Category Archives: book reviews

Fairytale bookends

Bookends.  I always wonder whether there’s any point to them.  There are so many things you can use to keep books upright.  In the past, I’ve been a fan of horizontal book stacking at the ends of rows, rocks, photo frames… However, as I streamline my book collection I’ve ended up with so few books that they don’t run to the end of shelves any more, and I’ve been getting rid of my clutter, so there aren’t as many rocks and items to hold up these books.

I decided that I needed a pair of bookends, but they had to be fun.  They had to match my books and be decorative in their own right.  I trawled the internet for a few days (there are A LOT of designs out there), and ultimately decided on a pair of fairytale bookends.

Fairytale bookends 1

There’s a huge range in both the price and quality of bookends, so if you’re looking for a pair of your own I recommend setting a budget in advance.  This pair cost £25 from Not on the high street, and came in a choice of colours (I bought off-white).

Fairytale bookends 2

Fairytale bookends 3

They’re cute, aren’t they?  The books on the left of my shelf (“Once upon a time”) are my favourite non-fiction books.  The books on the right of my shelf (“The end”) are my favourite fiction books.  All nicely sorted!

February reading (2014)

As I’ve already mentioned, I only read three books this February, and so failed in my goal to read six.  I’m now behind in my reading challenge for the year, although I am going to try and catch up this month.

The Canterville Ghost – Oscar Wilde

This is an Oscar Wilde short story about an American family that move into an English manor with a resident ghost.  The ghost goes about doing his ghostly hauntings, and the American family aren’t phased at all.  Comedy ensues…  It’s a good short story.  I do like Oscar Wilde.

Now then lad – Mike Pannett

This book is a biography by a former Yorkshire and Met policeman.  You’ll know Mike Pannett from Twitter if you’ve been following the campaign to stop funding cuts to police dogs (Pannett’s old force is one of the forces axing all police dog units).  This book is definitely worth a read.  It gives you a sneak peak into the world of country policing, and it’s very funny.  Pannett is a witty writer.

Girls’ guide to hunting and fishing – Melissa Bank

This book was recommended in another book I read, although I don’t remember which one.  I also saw someone on Twitter recommend it.  I didn’t enjoy it that much.  For a start, it was only half way through that I realised it was fiction, not a biography!  I just thought it was a bit mundane, but mundane in a boring way, not in an interesting way!  Each chapter is a different snapshot of a different point in the lead character’s life.

Did you read any good books in February?

January reads (2014)

For January, I read six books as planned.  It was a close run thing though, and I almost didn’t succeed.  I had intended to reduce the number of books I started for this month, but that didn’t work as I currently have five on the go again.  However, I’ve only started enough books to reach my reading goal for February (six books again), so that counts as being organised, right??

Be awesome: modern life for modern ladies – Hadley Freeman

This is the first book I read in 2014, which is a shame as it was quite disappointing in places. I’m not the first one to make this observation, but it’s basically a poorer version of Caitlyn Moran’s How to be a woman. I thought the author had a tendency to waffle, and many sentences were too long. Still, the book raised some interesting points regarding feminism, so it’s still an ok book to read.

Plain and simple – Sue Bender

This book is written by a lady who, after becoming intrigued by the Amish, goes to live with them for a summer on two separate occasions. The book is interesting for anyone who likes the Amish (like me), but I didn’t like something about the way the author adores them. I’m not sure “adores” is the right word – there’s almost a tone throughout her book of idolisation. At the end of the day, the Amish are just one group of people who have chosen a specific way of life. We can study their lives, but we shouldn’t put them up on pedastals. If you ignore the author’s sentiments though, it’s an interesting sneak-peak into a world we don’t get to see.

Travels with my aunt – Graham Greene

I can’t remember why this book ended up on my reading list, but I’ve been reading it on and off for quite a few months now. It really shouldn’t have taken me as long to read as it ultimately did. It’s not a big book, and it was quite amusing and insightful in places. You could easily read it in a week if you stopped picking up other books! The book is about a retired bank manager who, on the death of his Mother, meets an aunt at the funeral that he never really knew. They become companions and go travelling to various European places together, and stories ensue. It’s set in the 50s (maybe 60s?) when travel was more glamourous than it is today. Maggie Smith played the aunt in the film version of the story, which I can totally imagine!

