Animal is Sara Pascoe’s autobiography where she talks about her experiences as a woman, and about evolutionary psychology.
I read this book for my book group intending to join in online (then forgot on the actual day, opps!), it probably wouldn’t have been something I would have picked up without it being a bookclub book just because I don’t really know much about Sara Pascoe, at least not beyond her being a comedian (or ‘funny woman’), but I knew it was quite a popular book so I was happy enough to read it.
At first I must admit I found Pascoe a little annoying. She seemed to labour over a lot of points, and kept repeating herself. The other half said whenever he looked over my shoulder she seemed to be SHOUTING- and she did seem to quite frequently. She also had these little script-type sections with a teacher and pupil and I didn’t really like those parts, they just seemed like a long way to get to a point which would have been understandable without the play (and often she explained them without the play too which was just a little frustrating).
However once I could see past the waffle I did find some of the things she talked about rather interesting- especially when she talked about evolutionary psychology- and the way she talked about more serious or intellectual subjects did make it more entertaining and easily acceptable.
I also thought she was brave when she talked about some of the things which had happened to her or she had done. Some of them can’t have been easy to talk about, and some things which could have made others judge her.
I do think it would make quite a good sex ed book too, especially for girls, because it’s truthful and it does go into more sticky subjects which tend to be missed in school sex ed. It would be nice if it was recommended reading in schools for that reason, but the way some people are about talking about sex there would probably be someone who stopped that when they saw how frank Pascoe is.
It probably is worth battling through the waffle, as you get through things are a bit more coherent, and less annoying. I’m not sure I’d say I finished it liking Pascoe, but I certainly respected what she was trying to do.
Synopsis (from amazon)
In Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson regaled readers with uproarious stories of her bizarre childhood. In her new book, Furiously Happy, she explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.
As Jenny says: ‘You can’t experience pain without also experiencing the baffling and ridiculous moments of being fiercely, unapologetically, intensely and (above all) furiously happy.’ It’s a philosophy that has – quite literally – saved her life.
I loved Let’s Pretend This Never Happened so I was excited when I heard Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) had a new book coming out.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was hilarious, so I was expecting the same from Jenny’s new book. It was very funny, but it had more of a serious side than her first book had. I still liked it, but it wasn’t as easy a read.
This one featured a lot about Jenny’s mental illness. That made it less light, although a lot lighter than you would expect of a book which has a high content about mental illness. She had a philosophy of always being Furiously Happy when her illness would allow her. A way to show that she could have a good, happy, time, a way to say that that illness is not her.
Jenny says she wrote this book with people who have the same problems as her in mind. So I wasn’t exactly the target market, but I still found the book pretty uplifting, and I definitely enjoyed Jenny’s sense of humour.
If you loved the first one you can’t go wrong with this, but I think you may be better off starting with the first.
Paperback: pre-order (£8.99)
Words For Worms
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Synopsis (from amazon)
Have you ever embarrassed yourself so badly you thought you’d never get over it?
Have you ever wished your family could be just like everyone else’s?
Have you ever been followed to school by your father’s herd of turkeys, mistaken a marriage proposal for an attempted murder or got your arm stuck inside a cow? OK, maybe that’s just Jenny Lawson . . .
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened has been on my radar and on my wishlist for a long time (it was listed on my 2012 wishlist on goodreads, which I used to choose books for The Wishlist Challenge last year). As with many things which I actually buy from my wishlist it was on special offer when I bought it- I have the awful tendency to add things to my wishlist but then buy things which are not on it. Part of me wishes I had bought it sooner, but then I wouldn’t have got a bargain. Anyway I am waffling.
Jenny Lawson is probably best known as The Bloggess but that’s not how I ‘discovered’ her. I read a few reviews of Let’s Pretend The Never Happened which compared Jenny Lawson to Caitlin Moran. Seeing as I pretty much got a girl crush on Caitlin Moran as a result of reading How To Be a Woman I basically had to add Let’s Pretend This Never Happened to my wishlist. Then it sat on my wishlist for about a year before I saw a few links to The Bloggess and decided to check her out. I knew it was Jenny Lawson so I’m not sure why I hadn’t looked at her blog initially, but it made me want to read the book even more, then it was on offer on kindle so I snapped it up.
