Book List 2018

Review: Bygone Badass Broads by Mackenzi Lee

Title: Bygone Badass Broads – 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World35888416

Author: Mackenzi Lee

Genre: Badass non-fiction

Summary:

Based on Mackenzi Lee’s popular weekly Twitter series of the same name, Bygone Badass Broads features 52 remarkable and forgotten trailblazing women from all over the world.

With tales of heroism and cunning, in-depth bios and witty storytelling, Bygone Badass Broads gives new life to these historic female pioneers.

Starting in the fifth century BC and continuing to the present, the book takes a closer look at bold and inspiring women who dared to step outside the traditional gender roles of their time.

Coupled with riveting illustrations and Lee’s humorous and conversational storytelling style, this book is an outright celebration of the badass women who paved the way for the rest of us.

Review:

This book is everything.

I needed this book when I was growing up, unsure of myself and what being a girl meant, what becoming a woman would mean.

I need this book now when everything seems so confusing and women are still being degraded, and treated as something less, or disrespected for speaking out, for speaking their minds.

These women are badass. Not were. They are. Their legends should loom large and be researched and passed on from generation to generation, inspiring more women like them. Inspiring future generations to have fight in them, to have rebellion and be able to say what’s what and do what’s right.

Mackenzi Lee writes about these women in a way that makes them seem so relatable. It makes it seem like she’s talking about a friend of a friend instead of someone who has long passed through history.  At this point I am thinking that basically if Mackenzi Lee has written something, I am definitely going to be reading it.

I would recommend this book to everyone. I would also recommend having a notebook in hand because as you’re reading you’re going to want to find out as much about these people as you can, because they were definitely badass. 

They’ll also leave you thinking, “Hey, maybe I can be badass too.”

And you can. You absolutely can.

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Book List 2017, Reviews

Review: The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

the princess diarist.jpg

Title: The Princess Diarist

Author: Carrie Fisher

Genre: Autobiography

Summary:

The Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher’s intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Warsmovie. 

When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a (sort-of) regular teenager. 

Continue reading “Review: The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher”

Book List 2016, Reviews

Review: Dispatches from the Edge by Anderson Cooper

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Overall rating: ★★★★★

This books is so well written that I wasn’t surprised to find myself crying quite frequently while reading it. It is a very honest view of how bad the world can be, and yet shows the slightest little glimmer of hope. It is easy to feel how Anderson Cooper changed, the more he saw, but refreshing to know that he recognized it and stopped himself from going too far.

The stories of him searching for the truth, and wanting to report it were interspersed with very derisive opinions of himself, and the bitter memories of having lost his brother. This is an eye opening must-read.

Book List 2016, Reviews

The best book I will read in 2016

the rainbow comes and goes

This is the best book I am going to read this year. It’s a good thing I love to read or otherwise I would just stop now.

Gloria Vanderbilt is an amazing woman, and one who I think needed to have her story told, or at the very least she is someone I needed to know more about. One of the reasons, I think, that this book is so good is because it is just an honest, candid, and sometimes brutal conversation via email and letters between a mother and son who have lost so much. Yet they still have each other, and even though they are equally similar and dissimilar it does not tarnish their relationship, in fact it seems to enrich it.

The reality of their lives is not as blessed as some might think, and they have endured their hardships but all in all the way they have done so is overall inspiring. Their failings are admitted readily, and accepted, and moved on from. This is not a book I will forget anytime soon.

My rating: ★★★★★

Book List 2016, Reviews

Fast Reviews (In which I read a lot of Ilona Andrews, like seriously, a ton)

Here are some quick reviews:

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6. Geek Girls Unite by Leslie Simon

This book is not exactly what I thought it was going to be but I’m not going to complain about that. It was a humorous look at Geek culture, and how we’re received by the world. I did find it funny in this book, just like in real life there is still mentions of cliques etc.

Overall this was an enjoyable read, and an enjoyable look at how people are seen and how assumptions are made.

Continue reading “Fast Reviews (In which I read a lot of Ilona Andrews, like seriously, a ton)”

Reviews

Review: Teacher Man by Frank McCourt

teacher man

I should preface this by saying, when this book was lent to me by a friend I had never read any of his books. I knew the name, I knew about Angela’s Ashes but Frank McCourt had always seemed to remain in the periphery of my reading life. I knew he had written one book, and it had gained such critical acclaim it became a movie which also gained critical acclaim but I still never picked it up.

When I asked around I was told I didn’t truly need to read either Angela’s Ashes or ‘Tis before I read this book and assured by my friends and fellow GoodReads bookclubbers I embarked on this literary journey.

Frank McCourt certainly has a distinct voice when it comes to his writing and his discussions of his life. It is also a distinctly Irish voice, self-deprecating, often filled with foul language but not without a touch of humour, and yes, good Catholic guilt. He reminds me of a teacher I once knew in college in that aspect.

In other aspects he reminds me of teachers I have known throughout my life. Both real and not real, the Mr Feeny’s who bled into real life voices of English teachers frustrated when I wouldn’t read, to frustrated when I just wouldn’t stop reading things outside of the course material. Teachers who would discuss my potential in bold. After all she has “potential” but she just doesn’t “utilize her skills.”

