Hunger by Roxane Gay

Amy HungerI think this is a really important book. Something terrible happened to Roxane Gay when she was twelve, and part of how she dealt with it, was to eat and eat until she was very overweight. Thirty years later and she is still trying to find where she fits. Hunger is Roxane Gay’s story of her body, and it is far from my story, and yet much of it is familiar. Ultimately, it encourages us to be kind; to see and care for people, not just their bodies.

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What would Beyonce do?! by Luisa Omielan

what would beyJust finished the most hilarious audiobook, it was like being at a comedy show where the laughs (briefly interrupted by moments of tears) are non-stop for seven hours. I guess the paperback or ebook would be just as funny but not as enjoyable as hearing Luisa Omielan narrate it herself with such passion, conviction and enthusiasm, so much so I had to stop myself from yelling ‘go sister!’ time and time again with such passion, conviction and enthusiasm. Continue reading

Girl runner by Carrie Snyder

Ali Girl runner“My name is Aganetha Smart and I am 104 years old. Do not imagine this is an advantage”

An aged Aganetha is confined to a wheelchair when two young siblings take her on a journey back to the family farm which stirs her memory. The reasons for this visit are revealed as Aggie’s story unfolds.

Aggie’s story is of a young girl raised in Ontario whose passion is running. She moves to the city at 16 and is brought into an athletic club through work which ultimately leads to her competing and winning gold in the 1928 Olympics – the first Olympics where women were allowed to compete in certain track and field events. Continue reading

The enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

Amy Enchanted AprilThis is a thoroughly enchanting, magical experience. Four ladies answer an advertisement to rent an Italian chateau for a month, in the hope of escaping their dreary lives in London. In the explosion of flowers and bright sunshine they are each transformed. Beautifully written, so that I could smell the flowers and thrill at the gardens overlooking the sea, it is also a warm, life-affirming book and surely the next best thing to a month in an Italian chateau.

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Fight like a girl by Clementine Ford

Amy Fight Like A GirlThere are some important things in this book, and so many of the issues she raises – body image, domestic violence, rape culture etc – need to be seriously addressed. This is a hard book to read. Hard because the truth of women’s situation in society is hard, but also because her vitriol and profanity are relentless. Fight Like a Girl is a long, rather repetitive, rant, with no element of grace, but there is humour and passion about women’s rights.

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Wishful drinking by Carrie Fisher

amy-wishful-drinkingI borrowed this from the library for my holiday reading, with no inkling of what would happen to Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds just weeks later. Wishful Drinking is one of Carrie’s memoirs, and is a funny, gossipy, self-deprecating, touching account of the ups and downs of her life. A wild ride, read in an hour or so. What a life she had; I’m glad she shared it.

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Where’d you go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

amy-whered-you-go-bernadetteThis is a really delightful book. It’s about a woman who is struggling to come to terms with disappointments and find her way. She is a much loved mother to 15 year old Bee, and all sorts of complicated things to other people in her life until she disappears and Bee sets out to find her. It’s clever, funny, quirky (not self consciously so), has a great sense of place and is so life affirming, a thoroughly enjoyable ride.

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The inheritance by Katie Agnew

cynthia-the-inheritanceI really enjoyed this story. You are introduced to three main characters and begin to learn about them and their past. Katie Agnew uses different methods to introduce these character’s backstories which keeps the story interesting. Her detailed descriptions of the character’s lives made for a great read. It is only way towards the end of the story that Katie connects these characters – I could not work out how they would all meet! The ending of course wraps everything up, albeit very quickly, and is a fitting end to the story.

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The summer before the war by Helen Simonson

amy-the-summer-before-the-warA gentle, sweet and moving piece of historical fiction, The Summer Before the War is set in the East Sussex town of Rye. The countryside is beautiful after a peaceful summer when a young woman arrives to teach Latin, just before the world goes to war. It says much about being a woman in the early 1900s, as well as prevailing attitudes about race, class and sexuality, but it is neither moralistic nor pushing a modern agenda. It did drag a little in the first half, and was tied up very quickly in the end, but I did shed a tear for the characters I had come to care for.

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