Hayes

5

Great book: How to be a Woman- Caitlin Moran

Popular post: Harry Potter Merchandise (note not all of the links still work, which is a shame)

6

Great book: Life After Life- Kate Atkinson

Popular post: The Potter’s House- Rosie Thomas

7

Great book: Pop Co.- Scarlett Thomas

Popular post: Film of the Book- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part 2)

8

Great book: Shades of Grey- Jasper Fforde

Popular post: About a Boy- Nick Hornby

9

Great book: Yes Means Yes

Popular post: The Weight of Silence- Heather Gudenkauf

 

Apparently picking just 9 great books is hard! So here are some bonus SECRET links

Keep

it

Secret

Keep

it

Safe

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How Not to Be a Boy- Robert Webb


Disclaimer: This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis

‘How Not to Be A Boy’ is Webb’s autobiography with a bit of a difference. One of his intentions in writing it was to share his experiences with toxic masculinity, and why it’s so damaging.

Review

Note: When I say feminist I mean someone who stands for gender equality rather than simply women’s rights

I heard a lot about ‘How Not to Be a Boy’ when it first came out, it sounded really interesting, and just like my sort of book, so I added it to my wishlist, and, like most things on my wishlist it sat there (I have such a bad habit for impulse buying books rather than buying books I already knew I wanted to read). Then one day I was flicking through the pages of netgalley and, to my surprise, it popped up, so of course I requested it.

In reality the book wasn’t quite what I expected. I think I expected it to be more feminist (or have more of a gender equality drive). Essentially though it was Robert Webb’s autobiography. At times he took a step back from the ‘story’ to talk about toxic masculinity, and from some of the things he said- especially when he was talking about ‘the trick [which makes women sad and men have better jobs]’ – he does sound feminist.

If I had gone into the book expecting more of an autobiography I don’t think I would have really wanted to read it. I know Robert Webb’s work- at least to a point- and I don’t dislike him, but I probably a not familiar enough with him to want to read his autobiography. Now though, I like him a lot more.

His autobiography is pretty unfincing. Whist he blame toxic masculinity to a point to the ways he has behaved in the past he also accepts that he is the one that needs to change it. This leads on to the greater idea that it is a man’s job to say no to being made to feel like they have to conform to gender roles. When something is so ingrained into a culture it is hard to sometimes even see that you are encouraging gender roles, just in the different things you might do when with a boy or a girl e.g. how you can call a girl pretty, but a boy has to be handsome which has completely different connotations.

This video was going around facebook for a while, I think it’s a perfect illustration

3.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£5.49)

Paperback (£5.99)

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Bout of Books Wrap-up


Yesterday was the last day of Bout of Books. I’m pretty happy with how things went, I managed to finish off one book which I had already started, and read an additional two. My goal had been to read over other things (e.g. binge-watching netflix) and I did that, most of the time. I’m hoping to carry on with choosing books because actually I found that if I didn’t start something else then I really did get into the book and it wasn’t an effort. I do have quite a few reviews I need to write now though!

These are the books I managed…


Each day I posted on my twitter…this is my favourite tweet (or should I say the first two in a thread)

I also took part in the instagram challenges. This was my favourite

Next Bout of Books is 7th-13t January. I’ll be well into my nursing course by then, but I hope I’ll be able to squeeze some non-uni reading in

How did your readathon go?

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Children’s Hour: The Paper Dolls


It been a long time since I’ve done a Children’s Hour post, and I found out this week that I will be returning to uni I am excited but it does mean I’m leaving the nursery- so I’m not sure how many children’s books I’ll be able to blog about, so I really want to make the most of the time I have to read to the kids!

 

The Paper Dolls is a Julia Donaldson book which has been a favourite in pre-school for quite some time. In it a little girl makes a set of paperdolls to play with. The dolls go on a lot of adventures and sing their song

“You can’t (catch) us on no no no,

We’re holding hands and we won’t let go

We’re Ticky and Tacky, and Jackie the Backie, and Jim With Two Noses, and Jo with the Bow”

It’s a lovely journey through a child’s imagination, and the pictures show us what is really happening.

The kids love the song (which my colleague made up a great tune to) and will join in with. We’ve also had a go at making our own paper dolls.

As the reader it may not be the easiest to read, simply because you need to make up the tune yourself- we tried to find a good version on youtube but couldn’t find any where the readers actually sung, which was really disappointing. Also there are subtle changes which once you know the story quite well can be easy to get wrong, trust me the kids notice when you do!

All the same give it a bash, it’s well worth it.

Buy it:

Paperback (£3.49)

Boardbook (£6.99)

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Filed under Children's, Children's Hour, Fiction review

Bout of Books


 

In some sort of attempt to get out of the pattern of netflix binge watching I have gotten into I’ve decided to take part in my first ‘Bout of Books’ Readathon starting on the 20th August.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 20th and runs through Sunday, August 26th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 23 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I’m working all week so I don’t expect to get tons of reading done so much as to choose it over other things that I might have otherwise been doing

Anyone else planning on joining in?

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Deals of the Moment- August 2018


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


Chocolat- Joanne Harris

I was on a bit of a Joanne Harris kick for a few years pre-uni, and have read a fair bit of her since, but I haven’t read anything by her for ages. Chocolat is my favourite of what I have read, I especially love the descriptions

Buy it for just £0.99



Shades of Grey- Jasper Fforde  

Shades of Grey (not to be confused with 50 Shades of Grey) is my favourite Jasper Fforde book (and I love Jasper Fforde). I just wish he’d get that sequel out! Set is a dystopian world where people can only see some colours- and the social hierarchy is based on that.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)



Jacob’s Room is Full of Books

And Howard’s End is on the Landing- Susan Hill

I love books about books so I’m interested these which are essentially  reading journals by author Susan Hill. I do wonder if not having read anything by her may effect my reading.

