Book that I hated

I love reading books and spend a small fortune in Amazon and charity shops purchasing books. However some books I have purchased often end up being real disappointments. Since I take my unwanted books to the charity shop, I delved back in my amazon purchases to see which books ended up being disappointments.

Contest – Matthew Reilly

Synopsis: The New York State Library becomes an arena for Dr Stephen Swain and daughter Holly where Dr Stephen Swain is competing for his life. 

I loved Ice Station and Hell Island so when I was looking for a book to take with me on holiday Contest seemed like the perfect answer. Matthew Reilly’s books are know for being over exaggerating. Ice Station and Hell Island are two but they were kind of believable, Contest was just so ridiculous from the start with. As soon as I was reading about alien creatures that speak to humans, I just couldn’t read the rest of the book. If you are into fantasy it may be one for you.

The Fair Fight – Anna Freeman

Synopsis (from Amazon): Born into a brothel, Ruth’s future looks bleak until she catches the eye of Mr. Dryer. A rich Bristol merchant and enthusiast of the ring, he trains gutsy Ruth as a puglist. Soon she rules the blood-spattered sawdust at the infamous Hatchet Inn.

The Fair Fight will take you from a filthy brothel to the finest houses in the town, from the world of street-fighters to the world of champions. Alive with the smells and the sounds of the streets, it is a raucous, intoxicating tale of courage, reinvention and fighting your way to the top.

A historical fictional novel about female boxers really appealed to me as I read a five star review about it in an magazine. But the book was just such a slow burner that I got fed up and gave up half way through. I found it confusing and didn’t want to spend the time finding out what was going on.

Generation X: Tales for an accelerated culture – Douglas Coupland

Synopsis (from Amazon): Andy, Dag and Claire have been handed a society beyond their means. Twentysomethings, brought up with divorce, Watergate and Three Mile Island, and scarred by the 80s fallout of yuppies, recession, crack and Ronald Reagan, they represent the new generation- Generation X. 
Fiercely suspicious of being lumped together as an advertiser’s target market, they have quit dreary careers and cut themselves adrift in the California desert. Unsure of their futures, they immerse themselves in a regime of heavy drinking and working in no future McJobs in the service industry.
Underemployed, overeducated and intensely private and unpredictable, they have nowhere to direct their anger, no one to assuage their fears, and no culture to replace their anomie. So they tell stories: disturbingly funny tales that reveal their barricaded inner world. A world populated with dead TV shows, ‘Elvis moments’ and semi-disposible Swedish furniture.

For those of you reading that know me personally, this does sound like a book that would be right up my street, especially its relevance with today’s society. I found it a choir to get through, quite self indulgent and boring.

Kill All Enemies – Melvin Burgess

Synopsis (from Amazon): 

Everyone says fourteen-year-old BILLIE is nothing but trouble. A fighter. A danger to her family and friends.
But her care worker sees someone different.

Her classmate ROB is big, strong; he can take care of himself and his brother.
But his violent stepdad sees someone to humiliate.

And CHRIS is struggling at school; he just doesn’t want to be there.
But his dad sees a useless no-hoper.

Billie, Rob and Chris each have a story to tell. But there are two sides to every story, and the question is . . . who do you believe?

I had read Junk and absolutely loved it, so when I googled searched more of Melvin Burgess’ books this one appealed to me. But when I had purchased it, I was disappointed, I found the book never got quite going for me.

Becoming: Sex, Second Chances and Figuring Out who the hell I am – Laura Williams

Synopsis (from Amazon): 

When the man Laura Jane Williams thought she’d wed dumped her and married her friend, she was devastated. Empty. Drinking too much, sleeping around, and moving from place-to-place in a refusal to put down roots, she tried to fill the void – the gaping hole – that heartbreak had left behind. She wanted control. To grab life by the balls. To live boldly. But, she rapidly learned it wasn’t that simple.

Resolving that life couldn’t go on as it was – that the backlog of men and sadness that haunted her would not define her – Laura declared a year-long vow of celibacy, ultimately finding herself in a Riviera convent as she slowly put pieces of herself back together.

An honest exploration of a young woman’s soul and a road trip through Italy, America, Paris and… Derby, BECOMING is a book that makes you laugh and makes you cry, but most of all? It makes you realise that even when the going gets tough, no one is really f*cking up like they think they are.

This book, again, I had brought due to a review I read in Cosmo I think. I wanted to like this book, I really did, but found it just too self indulgent. I have to expect that, it is a memoir and what happened to her was truly awful but it was too much for me. A lot of people go through a lot worse and don’t travel around, they have to get on with it. It just wanted her to get over it!

That’s it for now! What books have you read which you were disappointed with?

