Easy Reads.

Sometimes in life you have to leave aside the beloved non-fiction and the ‘intelligent’ fiction and settle down with a good old cheesy romance.

The Olive Branch – Jo Thomas

Ruthie Collins buy a house in Italy on a whim and moves to Italy all by herself. With a house to do up and an olive grove to run it’s more work than Ruthie was expecting, plus she has to deal with her neighbour Marcus Bellanouvo…

A Walk in the Park – Jo Mansell

Lara Carson has just moved back to Bath after an 18 year absence. Soon she is getting to know old faces again, particularly her ex Flynn who is even more attractive than she remembered. But Lara has a secret and it could change everything…

The Villa in Italy – Elizabeth Edmonson

Four unrelated people all get the same news, they have been left something in the will of a total stranger. All they need to do is go to Italy and live in a house together and find a mysterious codex that will explain everything…

Sometimes in life you just need to read an undemanding book with a unrealistically happy ending!

KBO!

March & April: An Extended Hiatus.

It’s been a while. 2 months, but it feels like it could have been years.

I enjoy blogging but when things get busy or stressful it’s the first thing to go.

I’m not going to go into it, nothing dramatic or interesting happened (there were no cults, murders, romance or drugs involved!) but now that I’m a bit less stressed and have a bit of space I feel like I can blog again.

Here are 10 things I’ve done in the past two months:

  1. I spent a weekend in Dublin
  2. I moved back to my parents house for a while
  3. I’ve secured a mortgage to buy a house
  4. I bought too many books
  5. Not gone to the gym – at all
  6. Cried in front of my boss (he was terrified)
  7. Attempted to paint like Bob Ross
  8. Tried to be bolder with my style
  9. Made a really rubbish snowman
  10. Went on a creative retreat with my mum

 

Now I’m living at home where all is usually quiet after 10pm I’ll hopefully be back on my blogging game (until I get a house and have to begin the moving process again!)

KBO!

 

 

February Reads.

February turned into quite a good reading month, I finished 7 books (3 audio books, 4 physical books).

cityofjasmineCity of Jasmine – Deanna Raybourn

3 Stars

I am big fan of Deanna Raybourns Lady Julia Grey series and I’ve read a fair amount of her books. This one just wasn’t as good as I was hoping. It was a quick and fun read but it didn’t grab my attention.

 

 

hungerHunger: A Memoir of (My) Body – Roxane Gay

4 Stars

I had heard a lot of good things about this book before I listened and I wasn’t disappointed. This memoir is honest and raw and Roxane Gay’s account of fatness and the effects it has is incredibly powerful. Definitely worth a read if you haven’t already.

 

 

icecreamforbreakfastIce Cream for Breakfast – Laura Jane Williams

3 Stars

In January I read Becoming by Laura Jane Williams which I absolutely loved so I very quickly moved on to Ice Cream for Breakfast. I didn’t love it as much, by a long way. However I still loved Laura’s voice throughout the book, her writing is something I never thought I would like but I really do. The part I didn’t enjoy was the topic of the book itself. I didn’t find it particularly interesting or inspiring, it just felt a bit tokenistic. I felt like it relied to heavily on generic self help statements like “believe in yourself” etc,. But I will still read anything Laura Jane Williams writes.

 

meatmarketMeat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism – Laurie Penny

4 Stars

I really enjoyed this book, I’d never read anything by Laurie Penny before so wasn’t sure what to expect. I found it a refreshing read, straight to the point and engaging. Laurie’s examination of capitalism and the effects it has on how woman’s bodies are treated under feminism was well thought out and presented clearly.

 

 

whyimnolongertalkingtowhitepeopleaboutraceWhy I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge

4 Stars

I’m so glad I read this book, I think everyone should have to. It is eye opening and hard to read in places but that’s what makes it so important. I really enjoyed listening to the book being read by Reni Eddo-Lodge herself and having it from the perspective of Britain and not America was really useful too.

 

 

 

howtodealwithanxietyHow To Deal With Anxiety –  Dr Lee Kannis-Dymand

3 Stars

I don’t personally struggle with anxiety, I read this book for work (I’m a youth support worker). I found this book helpful, the diagrams and the way it laid out in very accessible and easy to take ideas from however it felt to dense, it was far longer than it had to be and I can imagine that putting people off.

 

 

 

ofwomenOf Women: In the 21st Century – Shami Chakrabarti

3 Stars

I really liked the topics Shami chose to cover in this book, it covered a really broad base of issues and would be a great starter book for someone who wanted to begin to understand women’s issues around the world. I just wanted more suggestions and solutions. I realise that is a huge ask but as the author is a leading human rights lawyer I was expecting a bit more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Becoming – Laura Jane Williams

Laura Jane Williams, by her own admission, has had lots of sex. In contrast, I have had precisely no sex.

You would assume then that when it comes to her memoir “Becoming: Sex, Second Chances and Figuring Out Who The Hell I Am”, which is mostly based around heartbreak, sex and relationships, I would have very little to take away. Well you and I would both be wrong.

You see Laura went on a journey. A journey of discovering her self worth. And I’ve done that, am doing that. She did it through a year of celibacy. My 24 years of celibacy have done little towards improving my self worth. The method scarcely matters.