Buy Jacob’s Room (only £4.29) and Howard’s Ending (only £8.89)



Why Not Me?- Mindy Kaling

I love Mindy Kaling so I really enjoyed this second biography. The first was better but I think mainly because it had a lot of before she was famous in it.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99) 


Every Note Played- Lisa Genova

I somehow missed this Lisa Genova Novel being released. It is the story of a pianist diagnosed with ALS which takes away his ability to play. What tends to give Genova’s books something special is her background in neurology, so I fully expect this one to be the same.

Buy it…here (only £3.49)



Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine- Gail Honeyman

So many people have raved about this book. It’s one I would probably eventually get around to- maybe now is as good a tine as any?

Buy it…here (only £3.99 with audio)

…this also happens to be the same price in paperback


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The War on Women- Sue Lloyd Roberts


Synopsis

Sue Lloyd Roberts spent her life filming in hostile areas, where women were mistreated. In this book she talks about how women are treated around the world and what is (or isn’t) being done to fight their corner.

Review

This was the book for my feminist bookgroup in July, and I think I can safely say we found it pretty hopeless. I think it is an important and eye opening book to read, but it does make you despair a bit.

The full title of the book includes the line ‘The Women Who Fight Back’, and whilst these women did exist- and were very admirable for it- often their ‘fight’ actually made little real difference.

The most stark and memorable of these was the story of the female peacekeeper charged with routing out sex trafficking in war torn areas. When she found that a lot of her fellow American peacekeepers were using the services of these abused girls she tried to put things right- and was dismissed for the pleasure.

Some of these stories are ones you may know, the brutal rape of a woman on a bus in India, the frequent sexual and physical attacks during protests in Egypt, but you may not know the levels, and how things stand today.

There were also things I know were an issue, but not quite how close to home. I knew about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), but I guess I (maybe naively) presumed that even on girls in Britain it happened abroad.

I’m not going to rate this book, I think it’s important to read, but a rating is a bit too much about pleasure. I wouldn’t say it was pleasurable. In terms of readability it was good, graphic when it needed to be but without trying to drown you in emotion, and not too obviously political or ‘news-y’.

Buy it:

Kindle (£0.99)

Paperback (£5.65)

Hardback (£16.99)

Other Reviews:

HeavenAli

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Filed under Feminism, History, non-fiction review, Politics

Disenchanted- Heide Goody and Iain Grant


Synopsis

Ella is pretty content with her life. Sure she has a bridezilla of a stepmother to-be, and her father never seems to be around, and whilst her stepsister is perfectly nice she isn’t like Ella at all, but overall Ella’s pretty happy.

Then some dwarfs show up, insisting that Ella’s stepmother is out to kill her, and things just get more bizarre from there.

Review

I’m quite a fan of the novels co-authored by Goody and Grant (I’ve not actually read any pure Goody or Grant) so when I saw ‘Disenchanted’ on amazon I was more than willing to give it a try.

Everything else I’ve read by the team has been the part of a series but ‘Disenchanted’ is a stand alone novel (or at least I hope it is, it really doesn’t seem that it could be the start of a series). It’s a bit of a twisted fairytale, it asks what if the princess doesn’t want her ‘perfect’ price charming? And what if the characters are not quite what they have always been painted as.

Ella is a great character. She’s self sufficient. She’s not your stereotypical fairytale princess, she cares much more about doing her own thing than trying to find a fairytale ending. After all how can half the fairytales really be happily ever after? The princess who married the guy who awoke her with a kiss? The one who married the guy who locked her up until she fell in love with him? Or the one who fell in love after a dance? Even real fairytales can’t be that perfect, right?

I loved the fairytale references littered through the book, especially when Ella started to catch onto them too. I loved the feisty women. Most of all I loved being able to laugh.

You could probably easily read this in a day. It’s incredibly readable, light and humorous without lacking substance. It doesn’t have as much dark or slightly disgusting humour as other books by the team, so it’s probably better for those who don’t like that type of humour (although if that is you I hope this is a gateway book!).

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£3.50)

Paperback (£5.99)

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Filed under Fantasy, Fiction review, Humour

When Breath Becomes Air- Paul Kalaniti


Synopsis

Paul Kalaniti has been studying and working for ten years. His residency is almost over and he shows great promise as a future neurosurgeon.

Then Paul is diagnosed with incurable lung cancer, his future seems to be slipping away as he starts to loose his role as a doctor to become a patient.

Review

I mainly picked up this book because it seemed like it would be a medical memoir that saw things from two sides. To an extent it was that, but it was much more personal.

Kalaniti had always wanted to find some meaning in life, he started off studying literature; believing he could find something there, then he moved into medicine- maybe some practice involving life and death would give him that? Whether he gained more from medicine is somewhat unclear but it certainly seemed to be the right path for him, and his relationships with his patients in particular seemed to add something to his knowledge of what life was all about. But it was only when he was staring death in the face that Kalaniti found what was important to him.

In some ways it being both a doctor’s memoir and a patient’s memoir made it not quite an adequate version of either. I found the descriptions of his patients and surgery to be a bit lacking, and his own medical knowledge meant that his patient experience was not typical. That does not mean it was not a good memoir overall. It was interesting to see where Kalaniti the doctor and the patient overlapped, and the particular issues that came with knowledge.

There was also a sort of unfinished feel about it. Almost unedited. I wonder how much of that was due to the fact that Kalaniti died whilst writing it (something expected) and how much was to do with posthumous editing. The epilogue written by Kalaniti’s wife gave some closure, but it is real life, nothing should be a closed book. So it did mean that as a reader you came away with wanting more but in a way that was perfect for the book- it was like a sense of mourning.

I definitely recommend this book, just don’t expect an emotionally easy ride.

4/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.96)

Kindle (£5.49)

Or listen for free with an audible trial

Other Reviews:

So Many Books, so Little Time

Worth Getting in Bed For

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Filed under health, medical, Memoir, non-fiction review

Little Feminist Reviews


My recent non-fiction jaunts have taken in a fair few feminist books, I wanted to review these books, but I don’t feel I have enough to say- or in some cases remember enough- to write full reviews, so I am going for some little reviews instead.