Jo Cox More in Common Book

The latest book I have read is More in Common by Brendon Cox. The book details Jo Cox’s life. Jo Cox was the Batley and Spen MP who was murdered in 2016 by Thomas Mair who shouted Britain First. Thomas was linked to neo-nazi groups.

The chapters alternate from the time leading up to Jo’s death and the aftermath to Jo’s years growing up. You learn very quickly that Jo was very determined, very ambitious however very down to earth. She was a proud Yorkshire woman and loved where she grew up. Cambridge followed and then Jo started her career working as Neil Kinnock’s advisor and then worked at Oxfam and then also worked as an advisor to Sarah Brown, who was spearheading a campaign to prevent deaths in pregnancy and childbirth. It was clear that Jo loved being outdoors and had aimed to climb all of the munros in Scotland with her husband and spending time walking and renovating their cottage and their travels on their canal boat.

Understandably as Cox was an MP this features heavily in the book. It charts the time she decided she wanted to be an MP (before she moved to work in New York) she signed up to a Labour party session for women who were interested in making the jump to being an MP with a friend. When the position of Batley and Spen came up she was originally selected from an all woman shortlist. Jo spent hours knocking on doors and visiting residents and local businesses in the constituency to secure her vote and she won with 43.2%.

Jo criticised the vote against military action in Syria and wrote an open letter along with Neil Coyle about why they regretted nominating Jeremy Corbyn. the national chair of the Labour Women’s Network and a senior adviser to the Freedom Fund, an anti slavery charity. After a member of her consistency wrote to her and told her about how a member of her family died and that although she visited her as often as she could this member really suffered with loneliness. Jo did some digging and found it is a larger issue then she first realised. Jo had started to set up meetings with Age Concern and the Royal Voluntary Service.

Image of the book More in Common by Jo Cox on a feather background

From the book you can see that Jo was very principled and this started out from when she started at Cambridge and she felt out of her depth amongst those that went to private school. She was determined that no one missed out on opportunities due to where they came from.

Balancing motherhood with working was a common theme which I felt was worth mentioning. It is so clear Jo loved her children (the fact that her children were so young when she died really hit home to me) and she would even vote in her cycling gear so she could get home and put her children to bed and really hated the fact that the voting in the House of Commons happens so late.

The book gives a very comprehensive account of Jo’s life and the effect that Jo’s death has had on Brendon and his family. It is a real privilege to understand and have that much access about her life. I really do recommend this book.

Have you read this book? If so what did you think?

Image of the book When Breath becomes Air written by Paul Kalanithi

Where do I start with this beautiful book. When Breath becomes Air is written by Paul Kalanithi who was a recently qualified neurosurgeon  suffering from stage IV metastatic lung cancer. Paul died in March 2015 and he is survived by his wife Lucy and their daughter Elizabeth Arcadia.

This autobiographical book is split into three parts, before and after diagnosis and after he has passed away. Paul talks about his life growing up first in new York but then moving to Arizona and how he developed a love for literature from his mother who gave him very advance books to read at a early age. This love for literature lead him to study literature at Stanford University. Paul had always had an interest in what made life meaningful. Not satisfied in the answers that literature gave him, he wanted to learn from a medical point of view. This lead to a Masters in History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University before he took a place at Yale Medical School.

Throughout Medical School, it was clear that Paul was a high achiever, after Medical School Paul took up residency in neuroscience. Neuroscience is known as been the most demanding physically and mentally, the book details his operations in detail. One particular moment Paul remembers was after an operation he performed he walked out and was eating a cookie cream sandwich and he saw the patient’s relatives being given life changing news. ‘I was making more moral slides than strides’, he noted.

The second part details his his life after the cancer diagnosis. Paul grapples with suddenly becoming the patient. He details one time that a Junior Doctor wouldn’t give him the medication he requested. The Doctor that was looking after him tells him that if he wants to stop thinking like a Doctor and just be a patient he just needs to say. Paul also grapples with whether him and Lucy should have a child. Indeed they do via IVF.

Paul details the missed opportunities, he misses his graduation for completing his residency as he was throwing up very violently. Paul misses out on two very good job offers, one because he cannot bear to move across the country and leave Lucy alone bringing up their daughter and looking after him.

The thread throughout the book is the interest at what makes life meaningful. I feel that Paul does not answer this because the answer is different for everyone.

 

Image of the book Everyday Sexism, Girl Up, The Equality Illusion and Strong Woman

I have accumulated a lot of really inspiring and interesting books by feminists in the past three years and today’s post I share my favourites.

Feminist Fight Club – Jessica Bennett

I heard about this book in Cosmo magazine. Feminist Fight details situations in which women find themselves struggling in, in their working lives and how to work though them. Feminist Fight Club details situations such as the good old mansplaining, saying yes to everything and feeling overburdened and the wage gap. The book came about because the author was part of a club where women in professional roles would meet up and speak about what they would struggle with in the workplace. The book doesn’t come across as preachy, it is an easy read, the advice is useful and realistic. The only thing I disliked about the book was that it try’s too hard at times to be ‘cool’ by using words such as ‘femulate’ having rules and a starter kit for the fight club. It really isn’t needed and doesn’t make sense.

