The Gender Games by Juno Dawson

The Blurb On The Back:

”It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” are the first words almost all of us hear when we enter the world.  Before our names, before we have likes and dislikes – before we, or anyone else, have any idea who we are.  And two years ago, as Juno Dawson went to tell her mother she was (and actually, always had been) a woman, she started to realise just how wrong we’ve been getting it.

Gender isn’t just screwing over trans people, it’s messing with everyone.  From little girls who think they can’t be doctors to teenagers who come to expect street harassment.  From exclusionist feminists to ‘alt-right’ young men.  From men who can’t cry to the women who think they shouldn’t.  As her body gets in line with her mind, Juno tells not only her own story, but the story of everyone who is shaped by society’s expectations of gender – and what we can do about it.  

Featuring insights from well-known gender, feminist and trans activists including Rebecca Root, Laura Bates, Gemma Cairney, Anthony Anaxagorou, Hannah Witton, Alaska Thunderfuck and many more, The Gender Games is a frank, witty and powerful manifesto for a world in which everyone can truly be themselves.

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There Was A Country: A Personal History Of Biafra by Chinua Achebe

The Blurb On The Back:

From the lengendary author of Things Fall Apart comes a long-awaited memoir of coming of age with a fragile new nation only to watch it torn asunder in a tragic civil war.

The defining experience of Chinua Achebe’s life was the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, of 1967 – 1970.  The conflict was infamous for its savage impact on the Biafran people, Chinua Achebe’s people, many of whom were starved to death after the Nigerian government blockaded their borders.  By then, Chinua Achebe was already a world-renowned novelist, with a young family to protect.  He took the Biafran side in the conflict and served his government as a roving cultural ambassador, from which vantage he absorbed the war’s full horror, immediately after the war, Achebe took refuge in an academic post in the United States, and for more than forty years he has maintained a considered silence on the events of those terrible years, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry.  Now, decades in the making, comes a towering reckoning with one of modern Africa’s most fateful events, from a writer whose words and courage have left an enduring stamp on world literature.

Achebe begins his story with Nigeria’s birth pangs and the story of his own upbringing as a man and as a writer, so that we may understand both the young country’s keen sense of promise, which too quickly turned to horror, and Achebe’s view of the particular obligation of the artist, especially in a time of war.  For Chinua Achebe, to be a serious writer is to be a committed writer – to speak for one’s history, one’s beliefs, and one’s people, especially when others cannot.

A marriage of history and memoir, vivid first-hand observation and decades of further research and reflection, There Was A Country is a work whose wisdom and compassion remind us of Chinua Achebe’s place as one of the great literary and moral voices of our age. 

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How To Murder By Your Life by Cat Marnell

The Blurb On The Back:

”I was twenty-six years old and an associate beauty editor at Lucky, one of the top fashion magazines in America.  That’s all that most people knew about me.  But beneath the surface, I was full of secrets: I was a drug addict, for one.  A pillhead.  I was also an alcoholic-in-training who guzzled warm Veuve Clicquot after work alone in my boss’s office with the door closed; a conniving and manipulative uptown doctor-shopper; a salami-and-provolone-puking bulimic who spent a hundred dollars a day on binge foods when things got bad (and they got bad often); a weepy, wobbly, wildly hallucination-prone insomniac; a tweaky self-mutilator; a slutty and self-loathing downtown party girl; and – perhaps most of all – a lonely weirdo.  But, you know, I had access to some really fantastic self-tanner.” 

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Your Life In My Hands: A Junior Doctor’s Story by Rachel Clarke

The Blurb On The Back:

”I am a junior doctor.  It is 4 a.m.  I have run arrest calls, treated life-threatening bleeding, held the hand of a young woman dying of cancer, scuttled down miles of dim corridors wanting to sob with sheer exhaustion, forgotten to eat, forgotten to drink, drawn on every fibre of strength that I possess to keep my patients safe from harm.”

Rachel Clarke’s incredible memoir follows her journey as a junior doctor, offering a glimpse into a life spent between the dissection room and the mortuary, the bedside and the doctors’ mess, exposing stark realities about today’s NHS and what it means to be entrusted with carrying another’s life in your hands.

Rachel was at the forefront of the historic junior doctor strikes in 2016, campaigning against the government and arguing across the press that imposing a contract on young doctors would irrevocably damage the NHS.

This book affects us all.

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A Crime In The Family by Sacha Batthyany

The Blurb On The Back:

In the spring of 1945, as the Red Army approached the village of Rechnitz in Austria, Countess Margit Batthyany hosted a party in her ancestral home.  Around midnight, the guests – German aristocrats and SS officers – left the castle and shot 180 Jewish labourers waiting in the village below.  The bodies disappeared into a mass grave: the massacre remained a secret for decades, until Countess Margit’s great-nephew began to ask questions.

This is the story of those questions, and of the answers Sacha Batthyany found: of how an atrocity was concealed and how it was uncovered.  It is a story of Nazi Germany, of the gulags of Siberia, of Budapest in the darkest days of the Cold War, of an Auschwitz survivor alive today in Argentina, and of whole generations of Europeans: monsters and heroes, executioners and victims.

A Crime In The Family is a singular and heart-rending true story, told by an extraordinary writer confronting not only his family’s past but humanity’s. 

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Fragile Lives by Stephen Westaby

The Blurb On The Back:

Some patients will live.

Some patients will die.

But while their lives hang by a thread …

The heart surgeon will do everything he can to save them.

The day his grandfather died, Steve Westaby vowed to become a heart surgeon.

Today, as one of the world’s most eminent heart surgeons, Professor Steve Westaby shares the stories of the lives he has fought to save. 

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