First off I should say if you are easily embarrassed then don’t read this in public. You will not be able to contain your laughter in certain parts. (And guess what? If you try to explain to your boyfriend what you’re laughing at he will just look at it like you’re crazy, and say something about how it cannot possibly be true, because what person would think that making a squirrel into a puppet and pretending that it’s magic is good children’s entertainment?) I suppose I should say that there are bits that people might be a bit squeamish about (lots about taxidermy, and hunting, and wearing dead animals…yeah). At times I was squeamish myself but then something was funny, and I would forget things like Jenny accidentally running inside a deer (yes, that did happen).
As with How to Be a Woman there were serious bit too. Although most things had a funny spin put on it. It was good to see Jenny Lawson explaining things in a more serious mode however, some things require a more serious tone. I think Caitlin Moran has a very similar sense of humour to Jenny Lawson too, although I also think I preferred How To Be A Woman, maybe because it was closer to my own experiences. I should really get around to buying Moranthology– that’s been on my wishlist since it came out.
An Armchair By The Sea
Owl Tell You About It
Words For Worms
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Synopsis (from amazon)
Danny Wallace is about to turn thirty and his life has become a cliché. Recently married and living in a smart new area of town, he’s swapped pints down the pub for lattes and brunch. For the first time in his life, he’s feeling, well … grown-up.
But something’s not right. Something’s missing. Until he finds an old address book containing just twelve names. His best mates as a kid. Where are they now? Who are they now? And how are they coping with being grown-up too?
And so begins a journey from A-Z, tracking down and meeting his old gang. He travels from Berlin to Tokyo, from Sydney to LA. He even goes to Loughborough. He meets Fijian chiefs. German rappers. Some ninjas. And a carvery manager who’s managed to solve time travel. But how will they respond to a man they haven’t seen in twenty years, turning up and asking if they’re coming out to play?
Part-comedy, part-travelogue, part-memoir, Friends Like These is the story of what can happen when you track down your past, and of where the friendships you thought you’d outgrown can take you today…
nicked borrowed this book off the boyfriend the other week when nothing on my kindle was inspiring me and I just fancied an easy read. I actually got it for him for Christmas because he loves the film Yes Man– I wasn’t sure if he had read the book the film is based on so I went for another Danny Wallace instead. When he read it he said I should too.
Well I did say after reading Charlotte Street that I wanted to try some of Wallace’s non-fiction, and who am I to deny an offer of a book?
I’m sure everyone knows the sort of friends Danny is trying to find. Those friends who you somehow lost, never really intending to, but still it happens. So I think Danny’s feelings about his friends are easy to relate to (not that most of us have the time or money to find and visit all our friends from primary school).
In a way I liked this more than other similar types of books (i.e. comedian goes on an adventure to find people, or things e.g. Googlewhack, Around Ireland with a fridge, Dave Gorman Vs. The Rest of the World), because it was more real. It was sort of inspirational. Not in the sense of I would go around the world to find people I knew in school, but in the sense of wanting to try and reconnect with lost friends.
But it had what those types of books have too. It was funny, and a bit stupid, and a little unbelievable and over the top.
Image from Amazon
Synopsis (from Amazon)
Remember when you were a kid, and you used to go round to a friend’s house to see if they were playing? Well, as adults we’re not supposed to do that. Which is a shame… because Dave Gorman likes playing. He REALLY likes games. So he knocked on the biggest door you could ever imagine – the internet – and asked 76,000 people if they fancied a game. This is the story of what happened next.
Dave was up for anything and gamely played them at whatever they chose. He played some classics – Monopoly, Scrabble, dominoes and cribbage. He played many games he’d never heard of before – Khet, Kubb, Tikal or Smite anyone?
He played board games and physical games. He’s thrown sticks, balls, frisbees and darts. He’s rolled dice and he’s drawn cards.
From Liverpool to Hampstead and from Croydon to Nottingham, Dave travelled the length and breadth of Britain meeting strangers in strange places – their homes, at work, in the back rooms of pubs – and getting some hardcore game action. From casual players to serious game geeks, from the rank amateur to the world champion, he discovered a nation of gamers more than happy to welcome him into their midst.
He’s travelled all around the country and met all sorts of people – and it turns out us Brits are a competitive bunch. And it seems that playing games can teach you a lot about what makes the British tick. Of course, Dave hasn’t been keeping score. Much.
