Tag Archives: books

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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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)

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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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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

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

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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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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Sunday Surfing 1/10/17


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.

Around the web this week

Authors Responses to Their Books Being Banned Harper Lee is so savage!

J.K Rowling Isn’t Going to Give Fans Something They’ve Been Asking for This has to be ‘The Scottish Book’, right?

Banned Children’s Books to Read

 

!NEW! On other Blogs this Week

‘Tomes With Tea’ is Doing a Number of Blogger Spotlights Whilst She’s Away

‘Book Chatter’ Talks About Books With Autistic Characters

 

And on the blog this week…

I Reviewed ‘Choose to Rise: The Victory Within’

The Kids read ‘I Want My Potty’

 

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Children’s Hour: I Want my Potty


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.

We have got quite a few toddlers potty training recently so it was time to get out I Want My Potty.  It’s a book which has been popular with plenty of toddlers over the years I’ve been working at the nursery, but this particular group seem to be obsessed.

The story follows The Little Princess as she learns to use the potty, and how she grows from disliking it to finding it fun. She does some silly things with the potty, which I know some readers wouldn’t find helpful, but our kids find it funny, and you still talk about whether that’s what we do with a potty which gets a conversation going.

In one scene The Little Princess decides to wear the potty on her head! Two of our toddlers did this with our play potties and came to show me laughing and saying they were the princess! (I wish I could show you a picture, it was so cute!)

They have also taken just to carrying this particular book around. Not necessarily to read, more to possess (oh little budding bibliophiles!)

Buy it:

Paperback (£6.94)

Hardback (£4.99)

Kindle (£4.49)

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Choose to Rise: The Victory Within- M. N. Mekaelian


Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis. 

One day Vartan Hagopain, a well respected professor approaching retirement, collapses whilst teaching a class and is shouting of a woman his grandchildren have never heard of. This brings his brother Armen to share a story which he had been keeping a secret since he was a teenager.

It’s the story of their life during and just before the Armenian Genocide.

Review

I mainly agreed to read this book because I knew nothing about the Armenian Genocide, a part of history which I think has largely been forgotten due to it coinciding, but not being a part of, the first world war. I tend to find stories are a good way to learn about history because they make it more real than a handful of facts.

When it came to the actual events of the Armenian Genocide itself I think this book did do quite well. It was almost brutal in the amount of detail which was given, and those who are sensitive to gore may dislike it- but that’s how it should be. I liked how Mekaelian showed both the horrible side of the genocide but also how the Armenians and sometimes others living in the Ottoman empire showed compassion and generosity even when it caused them to be at risk.

Having said this I found the first 75% of the novel difficult. I felt not much was really happening, and some things were pretty unbelievable. I almost gave up a few times.

The beginning was quite exciting, but in reflection it was pointless. There were other ways to be able to tell the story, and it made me think that it might have just been included so that the free 10% given by kindle would encourage people to buy it. Whilst this part of the story was referred to occasionally throughout the novel those parts weren’t needed either.

After the rather exciting start the tempo really slowed down are Armen started his story. The story is very much Vartan’s story to start with, but it is told by Armen. I often got frustrated at how much Armen seemed to know about Vartan’s life even when he wasn’t present. I can’t imagine that even the closest of brothers would reveal such deep thoughts and feelings to each other, and some of the smaller events probably wouldn’t be shared either. It made the writing seem a bit clunky to me, and I think that if Mekaelian wanted to get both the brothers side of things and stories then he would have been better telling the story in a different way than completely in Armen’s voice.

I also found Vartan’s relationship with Nadia to be rather superficial and unbelievable. I couldn’t see where the love was coming from. Maybe that is because it was told in Armen’s voice, but it wasn’t detailed enough to be a love story.

There was also a sort of philosophical element which seemed like it was jammed in to give meaning to the events. And, whilst something like that would have an effect on someone’s outlook on life I don’t think it needed to be a solution for Armen searching for something.

All the different elements did make me wonder if the author really knew what he wanted to write about. Did he want to write a story about the Armenian Genocide? Did he want a coming of age novel? Did he want a story of everyday life for Armenians? Did he want a love story? It just seemed a bit like he’d crammed lots of ideas together.

In terms of learning about the Armenian Genocide it probably made it worth reading for me, however there are probably better ways to learn about it, and maybe even other novels?

2.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£6.19)

Paperback (£16.38)

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Filed under Fiction review, Historical

Sunday Surfing 24/9/17


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.