Men Explain Things to Me- Rebecca Solnit

Solnit is the inspiration behind the term ‘Mansplaining’ (although not actually a fan of the term herself). In this book she talks about men thinking they know better than women about things, and some of the serious consequences which can come from these presumptions. I didn’t expect it to be this serious, so in terms of subject it was a good read. However I didn’t really find it a good read…which may not have been helped by me getting annoyed at Solnit suggesting that violence is male. She sort of went back on herself but not before I’d posted a thread about it on twitter

Other people have loved it though. Try Heather’s review 

Buy it from £8.88

A History of Britain in 21 Women- Jenni Murray

This one was read as part if our feminist bookgroup (we’re reading ‘The Cows’ this month if you fancy joining us). I was expecting a history of Britain which was female based, maybe women who contributed to big historical events, or were the foundation of them. What we got was more of a series of biographies of women who Murray saw as feminist icons.

I will use Ali’s word and say that I had some quibbles. It was interesting in a historical sense, and included some women who were unknown to me, but I was unsure that I would call some women feminist icons.  The major one (and I think the one that our bookgroup had the most quibbles about) was Thatcher. Whilst she broke a major barrier for women she didn’t exactly show support for women.

Buy it from £5.03 or listen for free with an audible trial

Dear Ijeawele: Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This book is a copy of a letter that Adichie wrote to her friend with recommendations on how to raise a feminist daughter. It has some really good ideas, and I think it’s well worth a read, especially for parents.

Buy it from £2.99 or listen for free with an audible trail

 

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Filed under Biography, essays, Feminism, non-fiction review

Deals of the Moment- May 2018


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.

There are so many books that are/look good this month and I’ve been busy and procrastinating, so it’s a bit late…but hey impulse buying is a thing right?


All the Light We Cannot See- Anthony Doerr

I read this a while ago but never reviewed it even though I enjoyed it. It’s a bit of a different war story and has been widely praised. It follows two characters; a clever German orphan who falls into working with the Nazis and a blind french girl who is fleeing from the occupation in Paris.

Buy it for just £2.99



Why Have Kids?- Jessica Valenti  

This one has been on my deals of the moment before, and I didn’t buy it. I’m mainly interested because the writer is one of the contributors to the amazing ‘Yes Means Yes’. The feminist in me is interested to read it, but I’m unsure of the actual subject matter.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)



The Horologicon and The Elements of Eloquence– Mark Forsyth

I love the opportunity to rave about Forsyth’s entertaining and interesting books all about language. If you buy anything on this list it should be one of these.

Buy The Horologican (only £3.09) and The Elements of Eloquence (only £3.49)


Oddjobs 2: This Time it’s Personnel- Heide Goody and Iain Grant

I bought this to read on holiday because I loved the first in the series. Funny, and at times moving, definitely a good holiday book. Follows a government department who are trying to manage the end of the world.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99) (The first is only £2.99 so you may as well buy that too.)


The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas- John Boyne

 Another well received war book, this one about a concentration camp. Very moving but simple enough for children.

Buy it…here (only £2.99)



Room- Emma Donoghue

Very sad, and moving, and hopeful book about a woman who has been imprisoned by her captor since being a teenager, and their son.

Buy it…here (only £0.99)




Talking to my Daughter About the Economy- Yanis Varoufakis

I’ve looked at this one a few times, instore and online but am very much on the fence about whether to read it or not. I like the idea of an easy to understand book about economics, but I also worry it will just bore me.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


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Fragile Lives- Prof. Stephen Westaby


Synopsis

Stephen Westaby is a renowned NHS heart surgeon. His career has seen many advances in heart surgery and treatment, and lots of complicated and major operations.

 

Review

I have been wanting to read ‘Fragile Lives’ for a long time, especially after loving ‘Do No Harm‘, but I was a bit nervous so I didn’t read it as soon as I got it. Instead, completely by coincidence, I ended up reading it over the anniversary of my operation.

I’m still not entirely sure it was the best time to read it. It was kind of nerve racking at the time (but then again I did read ‘Do No Harm’ whilst in hospital, so you know, not the worst time!). In terms of heart surgery mine was one of the most simple surgeries you can get, I wasn’t even expecting it to be included with the book. It was in the book, but not until right near the end, and actually it was more complicated because the woman was pregnant. I couldn’t put the book down at that point, and it was scary, but actually in the end quite uplifting.

I found the different stories really interesting. I hadn’t realised quite how many advances had been made in heart care. The most amazing to me was a pump which could effectively replace the heart. It would keep blood flow going without a pulse and very little blood pressure, if you were to look at most heart monitoring machines you would think this person was dead. It really is amazing.

Despite surgeons being seen as unsympathetic and unemotional, and Westaby saying that being unemotional is important to be a good surgeon, he does come across as caring.

One thing though that came across was that some of the things Westaby was doing couldn’t really be afforded. Westaby seems angry about this, and it is a hard thing, because it would be impossible for the NHS to afford everything, and a balance is something very difficult to make. I talked about this on my instagram, and twitter, so rather than writing again I will just post it here.

View this post on Instagram

Westaby's frustration with the #NHS isn't as obvious as that shown in Marsh's book but the closer I get to the end the more I see it. It's a hard topic to talk about- how NHS funds should be spent. It seems a waste when a life could.be saved or improved but can't be because of money, and I'm not sure it could be fixed either. Privatisation wouldn't work either because then it would mean that there would be a second class who can't afford healthcare which they would have got for free on an NHS type system. When people's lives are at stake then it seems inhumane to leave decisions down to money, but there is really not alternative. NHS funding could be better, and maybe spent better too, but there will always be a point where something can't be afforded. I have said many times how much I value the NHS, without it I don't know where I would be… if I would be. I feel it's being let down, but I also realise it can never be perfect

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5/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£3.99)

Kindle (£2.99)

Hardcover (£10.98)

Other reviews:

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

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Filed under Biography, medical, Memoir, non-fiction review

Deals of the Moment- March 2018


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.