The last time I read a Dave Gorman book (America Unchained) I was disappointed by the lack of funny, but fairly interested in the topic. It seems that this is just Dave Gorman’s style of writing now, more about topic than funny. In America Unchained it did at times feel a bit preachy, but it’s probably pretty difficult to be preachy about games. With Are You Dave Gorman? and Googlewhack it was really the humour I liked about Dave Gorman’s writing. With this one it was certainly finding out about different games that I enjoyed- seriously I would love to attempt to play Khet, and the German style games sound fun (even if one did kind of sound like a board game version of Farmville!). Don’t get me wrong there were still the funny moments that you expect from Dave Gorman, it’s just more about the interesting games, and the people.
Curiosity Killed the Bookworm
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Image from Amazon
Synopsis (from Amazon)
1913: Suffragette throws herself under the King’s horse
1970: Feminists storm Miss World
Now: Caitlin Moran rewrites The Female Eunach from a bar stool and demands to know why pants are getting smaller
There’s never been a better time to be a woman: we have the vote and the Pill, and we haven’t been burnt as witches since 1727. However, a few nagging questions do remain…
Why are we supposed to get Brazilians? Should you get Botox? Do men secretly hate us? What should you call your vagina? Why does your bra hurt? And why does everyone ask you when you’re going to have a baby?
Part memoir, part rant, Caitlin Moran answers these questions and more in How To Be A Woman – following her from her terrible 13th birthday (‘I am 13 stone, have no friends, and boys throw gravel at me when they see me’) through adolescence, the workplace, strip-clubs, love, fat, abortion, Topshop, motherhood and beyond.
Those who follow my Twitter feed will know that I had a bit of a girl crush on Caitlin Moran during this book. Honestly I just would love to be her friend! It’s almost difficult to see this as a feminist book simply because you feel more like you are reading something designed to entertain. I was pretty much constantly giggling and the tone of her writing is just so natural you feel as if you are having a conversation with her rather than reading something she has written. Indeed in some parts she even writes out what she imagines the reader might be thinking and answers it. You can just imagine her sitting there talking to herself as she writes. Yet it is a feminist book. It talks about what you may call ‘little’ feminist issues- high heels, waxing, and the occasional bigger issue, but it makes it much easier to relate to things you encounter on a day to day basis, and are so easy to accept that they don’t even seem to be issues. But she’s right, who decided heels are a good idea? They’re stupid, they just kill your feet! Why is it attractive to have no hair?
Honestly you have to read this.
Synopsis (from Amazon)
Originally intended to be a simple Christmas humour book, “I Fought The Law” ended up becoming something rather different. The premise was simple enough. Dan was going to spend a year trying to break as many stupid old laws as he could find, for your amusement. You see there are loads of ridiculous laws on the statute book…It is still illegal to beat a carpet in the Metropolitan Police District, to take possession of a beached whale or to get within a hundred yards of the Queen without wearing socks. The list goes on and on. But in the process of researching these silly old laws Dan found a glut of stupid legislation that was equally ridiculous, but these laws had one thing in common – they’d all been passed by our current Government. And when he met a man who has a criminal record for eating a cake that had ‘Freedom of Speech’ written on it in icing in Parliament Square the idea of breaking the Adulteration of Tea Act of 1776 started to seem a little frivolous.Lifting up this legal concrete slab in the garden of England, however, caused all sorts of creepy crawlies to emerge that began to cast doubt on the health of the nation, so Dan’s adventure began to change tack. His journey ended up taking him all across the country where he found some unlikely heroes fighting back. Meet: Dorothy, who spent days living on the roof of a bus station in Derby; a group of pensioners, who were forced to let off stink bombs in a court of law; the man who dresses like Chaplin’s tramp and keeps getting arrested outside Downing Street; and, one woman who got an ASBO for being naked in her own home – and a Tourette’s sufferer who was given an ASBO for swearing. So, whether it’s fighting to protect our environment, our freedom, or the right to live in an unconventional way, “I Fought the Law” is an unashamedly patriotic call to arms to all those for whom enough is enough.
This was not what I was expecting at all. I was expecting a bit of a funny book (something like the stuff Dave Gorman writes) but maybe with a serious message behind it. Bits of it yes were funny but I found more of it on the serious side, and at times even a little depressing, kind of fatalist. It was easy to read for a book that turned out pretty serious but did read a bit like a rant a lot of the time, and was very repetative, Would I recommend it? Well it’s interesting enough, and it did make me think of things- maybe things that people should think about, so I guess I would say it’s not a bad choice.