Posted in Review, reviews, Uncategorized

Crafting campaigns

Sarah Corbett

How to be a craftivist

Unbound (please note that I was originally gifted an arc from the publisher via netgalley but I loved it that much that I brought my own copy)

Unraveling the problem

Coming from a political family, I have always been political. Moreover, I took women’s studies, and took part in many campaigns, during my time at university. In addition, I work, as a volunteer, with the RNIB and Oxfam, on the campaigns that matter to me. As a disabled person, those activities have recently taken on a greater urgency. So, my campaigning life has become busier and more intense.

Recently, therefore I have been feeling tired, disillusioned, and unfocused. I am finding it hard to know where to spend my campaigning energies; which campaigns to prioritise when they all seem so important.

We live in turbulent times; Trump in the White House, Brexit, sexual abuse scandals, police violence, the deaths of black men, hate crimes against marginalized groups, global warming, and austerity still ruining peoples lives. The list goes on and on. This has led many campaigners, including the author of this blog, to feel tired and dispirited.

Sarah Corbett, mirroring my own concerns, speaks of the tendency of campaigners to spread themselves too thinly; to feel that they have to be everywhere, doing everything, fighting every battle. This leads to the temptation to cut corners and to complete tasks that can be undertaken quickly. These methods are often unsuccessful, leaving the campaigners angry and disillusioned.

Moreover, the author states that campaigners, often driven by anger, react in a knee jerk manner to situations that arise. This, Corbet tells us, can often lead to mistakes and knee-jerk actions can often lead to negative outcomes.

Crafting a solution

Sarah instructs us, not just to react to negative situations as they arise, but rather, to think about the world we wish to craft. In my case, that world would be one in which disabled people and other marginalized groups; would feel safe, able to live a productive life, have our voices heard, and live in a manner that respects both other people and the world in which we live.

Corbett argues that campaigners need to take a step back and think about; what campaigns they focus on, why they feel the need to campaign, where their skills can be best utilized, and what methods will get the best outcomes. We need to ensure, often in consultation with those individuals who we are seeking to help, that our campaigns will have a positive impact on the issues that we care about.

The author, also, challenges campaigners to break their addiction to quick campaign methods, i.e; the online petition and template letter. Campaigners are instructed to slow down our campaigning; to take time to craft methods that will create the best possible outcomes. For example, she argues that we should get to know our representatives and personalize our interactions with them.

This book came at exactly the right time for me and, while I will not take her every suggestion on board, I will slow down, both my writing and campaigning. I will see my writing as part of my campaigning. I will take time to write letters that engage the reader and not simply send a template letter or sign a petition. I will take time on my reviews, and other writing. If the book is good enough to write about, I should give it the time it deserves. If the issue is important enough to raise passion, I should be able to express my passions in a manner that engages the reader. The arguments contained within this book are too broad and too deep to express in a short post. Therefore, I have picked the bits that spoke to me and left other sections for the reader to find on their own. For example, I have left out any discussion of craft. You should really get hold of a copy and read it. I highly recommend this book.

Posted in Uncategorized

Reservoir 13Jon McGregor.Harper Collins.

A family goes on a walk. A girl goes missing. No one knows where she’s gone to. That would have been the central plot of many other novels. A flawed detective would show up and we would follow his/her attempts to find the girl. The stories of the community might be hinted at. But, these stories would simply be shadows serving the main plot. .

However, in Reservoir 13 these shadows constitute the main plot. McGregor traces those lives that circle the crime. Spanning a period of thirteen years, the story follows the lives of those people living in the small village where the family was staying at the time of the girl’s disappearance. We see the community coming to terms with the tragic events that occurred within their village and continuing on with their lives.
This story is a web of narratives which form a weave, a tapestry of threads, traveling through one another. The stories of; place, people and animals coming together to form a fully drawn landscape

I really love this inventive novel and I am really disappointed that it didn’t make the short list.


Posted in arc, Uncategorized

Discussion/review of queering sexual violence



Queering Sexual Violence

Published  by Riverdale books

Publication  date   22nd April

Source;  Publisher Via Netgalley

Edited Jennifer Patterson

Queering sexual violence is a collection of essays,  written by members of the LGBT+ (queer) community,  that seek to challenge current ideas of;  sexual identity,  sex, sexual violence, and the current structure of society.  Each essay, in its own unique way, speaks of the ways that certain individuals are excluded from both; the mechanisms in place to help survivors of sexual abuse, and the theoretical framework that support these organisations. They speak, poignantly, of; their experiences of violence, the effects of that violence on their lives, their attempts to seek help, the battles to have their pain acknowledged, and the ways that they have found their own unique path to healing.


The writers challenge the way in which we see certain issues and the ways that these issues interact; uncoupling some concepts while highlighting the connection between others.    Those who survived sexual abuse firmly state that, while their experiences have shaped their life and sexual choices, they choice of sexuality cannot be wholly explained by their childhood experience of violence.  Other writers seek to force the readers to see connections between violence to the individual body and the violence that we inflict on, both; the wider society and the planet that we all share.


This work is a valuable addition to both; the activism and theory surrounding sexual violence, queering, and extending their scope to include more stories and more ways of seeing the world.  Moreover, while being an academic work, the general reader would have no difficulty understanding, and being moved by this work.



Posted in man Booker, Uncategorized

Man booker short list 

4321 by Paul Auster (US) (Faber & Faber)

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (US) (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (UK-Pakistan) (Hamish Hamilton)

Elmet by Fiona Mozley (UK) (JM Originals)

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (US) (Bloomsbury Publishing)                    

Autumn by Ali Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton)

I am really disappointed that neither solar bones or Reservoir 13 made the list.  I cannot understand why history of Wolves is on the list. In addition, while I can understand why Autumn is there, I wish that it weren’t. What do you think? 

Posted in books, Uncategorized

Goals Bingo Card


Read one book from an author residing in the commonwealth Read one author who identifies as black European or black British Read one book from an author identifying themselves as Black/African American
Read one book from a member of the LGBT+ community. Read one book from an author who ide identifies as a disabled person Read a highlighted author
Read a book from an author originating from an indigenous/first nation community Read one book from my TBR shelve. Read one book from a Kindle sample
Read one book from a Kindle sample Read an arc Read a book published before 2010.
Read a book from 1001 books to read before you die Read one book of literary theory Read one book of literary theory/ criticim


Posted in Uncategorized

Post Booker reading plan

These are my plans for the rest of the year. Every month, I will: 

A) read one book from am author residing in a commonwealth country

A2) read one book from an indigenous/first nation community. 

B) read one book from a black Europe author 

C) read one book from a African American author 

D) read one book from an author who identifies with the LGBTQ+ community 

D1 read a book from an author who identifies as being Disabled 

D2 read a book by a selected author (I will choose authors and read their back catalogue one per month) 

E) read one book from my tbr shelves (either virtual or physical) 

E. 1) read one book from a Kindle sample 

E2) Read one book from my goodreads/Amazon wishlist 

F) read an arc. 

F1 read a book published before 2010

F2) read a book from 1001 books to read before you die 

G) read one work of literary theory

H) read one work of political theory/activism 

I)  do a in depth review of those books that produce feelings. 

(j)  keep a daily reading journal right here on the blog

Here are My plans for the end of the year. What are yours?