As someone who works with teenage girls, self worth is some what of a buzz word. It’s something you put into funding bids, into reports, newsletters. But it’s more than that. I know that it doesn’t matter how much love and support I give these young women if they don’t have self worth they won’t escape. Escape the poverty, the pain, the abusers, the arsehole boys and men who want to use them. They won’t believe in themselves enough to hold down that job, apply for that college course, put themselves first and not hit the self destruct. Self worth is the best armour a young person can have.

Is self worth teachable? I’m not sure. But I do know that if there is any hope of me fostering self worth in young people I have to have it for myself first. Somehow I don’t think “those who can’t do, teach” will fly with this one.

January Reads.

And only 17 days late Katherine finally gets round to talking about the books I read in January *applause*

As always seems to happen in January I had a brilliant reading month, I always start the year so determined to read ALL the books. So I read 10 books. Or rather I read/listened to 10 books.

I go through 3 fazes when it comes to what I listen to: music, podcast or audio book. I’ll go months only listening to podcasts and the abandon them for months while I just listen to audio books. So at the moment we’re in audio book mode. So 3 of the 10 books were ‘read’ via audio book.

BecomingBecoming: Sex, Second Chances and Figuring Out Who the Hell I am – Laura Jane Williams

5 stars

This audio books was read by Laura Jane Williams herself which I really liked. There’s something about authors reading their own books which adds another level to the book.

I absolutely loved this book. Usually I really don’t enjoy memoirs/self help kind of books but I’ve followed Laura on Instagram and been on her mailing list for a while now so I thought I would give her book a go. This book is all about Laura, but unlike other memoirs I’ve read it didn’t feel self indulgent, it made me think so much about my life, I finished it over a month a go now and I’m still thinking about it.

 

themenwhostareatgoatsThe Men Who Stare At Goats – Jon Ronson

3 Stars

This was another audio book, also read by the author. This one was great because Jon reading it meant I picked up even more on the humor and sarcasm of the book, I could tell how Jon felt about the people he talked to far better than I would have been able to without his narration.

I’ve read a fair few Jon Ronson books now and this definitely wasn’t my favourite, I’m not massively into conspiracy theories/bizzare doings of the US military, I found the thread quite hard to follow too. I wanted more response by Jon to the things he was hearing.

 

povertysafariPoverty Safari – Darren McGarvey

5 Stars

I cannot say enough good things about this book. It’s utterly refreshing to read about poverty and it’s effects by someone who has lived in poverty. It takes away all the nonsense and scapegoating that someone looking in might have. Darren doesn’t pull punches and it’s given me a far clearer idea of the pressures and disadvantages someone growing up in an area like Pollock in Glasgow.

 

womenandpowerWomen & Power: A Manifesto – Mary Beard

4 Stars

This book was not what I was expecting, but I loved it. There was far more classic history in it which I found really interesting. Mary Beard managed to span all the way from Homers Odyssey and Ancient Rome right up to the modern day. It’s a quick little read and well worth picking up!

 

 

bricksandflowersBricks and Flowers – Katherine Everett

3 Stars

So this one is a bit of a funny one, I started this book years ago, maybe 8 years ago. I picked it back up in January and finished it off, so this is review based almost entirely on the last half of the book! When I picked this back up I had in my head that this was a fiction book however on second reading I realised it was actually a memoir. This is not an easy book to get your hands on but you can pick it up second hand in a number of places.

 

murderontheorientexpressMurder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

4 Stars

I read this years ago but wanted to re read it after seeing the recent Murder on the Orient Express film. I didn’t really enjoy the film but I did remember enjoying the book. On a second read I was no disappointed. This book follows Detective Hercules Poirot as he attempts to solve a murder that happens while he is travelling on board the Orient Express. It’s a lovely book that takes you on a journey with Poirot as he discovers the truth.

 

thebutterflyeffectThe Butterfly Effect – Jon Ronson

4 Stars

This was an audible original 7 part series which traces the butterfly effect that free internet porn has had: the fortunes made and the lives impacted. It’s a really interesting series, Jon treats everyone he interview with respect and comes across as a very impartial interviewer. I learnt a lot and there were a few surprises in there, all in all it was an enjoyable and engaging story.

 

theageofearthquakesThe Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present – Douglas Coupland, Shumon Basar & Hans Ulrich Obrist

3 Stars

This is something very different from anything I have ever read before and if it wasn’t for the recommendation of Leena Norms I would never have picked it up. It is an incredibly difficult book to sum up so I’m stealing from Amazon for the blurb: “Welcome to The Age of Earthquakes, a paper portrait of Now, where the Internet hasn’t just changed the structure of our brains these past few years, it’s also changing the structure of the planet. This is a new history of the world that fits perfectly in your back pocket.”

 

thekeeperoflostthingsThe Keeper of Lost Things – Ruth Hogan

3 Stars

I really enjoyed this book, especially as most of January was spent reading non-fiction it was great to take a break with this easy going fiction. The book follows Laura, an assistant to a rather eccentric man who dies and leave his house and secret project to Laura. He was a collector of lost things and wants Laura to look after his collection and perhaps even reunite some of the lost things with their owners.

 

testosteronerexTestosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science & Society – Cordelia Fine

4 Stars

I absolutely loved this book, in fact I already want to read it again and take some notes this time. This is well argued and well backed up argument against many of the stereotypes and myths you come across. I’m hoping to pick up another of Cordelia Fine’s books soon. Her writing is scientific but accessible which is a rare combination!

 

As it’s already half way through February so I can already tell you that February proves to be another good reading month, so hopefully I’ll have that up a little sooner than mid March!

Katherine.