There are so many books that are/look good this month. Lots of them are feminist in nature (I guess because it’s women’s history month), I love feminist books but I know that lots of people prefer to read fiction, so I’ll put them at the end.


A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Beginning- Lemony Snicket

I didn’t read ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ when it came out, mainly because the covers made it look like a rip off of Harry Potter, but since then I’ve watched the netflix show which has proven me wrong- and made me want to read it (although I tend to find books harder to read after I’ve seen the film/show)

Buy it for just 99p



Grief is The Thing With Feathers- Max Porter 

I’ve not reviewed this one on the blog yet but it’s beautiful, sad, and a little strange. It’s about a family in which the mother/wife dies and includes a crow.

You can buy it…here (only £2.89)


The Red Tent- Anita Diamant

I’ve been wanting to read this for ages, it’s about women in the time of Jacob.

You can buy it….here (only £1.19)


The Restaurant at the End of the Universe- Douglas Adams

Second book in the very entertaining ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ series. The first is only £1.89 too

You can buy it…here (only £1.19)


The Thirteenth Tale- Diane Setterfield

Great, and well known gothic tale. Well worth a read.

Buy it…here (only 99p)


Women and Power- Mary Beard

Another one I’ve been wanting to read for a while. About powerful women throughout history and how they have been treated.

Buy it…here (only £2.99)



Everywoman- Jess Phillips

A rallying call to women to stand up and speak out.

Buy it…here (only 99p)


Dear Ljeawele- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Book of suggestions on how to raise a feminist daughter, a follow on from ‘We Should All Be Feminists’

Buy it…here (only 99p)


Delusions of Gender and Testosterone Rex- Cordelia Fine

Two books about how gender is viewed and created. Delusions of Gender is more focused on girls whereas Testosterone Rex has a greater focus on boys

 

Buy ‘Delusions of Gender’ (only £1.99) and ‘Testosterone Rex’ (only £4.29)

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Book and a Brew unboxing


As part of my birthday present my sister got me a Book and Brew subscription. I found out about Book and a Brew through instagram, and have wanted to try it for a while, just was being stingy (which is a bit silly because it’s not like £15 once is unaffordable to try out!) It seems like a good idea for a box, a hardback book and a tea which is meant to ‘match’ the book, plus they try to send lesser known books. And you get exciting post, I love post- especially when it isn’t the hospital letters which usually make up my post!

My first box contained the novel ‘Etta and Otto and Russell and James‘ which seems to be one of those finding life at the end of life novels which have been quite popular lately. It might not have been one I would pick myself, but it does look good, and I like that a box may bring you books you might not otherwise read. You can read the whole blurb in the pictures.

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Trying my #tea from @bookandabrew

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My first tea was a ginger tea from oteas. I’ve had ginger teas before, I tend to have them when I have a cold or sore throat, with a spoonful of honey, this one I tried on it’s own to start with. I’ve had a couple of them now, and they do well on their own. As far as ginger teas I’ve tried go this one is pretty delicate, it doesn’t have the heat I would expect from a ginger tea, and I found to get a decent flavour I had to brew it for quite a long time (the box suggests 5-10 minutes, but I think it would have been good for longer). It was sweeter as well, so it didn’t need the honey, and made a nicer everyday tea.

 

 

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Deals of the Moment- February 2018


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


Oddjobs- Heide Goody and Iain Grant

Odd jobs is the story of a government agency trying to coven up the end of the world, and everything that comes with it. Like all of Goody and Grant’s books it’s a good chuukle

Buy it for just 99p



I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman- Nora Ephron

I’ve heard this one is good, but I’d forgotten about it until I saw it on the monthly deals.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)



Love in the Time of Cholera- Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I’ve somehow never read any Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and I really should. This one is about unrequited love

You can buy it….here (only £1.99)



The Rosie Project- Graeme Simsion

Don is looking for love, in a rather unconventional way- a questionnaire to find the perfect woman, but then he meets Rosie- who doesn’t seem like the perfect woman at all!

I loved this book.

You can buy it…here (only 99p)


Armada- Ernest Cline

Armada is the other book by the author of the very popular ‘Ready Player One’. It focuses around a boy who is a big video game player, but one day the alien ship he has been playing as really exists.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)

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The Art of Hiding- Amanda Prowse


Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis

Nina has a good life, her perfect, rich husband provides everything for her and her two kids whilst her job is simply to look after the house and children. Her biggest problem is that her teenager is, well, a teenager. In the space of a few days Nina’s life falls apart and she has to find the strength to pick up the pieces.

Review

I’ve never read any Amanda Prowse before even though she’s quite well known. I guess I always categorised her as chicklit type books, or at least somewhat formulaic. I had no real reason to suppose this except for the cover art- which is something that can tell you a lot, but can also be misleading (like that particular cover for The Bell Jar). When I got the request to review it I decided to see what she really was about.

I would say that ‘The Art of Hiding’ is more of a feelings book than a chicklit. It does have that relationship element which chicklit often has, but it wasn’t about falling in love but coping without it, and about finding out about things which make you look at that love in a different way.

I didn’t especially like Nina, at least to begin with, she was very much one with her head in the sand, and later on I couldn’t quite balance that with the woman she became- and apparently the woman she was before she met her husband. I suppose we do show a different side of ourselves to different people, but this seemed to much.

Having said that I did enjoy reading the book, especially as Nina became more ‘herself’. It was hopeful, and sad, and enough happened that it kept me reading. I do think there could have been more about how Nina’s feelings changed, and how she managed to square her feelings with the man who was her husband with the man who had hidden so much from her, however I did feel that the story had a good resolution, and if you want an easy read with a bit of substance I would recommend it.

3/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£2.00)

Paperback (£4.99)

Other Reviews:

Literary Flits

So Many Books, So Little Time

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Review of the Year 2017


Hello 2018!

