All the Single Ladies: Book thoughts

Ever since I read Spinster–and probably before–I have wanted to read a book celebrating singleness. I live in two very different worlds–half the time I am working among other career-driven single academics; half the time I am with church friends who got married at 20, immediately had 17 babies*, and are less good than they think at hiding their disdain for my life. This means that I think a lot about singleness in general, and female singleness in particular. A lot of my friends have recently had or will soon be having babies, so I have been thinking about it more than usual just lately. I am extremely happy to be single and am unlikely to be persuaded into a relationship**. However, I am highly irritated by the patronising pity heaped on me by people who have never had the opportunity to be single. Continue reading

The Power: Book thoughts

The Power by Naomi Alderman is one of the books that I’ve been looking forward to reading all year. The reviews have been largely fantastic, and the idea is incredibly compelling—what if men were no longer the physically stronger sex? How would that change things? In The Power, women gradually discover that they have developed the ability to send out electric shocks—powerful enough to severely wound or even kill others. This power starts off in teenage girls, who are able to awaken it in older women. The novel takes place over the course of about ten years and follows several point-of-view characters, as events unfold across the globe in response to the sudden shift in power dynamics. (Before I get started on my thoughts, I feel compelled to warn you that if you are sensitive to grim stuff in books–depictions of rape, extreme violence, drug use, genital mutilation etc–it may be worth approaching this book with caution, if at all).

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Mid-year book freak out tag

What can I say? I love a tag, even when it’s got an absurd name. This originated over on Youtube and I decided to do it after watching Wiebke’s video. Even though I’ve only read 12 new-to-me books so far this year, I still thought it would be fun to talk about the ones I have read. (I’m excluding rereads, because, let’s face it, my Lord of the Rings reread would provide the answers to most of these questions otherwise). This post contains SPOILERS for A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson. Continue reading

Shades of Milk and Honey: Book review

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal is an objectively dreadful book, which I absolutely loved. I devoured it in a single day. Admittedly, I had some really intense PhD reading material sitting on my desk the whole time, so perhaps I could chalk it up to procrastination. I am not sure that washes as an excuse, though, because I also prioritised this over binge-watching Madam Secretary and deep-cleaning my flat, both time-honoured procrastination techniques. Continue reading

Personal Canon

After Jillian wrote her “personal canon” list (the books that have most impacted her), she asked me to do one too. Here it is, Jillian; I hope you like it. You did say that you like reading people’s emotional responses to books—so here I am, emoting absolutely all over the place. (There is a spoiler in here about Tenant of Wildfell Hall, in case anyone is concerned about that). Continue reading

Summer reading plans (& life update)

It’s summer! At least, it certainly feels like it. It’s expected to climb to 26C on the south coast of the UK today, which is already about 8C more than my personal comfortable temperature. (I appreciate those of you in any country with more extreme weather will probably laugh at this). Because I spend a lot of my time on neonatal units around heated incubators and cots, I am feeling the heat particularly acutely this year. Continue reading