Posted in #amreading, advance copy, Book review, Uncategorized

Odds and Ends. Wrap up

 

9781925228830

 

Margaret the First

Danielle Dutton

Scribe Books

 

The Descent of Man

Grayson Perry

Penguin

 

Please Note – Both books reviewed in this blog were kindly given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

So, we begin a new year.   It’s time to clear up the loose ends of 2016.  Then, I can move on to 2017. I will begin with my goals; I failed them all.  I planned an ambitious reading goal of 180 books. While I easily achieved this goal in 2015/16, last year I read only 119 books. In addition, I signed up for the Australian Women Writers Challenge (#awwc2016).  I only read one book from this challenge.  As for my read the awards challenge, as predicted, I started well but then my enthusiasm flagged.

 

So, am I going to set any goals for 2017?  Yes, I am gambling on a peaceful year and hoping that I can focus on my reading and writing.  So, I have set my Good Reads reading challenge at 120.   In addition, I have signed up to read 10 books that are over 400 pages long.   Once again, I have signed up for the AWWWC, setting my goal at 24 books.  As for awards, I plan to read along with a few but not as many as last year.  I think I’ll see what happens throughout the year.

 

Now for the reviews.

I must apologise for how long it has taken me to write these reviews.  I read these books before Christmas but, due to family and political traumas, didn’t feel like sitting down at my computer. I found it hard just to do basic work.   Firstly, I will begin with Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton.  This has a glorious cover and is a beautiful artefact.  The book takes on the story of the historic figure Margaret Cavendish.   Cavendish lived during an eventful period of English history.   She was part of Charles I court, before having to flee England at the end of the civil war.  This book outlines; her childhood, time in court, time in exile and her decision to begin her life as a writer. This experimentally written book explores what it was like to be a minor aristocrat during turbulent times.  It explores what it was like to be a woman during a period where men reigned. It is an exciting read

 

Secondly,  I  turn my attention to Greyson Perry’s the Descent of Man.  If Margaret the First looked at a woman in a man’s world, this book turns its attention to the male of the species. Using; their own experience, knowledge gained through conversations, and existing academic research, Perry explores how are current ideas of masculinity can be toxic to men.  This book would make an excellent introduction to the topics and issues surrounding masculinity and is written in an enjoyably accessible way.

 

Both books are well worth a read.  Both, look at different aspects of the gender divide.   Whether a female living in a man’s world or a man living in a man’s world, it comes to the same thing.   Both mem and women; cis and trans, must learn to navigate this toxic environment

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in #amreading, books, literature

Currently Reading 

The story of Egypt by Joanne Fletcher pub Hodder 

Killer Tune by Dreda Say Mitchell pub Hodder 
I am reading Killer Tunes for a in person reading group. This experience proves the value of reading groups. This is a book that I would have never have picked up on my own initiative.  But,  the group decided to read it, and I am really loving it. 

Questions 

1) what are you reading 

2) are you part of a reading group? What do you think of them. 

Have a good break, if you are having one. If not, have a productive week. 

Posted in Book review, Booker prize 2011, books, Uncategorized

Janet Mock Realising Realnes

 

redefining-realness-janet-mock-memoir-available-formats 

A young boy is born to a poor disjointed, displaced black American family. Charles/Janet was moved around, living with different family members at different times of their lives. Janet outlines; their childhood, the abuse that they suffered at the hands of a trusted adult, and the effects of feeling alienated from their own body; its bodily gender and the roles that society ascribes to that male body.  The book explores the effects of several interconnecting, socially defined, identities on a young body.  Mock explores the intersecting effects of; racism, poverty, family breakup/abuse, rigidly prescribed gender norms, and a disconnection between biological and actual gender identity on a person’s body and their understanding of that body. This book explores the life of a troubled child through the mature, experienced eyes of a woman, containing both; the pained innocence of childhood, and the critical understanding of an adult; with neither lens diluting the power of the other.  The childhood trauma/pain is tempered by an adult understanding; without ever being diminished by it.   Even in it’s painful moments, this book is infused with a sort of warmth.  Well worth a read.

 

 

 

 

Posted in arc, Ausralian women writers challenge 2013, Uncategorized

between a wolf and a dog

Between a Wolf and a9781925321111 Dog

Georgia Blain

I am on Scribe’s mailing list.  The book’s intriguing cover made me want to read it. So, I requested a copy from the publisher.  Scribe UK sent me a copy in exchange for an honest review. This book centres on the life of an extended family. It explores the secrets that one family can contain and the tragedies that occur when those secrets come to the surface.  Through the life of the family matriarch Hilary, the writer explores experiences of loss and  the  consequences of  living through the pain that old age can bring,  exploring the themes of loss, aging and pain.   Her daughter’s, April and Ester, lives allow us to explore the consequences of deception on their sibling relationship and their relationships with the other people within their lives.   Through other characters we see the consequences of white collar crime and distortion.   This book explores the lives of middle class people living lives of quiet desperation and hope.

 

The characters are well drawn and believable.   They live in a thoroughly realistic and credible world.  It is easy to emphasise with their small dramas.   The writing is lyrical.  The descriptions of the terrible weather that the characters are enduring are evocative.   This is an engrossing read which will be the perfect companion on a cold autumnal afternoon by the fire.

Posted in Book review, Uncategorized

solar bones

Solar Bones

Mike McCormacksolar-bones-cropped-cover

Tramp Press

 

The book opens abstractly with a lyrical passage, set out like a poem, describing the location in which the main character lives.  The book opens with a wide camera shot of rural landscape and rural community, doing its thing on an afternoon.  The camera is sent spiralling through this setting, settling for a moment to observe, to focus, before spinning out into a wider focus and moving on to observe another aspect of this world; spinning, spiralling, contracting and expanding until it seemingly comes to rest in a kitchen with our main protagonist, seemingly narrowing it’s focus on his life.  In fact, the camera keeps contracting and expanding its focus; an observation on his own life, leading to an observation concerning the life of his family, before widening focus to explore the world.  Or, on the other hand, beginning with a wide focus lens, our character comments on a thing that has happened in the world before turning the lens back on his own life, his inner thoughts and the life of his family.  The camera continually narrowing and widening its focus, showing connections between the experiences of the humanist individual subject and the wider society.  This means that the book gives the reader a clear picture of both the internal and external world of the 1990s/2000s. This book presents the connection between the inner psychological lives and external social worlds, showing the web of interconnections that connect us to each other and the wider world.  I highly recommend this book.