April Reading Roundup!

Such a busy month, so few books read!

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The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World – Shelley Emling

First, a moment to snigger that the author of a biography of a fossil hunter is called Shelley…/moment

I had never heard of Mary Anning before being assigned this biography in bookclub, and to be honest, that’s crazy. The amount that she contributed to the scientific field without acknowledgement or financial restitution is absolutely staggering. You may not recognise her name, but you’re probably more than familiar with the men her work assisted. Does Darwin ring a bell?

While I devoured the story of Anning’s life, The Fossil Hunter itself left something to be desired. Given that so little is known about Anning’s early life, Shelley resorts to a bucket-load of ‘Maybe she would have’, ‘perhaps she did’ that can get irritating as the book progresses. Nevertheless, it’s a great intro to a woman that definitely deserves more coverage. Time for her big Hollywood feature?

 

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A Life in Parts – Bryan Cranston

This book. This Book! I’ve heard it said the Christopher Lee reads The Lord of the Rings every year- I think that’s going to be my pattern for the next few years with A Life In Parts.

Like most people, I only knew Bryan Cranston as the Dad from Malcolm in the Middle,  and I was vaguely aware that he was doing some great work on Breaking Bad but it was a show that I had never gotten into. So prior to reading this book, it’s safe to say I wasn’t a gushing fan- I only picked it up in the first place because I read an excerpt online that piqued my interest. I’ve now read it twice and I think it’s a safe bet that I’m going to pick up again before the year is done (I have a high tolerance for repetition, I consider it a life skill).

I haven’t read many celebrity auto-biographies, but I feel like this one is probably different from most of them. There’s no salaciousness or navel gazing here- Cranston is clearly someone who has dedicated his life to his work, and he lays that rocky path out in the open with a brisk matter-of-factness. For me, the main appeal of this book is the insight Cranston gives into his thoughts on acting and his process, complete fodder for my soul. I would have thought that it would hold less appeal to readers in other fields, but the goodreads rating definitely proves me wrong there. If you see this book all lonely on a shelf, don’t hesitate to give it a loving home -it’s worth it.


What have you been reading this month? Comment below to share your favourite, I’m always looking for recommendations!

If you want to see more of me, you can check out my Instagram & Twitter, I would love to see you there!

April Reading Roundup!

March Reading Roundup

It’s that time again!

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 The Bonobo’s Dream – Rose Mulready

Written by the recipient of the 2016 Seizure Viva La Novella Prize, The Bonobo’s Dream is a slim little volume that I’m reasonably sure will turn out to be the literary equivalent of coriander (either you’re obsessed with it, or you really can’t see why everyone else is).

Me? I’m a little obsessed with it. This book is bizarre, opulent, and makes no apologies for throwing the reader in the deep end. The language is rich and the sense of a fully constructed world is strong enough that not knowing it all in the beginnings is just one of the reasons to keep devouring this book. While it sits in the speculative fiction genre (a favourite of mine), at it’s heart, the story is about family and it’s fascinating to watch the behaviours as the situation slowly unravels. Seriously, treat yo’ self- give Bonobo’s Dream a go. And if you want to experience double luxury, grab a real print copy for a funky matte textured read.

 

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Abaddon’s Gate – James S. A. Corey

As promised last month, I finally finished this mammoth read (/listen, it was my audible fodder). As with the previous books in the Expanse series (currently also playing at a Netflix near you), Abaddon’s Gate is an epic, in all senses of the word.

Being the third book in the series, it’s reasonable to expect that the story would start to string out a bit, perhaps falling apart at the edges a little as the authors try to keep things going. Mindblowingly, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Abaddon’s Gate is every bit as justified and tightly written as it’s predecessors. New characters are introduced and actually carry most of the book, providing an interesting insight into what the rest of the galaxy think of James Holden and his ragtag crew (and if the sentence gave you Firefly vibes, you’re not far wrong).

The thing that appeals to me most about this series is the believability of it. There’s a distinct lack of teleportation or humanoid aliens- instead, space travel is strenuous, inter-stellar messaging takes forever, and people still just really hate other people. Also pleasantly delightful is how gender-neutral a lot of the characterisation is – that soldier is just as likely to be a woman as a man, and that nurse could definitely be a dude. It was interesting to find myself being caught out again & again by assuming the wrong gender of an introduced character, which is a point that actually leads nicely to….

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Stuff Mom Never Told You

Does this reading list look a bit thinly spread for a month of reading? You’re not wrong, and all blame rests with my new mico-obsession – SMNTY!