What I told my daughter – Nina Tassler

This book contains mini life stories from successful women and what they would pass to their daughters. It covers topics as diverse as the glass ceiling, resilience and courage. This book is easy to read and you can dip in and out of it at any point.

Everyday Sexism – Laura Bates

Laura Bates, the founder of the Everyday Sexism project. In her first books writes about the everyday sexism that exists in everyday situations, including education, media, motherhood, politics and more. A very informative book full of facts and real life experiences from the Everyday Sexism site.

Girl Up – Laura Bates

What I would describe as the the younger sister to Everyday Sexism. Girl Up is meant to be a guide aimed at teenager women. This no bullsh**t book tackles issues head on that the majority of teen women unfortunately may encounter such as dealing with social media, cat calling and mental health.

Although a good read – I am out of the target audience this book is aimed at so I didn’t get anything out of it myself but I would recommend any teenage girl to read.

The Equality Illusion – Kat Banyard

The Equality Illusion is where Kat Banyard explodes the myths that women have never been in a more equal society. Like Everyday Sexism and Girl Up each chapter is covers a topic from education to reproduction to the sex industry. To be honest I found this book to be very similar to Everyday Sexism and Everyday Sexism was more thorougher.

Strong Woman – Karren Brady

I had to include this book because this autobiography covers the career of Karren Brady from starting out at Saatchi and Saatchi at 18, being managing director at Birmingham City football club at 23 and her opinions on working hard and how she balances being a working mother. Karren comes across as a really lovely person that isn’t afraid of hard work and gives some really good advice.

We should all be feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Last but certainly not least! We should all be feminists is based on the famous Tedx talk of the same name. Chimamanda explores what it is like to be a woman today from her own experience. The book is far, far too short and powerfully explores the importance of equality without it becoming preachy. I recieved this book at an NUS Woman in Leadership conference

What are your favourite feminist books? Have you read on the list and if so what did you think?

I am very much a 90’s and 00’s child (I was born in 91!). I loved reading back then as much as I do now. So today I thought I would dedicate this post to some of my fave books I remember from the good ol’ days!

Animal Ark Series – Lucy Daniels

Image of a Animal Ark Book

The BabySitters Club – Ann M Martin

The Babysitters Club

Danny the Champion of the World – Roald Dahl

DannyChampionOfTheWorld

Letterland – Richard Carlisle and Lyn Wendon

Letterland ABC

Ballet Shoes – Noel Streatfield

Ballet Shoes

Biff and Chip – Roderick Hunt

Biff and Chip

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

Charlotte's Web

Gemma – Noel Streatfield

Gemma Noel Streatfield

George’s Marvellous Medicine – Roald Dahl

George's Marvellous Medicine

Goosebumps – R.L Stein

Goosebumps

Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Smith

Gullivers Travels

Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling

harry-potter-philosophers-stone

J17 (Just 17) book series

Kipper – Mick Inkpen

Kipper

Look – 360 Ginn Reading Series

Look

Malory Towers – Enid Blyton

Mr and Mrs Men Series – Roger Hargreaves

Little Miss Splendid book

Mucky Moose – Jonathan Allen

Mucky Moose

Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter

Peter Rabbit

Point Horror Series

Point Horror

Point Romance Series

Point Romance

Sheltie the Shetland Pony – Peter Clover

Sheltie the Shetland Pony

Spot – Eric Hill

Spot Book

Stig of the Dump – Clive King

Stig of the Dump

Sweet Valley Series – Francine Pascal

Sweet Valley High

The Sleepover Club

The Sleepover Club

The Bed and Breakfast Star – Jacqueline Wilson

The Bed and Breakfast Star

The Garden Gang – Jayne Fisher

The Garden Gang

The Demon Headmaster – Gillian Cross

The Demon Headmaster

The Lottie Project – Jacqueline Wilson

The Lottie Project Book

The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Secret Garden – Francis Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden

The Twins at St Claire’s – Enid Blyton

St Claire's

The Tower in Ho Ho Wood – Enid Blyton

The Tower in Ho-Ho Wood Book

The Worst Witch – Jill Murphy

The Worst Witch

Topsy and Tim- Jean and Gareth Adamson

Topsy and Tim

Two Weeks with the Queen – Morris Gleitzman

Two weeks with the Queen

DK Eyewitness Books

DK Eyewitness Book

A Child’s Garden of Verse – Robert Louis Stevenson

A Child's Garden of Verses

I would love to know your favourites! Leave your’s in the comments below!

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