Around the web this week

How Winnie the Pooh Swallowed Two Lives

This post about Loving Books reads almost like a love letter

Read Extracts from all the Books on the Booker Short List

 

!NEW! On other Blogs this Week

Lit and Life’s Review of ‘The Martian’ made me remember why I added it to my wishlist

 

And on the blog this week…

Film of the Book: The Circle

The Kids read ‘My Mum’

 

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Children’s Hour: My Mum


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 was in pre-school earlier today one of the children came to show me My Mum, I have seen it before, but never discussed it on here. She first wanted to show me all the pictures and told me the story in her own words, then she asked me to read it.

The story is pretty simple. With each picture there is a description of what the child’s Mum is like “My Mum is as soft as a kitten, and as tough as a rhino” with the pictures showing Mum like that. The pictures are obviously the Mum because they wear the same pattern as her. Each section ends with a variant of “She’s really nice, my Mum” which gradually makes Mum sound even better.

The combination of pictures and the repetitive formula make it an easy story for the kids to read to themselves, but isn’t so repetitive that it’s boring. The pictures are beautiful and well thought out.

Buy it:

Paperback (£6.99)

Hardback (£5.99)

Kindle (£4.99)

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Filed under Children's, Fiction review

Sunday Surfing 17/9/17


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.

Around the web this week

The Strangest Requests made of Booksellers and Librarians

Apparently Roald Dahl Intended for Charlie of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ to be black

The Bronte’s Game is Becoming a Children’s Novel

Every Book J.K Rowling Has Ever Recommended

 

!NEW! On other Blogs this Week

So You Want to Read Ian McEwan?

 

And on the blog this week…

Top 10 Tuesday was all about the Best Books Read in the History of the Blog

The Kid read ‘Mr Bear says Can I Have a Hug?’

 

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Children’s Hour: Mr Bear Says ‘Can I Have a Hug?’


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.

Mr Bear Says ‘Can I Have a Hug?’ (or Owl as one of our children calls it) is just right for our current group of toddlers, quite a few of whom don’t have the focus for a longer picture book. I managed to read this and another in the same series before I felt they wouldn’t focus for any longer. In this one Mr Bear is looking for someone to hug, but nobody i quite right. The spider is too small, the owl’s feathers make him sneeze, but baby bear is just right.

It reminds me a little bit of the That’s not my… books, but with more variety of descriptive words. The kids loved it when we acted out hugging the different animals, which made this one more popular than the other.

Buy it:

New (from £706.99)

Used (from £0.01)

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Top 10 Tuesday: Books Read in the Lifetime of this Blog


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 is back today, this is a freebie week looking back, so I’ve decided to do the best books read in the lifetime of this blog

These books were top of my review of the year lists for the years I read them.

As always, in no particular order.

Living Dolls- Natasha Walters

This was my top non-fiction book which I read in 2011. It is still one of my most recommended books and it got me into feminist reading.

About how society breeds girls.

 

The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts- Louis de Bernieres

After years of searching I found a book by de Berniere’s which met up to (and suppassed) Captain Correlli’s.

This story about a fictional latin American country going through civil war is one of my favourite ever and was my best fiction read of 2011
Pop Co.- Scarlett Thomas

This was my favourite fiction read of 2010.

About code breaking, advertising, mystery, and a little political

 

Handle With Care- Jodi Picoult

This 2009 read is still my favourite Picoult as it has a theme which I really connect with. About a girl with brittle bones and how her mother is suing the midwife who missed the signs in scans



Life After Life- Kate Atkinson

This story of reliving lives is still a favourite of mine since being my favourite read in 2013


How to Be a Woman- Caitlin Moran

This is the funny, feminist book by Caitlin Moran which made me want to be her friend. I read it back in 2012

Brooklyn Bites Series- Scott Stabile

Oh it’s been so long since I’ve got to rave about Brooklyn Bites. These beautiful short stories are so perfectly descriptive of food that you can almost taste it.

Texts From Jane Eyre- Mallory Ortberg

This funny little book suggests how texts from famous literary characters would be like

Yes Means Yes- Various

An important and interesting feminist book which I read earlier this year and wrote lots of posts about.

 

How to Be a Heroine- Samantha Ellis

In this great book Ellis looks back at previously loved books with a new perspective

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Sunday Surfing 10/9/17


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.

