Rules of civility by Amor Towles

Amy Rules of CivilityI did really enjoy this spell in New York in the late 1930s. Katey Kontent is a young woman trying to make her way in the city, when she and a friend fall in with banker, Tinker Grey. There’s jazz, ambition, dazzling wealth, Dickens and many surprises.

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The wild air by Rebecca Mascull

Cynthia The Wild AirIf you love historical novels with a strong female lead then this is the story for you. The early years of aviation and the theatres of World War I are wonderfully described – the research by the author shining through. The horror of war and its affect on people is handled well – with an uplifting sentiment at the end that was not cheesey (if only everyone’s war horror could end in hope!). Della was a great character who had the strength and support to follow her dream of becoming a pilot in an arena where men ruled the skies. Women like Della (most of whom are not part of our history lessons) are important and I thank them for paving the way for us modern day women.

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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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