Book Review by Cari Mayhew.
This story has a promising premise – the central character, a young woman wakes up from a Caesarean section not believing that baby labelled as hers, a premature babe struggling in a special humidcrib, really is hers. Continue reading Mine by Susi Fox.
In the past few months, I’ve read one trending fictional YA novel centred on a character’s suicide, and 2 real life memoirs where the authors attempted to take their lives and were institutionalised.
The former was called 13 Reasons Why, where the central character listens to audio tapes where Hannah explains what lead to her suicide. Some of the “reasons” (but not all) were simply Hannah’s overreactions to normal teenage life. Other reasons where more pressing, but nothing she could not have lived through and come out the other side of. I didn’t like how the book portrayed depression at all. Although depression has its triggers, it is not unequivocally caused by events or a series of events. It is an illness as natural as the common cold and can happen to anyone – regardless of their circumstances.
I also read Girl Interrupted, a memoir from which the film of the same name was made. The author clearly had a madness to her, there is no question of that, yet she depicts her gradual slide in and out of madness as something that wasn’t really so mad at all. She had lost a lot of interest in what her life had to offer and started questioning whether she was truly motivated to stay alive. Then one day she overdosed on pills, seemingly just to end the dreary obsession. It was then that she was admitted to a mental health hospital. It is clear that she was more sane than any of her fellow patients, however, and that some patients were merely acting up just because they could.
In contrast was the memoir-like classic, The Bell Jar. Here the same madness was depicted entirely differently. Stark, bold, unworldly, horrific and deadly. The author had been living a young lady’s dream life, but things began slipping away from her and on a whim she got herself into a deliberate skiing accident. She too was institutionalised, but when an acquaintance was also admitted the author failed to recognise that other people really could go through the same thing.
In both memoirs, both authors were eventually found to be sane enough to leave the institutions.
All 3 books were very readable, but words in The Bell Jar had a poetry to them, and it was far more striking and effective.
So I guess the points I want to make are these:
- Depression can happen to anyone, regardless of circumstances
- Bad event/s don’t have to lead to suicide
- Recovery is possible and is even common
- Memoirs have a truth to them, whereas novels are purely for entertainment
The Pigeonhole is the new generation book club app that lets you read books for free, whilst making and reading comments from readers, and sometimes even the authors.
The editors handpick exclusive books to release in stages called staves, over a series of days – so it’s ideally for fitting into a busy day. On average a stave is about half an hour reading time. There are usually several new releases a week. There are also a few older classics on there too, like Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein.
It’s available for both Android and iOS, just search for “Pigeonhole” – all you need is an email address to sign up. The books are completely free, but they are only allowed to release a set amount for each book. In return for the free read you are sometimes asked to leave an honest review on Amazon.
Book Review by Cari Mayhew.
I listened to this as an audiobook, and I feel this added to the feel of the story and improved my experience of the book. The narrator spoke in a stunning female American accent, but would change voices for the male dialogue parts. Continue reading The Law of Attraction by N M Silber.
Hi folks. I’m running a little behind on my book reviews as 2 of the books I have been reading, I decided not to finish.
I had started reading A Game of Thrones, being a big fan of the TV series. They often say that there’s more depth to a book than a series or film – but I found that wasn’t the case in this instance. Also the first book is incredibly long, and it felt futile to spend so much time on a book when I already knew the plot.
The other book I was reading was 100 Mistakes That Changed History. Although I was impressed with the scope of the book, and liked how well each mistake was summarized, much of what I read was occurred too long ago and far away to have any real effect on my perception of how the mistakes led to our current world being as it is. Also there was too much focus on battle strategies, which held no interest for me whatsoever.
The good news is I have some much more promising titles lined up to review soon. Chow for now, Cari.
Book Review by Cari Mayhew.
This book is quite possibly the best thing ever published by New Scientist. It’s more speculation than science, but that’s what makes it so entertaining! Continue reading The Universe Next Door by New Scientist.
If your anything like me, you may be interested in non-fiction but struggle to find the time. If so, Blinkist is a fab little app for you. It summarises thousands of non-fiction works, which can either be read or listened to within 15 minutes. It’s available on Android and iPhone. The mere 15 minutes means you can fit them in around your day with ease, and you can read/listen offline which can be really handy.
Its summaries are really well written, with an introduction to each one, including reasons to read each one, who they’re aimed at, and an author bio. Main points are communicated not in a chapter by chapter basis but grouped into main areas. Notable quotes from the book are made to stand out, and there’s a wrap up at the end, where the summariser normally aims to provide actionable advice from the book. Best of all the info from the quick 15 minutes read is plenty enough to enable you to sound like you know what you’re talking about. If nothing else it will help you decide whether you want to read the whole book, as it’s quicker and more informative than reading a free sample.
It appears to be mainly sought over for its self-improvement titles, but also draws a lot of attention for its new perspectives on the world with bestsellers in psychology, politics, economics, science, history & culture. Some use it to stay abreast of developments in their field of expertise.
It has an excellent rating on Google Play, and rightly so. I gave the free trial a go, and the app was soon able to pick up on what I was more interested in, and provide some great recommendations of titles. During the free trial, you can read any summary in its collection. When my free trial ran out, I was (and am) able to access one free summary a day – which is great for my personal target of aiming to learn something in non-fiction every week.
For me, it’s an app I wouldn’t be without!