North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell

This is one of my favourite books ever, and I thought it was time I re-read it.  I also watched the TV series twice during January (not that I’m obsessive at all…).  I love Mr Thornton – he’s totally better than Mr Darcy.  It’s also a fascinating look into the North/South divide, which Brits will know is a centuries long argument about which part of the country is better (FYI, I’m a Midlander.  Maybe I should be Switzerland, but I’m not; the North is better!).  The book is very similar to Pride and Prejudice (sort of), and basically follows the story of Margaret as her Father uproots the family from a small village in Hampshire and moves them to a mill town up north (fictional town, but thought to be Manchester).  Margaret has to learn the ways of the north, adjust to living in a town of industry and navigate the stress of family life after the upheaval.  It’s a great read!

The South Pole: 1910-1912 – Roald Amundsen

Gosh, this book took me ages to read.  Months!  Amundsen was a bit of a rambler.  Haha, I’m kidding – maybe.  He did after all go to the South Pole; he had a lot to write about.  The book’s actually really well written (and I assume well-translated).  I originally decided to read this book because I’ve naturally favoured British explorers, and therefore hated all non-Brits that have beaten us to important geographical locations.  Amundsen is doubly disliked by the British as he beat Scott to the Pole, and then Scott died on the way home (this is obviously Norway’s fault).

Having now read his biography, I have many thoughts (if you’re not a polar fan like me, skip this bit as it will be boring):

  1. Amundsen’s team were much better equipped for the journey than Scott’s team.  Sorry, Britain.  The Norwegians relied on centuries of mankind’s experience in cold climates, and therefore bought dogs and traditional skis to Antarctica.  Britain decided these people didn’t know what they were doing, disregarded history and tried to do it with ponies.
  2. The Norwegians had much better weather than the British.  This has been remarked on many times over the years, from both modelling and the diaries that all the explorers kept.  This is partly down to luck, as Amundsen chose their landing point based on where the British were landing, and so little was known about the continent that knowing which areas suffered bad weather wasn’t possible.
  3. The Norwegians had a much better attitude than the British.  This is most clearly notable in the journals.  Granted, the Brits were hungry and having a crappy time of it, but Amundsen’s journals are cheerful and full of little anecdotes about his colleagues, the dogs and the continent he was walking.
  4. In conclusion, Norway deserved the win!

On a sad note, the Norwegians – knowing they’d got to the Pole first – left a tent with some equipment they didn’t need for Scott in case his team needed anything.  Ironically, they didn’t leave any food because, having an over-abundance of their own, they must have assumed he would too.  Had they left food as well as equipment for Scott’s team, they may well have made it home again.  As it was, Scott’s team starved to death on the journey back and Amundsen’s team couldn’t eat everything they’d brought with them.  Their dogs were in such fine form when they got back to the ship that they ended up taking them off Antarctica (instead of shooting them) and giving them to the Australian Antarctica team who were going out the following year.

How to be free – Tom Hodgkinson

I read this book on a whim because it was in my local library’s digital section (most the books are fiction, which I don’t read much).  I’m really glad I did spot it, because it’s a gem.  The book is written by an anarchist who lives in the UK.  It’s about living separate from the State, making a living of your own choosing, and basically being off the grid as much as possible.  It’s mixed with anecdotes, theories, British and world history and advice.  It’s a brilliant read, and I really recommend it.

Did you read any good books in January?

2013 and 2014 reading challenges

It’s a new year, and time for a new reading challenge. This year, my challenge is to read 70 books. I want to make a sizeable dent in my ‘to-read’ list. I also want to clear my pile of unread books in the cupboard, and I want to finish re-reading the Harry Potter series. So there are a few mini goals tucked into that number. You can follow my progress on GoodReads, which I update fairly regularly.

In 2013, my reading challenge was to read 60 books. I achieved this, but with no wiggle room! I wrote about each of the books I read at the end of each month, and you can re-visit the reviews below. I will do the same this year.

Have an excellent reading year!

January reads

February reads

March reads

April reads

May reads

June reads

July reads

August reads

September reads

October reads

November reads

December reads

December reads (2013)

The last book review of the year!  I read 7 books this month, and finished my 2013 reading challenge of reading 60 books.  Woo!

Walden on Wheels – Ken Ilgunas

This is a travel book about a man that worked in Alaska, then bought a van and lived in it whilst going to college.  It’s a seriously good read, and is a blend of philosophy, travel and adventure.  I really recommend it!