Rather than my usual set of posts this year I thought I would do a simple list of the books I enjoyed the most. Links are to reviews, where they exist. You can see all my reads from 2017 on my goodreads

Grief is the Thing with Feathers- Max Porter

When the Moon is Low- Nadia Hashimi

The Power- Naomi Alderman

The Circle- Dave Eggers

Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape

Do No Harm- Henry Marsh

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Re-reading ‘His Dark Materials’ (Part 1)


Before ‘The Book of Dust’ came out I had said to myself that I wanted to re-read ‘His Dark Materials’. The plan was to read them then buy ‘The Book of Dust’…but I sort of failed. ‘The Book of Dust’ came out and I hadn’t even started ‘The Northern Lights’ (Or the Golden Compass if you’re an American person). I tried not the buy ‘The Book of Dust’ but I didn’t manage that either! So since ‘The Book of Dust’ came out I have been, with the occasional break, making my way through ‘His Dark Materials’. I wanted to not write a review as such, because of it being a re-read, but to sort of get some thoughts down.

I discovered ‘The Northern Lights’ around about the same time as I was discovering Harry Potter, I want to say 1998- I had got ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ the Christmas before. I guess 1998 was a good bookish year for me! Because these were two amazing books, and two fantasy books, that I discovered around about the same time I always compared them in my head and they became sort of linked to one another.

‘His Dark Materials’ could have easily done what Harry Potter did. At the time I prefered ‘Northern Lights’ to ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ and I think the series as a whole are certainly at least comparable in the sense of enjoyment. Harry Potter became more important because it was more than a book after a while, it was a part of my life, but even now I would say as a series in itself ‘His Dark Materials’ is better.

The Northern Lights

This one has always been my favourite, which makes it quite unique as a start of a series, because the first book is often about establishing background and story foundations. In fact one thing I would say about the series as a whole is that each book could be read independently, even though they do link together.

I really love Lyra in this book. She’s just a normal kid, pretty much. She’s not some angel, or a nightmare, and her motivations are somehow realistic. It’s not about saving the world or some sense of bigger purpose, she just cares about her friend, and she wants to visit the north. For a kid yes she ends up doing some amazing things, but actually she’s still very much a child. I suppose you can say she’s an unlikely heroine because she was never trying to be one. And she’s relatable because she’s so ‘normal’.

Despite this being the book of the series that I’ve read the most I was surprised of how much I’d forgotten. At times I thought I was being smart when reading- but was maybe actually just remembering at the back of my mind somewhere. It doesn’t help that the other half kept telling me thing that were going to happen because his own memories of the book were different!

One of these things which has been said about ‘His Dark Materials’ is that it’s anti-Christian. When I was younger I would have defended this as being wrong because Lyra’s world is a different world. Now I read ‘The Northern Lights’ and see the parallels. Lyra’s church does have a certain Catholic like element, the beauty and extravagance, the idea of a powerful church leader. From within that’s not my experience of Catholicism, but it does have those elements. Does that make the books anti-christian? I’m not so sure. I think, at least in this book, it’s more against the misuse of religion. The idea that by doing bad things you are somehow doing something for God. Now the crusades would be criticised, but in their time people saw it as helping spread the ‘true’ religion. Or if you want a more modern version, ISIS is apparently muslim- but most muslims don’t support ISIS. In later books I might change my view of how ‘His Dark Materials’ might be anti-christian, but we will get to that later

Buy:

Northern Lights Paperback (£3.99) Kindle (£4.99) Hardback (£12.27)

His Dark Materials Paperback (£15.40) Kindle (£13.99) Hardback (£15.42)

The Book of Dust Hardback (£9.99) Kindle (£9.99)

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Bookish Gifts 2017


How is it Christmas again? It seems like it’s just leapt on me this year!

Anyway onwards. Here are this year’s ideas of bookish gifts, prices are correct at time of publishing.

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Custom Library Stamp

Paper Peach Shop @ Etsy

from £21.67

 

khrj_books_ornaments

Stack of Books Christmas Tree Ornament

Think Geek

$8.99

 

 

 

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A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Toms

Painted by SteveO @ etsy

£92.89

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‘Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them’

T-shirt

Out of Print

$22

A Book and a Brew Subscriptions

£12.99 a month

marktwain-square-lowres-5Waterproof Mark Twain Stories

Biblobath

$18.99

 

 

2848f7_fe0207a013af4ec1adc747a2bdea1020mv2_d_3917_3283_s_4_2

Papercuts Cards

(A sort of literary ‘Cards Against Humanity’)

Electric Lit

$25.00

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Hogwarts Sorting Candle 

(pre-order for June, because it’s that popular!)

Muggle Candle Company @ etsy

£10.89

b-1189_war-is-peace-1984-orwell-unisex-book-t-shirt_01_compact

‘1984’ T-shirt

Out of Print

$28.00

jlsr_hogwarts_bed_in_bag

 

 

Hogwarts Bed Set

Think Geek

$79.99

 

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Children’s Hour: Handa’s Surprise (re-visited)


Children’s Hour is a  feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

Handa’s Surprise is a book I originally read to the toddlers back in 2013 , I don’t tend to re-review books unless it’s with a different age group, or if something happened in a re-read which was significant.

Well today we read Handa’s Surprise, and whilst it might not technically be significant the kids were really engaged. One kid was excited to read it because he’s ‘watched it at home’ (I’m guessing the video I mentioned in my books on screen post, which is very good), and he was able to tell me bits of the story (although unfortunately not what was happening on the essential page which was missing from out copy).

The story is simple, and really it’s told in the pictures. In the words we hear Handa’s voice wondering which of the fruits which she is taking to her friend her friend will like best. It would be pretty boring with words alone, but it would allow children to find out about the different fruits. In the pictures however there is another story taking place. As Handa walks to her friend’s village one by one the fruits are taken from her basket by a variety of different animals.

I think it’s this second story which really engages the children because they have to work out what is happening, and that means they can tell the story themselves, and that’s exciting for them.

Buy it:

Paperback (£4.46)

Board Book (£5.99)

Kindle (£3.79)

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Sunday Surfing 29/10/17


bird surf
Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging, and from other blogs. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

How is it November already? October only just started!