Around the web this week

This Bookshop Travels the World Selling Books

Favourite Books of Famous Authors

The most Popular Reviews on Goodreads

The Most Common and Strangest Books Which have Been Left at B&Bs

Authorised Prequel for ‘Dracula’ Based on Stoker’s Notes to be Published

‘House on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet’ is Being Made into a Film I hope it does the book justice, read my review of the book here

The Story Behind the ‘Winnie the Pooh’ Illustrations

Can You Find Wally in 360º?

!NEW! On other Blogs this Week

It’s Almost Ninja Bookswap Time 

And on the blog this week…

Top 10 Tuesday was all about Books I Abandoned

I Looked at This Month’s Kindle Deals

I Reviewed ‘The Circle’

There’s Still a Few Hours Left to win ‘Yes Means Yes’ enter at the bottom of the review

 

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The Circle- Dave Eggers


Synopsis

‘The Circle’ is the biggest internet company in the world, with technological arms which reach into many areas of life. Mae Holland is one of the lucky ones who gets a job at The Circle, and her life is going to completely change

 

Review

Note: For purposes of this review ‘The Circle’ refers to the book and The Circle refers to the company which is the topic of the book.

When ‘The Circle’ was first released there were a lot of people on my blogroll reading it, and many raving about it. At the time I sort of liked the concept but my experience of the only other Dave Eggers book I’ve read (‘A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius’) sort of put me off. When I finally picked it up it was because it was on kindle daily deal. I kind of wish I hadn’t judged the book by its author because I actually really liked ‘The Circle’.

The book has been described as being a dystopian novel, which is probably accurate, although what makes it really scary and sort of uncomfortable is how close it is to life now, and how at first it doesn’t seem like anything is really that bad, in fact most of the things The Circle are doing seem almost good. It’s only when it’s too late that you realise those things which seemed good are actually not so great, and it makes you question where the line is. At what point did the things The Circle was doing become bad? Or were they always bad?

The Circle is a sort of blend of google and facebook. There’s a social element which is similar to facebook, but then they are all over the place through their ‘true you’ program which means you only ever need to remember one login for everything, banking, shopping, social media. This sounds sort of good, right, convenient? Then they’re into social justice, documenting things for accountability, like demonstrations, you can see where violence might start, and it’s a public place, anyone could see it anyway. It’s not that different from videos being posted on youtube to show what governments are doing. That’s good, right? We want governments to be accountable.

‘The Circle’ has kept popping back into my head since I read it. Part of it was that it got me thinking about fine lines and privacy, and accountability. Part of it is that real life kept making me think of it. Not long after I’d read it I saw that facebook had started a feature where you can see how many people have reacted to your recent posts. Like wow look how popular you are Like! I don’t care about that for my personal account (maybe a little for the blog facebook), at the time I might want to talk to my friends about what I’d posted, or I might appreciate someone’s reaction to it, but I don’t really care about how many people it is. I’m not a big facebook poster anyway.

I would say that ‘The Circle’ does make you think and I would recommend it. Quite a few people dislike it because they find Mae hard to sympathise with, she’s not really a likeable character, so if you have to like your main character then I would maybe leave this one, but her being that way is part of what makes the book what it is.

4.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£4.99)

Paperback (£3.85) -Part of the ‘Buy 3 for £10‘ promotion

Other Reviews:

Leeswammes Blog

Book Journey

Nylon Admiral

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

There’s still time! If you haven’t entered my giveaway of ‘Yes Means Yes’ why not?!

 

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Filed under Contempory, Dystopian, Fiction review

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I’ve Given Up On


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 is back today, this week is about books we’ve given up on.

I have a special rule after I almost gave up on Harry Potter the first time, I have to read at least 50 pages before I allow myself to give up, and often I do end up deciding it may not be the right time.

I’ve tried to pick books/authors which are well known, maybe you can convince me to try again?!

As always, in no particular order.

A Suitable Boy- Vikram Seth

I tried to read this very popular book when I was at uni. I persevered for a long time, and still have it on my shelves in the hope I will one day be able to find out what it is that made so many love it. I found it slow, and pretty hard going. I finally gave up on in when I spent a whole train journey picking it up only to shortly decide staring out a window was better entertainment.
The Hunchback of Notredame- Victor Hugo

I tried to read this one for The Rory List. Getting to 50 pages was difficult. It was rambling and mainly seemed to be complaining about Parisian architecture. I finally started getting interested in the story just before 50 pages, then Hugo went off on another waffling ramble and I threw the book across the room. It’s half the reason that Les Mis is still on my kindle unstarted.