If you lived here, I’d know your name – Heather Lende

This book is a biography of living in Alaska.  The author is a journalist for her local paper, and writes the obituaries.  The book is a mix of thoughts on the people she meets, little adventures and day-to-day life.  I found it a bit long-winded in places, but Alaska is a fascinating place, and if you’re interested in life there then you should read this.

How to live a low-carbon life – Chris Goodall

I read this because it was recommended in another book I read.  It’s basically a manual, so unless you have a specific interest in low-carbon living, I don’t recommend it.  It’s hard-going!

The Good life – Helen and Scott Nearing

Helen and Scott Nearing bought a farm in Vermont in the 1930s and led the sustainability movement.  They were the inspiration behind the TV series of the same name (although that’s set in an urban house in the UK!).  Absolutely fascinating read – they literally did everything themselves, so you’ll learn lots when reading the book.  It’s part biography, part manual.  It’s full of useful information.  I now know how to build a cheap stone house!

Divergent – Veronica Roth

Umm, this is rubbish.  I read it because it’s “like The Hunger Games”.  No, it’s not.  The Hunger Games is a lot better!  Still, I know it’s very popular so I’m in the minority with this view.  Basically, the book follows the story of a girl living in a future Chicago.  Society has been restructured following civil war, and people are divided into factions depending on their key personality trait.  But wait!  There is treachery afoot!  Will our lead character succeed in leading a revolution?  Well, I’ll never know because it’s a trilogy and I’m not reading the other two books.

Is that bike diesel, mate? – Paul Carter

I love Paul Carter.  If you’ve never read any books, you really should.  This book is about his tour around Australia on a bio-diesel bike.  It was the first tour of its kind in Australia.  Spoiler alert, but the bike is crap and lots of funny things happen.  Paul Carter is a hilarious author and this book is an amusing read.

AWOL on the Appalachian Trail – David Miller

Great book!  This book is a travel book of David Miller’s experience walking the Appalachian Trail.  I’ve read a few books on both the Appalachian Trail and it’s west coast twin the Pacific Coast Trail.  This one is especially good because it’s well-written and interesting.  If you like walking biographies or are thinking of doing part (or all!) of the Appalachian Trail, I recommend reading this first.

Have you read any good books recently?

November reads (2013)

I only finished three books this month, which doesn’t feel like very much.  I don’t think it’s because I have loads of books started (although I have).  I don’t feel like I’ve read as much as usual this month.  I have watched A LOT of films instead!  Anyway, here are the three books I read.

The millionaire next door – Thomas Stanley

This is an old book now – it’s a statistical study of American millionaires using 1980s and 1990s data.  It’s quite fascinating because it looks at the similarities between the millionaires, and there are some interesting trends (most American millionaires, for example, drive pick-ups, not expensive European cars!).  It’s a dry read so if you’re not interested in people or finance this probably isn’t for you, but it is a fascinating look at how “the other half” really live!

Orange is the new black – Piper Kerman

I watched the TV series of this as soon as it was released so I thought I’d best get round to reading the book.  It was just as good as the TV series; equal parts amusing and sad.  If you’ve not seen the TV series yet, you should watch that, and then you should read the book.

I feel bad about my neck – Nora Ephron

I’ve read a few books recently about being a woman, and this is yet another one.  Nora Ephron is the person who wrote When Harry met Sally, for those of you who don’t know her.  She did lots of other famous things too!  This book is very amusing, as you would expect.  Each chapter is about a different aspect of life: handbags, buying houses, children, etc.  A fun, quick read.

Did you read anything good in November?

October reads (2013)

I feel like I’m a bit slow sharing my reads for October.  Sorry about that.  In a nice little coincidence, I read four books this month and they are all partly autobiographical and by women.  I like little patterns like that!

The sound of a wild snail eating – Elizabeth Tova Bailey

I added this book to my reading list after Heather shared her review on her blog.  I’m glad I did, as it was a delightful book.  The book is written by a lady who got very sick and after becoming bed-bound, her friend brought a snail in from the garden to keep her company.  She becomes very close to her snail given her lack of mobility, and observes lots of detail that most people simply don’t spot.  It’s a well-written book and I actually think it would make a lovely gift for anyone feeling a bit down, anyone who likes nature and anyone who is ill.  I highly recommend it!

Gift from the sea – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I can’t remember why I added this to my reading list, but it was because of someone on the internet!  Anne Morrow Lindbergh is the wife of the aviator Charles Lindbergh.  That’s just a fun fact, it’s not what the book’s about!  The book is about keeping your balance in a crazy world, and it’s written with inspiration from the sea.  A lovely read for women everywhere (and men, I’m sure, but it was aimed at women).