Around the web this week

We Need to Adopt this Word for People Who Buy More Books Than They Can Read

Books Women Think Men Should Read

Quiz: Which of These Books Were Published First?

November in National Novel Writing Month 

How Much Should We Be Reading?

I feel flipboard is not tweeting everything I tweet…I’m sure I had more articles than this.

 

!NEW! On other Blogs this Week

Q&A With Bluestocking Books on ‘Curiosity Killed the Bookworm’ think this is going on my list for next time I’m in London

 

And on the blog this week…

Top 10 Books With Ghosts and Ghouls and Scary Things

Rapid Fire Book Tag

The Kids read ‘Nemo’s Friends’

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Children’s Hour: Nemo’s Friends


Children’s Hour is a  feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

Nemo’s Friends  is one of those let’s make sure parents don’t feel guilty for buying Disney books by making it educational books.

The story is pretty much none-existent. It basically lists Nemo’s friends and gives a fact about that friend, like ‘is a blue fish’ or ‘is a small fish’. The kid’s like it because it’s Nemo, and possibly because they can feel the achievement of knowing which fish is the blue fish etc.

One thing I do like about it is that there will be more sea creatures on the page than the one mentioned so the kids do have to use their knowledge to find out which fish is the fish being talked about.

In terms of story enjoyment, and adult enjoyment it’s pretty low. Even so this is the book other that ‘I Want My Potty’ that the kids seem to want to possess, so it obviously holds some charm. For me it is a way of getting them engaged in knowing things like colour and size, so whilst I don’t find it enjoyable to read, it is at least useful.

Buy it:

Board Book (new and used from £0.01)

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Rapid Fire Book Tag


I was tagged for the Rapid Fire Book Tag by Amy @ Tomes with Tea, I highly recommend giving her blog a look

1. eBook or physical books?
Physical books are just about the whole experience. The feel of a book in your hands, the smell, the snuggle-ability. I tend to read ebooks when travelling, because of bag space, but I miss the ‘real’ books at the time

2. Paperback or hardback?
Paperback. I get annoyed by dust covers on hardbacks, and the weight can be annoying, I only tend to buy them if I can’t wait for the paperback.

3. Online or in-store book shopping?
In-store, that’s why I tend to not buy things from my wishlist, because I go into a shop to browse and come out with books I’ve never seen before. I love just looking at all the books, reading the blurbs, looking at the covers and feeling the books. I have to be strict though so I don’t buy everything I see!

4. Trilogies or series?
I tend to read more stand-alone books. I’m not sure I can answer this one actually because it really depends on the books and what is going to happen.

5. Heroes or villains?
Villains tend to be more interesting to read about. That’s why Chamber and Half-blood Prince are my favourite Potter books, the Voldy back story.

6. A book you want everyone to read?
‘Yes Means Yes’ which is about rape culture and consent. I just think it’s really important. I have a review here and several other related posts

7. Recommend an underrated book?
It’s been a while since I’ve pimped these but Scott Stabile’s ‘Brooklyn Bites’ series. They’re short stories which are built around food, the descriptions especially are really amazing. Reviews here, here, and here

8. The last book you finished?

‘War’ by Roald Dahl. My first adult Dahl

9. The last book you bought?

I think when I bought ‘Autumn’ for book club, and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ just because.

Oh no, I bought ‘The Book of Dust’ after that…does that mean I buy too many books because I forgot about a trip to the book shop?

10. Weirdest thing you’ve ever used as a bookmark?
Err…another book?

11. Used books: yes or no?
I tend to buy new, but I’m happy enough with used books so long as they aren’t a complete mess.

12. Three favourite genres?
Contemporary. Historical. Feminist.

13. Borrow or buy?
I really should borrow more, but part of the joy of books is the beauty of a full bookcase

14. Characters or plot?
Plot I guess, although some characters can ruin a plot. I don’t mind unlikeable character so long as they aren’t annoying (Bella Swan for example is just the most annoying and unlikeable character…but then I’m not a Twilight fan)

15. Long or short books?
Depends. Sometimes short books are too short, but if done well they can be beautiful, whereas sometimes a long book can be a bit of a mission. I guess it’s the quality of the story and writing which really matters.

16. Long or short chapters?
Again probably depends on the book, but in general short because it makes it easier to stop if you need to,

17. Name the first 3 books you think of.

His Dark Materials. Harry Potter. Life After Life

18. Books that made you laugh or cry?
Laugh – Let’s Pretend this Never Happened. How To Be a Woman. Texts From Jane Eyre
Cry – Harry Potter- especially Deathly Hallows. The Time Traveller’s Wife. The Book Thief. Still Alice.

19. Our world or fictional worlds?
Fictional. It’s a real escape, and if one is too much you can just go to another. Plus there’s enough rubbish in this world that escapism is sometimes necessary.

20. Audiobooks; yes or no?

No, I find I can’t concentrate on them, although I was considering listening whilst doing house work.

21. Do you ever judge a book by it’s cover?
Yes and no. You can usually broadly tell what type of book a book is from the cover, so I do that far, but it’s the blurb which really makes me decide

22. Book to movie or TV adaptations?
Probably TV because less tends to be cut, but I don’t really have a preference.

23. Movie/TV show you preferred to its book?
Lord of the Rings. I’ve never managed to finish the book, but I love the films.

24. Series or standalone’s?
I tend to read stand alones, but some of my favourite books are series. Harry Potter. His Dark Materials. The Thursday Next books. I suppose like Amy I think it depends on the book.

I tag Holly @ Nut Free Nerd and Feminism in Cold Storage if they fancy it, and anyone else who would like to do it

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Top 10 Tuesday: Books with Ghosts and Ghouls and Scary Things


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

It’s Tuesday which means it’s time for ‘Top Ten Tuesday’ from  The Broke and the Bookish. I wasn’t sure I would manage the Halloween Freebie but I had a look through the books I’ve read and I have enough for a post, just maybe not 10.