Birds Without Wings- Louis de Bernieres

I have a strange relationship with Louis de Bernieres books. I found the first chapter of ‘Captain Correlli’s Mandolin’ really difficult but loved the rest of the book, I didn’t really like  ‘The Partisan’s Daughter’ until I’d finished it, ‘The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts‘ is one of my favourite books of all time, but the sequel I recently put to the side. ‘Birds Without Wings’ I technically put to the side, it’s still on my shelves, but I doubt I’m going to finish it as it’s not been touched since uni.

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights- Salman Rushdie

I was really excited when I got accepted to read ‘Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights’ on netgalley after I’d loved ‘Midnight’s Children’, and I really persevered with it. There were some elements that I liked but it just didn’t click and I found I was picking it up less and less.

Vanity Fair- William Makepeace Thackery

Another classic picked up from ‘The Rory List’. I do often find classics a struggle. With this one I didnt even manage my 50 page rule with this one because I had in my bag when a water bottle leaked, and I decided I was kind of glad so didn’t try and save it. I swear I usually look after my books better!

J- Howard Jacobson

I must admit I requested this one from netgalley because The Finkler Question had recently won The Booker. I’d never read any Jacobson before, and this one just didn’t click with me

Suite Française-Irène Némirovsky

This one sounds like it would be right up my alley. A book set in wartime, by a person who had actually lived it. Loads of people seem to have loved it, so it isn’t completely abandoned yet but it’s been sitting on my shelves waiting for me to pick it back up for years. When I did first try to read it I found it just a bit too long for the story to get started


The Colour Of Magic- Terry Pratchett

I really loved Pratchett’s Johnny books, and I’ve tried a few of his discworld novels over time but only ‘Mort’ really clicked with me. I tried Colour of Magic most recently so that’s why I picked it for this list.

 

The Loney- Andrew Mitchell Hurley

This is so recently abandoned that it’s still sitting by my bed. I probably will pick it back up as mainly I stopped reading it because whenever I look at it I get this song (below) stuck in my head (yes even though it’s Loney not lonely). Yeah it was getting annoying so I made sure I put down the book facedown and then just sort of didn’t pick it up again…yet.

Oh no! Now it’s in my head again!

 

Have you seen my giveaway of the awesome book ‘Yes Means Yes’? Click here to enter.

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Deals of the Moment- September 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.


A Tiny Bit Marvellous and According to Yes- Dawn French

I’ve clubbed these together because my reason for being interested in them is pretty much the same, that I’ve been meaning to read some of Dawn French’s fiction since uni (a decade…).

‘A Tiny Bit Marvellous’ is about an imperfect family, and what happens when the mother decides to do something a little bit crazy
‘According to Yes’ sounds a little bit like the opposite. A family who are careful about sticking to rules and conventions gets turned over by someone who doesn’t know the rules


You can buy it them each for £1.99 see the links in the description
.


Your Life in My Hands- Rachel Clarke

‘Your Life in my Hands’ is a doctor memoir of the type which seem to be all over the place recently. That’s not a problem because I really enjoy reading them. This one is from the perspective of a junior doctor in the UK. It might be quite interesting to compare with ‘The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly

You can buy it…here (only £2.89)


Quiet- Susan Cain 

I read this book back when everyone was reading it, but apparently didn’t review it. I think because I didn’t have much to say (haa haa). Lots of people found it inspirational, and I find it interesting and worth the read.

It’s about how we need introverts and the power of an introvert.

You can buy it….here (only £1.99)


 

Don’t want to buy a book this month? How about winning one? You can still enter my giveaway for ‘Yes Means Yes’

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Sunday Surfing 3/9/17


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.

Around the web this week

How Book Lovers are Helping (and can help) Victims of Harvey 

A book of Fairytales Based on Notes From Mark Twain Are Being Published 

Stephen King has a Special ‘guilt table’ for Books He Needs to Comment on this is like the list of reviews to write waiting on my goodreads list…but to the extreme!

Usborne has Apologised for a Puberty Book Which Says Girls Grow Breasts ‘to make the girl look grown-up and attractive’   I just wonder why it’s taken 4 years for anyone to notice?

WW2 Fiction Released This Year we know I love books based during wartime, can anyone recommend any of these?