Crazy things customers say in bookshops – Jen Campbell

I read this book in one sitting, and it is very funny.  Basically does what the title says!  I used to work in a book shop, so I found some of the stories particularly amusing.

Is everyone hanging out without me? – Mindy Kaling

I read this book because a few months ago everyone else was reading it and saying how great it was, and I like biographies.  I don’t know who Mindy Kaling is, but this book was funny and she seems like a nice person, so I’m sure her shows are good!  There were lots of amusing anecdotes that had me chuckling.  Mindy comes across as very normal, despite being famous!

Did you read any good books in October?

A to Z book survey

I saw this survey on Habitual Homebody, and then it popped up again on Milo and Molly so I thought I’d take part too, because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good book survey!  We all like to look on people’s shelves, right?  Leave me a link if you do the survey too!

Author you’ve read the most books from:

Oh, snap! I have a handy spreadsheet for working these things out now! Although, I don’t need it as I’ve read the whole Discworld series so the answer is Terry Pratchett.

Best Sequel Ever:

Ummm, is this a thing that exists? Goblet of Fire is my favourite Harry Potter book, and that was number 4.

Currently Reading:

So. Many. Books. AGAIN. The one that’s been on my currently reading list the longest is How the mind works, by Steven Pinker.  It’s a neuroscience book and is fascinating, but so long!

Drink of Choice While Reading:

I do most my reading in bed, so I don’t have a drink with me.

E-reader or Physical Book?

Both! I buy many books on my Kindle/Kindle apps or rent them through my local e-library, but if I really love a book I buy a physical version afterwards.  However, my reading choices are so eclectic that a lot of books are out of print or not available on the Kindle, so I still have a steady pile of real books.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

I don’t have an answer for this.  I don’t read romance novels very much.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

I don’t really give books a chance! If it isn’t something that appeals from the synopsis, it rarely makes it on to my to-read list (no matter who is telling me to read it!).

Hidden Gem Book:

How exactly do we define a hidden gem? A book that hasn’t got the credit it deserves?  The Magicians by Lev Grossman should be more famous than it is.  It’s so good.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

It took me a while to learn to read when I was a child, and my favourite book was the Look! Look! Look! book.  Every page had an illustration on it with just one word (“Look!”).  My Mother hated that book!  I still remember the book, because it was an important book when I was learning to read.

Just Finished:

Is everyone hanging out without me? by Mindy Kaling.  I’ve never seen any of her shows, but she seems like a nice funny person!

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

I don’t read horror stories or those real life “my childhood was more terrible than yours” books.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

I’m not 100% certain on this, but I think the answer is probably the Diaries of Evelyn Waugh.  The guy kept his diary for a really long time!

Major book hangover because of:

To be honest (and I say this with a little shame), my biggest book hangover was probably Twilight.  It was the first vampire book I read as a sensible grown up (I’m not counting the “My babysitter is a vampire” books that I read as a child!).  Twilight was like “wow, vampires are like an actual thing now” and “Washington sounds awesome” and “why would you give a lead female character so little personality” and “do we love Edward?” (no we don’t, but I hadn’t read the other books at this point!).  I read it just before going backpacking, and I seriously considered taking it with me so I could read it again and go back into a world with vampires.

(I am older and wiser now and know it is crap, but up until that point I’d never read proper books with monsters in before!)

Number of Bookcases You Own:

None!  I keep my books on shelving. And I have four shelves.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

The non-fiction book I’ve read the most often is The Assassin’s Cloak, which is an anthology of published journals and diaries throughout time.

Preferred Place To Read:

Bed, with my duvet!

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

I have absolutely no idea! I don’t remember quotes. I will go look at my Kindle highlights, but obviously that automatically discounts any book I’ve read not on the Kindle!

I love this passage from The end of your life book club, and it basically sums up the sensible attitude to life that’s throughout this book:

Make your bed, every morning—it doesn’t matter if you feel like it, just do it. Write thank-you notes immediately. Unpack your suitcase, even if you’re only somewhere for the night. If you aren’t ten minutes early, you’re late. Be cheerful and listen to people, even if you don’t feel like it. Tell your spouse (children, grandchildren, parents) that you love them every day. Use shelf liner in bureaus. Keep a collection of presents on hand (Mom kept them in a “present drawer”), so that you’ll always have something to give people. Celebrate occasions. Be kind.