As always, in no particular order. Links are to reviews, pictures are affiliate links to amazon.

The Historian- Elizabeth Kostova

I read this modern day Dracula story when I was at uni. At the time a lived in a house where my room had lots of fitted cupboards, I used to wake-up after having funny dreams and check all the cupboards before I could go back to sleep. Despite (or maybe because of) this it remains a favourite of mine.

After Dark- Haruki Murakami

Probably any of Murakami’s books could fit here (except maybe Norwegian Wood which is sort of…normal). I chose ‘After Dark’ because of the storyline with the girl who gets transported to a sort of parallel universe inside the TV, it’s a bit hard to explain which is why I skipped reviewing it, but it’s pretty classic Murakami style which I love

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2)- J.K Rowling

I could probably have put any of the Potter books too, but I chose Chamber because of the voice in the walls, it’s just spooky. (Half-Blood Prince was a close second with the inferi)

 

Clovenhoof- Heide Goody and Iain Grant

What would happen if the devil was sent to Earth to live as a human? This humorous book answers this question


The Radleys- Matt Haig

A family of recovering vampires are trying to fit in in a normal neighbourhood. Can it work?

 

The Glass Guardian- Linda Gillard

Is the old house haunted? And is it possible to fall in love with a ghost?

 


Bellman and Black- Diane Setterfield

I read Bellman and Black before Setterfield’s much loved ‘The Thirteenth Tale’ and I remember it better. It concerns Mr Bellman and his strange and mysterious business partner ‘Black’

 

Cauldstane- Linda Gillard

A more classic ghost story than ‘The Glass Guardian’. I somehow missed reviewing this one

 

 

Her Fearful Symmetry- Audrey Niffenegger

When two teenage twins move into the flat left to them in their aunt’s will they find she hasn’t quite managed to leave yet

 

 

The Lucifer Effect- Philip Zimbardo

This one is scary because it’s true. It chronicles Zimbardo’s famous ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’ where students were randomly assigned roles as ‘prisoners’ or ‘guards’

 

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Sunday Surfing 29/10/17


bird surf
Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging, and from other blogs. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

I was ill last week so this is two weeks worth of links

Around the web this week

If you haven’t already read ‘The Book of Dust’ Read an excerpt here

Or you can take the ‘Lyra’s Oxford’ Walking Tour

Do You Read Like Other Readers?

See the heat sensitive copy of ‘Fahrenheit 451’

 

!NEW! On other Blogs this Week

Sign-ups for ‘The Broke and the Bookish”s Secret Sant are Up

Eclectic Tales’ review of ‘Father’s Day’

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed ‘War’

And ‘The Power’

The Kids read ‘What Shall We Do With the Boo-hoo Baby?’

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War- Roald Dahl


Synopsis

War is a set of short stories for adults written about war. Based on Dahl’s own experiences in the RAF and of wartime in general.

Review

I’ve ever read any of Dahl’s adult stories before, it’s one of these things that I always thought I’d do at some point and never got around to. I loved his stories as a child, so I was both excited and a bit apprehensive about reading the adult stories. I chose this particular collection because of my love of war stories.

The first, and longest, story was ‘Going Solo’ and it was an account of Dahl’s own experiences in the RAF. Now I read his book ‘Going Solo’ when I was a child, which I only vaguely remember. I’m sure that this version (the one in ‘War’) is more adult, it doesn’t read like a children’s book anyway, but as both are autobiographies I imagine that a lot of the stories are of the same incidents.

Going Solo was the story in the collection which I enjoyed the most. The others though really held something which said that Dahl knew war, and the aftermath. What I liked was how things like loosing a child, or shellshock, or even just generally recovering from the experience of war were talked about but not explicitly. Most of the other short stories felt like they were a story which showed how these things felt, without actually saying how they felt- a sort of metaphor if you will.

The other stories did tend towards the weird, which I think is part of why I didn’t like them so much in the moment. They weren’t weird in an entertaining way, just strange.

I’m not sure if my experience means I will read more of Dahl’s adult stories or not. When I bought this one I also considered Madness and Innocence so I still may read them.

3/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£4.99)

Paperback (£6.55)

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Filed under Biography, Contempory, Fiction review, Historical, History, Memoir, non-fiction review, Short story

The Power- Naomi Alderman


Synopsis

It starts with teenage girls and gradually spreads and grows until ‘the power’ reaches all women. The power means that women can send arcs of electricity with their hands. Soon the world is turned on it’s head and women are in charge.

 

Review

‘The Power’ was a pick for my book group a few (3? 4?) months ago and it was a hit with all of us (The first 2 links in my other reviews section are from fellow group members). It’s a feminist book group so this did seem like a pretty perfect choice for us, but it had been on my radar before we picked it.

I was ready to write this review when I finished it but I wanted to go to the book group first so I left it, and my vigor to write this review wore off a bit- I think next time I will write but not publish until after.

The story is told in 4 main voices, but contains more major characters than that. There is a female senator who is very supportive of the girls early on, there is the daughter of a gang boss, there is a girl who transforms herself into a religious leader, and a journalist- the only male voice who we hear from directly.

At first it seemed that everything would be perfect. Women have been marginalised for millennia so why would they treat men the same when they find they have the power? Part of what I liked was that things weren’t perfect. It said that women are just people too, and people do bad things, and people abuse power, and people get carried away. It asked the question of whether a world ruled by women would really be better than one ruled by men? The power didn’t really rebalance the problem, it overbalanced it in the other direction.

In other books, in books where women weren’t on top some of these women would be praised as being powerful women, but in a world where they have the natural advantage they sometimes use that power for bad. As the story went on things got darker, and at times it was hard to see right from wrong, because things need to change- but is there such a thing as too much change?

In terms of readability it was a pretty easy read, and the writing style did remind me a bit of YA, not that that’s a bad thing. In fact ‘The Power’ could probably be a YA book if some bits were less graphic.

The other half was a bit sceptical of this book in general, he didn’t really get why they needed a power to balance things, and that says it all really- that we try and balance things but still it’s hard to be a woman.