Terry Pratchett’s Unfinished Novels have Been Steamrolled I agree with Pratchett’s wishes here, it always makes me a bit uncomfortable when novels are finished and released posthumously

Early Mobile Libraries this sounds awesome, almost wish it still existed in the same form

!NEW! On other Blogs this Week

Nut Free Nerd’s review of ‘The Road’ made me want to read a book I’ve known a little about for a long time.

Literary Lindsey’s Review of ‘My Glory Was I Had Such Friends’ made me already start to feel the emotions I thought the book would rise in me (Lindsey seems to be becoming a bit of a fixture in this section!)

Bookishly Boisterous’ Reflections on Being a Nerd which will resonate with many in the bookish community, and which I tried to comment on only for blogger to completely eat my comment 😦

I’ve started following new to me blogs Feminism in Cold Storage and Book Chatter

And on the blog this week…

‘Children’s Hour’ is back and we read ‘Sometimes I Feel Sunny’

I reviewed ‘Yes Means Yes’  and I’m giving away a copy at the end of the review

Top Ten Lesser Known War Novels

 

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


Synopsis

‘Yes Means Yes’ is a book with a series of essays written by different feminists, looking at various issues around women’s sexual empowerment and rape and showing a variety of different approaches and thoughts to do with these issues.

Review

If you’ve been following my blog since I was reading ‘Yes Means Yes’ you’ll know that I was really into it and that it really got me thinking. So much so that I wrote several posts where I looked with more depth at some of the articles which emoted me the most (Here, here, here, here, here and here). I would say that most of the articles I did agree with at least to a point (unless they were more stories, which you can’t exactly disagree with anyway), but the ones I wrote about are the ones which most got me thinking or made me really feel something for the writer.

Because the articles are all written by different people, some men, some women, people who are transgender, people who are gay, people who are straight, and people from different communities and cultural backgrounds, you get a good variety of different views. The articles don’t always completely agree, but they all agree that something needs to change. They all agree that there is a rape culture which blames the victim, and which is supported in ways which aren’t always obvious.

I think this book is important to read, and I would recommend everyone to read it- not just girls or feminists- but everyone. Emotionally it’s not always an easy read, and some of the articles are easier to read in terms of writing style, but I do think they should still all be read.

I didn’t write a post about the last article, but it is a nice place to end the book. Where all else is scary and unsure the last article advocates having fun, which is a happy note to finish on

Please go buy it, borrow it, read it now, enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post

5/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£13.16)

Because I think this book is so important I’m giving away one copy to a lucky reader, all you need to do is comment on this blog post to be in with a chance. You can gain extra votes through my social media channels. See the rafflecopter below for details and good luck!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Top 10 Tuesday: Lesser Known War Books


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 is back today, this week is about lesser known genre books

I’m not really a genre reader, but I do read a lot of books set during war time so I decided to do Top 10 Lesser Known War Books.

As always, in no particular order and links are to my own reviews

Pegasus Falling- William E. Thomas

‘Pegasus Falling’ is an indie story written with Thomas’ own memories of fighting in WW2 as part of a parachute regiment, and including elements of stories about prisoners of war and those who spent time in concentration camps. ‘Pegasus Falling’ is the first in a series which continues with ‘It Never Was You’

The Shouting Wind- Linda Newberry

‘The Shouting Wind’ is a story of a woman who joins the WAAF during WW2. It was one of my favourite books as a teenager.

A Little Love Song- Michelle Magorian

Michelle Mogorian is better known as the author of ‘Goodnight Mister Tom’ (another good war novel) but ‘A Little Love Song’ is more grown-up. It is about a teenager who moves to the country during WW2 and falls in love. It’s probably more of a love story than a war story but some of the issues in it are to do with the war

The Almond Tree- Michelle Cohen Corasanti

‘The Almond Tree’ is an indie novel and is honestly one of the best war novels I’ve read. It takes part in occupied Israel and concerns the Israel-Palestine conflict. It follows a boy living in the area whose Father is arrested and has to become the man of the house overnight


Kommandant’s Girl- Pam Jenoff

Pam Jenoff is quite well known in some circles, and Kommandant’s Girl is probably her most famous, but I don’t think I’ve seen it reviewed on any other blogs. I was umming and ahhing over whether to include it. I decided to because it is marketed more as a romance book than a war book (which I disagree with). It’s about a woman in the resistance who has a mission which involves creating a relationship with a German Kommandant.