Reading Regret:

Hmm. I’m not sure I have any reading regrets?  After all, if I hadn’t read the book I wouldn’t know it was crap!  Crap books include Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks, and The Monk who sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma.

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):

That I *need* to finish?  The Lev Grossman Magicians triology (third book isn’t out yet, but I own and have not read the second).  That’s it I think (I have bought and not read Divergent yet, which doesn’t count but is a series I need to read.  If it’s rubbish I won’t read the other books in that series though!).

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

The Magicians?  Most of the books I read are non-fiction, and it’s hard to be a fangirl for a biographer that’s been dead for decades!

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

I don’t follow new releases much.

Worst Bookish Habit:

Starting lots of books at the same time!  It’s super-annoying and yet I keep doing it.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Aesop’s Fables (the Wordsworth publishers edition – I have to say that as I have two Aesop books). I haven’t read this for years, but I liked reading the book as a child!

Your latest book purchase:

If you lived here, I’d know your name by Heather Lende.  It’s a book about small-town Alaska.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

I am a grown up and don’t do silly things like this now!  Haha.  It was probably Hunger Games, or The Magicians, or Crazy things customers say in bookshops, all of which have kept me up recently!

September reads (2013)

I read five books again this month, including two Harry Potter books.  My Harry Potter re-read is going well, but I am now taking a break as book 4 onwards is death after death and I need a little break before I do the last two books with all their deaths!  I’m starting this month (October) with seven books on the go – as usual!

Moby Duck – Donovan Hohn

I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages, but to be honest I found it a bit of a disappointment.  The book is a study of oceanography, charted through a group of castaway animal floatees (cheap rubber ducks) lost at sea in 1992 (you can read about the ducks here, and Google can give you lots of pop science articles on them if you’re interested).  On the face of it, a book about some rubber ducks that got lost at sea, and the information they’ve provided on the way the oceans work, sounds like a great concept.  I’ve followed the story itself on and off for years.  I just didn’t find the book that engaging.  I think part of the problem is that the book is written by a teacher turned writer, not an oceanographer.  To be fair, the author does get to visit lots of cool places and meet lots of scientists in his trek across the world to chart the movement of the ducks, but I wanted more.  A “real” scientist probably wouldn’t have had time to go travelling round the world looking for rubber ducks though.  I don’t know.  Anyway, I think the science and the story could have been made more interesting, so I’m only giving this book a “meh” rating!

Sahara – Michael Palin

This is a re-read.  If you’ve never read a Michael Palin travel book, you ought to.  He visits some very interesting places, and he writes with an engaging and often amusing tone.  This book charted the travelling he did around the Saharan states for the TV series.  It’s an old book now – he’s actually in a Muslim state when news of the 9/11 attacks reaches the crew, but remarks that the people are as friendly as ever despite what was happening in the U.S.  Many of the places he visits in the book you can’t visit as a Westerner now, and several of the leaders he discusses are no longer in power, but for me that makes the book even more interesting.  After all, it was only written 10-15 years ago and the world has changed a lot since then.  The Saharan communities are fascinating and we in the west really don’t give them the respect they deserve most of the time.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K Rowling

The fourth HP book.  It’s a good one.  Not much more I can say about this really!  I like the Triwizard Tournament, so this book will always be one of my favourites.  The first of the “death will follow for ever more” HP books (i.e. from 4 onwards there is death in every book and you will be perpetually sad!).

Free will – Sam Harris

This was a nice short science book on the concept of free will.  It’s written by Sam Harris, who is a “famous” (compared to some modern scientists, at least!) neuroscientist.  As a side note, he’s also one of the co-founders of Project Reason, which is the American charity promoting scientific reason and secularism in the U.S (someone has to).  The book is basically a thesis on why free will doesn’t actually exist, and the repercussions of this finding.  I found it easy to read and fairly easy to follow.  I know the idea that we don’t have free will is considered by some to be radical/blasphemous, but to be honest as far as I’m concerned it a) makes no difference to my day-to-day life, and b) is fairly obvious if you follow neurological arguments through to their conclusion.  But I guess Harris’ intended audience probably hasn’t studied the evolution of Earth and life for several years.  If you like reading about the brain, the mysteries of life, etc., then you will probably find this book interesting.  If you don’t find the brain fascinating and don’t like reading popular science, then don’t read this!