4.5/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£3.99)

Kindle (£4.99)

Hardback (£12.75)

Other Reviews:

Murder Underground Broke the Camel’s Back

Heavenali

Sam Still Reading

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

Word By Word

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Sci-Fi

Children’s Hour: What Shall We Do With the Boo-Hoo Baby?


Children’s Hour is a  feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

I’ve read What Shall We Do With the Boo-Hoo Baby?  to the toddlers a few times now, and it’s pretty popular. It’s a fairly simple story, the baby is crying and car, duck, dog and cow are trying to make it stop, with little success.

It’s a repetitive story. Each animal makes a suggestion of what to do, and they do it, whilst making their noises, but still the baby goes ‘Boo-Hoo-Hoo’. The kids like the noises, especially when I ‘cry’ boo-hoo-hoo, but I’m surprised that they’re not yet joining in with the repetitive bits. We also managed to stay quiet after reading so we didn’t wake the baby (if only we could manage this when some of the other toddlers are sleeping!).

In general I would say that after 2 it would probably be to basic, but it could work for younger children.

The edition we have is dual language Romanian and English, but you can get it in just English and in other dual languages

Buy it:

Paperback (new and used from £0.01)

Board Book (new and used from £0.01)

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Filed under Children's, Fiction review

Sunday Surfing 15/10/17


bird surf
Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging, and from other blogs. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

I was very lazy last week and posted nothing, so this is 2 weeks worth of links

Around the web this week

18 Book Characters Who Accurately Represent Mental Illness

Nicholas Flamel will be in the Next ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Film

Podcasts For Book Lovers

Beautiful British Libraries

Books That Helped People Through Hard Times

 

!NEW! On other Blogs this Week

Heavenali’s Review of ‘Strong Poison’

The ‘House Cup Reading Challenge’ Starts Today

 

And on the blog this week…

Great Kindle Deals for October

The Kids read ‘Mr Big’

I Signed up for ‘The House Cup Reading Challenge’ 

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Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

The House Cup Reading Challenge


I saw The House Cup Reading Challenge on Tomes with Tea and it looked like so much fun that I had to join in. As a proud Hufflepuff I’m joining the ‘puff team which is headed up by Kelsey. I’ll start off with the questionnaire then post the board before my choices which I’ll add to as I go.

Hogwarts Student Questionnaire

Name: Lucybird

Hogwarts House: Hufflepuff

Wand Type: Redwood and Unicorn Hair 11″

Pet: A cat, named Lyra (after His Dark Materials)

Favorite Subject: Potions

Favorite Professor: Lupin

First Year: reader’s choice
Second Year: reader’s choice
Third Year: reader’s choice
Fourth Year: reader’s choice
Fifth Year: reader’s choice
Sixth Year: reader’s choice
Seventh Year: reader’s choice

Gryffindor: Read a book with an epic hero/heroine
Hufflepuff: Read a book that contains a strong friendship
Ravenclaw: Read a book that revolves around a mystery
Slytherin: Read a book set in a dystopian world The Handmaid’s Tale
Astronomy Class: Read a book set in outer space
Care of Magical Creatures: Read a book that features an animal or magical/mythical creature
Tri-Wizard Tournament: Read a book that includes a competition
Occlumency: Read a book about a character with magical abilities or superpowers
Death Eater: Read a book told from the POV of a villain
Platform 9 3/4: Read a book that features travel
Time Turner: Read a book set in the future or past
Fantastic Beasts: Read a spin-off to a beloved series Lyra’s Oxford or The Book of Dust
Dumbledore’s Army: Buddy-read a book with a friend or group Autumn

Find the challenge at Kelsey’s Cluttered Bookshelf

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Filed under Fiction review

Children’s Hour: Mr Big


Children’s Hour is a  feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

When I picked up Mr Big  I was a little unsure as to the length for the toddlers, but we needed something new and interesting, so I offered this and another new book (which will probably be next week’s Children’s Hour), and they picked this one.

Ed Vere is also the author of Banana which was very popular with the pre-schoolers, but very reader dependant. ‘Mr Big’ tells its own story. The story is about Mr Big who is so big that everyone is scared of him, and all he wants is some friends. Mr Big buys a piano, and the beautiful music he plays lets everyone see his soft side.

It’s a beautiful story about not judging by what you see, about emotions, about the importance of friends, and the beauty of music. You could probably write an adult book on the same themes if you padded it out a bit.

Anyway, yes the kids did miles better with it than I thought they would. They actually listened (or at least most of them) and the only way really they didn’t sit nicely was because they wanted to leap up and see the pictures and point at things- which you can’t really say is a bad thing.

Ed Vere’s pictures are bright, and beautiful, and engaging, they really helped the kids to see Mr Big as a person and to want to know about him (him being a monkey probably helped too)

Buy it:

Paperback (£6.99)

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Filed under Children's, Fiction review

Deals of the Moment- October 2017


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.



The Elements of Eloquence and The Horologican- Mark Forsyth

I’m always one to champion Mark Forsyth’s books about language

‘The Elements of Eloquence’ is a bit different from ‘The Horologican’ or ‘The Etymologicon’ because it’s about using words rather than the meanings of words. It’s probably more

Buy ‘The Element’s of Eloquence’ for £3.49 

Buy ‘The Horologican’ for £3.09


Why Have Kids?- Jessica Valenti

I’m mainly interested in this one because Valenti was a major contributor of ‘Yes Means Yes‘, a book I think everyone should read.

This one isn’t feminist as such but about the challenges of being a parent, and the cultural expectations around it. It sounds like an interesting read, but if it was more expensive I probably wouldn’t go for it, as is, maybe it being 99p makes it worth a try.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


The Road- Cormac McCarthy

Well, it’s a classic isn’t it?

The story of a man and a boy traveling through ravaged America

You can buy it….here (only £1.19)


The Help- Kathryn Stockett

I really enjoyed this book about black people who work as ‘help’ for white families and their rights.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)

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