Sunday, 16 September 2018

And August Passed in a Flash...

August passed so quickly that it's already half way through September.

In my July post, I said that August was going to be a good month and I'm afraid I was wrong.

It was a fantastic month full of adventures. 

There was a trip to Bletchley Park to learn more about Alan Turing and the code breakers in WWII plus having to battle an impossible roundabout just to get there. A trip to the National Art Gallery in London, and also a weekend to Bath to the Jane Austen Centre to see a strange looking mannequin who was meant to look like Jane Austen but actually looked more like she was passing through on her way to Marks and Spencers to hang out in their window display.

At the end of the month, I went to the Faber offices to hear Miriam Toews and Laura Bates talking about gender, patriarchy, religion, and their books. I'm hoping to read Miriam Toews' new book, Women Talking, either in September or October. 

But did you do any reading I hear you cry!

Well, yes!

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
This is such a fantastic book on the importance of sleep. Exploring the science of sleep, why our bodies crave sleep, ways to have better sleep health. I'm a slow non-fiction reader as I read at a different pace so it has taken me several months to finish but I'm so glad I have. Honestly, everybody should read this book. I now have the blue filter enabled in the evenings on my phone, dim the lights, listen to calm music and read (which I was already doing before) before I sleep. My sleep quality has improved. I definitely appreciate sleep more after reading this book!

Weight by Jeanette Winterson
Sharp writing in this pacy retelling of the myth of Atlas and Heracles. Exploring self-knowledge, nature of choice and the way we manipulate others for our own gain. Part of Canongate's The Canons series of retelling of myths with beautiful covers - the set would make a great present for a myths fan. Will be blogging more about this series later this month.

How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne
This is more than this generation's Bridget Jones. This is a book about the push and pull of women against society's expectations, about dealing with emotional abuse and narcissists, about friendships, and dread. Very honest, real, witty. I want there to be a sequel.

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
Ruth, 30, and her life isn't where she was hoping it would be. After breaking up with her fiance, leaving her job, she agrees to move in with her parents to look after her father who has Alzheimer's. This is a book about discovering who you, family relationships, and acceptance. It's brilliant and funny!


As we're already half way through September I can already say it's a great month... a walk along Regent's Canal, and many more things planned....

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Book Review: The Cartography of Others

The Cartography of Others
by Catherine McNamara
Published by Unbound
Available in paperback and ebook

Catherine McNamara's latest short story collection, The Cartography of Others, not only has a lovely cover but the twenty stories contained inside are an exploration of displacement and estrangement.

Across the stories, we see characters who are on the verge of turning point in their lives. A woman waits in a hotel room for her married love to turn up, absorbing his excuses each time he calls, letting his flakiness knock her confidence. A son is trekking across a hill thinking about this mother's last few moments before she died. A soprano, on a boat, searching for her voice.

All these characters are looking for meaning, searching their past, hoping to find a sigh that will lead them towards their future. Catherine gives glimpses into their inner lives letting the reader see a character, who on the outside appears to be confident, has a great life but are crumbling inside, full of fear of the future.

Full of glamorous locations, vivid in detail, stretching from Sydney's suburbs, Accra, Paris across to Mali. Catherine takes the reader on a tour around the world, giving such precise details that the reader feels like they are actually there with the character, pulling the reader into the snapshot of these characters' lives.

The Cartography of Others delves confidently into the complexities of modern life, delve into people's concerns and fears of change. You can buy The Cartography of Others from your favourite bookshop.

I was sent a copy via the author.