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J. K Rowling

HP5.  What can I say.  It makes me cry.  It needed a better editor.  Harry is an emo teenager in most of it and you want to throttle him.  DOLORES UMBRIDGE.  Stroppy centaurs.  Enough said!

Did you read anything good in September?

August reading (2013)

I’m doing very well with my reading challenge this year (to read 50 books). So well, in fact, that I’ve decided to change the challenge, and have now decided to read 60 books instead. I’m currently on target to reach this new number so it shouldn’t be hard!

Anyway, here’s what I read this month.

Notes from Walnut Tree farm – Roger Deakin

I’m a big fan of Roger Deakin – he was a great naturalist and writer.  This book is a collection of his notes, published after his death.  It’s a really interesting read, and has been well-edited.  The notes have been arranged into months of the year, and have been date-stamped where Roger wrote the date next to the notes.  It’s essentially day-to-day observations of life on his smallholding and things he’s been up to, and it’s a wonderful read.  If you like natural history writing and have never read Roger Deakin, you should add him to your reading list immediately!

Three men in a boat – Jerome K. Jerome

I read three fiction books this month – how did that happen?!  I rarely read fiction!  This is the first of the three fiction books I read, although it’s based on a true story so is only half-fiction.  It’s been on my reading list forever, so it was about time I read it.  It’s funny to think that this book was written over a century ago, as some of the jokes are just as relevant now as they were then.  Times haven’t changed much!

The first person is a tad irritating in places, but I think that’s part of the story really – he probably is an annoying character, and really all three of them were as bad as each other in causing problems.  If it’s on your reading list, it’s worth getting round to it, but if it’s not on your list yet I wouldn’t bother adding it as you won’t miss much.  I guess for people who like London or are familiar with it, it might be a fun read as the book tracks the progress of the three men (and the boat) along the Thames, and there are a lot of references to local places.

The Magicians – Lev Grossman

My second fiction book of the month, and possibly my favourite fiction read of the year.  This isn’t a difficult award to win, given that I’ve only read 13 fiction books so far this year, but this book deserves it.  It is an excellent read!  If you love fantasy books, or wizards, or Harry Potter, or Chronicles of Narnia, you will love this book.  READ IT!  After reading it, I was disappointed that this book doesn’t have more of a following.  It is such a good book and it deserves fame and fortune.

The book tells the story of what it would be like to be an actual wizard in the modern world where magic is a hidden talent (in this sense, it’s like Harry Potter, except it’s less “quaint England” and more “edgy New York”).  Our lead character gets accepted into a wizarding school he didn’t know existed instead of going off to college, and he learns magic.  Then he graduates and life sucks because what fun is magic in a world that doesn’t need it or know of its existence?  That’s as much of a synopsis as I’m giving you because I don’t want to spoil the story, but you should definitely read it.  If I gave stars to books I would give it 5/5.

Confessions of an eco-sinner – Fred Pearce

Ahhh, this is a more normal read for me.  A nice eye-opening book about how we’re all screwing up the world and are doomed to fail!  Haha, kidding.  It’s actually a fascinating book, and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about their impact on the world.  The author, a journalist, tracks down the origin of all sorts of things in his life, from his wedding ring to his socks.  He meets the people manufacturing the items he purchases, the environments where the raw materials are mined/harvested, and all sort of things in between.  It’s probably the first eco book I would recommend to anyone wanting to learn more about their impact, but ethically and ecologically.

On writing – Stephen king

I’m going to point out before I go any further that I have never read a Stephen King book, and I don’t watch horror films.  I read this book purely because it’s meant to be a good book on writing, and not because I am a Stephen King fan.  However, I did find the autobiographical stuff interesting, most likely because I like reading autobiographies.  If you are a Stephen King fan, this is probably a great book for you!  I quite liked the advice he gave on writing, and if he didn’t write creepy books I would probably enjoy reading his books!  He seems sensible and the book is an enjoyable read.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling

I have started a re-read of the Harry Potter books, partly inspired by my reading of The Magician. The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed I skipped books 1 and 2. This is because I have started a re-read of the Harry Potter series many times before giving up, and so I have read HP1 more times than I care to remember. I didn’t feel there was anything to be gained from reading it again – it feels like I already know it word for word! I skipped HP2 because I personally feel this is the worst of the seven books, and I couldn’t face reading it again! So, I’ve started with HP3, which was a good read. It’s nice to be back among a familiar landscape. People who don’t re-read books are odd! It’s reassuring to read books you already know. It’s like talking to old friends.

Did you read any good books this month?