Yet he cared, he cared about his students, and those cares, those concerns were written about in this book just as I’m sure he felt them every day. Amusingly enough though, he admits he didn’t know how to teach, and those are the moments i truly appreciated it, as he faked it until he could make it.

This book is so wonderfully written, and it’s definitely good for anyone who ever had that teacher, the teacher who cared and left an impression on your, or if you have ever wanted to be that teacher. Or if you ever floundered in your found profession.

Lists

The Weirdest Top Five Books from 2014 List You’ll See

I managed to read, including comics, 125 books in the year 2014. Not all of them were published in 2014, in fact fuew of them were but this list is based off books I read, and here they are.

So here are my top reads from 2014, in no particular order. They were even fun, or they hurt, or reminded me of a happier time in my life.

kingdom of scars

Kingdom of Scars by Eoin Macken

This book is extremely well written, and reminded me of how tough adolescence can be, while giving me an insight as to what it might be to grow up in a different class climate, and what it’s like for boys growing up as well. It was not the easiest of reads, but it was a coming of age tale I just know I’ll go back to again and again.

outlander1

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

This book and the sequels reminded me of how easily you can become engrossed in a book. Or a series. This was one of the best written, best researched books I’ve read in a long time. The story telling was excellent, the characters and scenery leaping from the page into mind.

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Band-Aid for a Broken Leg by Damien Brown

This is a book that reminds me that maybe I as a person don’t do as much as I could to help those outside of my family and social circle. It was an inspiring read that I still think about almost daily.

My life as a white trash zombie by Diana Rowland

My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland

This will make some people arch an eyebrow, or even turn away in disgust. But amongst my trying to read world class literature, and more non-fiction this was the book that reminded me that reading was supposed to be enjoyable and fun. The characters are flawed, in the best possible way and this is a series I’ll no doubt visit again and again.

FANGIRL_CoverDec2012

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This was a book that hit close to home, because I’ll admit, this is the character closest to me, only I’m not hauling in any boyfriends any time soon. It’s well written, clever, angsty, fluffy and fun. Rainbow Rowell is a master of writing.


This year, in 2015 my goal is to read 80 books.

Let’s see if I can’t savour my books a little longer, and take a step outside every so often. Let’s see if I can read more classics, or if it’s the year of the supernatural once again as 2014 yielded a list containing more vampires, werewolves, skinwalkers, time travellers and fae than any year before.

All I know is that I’ve got a lot of books on my shelves that still haven’t been read and they too should take up some valuable real estate in my imagination.

Reviews

The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut as a Feminist Icon

The Woman Who Would Be KingHatshepsut has been in my periphery as something amazing, something more for as long as I can remember. I remember little blurbs about her in books I saw as a child on Egyptian history. I saw her statue at the British Museum when I was only 18 years of age, and marvelled at the thought of a woman so powerful.

So when I saw given the opportunity to read this book, I leapt at it with both hands.

It should be noted though, that I am not an Egyptologist and when it comes to mythology I tend to lean toward the Greeks and Romans, for no reason in particular.

But the idea of a female Pharaoh? It appeals. Especially in a world where women are often still treated as second class citizens.

I of course, went into it with little understanding of Egyptian life, and therefore this book was definitely a breath of fresh air.

Kara Cooney cares about Hatshepsut, and the history of Egypt, something which is clear in the writing about this Queen. Half-historical and half-speculative fiction this book weaves a wonderful tale and characterization of the female Pharaoh from the beginning of her life, when she was a mere child, raised in Egyptian nurseries to taking up the mantle.

There are passages such as the one below, which enrich the display of power earned by one woman, with help from her own mother that drew me in.

Hatshepsut has the misfortune to be antiquity’s female leader who did everything right, a woman who would match her wit and energy to a task so seamlessly that she made no waves of discontent that have been recorded. For Hatshepsut, all that endured were remnants of her success, props for later kings who never had to give her the credit she deserved.

This passage, a reminder of what would have been left after her, perhaps those who were ungrateful of having “endured” a female ruler, but along with many others speak of how powerless women really were then. And perhaps those feelings are echoed, in some way how powerless women are today.

It is this book that showed me, in some small way, how far the world has come, but how much we have to learn from each other, from women from other regions, from other times.

30 Day Challenges

Book Challenge Day 6

6. A book that makes you sad.

There are quite a few books that make me sad, it’s so very hard to pick just one. And to do it without spoilers.

So here are two.

the book thiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This book, about the childhood view of war, about Death’s view of senseless violence triggered something inside of me that touched me deeply. And the losses in the book, which I read in October, around my father’s birthday only seemed to invigorate the loss that I was still feeling over him from July 21. Each death in the novel, whether it was a minor character or not touched my heart and angered me. Yet it was one of the best books I read last year.

 

 

nightNight by Elie Wiesel

I know so many people who read this book when they were in elementary school/middle school/high school, but I didn’t come upon this book or Elie Wiesel’s story until I took a Holocaust Literature class. This was a class that actually changed my life. I can honestly tell you that. I had the right Professor for it, one who fought to honour those who had been lost in the most respectful manner he could and in doing so allowed his students to see how little we thought of something beyond ourselves.

Elie Wiesel’s heartbreaking, and true, story helped me see that as well. It is a hard read, but I feel a necessary one.