Remembrance- Theresa Breslin

Remembrance is about a woman who becomes a nurse during WW1


Goodbye Marianne- Irene N. Watts

‘Goodbye Marianne’ is the story of a Jew growing up in Nazi Germany and how she escapes on the Kindertransport. The Kindertransport is reason for the title, but it’s not the part of the book I remember the most

I didn’t quite make it to 10 this time (so many war books are well known!) but you can see more of my war book recommendations here

I’m always looking for new war books, any to recommend?

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SuMonday Surfing 28/8/17


bird surf

SuMonday 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.

This weekend I was ill and staying at my Dad’s (I’m still ill but back home) so I decided rather than taking my computer with me I would just postpone a day.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

Looks Like this Book Bought its Way on to the ‘New York Times’ Bestseller List

Books in Happy Meals Are Back (if you’re in the US)

The Estate that Inspired ‘The Great Gatsby’ is up for Sale (read my review of Gatsby)

The Most Reviewed Books on Amazon I’ve read a fair few of these, which have you read?

10 Literary Blogs to Read I was hoping more of these would be blogs which are just blogs rather than blogs of bigger companies, but they’re still worth having a look at

 

!NEW! On other Blogs this Week

A Mass Subscription Unboxing on ‘Curiosity Killed The Bookworm’ I’ve been vaguely thinking about getting a subscription box, this is good to see what sort of things a few boxes provide

Literary Lindsey’s Review of ‘Word For Word’ made me want to read it despite it not being exactly what I thought it would be

I’ve been looking at booktube a bit recently. It seems a bit YA based for my tastes but ‘Tomes with Tea‘ recommended this vlogger ‘Mercy’s Bookish Musings’ who seems to have fairly similar taste to me. The first video of hers I watched is at the bottom of the post

And on the blog this week…

Top 10  Important Books for Teenagers

I Asked What You Would Like to See a Review of

 

 

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Top 10 Tuesday: Important Books for Teens


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 is back today, this week is a ‘back to school’ freebit

When I went to my most recent bookclub meet-up one of the women there said she wanted to give the book we were reading (The Power) to the first teenage girl she saw, so I decided to do Top 10 Important Books For Teens, these books are books which would teach a lesson, but hopefully in a fun way. They are not all designed for teenagers, but I think they would generally be appropriate. I also tried to pick books which would appeal to a wide range of teenagers not just ones with certain issues

As always, in no particular order

How to Build a Girl- Caitlin Moran

This one for teenage girls (most of them probably are as I was one once). It’s a bit like How to be a Woman but in fiction form. So a good feminist novel which teaches things you might not learn in school. I would probably like to introduce girls to How to be a Woman too, but this is probably more accessible.

Eleanor & Park- Rainbow Rowell

It’s a fairly decent representation of a relationship, not perfect and about accepting people for who they are, and thinking of others before yourself

The Storyteller- Jodi Picoult

A good one to learn about the holocaust, but also about forgiveness and remorse, and how it still has an impact on people today.

Look Who’s Back- Timur Vermes

A comic story, but with a serious message about how history can repeat itself, probably best read after learning about Hitler

 

Animal- Sara Pascoe

Teaches about feminism and sex ed in a way that school won’t and contains some really important information. As soon as I read this I wanted to share it with every teenage girl


Furiously Happy- Jenny Lawson

A somewhat comic look at depression which is good for showing that mental health is important and should be talked about


The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Summers of the Sisterhood)- Ann Brashares

The first one on my list that I read as a teenager. About the importance of friends, and growing up. When I read it there was only one book in the series but I did read the second (and I think the third too). The first is probably the best but there is a lot of important emotional stuff in the second.

Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret- Judy Blume

I think Judy Blume’s teenage books are pretty much essential reading for teenage girls. Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret is probably the best place to start. The issues are fairly ordinary issues for most teenage girls and deal with becoming a woman.


Anything by Paula Danziger

Like Judy Blume Paula Danziger writes about typical teenage issues. If amazon is anything to go by not many of her books are still being published which is sad, they were one of my teenage staples. The photo is one of the few I could find new from amazon, and it’s aimed at boys(!)

Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging- Louise Rennison

Another typical teenager book, but one which is set in the UK. Not always the most serious of topics but it is good in terms of talking about independence and dating

Special mentions: The Girl’s Series- Jacqueline Wilson, Speak- Laurie Halse Anderson, Noughts and Crosses- Malorie Blackman

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