Hosted by Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin, Stuff Mom Never Told You is the audio podcast from HowStuffWorks that gets down to the business of being women from every imaginable angle. Fueled by boundless curiosity and rigorous research, Cristen and Caroline are girls-next-door gender experts who skillfully decode the biology, psychology and sociology of ladies and gents, from their evolutionary past to millennial present, to better understand all the Stuff Mom Never Told You.

There are years worth of episodes to catch up on, so I’ve been cherry picking the titles that appeal to me and burning through them during a lot of the times I would normally reach for a book. Not just for the lady-folk, I heartily recommend SMNTY to anyone looking to broaden their knowledge of everything from the impacts of fast fashion, to the female Kings of Ancient Egypt and about a bazillion things inbetween. Go forth and learn, my pretties!


What have you been reading this month? Comment below to share your favourite!

If you want to see more of me, you can check out my Instagram & Twitter, I would love to see you there!

March Reading Roundup

February Reading Roundup

3rd March – Mulled Wine Day!

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The Natural Way of Things – Charlotte Wood

Winner of the 2016 Stella Prize, The Natural Way of Things was described to me as Lord of the Flies meets The Handmaid’s Tale. Since both of those books are obviously timeless classics (and the cover art of The Natural Way of Things  is luscious), I was an easy sell.

The blurb of this book is pretty straight forward:  ‘Two women awaken from a drugged sleep to find themselves imprisoned in a broken-down property in the middle of a desert…. The girls all have something in common, but what is it? ‘ . Despite not really deviating from this brief summary at all,  The Natural Way of Things is still a gripping read. Information is drip-fed as you watch the situation unravel and the Flies/Handmaid’s comparison isn’t far off . This book is definitely one that hung around in my head for a few days, and will probably get a read through again in the near future so I can absorb a little more. If there was a sequel available, I would have been hitting the kindle SO fast to get my hands on that bad boy. If you like this sort of genre, I definitely recommend giving it a go!

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Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert T. Kiyosaki

I downloaded Rich Dad, Poor Dad to my kindle on a whim after smashing through The Barefoot Investor(which definitely deserves a read) and to be honest, I wasn’t too fussed with what I read. I had mixed expectations going in – Kiyosaki seems to be everywheeeerrreee, I wouldn’t even begin to guess how many books/spinoffs/courses/speaking tours he has. So his popularity is up there, but I was dubious about how the whole package gave off a ‘get rich quick’ vibe to me.

After finishing the book, I can’t say much has changed. With a catchy title and plenty of big talk, Rich Dad, Poor Dad certainly promises to be a game changer, but it offers very little meat in the way of actual guidance. It proffers advice along the lines of ‘go big or go home!’, ‘don’t be afraid to lose  money!’,  and not a lot of road rules on how to actually recognise a great investment when it comes along, or even where to go hunting. Big smack talk, small follow through; but all delivered with enough confidence that I’m concerned that someone eager to make their fortune and ‘escape the rat race’ could see some serious damage done to their financial future. It wasn’t until the last 10% or so (because Kindle allows me to be specific with these things – thanks kindle!) that Kiyosaki briefly outlined his actual advice, and then only in the form of spruiking future books. I am going to give him one more chance, and I’ll report back once I’ve followed up on the sequel specialising in investing but I’m also curious to know how you felt about this volume. Have you read Rich Dad, Poor Dad? What did you think of it?

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Abaddon’s Gate – James S. A. Corey

This one is my WIP. The third book in The Expanse series (currently launching in Netflix and actually written by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck in partnership) is a mammoth effort, a sprawling series of books that can be accurately described as ‘epic’. With Corey (aka Abraham & Franck) contracted to write a minimum of nine novels in the cycle, you can bet that Netflix is hoping to have the next GOT on their hands – G. R. R. himself has given it the seal of approval, describing it as “really kick-ass space opera.”

The Expanse has been my Audible fodder for the past two months – with each book clocking in at over 20 hours, I initially selected it as great value for money but I am hooked. With each of the two previous books in the series, I couldn’t begin to imagine how the story could continue without turning into a rambling, unjustified mess but it just. keeps. unfolding. I’m halfway through Abaddon’s Gate, so it will probably end up in next months wrap-up. If you want to play catch-up, the first in the series is Leviathan Wakes. Treat yo’ self.


What have you been reading this month? Comment below to share your favourite!

If you want to see more of me, you can check out my Instagram & Twitter, I would love to see you there!

February Reading Roundup