Archive for March, 2020


Japanese Fairy Tales

by Yei Theodora Ozaki (Compilation)

#readingwomenreadingchallenge prompt 14: a book set in Japan or by a Japanese author
#popsugarreadingchallenge prompt 45: set in japan
I am using of for the Reading Women challenge

This collection of 22 fairy tales very clearly illustrates the following
Stepmothers, monkeys, evil people and sneaky animals abound and will always pay the price of their wickedness.
Good behaviour including looking after the old or weak will be rewarded.
And never ever open a box you are told not to open.

In essence, these are the same stories told across the globe. The context and characters differ but the morality remains the same.

I quite like the (to me) unusual setting for the stories and found the collection very accessible.

Worth dipping into and out of, one story at a time

by Karin Slaughter

#popsugarreadingchallenge prompt 35: 3-word title

I do love me a Karin Slaughter and this one did not disappoint.
Andy grew up with a perfectly average mother, living an ordinary life. Until they face a shooter in a diner and ninja-mother emerges. Andy’s reality changes immediately and she is sent on a journey of discovery that include questioning everything she thought she knew about how she is and who her mother is.

I liked the slow reveal – as the reader we became aware of what was actually going on at the same pace as Andy. The book maneuvers and twists around all sorts of information and revelations, keeping the reader absorbed and needing to know more.

I remain a Slaughter fan

by Deborah Cadbury, Finty Williams (Narrator)
#popsugarreadingchallenge prompt 24: about something I know nothing about; prompt 38: by or about a journalist (Deborah Cadbury is documentary maker which I think counts as a modern day journalist.) I am using it for prompt 38.
#readingwomenreadingchallenge prompt 21: a book about food
 
I listened to this audiobook almost in one sitting while busy with some physically demanding but completely mindless work. And it was the perfect companion.
 
This narrative history was both fascinating and well told. I knew nothing about any of the details included in this book – and found it very interesting. Who knew of the link between Quakers and chocolate – and what an odd commodity for such a puritan people to have been involved with. In addition to all the chocolate based facts, I also really loved how Cadbury contextualises everything in the social time at which it happened. It made the whole story so much easier to relate to and understand.
 
I love that I have a whole bunch of additions to the random information I like to have in my head.
Very consumable book – I can imagine it would be just as easy to read as it was to listen to.
 
read or listen to it – you’ll be surprised at how interested you actually are.
by Minette Walters
#popsugarreadingchallenge prompt 29: bird on the cover
 
This was a quick easy read, as it was meant to be as one of the titles in the Quick Read series.
But despite being such a short book (128 pages) Walters still manages to create a complete world with details and nuances.
Chickenfeed is a true story; a murder in the 1920s, a body in a chickenrun, a man accused who declares his innocence to the very end.
 
Walters turns those raw basics into a quick but gripping read.

by Robin Wall Kimmerer

#readingwomenreadingchallenge prompt 3: A book about the Environment
I loved this book – and the author reads the audible version which is always something I love if the author is good at it.
And Kimmerer is.

I love the merging and intersection of science and indigenous knowledge and more than once I grinned at an idea, a combination, a realisation. I feel inspired and improved by this book – and more responsible.
I love the idea of a gift society, of reciprocity, of humans listening to the Earth, and living with the answers. It is how people lived and an attitude we should rekindle if we, and the Earth, have any chance of survival.

But I really liked throughout this book is how science is used to prove or validate traditional practices. When you understand about population control you understand the four day ceremony before salmon are caught. We you know about the graphs that show 50% harvest results int he best regrowth, you understand the traditional practice of taking half and leaving half. And so on.
That these practices are seen as woo simply shows an ignorance hidden behind 21st century arrogance.

A worthy, valuable book everyone should read and learn from, but sadly I do think that it may be preaching to the choir. The very people who need to be aware are so often the ones who refuse to even look at alternatives.

by Colleen Hoover
#popsugarreadingchallenge prompt 3: great first line
I am pretty gruesome so “I hear the crack of his skull before the spattering of the blood reaches me.” is a pretty good first line for me.
 
I think this book was okay, and that first line may have been the best thing about it.
I liked the premise but I found the characters a little shallow. I don’t read romance much and didn’t even know Hoover was a romance writer and that this book was cross identified as both thriller and romance, so perhaps I expected depth that was never going to happen.
But that also be my anti-romance prejudice showing.
 
It is hard to review this book and the mechanisations of it without spoilering but it did not blow my socks off and I would not recommend it to many people.
But it is hugely popular so it is probably me, not you.

by Joyce Carol Oates

Creepy little collection of four weird and gripping stories. The characters gave me the shivers; each story was shudder-inducing in a different way.
A first wife with terrifying revelations for the younger 4th wife, a naive young girl ripe for the stalking, a frat boy so real I feel I have seen him on FB, and an angry lover avenging the abuse of his beloved.
Oates can certainly build a character that is completely believable and well rounded enough to be both understood and deeply disliked.

I would buy this book and reread these stories more than once.
I am certainly a JCO fan now.

#popsugarreading challenge prompt 13: same title as a movie but unrelated (Evil Eye 1975), 14: author with flora or fauna in name, prompt 27: Featuring one of the seven deadly sins (murder, greed, sloth).
I am using this book for prompt 13.

My life as a Rat

by Joyce Carol Oates

My first ever Joyce Carol Oates – how on earth did that happen? You would think I had been living under a rock!
This book will punch you in the gut, repeatedly. But still you will not put it down and walk away.
Violet Rue really has the most awful things happen to her but Oates make it all so believable it is hard not to think this is a memoir.
I was completely absorbed and listened when I should have been working/sleeping/doing so many other things. I even listened on the treadmill forgoing the distraction of music because I was so absorbed.

I found it horribly likely that every single thing that happened to Violet probably actually has happened to a real girl and woman. 12 year olds make decisions they live with forever, whether they want to or not.
Oates will drag you in, wring you out and leave you breathless.

Violet will be with me for a long time.

This is my #popsugarreadingchallenge book for prompt 7: first book I touched with my eyes closed

by Mona Eltahawy

#readingwomenchallenge prompt 13: A book by an Arab Woman
#popsugarreadingchallenge prompt 25: Only words on the cover, prompt 33: $ star rating on Goodreads, prompt 38: By or about a journalist, prompt 47: More than 20 letters in the title.

This was an interesting book that often shocked and appalled me. I found it disturbing and depressing but also riveting and essential.
As a white western woman these kinds of books are important because it is my responsibility to learn. And teach this book does.

Read it, think about it and be aware of privilege