Recent Reads – October 2018

Some Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) included. They are marked with an *. No affiliate links used. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

Recent Reads - October 2018
Original photo: Viktor Hanacek from picjumbo

I’ve been dealing with an arthritis flare-up for the past few months. As a result, the blog has taken a back seat because typing has been difficult. While I’ve been reading a lot, partly due to painsomnia, I’m only getting round to writing about the books I read in October now.

Everyday Madness: On Grief, Anger, Loss and Love by Lisa Appignanesi*

Everyday Madness - On Grief, Anger, Loss and Love by Lisa Appignanesi

When Lisa Appignanesi’s husband dies in 2015, she is overcome with grief. While a perfectly normal response, Appignanesi finds herself dealing or, perhaps more accurately, not dealing with the myriad of emotions that accompany grief.

Everyday Madness* is compelling in parts, disjointed in others, but well written throughout.  

Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace by Jessica Bennett

Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett

Feminist Fight Club is, as its tagline suggests, a survival manual for sexist workplaces. While there is plenty of practical advice it belongs firmly in the camp of working with the system rather than dismantling it. Think Lean In with added artwork and you’ll get the idea. Corporate feminism repackaged for a younger generation.

Lean Out by Dawn Foster

Lean Out by Dawn Foster

What is the point of smashing glass ceilings if the system remains the same? Lean Out is a takedown of corporate feminism, which seeks to support capitalist, sexist, ableist and racist structures. Dawn Foster makes a case for not leaning in, but dismantling the system entirely.

The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan

The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan

When Corrine finds a piece of a doll house outside her flat, she is sure it looks familiar. As more pieces begin to turn up and then disappear, Corrine realises they are from the doll house she and her sister had when they were children. Who, not only, holds pieces of her past but has been inside her house?

The Doll House has it all; unreliable narrators, multiple points of view, family secrets and twists and turns with some more obvious than others.

The Bitch Goddess Notebook by Martha O’Connor

The Bitch Goddess Notebook by Martha O'Connor

As teenagers, Rennie, Cherry and Amy were inseparable. None of them really fit in at school making their friendship stronger. Fifteen years later, their lives are completely different and they no longer have the friendship they once had. Yet, the actions of their past mean they will always be connected whether they like it or not.

I don’t remember who first recommended The Bitch Goddess Notebook to me, but many people have since and after finally getting round to reading it I can see why. It’s a page-turner that will not only leave you questioning the events in the novel, but also your reactions to them.

Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future by Mary Robinson*

Climate Justice - Hope, Resilence and the Fight for a Sustainable Future by Mary Robinson

Climate Justice* is an accessible look at some of the people directly affected by climate change and the measures they have taken to ensure its devastating effects are understood. Many of the people Mary Robinson meets became activists and advocates out of necessity. Some never considered themselves those things, yet grassroots activism and organising is at the heart of their actions.

If you think climate change has nothing to do with you, you’re wrong. Yes, there are global factors at play but as Robinson highlights work on a community level is vital. Community work that, as Climate Justice* shows, is being led by women.

The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown

The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown

The Witchfinder’s Sister is a fictionalised account of the very real “witchfinder general” Matthew Hopkins and the witch trials he conducted in 17th century England. He is believed to be responsible for the deaths of 300 women accused of witchcraft between 1644-1646.

Beth Underdown has taken this as her source material and woven the narrative of Hopkins’ wholly fictional sister Alice Hopkins around it. When Alice’s husband dies she returns home and finds herself reliant on her brother for survival. This reliance sees her drawn deeper and deeper into her brother’s witch-hunting, while being morally opposed to his actions.

I wanted to love this more than I did. It’s an enjoyable read, but it didn’t have the same emotional impact on me that it did others.

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