autobiography · book review · books · non-fiction · review

This is Going to Hurt

I don’t often find myself straying from my bookshelf full of fiction, However, as soon as I’d heard of Adam Kay’s diary as a junior doctor, I was intrigued. Kay introduces an honest, raw, retelling of life on the inside the NHS: the long shifts, the lack of staff and funding but mostly the emotional toll this all takes. Despite the dedication of NHS staff across the country — the NHS is failing them.

Told with a side of dry humour Kay’s diaries are simultaneously heartwarming and devastating. It’s a glimpse into a world we rarely see. It’s not just the lack of social life, but the overtired doctors on the ward; what should be an exception is becoming the norm.

This is the shake up the NHS desperately needs, a chance for the outside world to see just how much the NHS is trying, and yet the services it provides continue to be overstretched. There are times when Kay points out more efficient methods of care, ways the NHS should be spending its money, but these decisions aren’t made by doctors, they’re made by people who rarely step foot into a hospital ward — no wonder they’re out of touch.

This book is a chance to appreciate the NHS and the hardworking staff, a chance to laugh out loud and on the next page have tears in your eyes. A chance to try and chance things for the future.

autobiography · book haul · books · fiction · literature · Shakespeare

February Book Haul

IMG_6087It may have become apparent from this blog that I like books, I love reading them, discussing them and also buying them. So, with the start of a new semester and two literature modules to buy for, I had a most pleasant book buying trip.

As I already held the excuse of needing books specifically for my course, I felt no guilt walking to my nearest bookshop and picking up books by the handful. It also meant a few books not at all required by my course snuck into my arms, but with a collection already mounting they can’t do much harm.

I’m therefore having a little bit of a February book haul, so you get a sneak preview of what I’ll be reading for the next few months.

IMG_6089The Norton Shakespeare– By far one of the biggest (and most expensive) books I’ve had the privilege of buying, this collection of shakespeare appears to have it all. I’m already a confessed fan of the bard so was eager to own his detailed words. Full of textual notes, specific play introductions and a range of critical analysis it seems the perfect student guide to that main man of literature. It also comes with a full digital ebook to be downloaded, so you can have shakespeare on the go.

Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison; Situated in 1950s America, there’s the man who never quite seems to appear, on the surface at least he’s invisible to his country, deemed unworthy and unimportant to his homeland. Covering the hardship of a still segregated and discriminative America, it looks like an interesting if long read.

Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston; Beginning with romance that is disapproved of, sixteen year old Janie is married off to an older man. The novel twists and turns as Janie searches for the love she lost at sixteen, and struggles in a world not truly her own.

IMG_6088Beloved – Toni Morrison; Moving back to the mid 1800s as slavery become abolished, worlds come crashing to an end as love turns to violence and loss. This family will fight against all that life throws at them, but at what cost? Beloved appears to be an intriguing read and view of post slavery America.

A range of essays and autobiographies from: W.E.B Du Bois, James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates and James Weldon Johnson: covering various aspects of life as an African American and the struggles faced by us all.

The Versions of Us– Laura Barnet: This tale intrigued me from its title alone, the possibilities of our life can hang from such tiny decisions and circumstances. We follow Eva, from her days at Cambridge University to three possible outcomes of her life based on one moment, one meeting with a stranger and one bicycle. It fascinates me the parallels and possibilities our lives hold, so this book was a certain read for me.

Quite a collection of books to get through, let me know what you’ll be reading this month.

 

autobiography · books · classics · diary

The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne FrankAnne Frank’s diary has shaped a generation in its presentation of war, hiding and ultimate betrayal. She’s a girl, no more ordinary but by a range of events become extraordinary.

After first reading her diary many years ago, I became enticed by her story, her strength and perseverance. Anne captures the essence of everyday life while surrounded by the most peculiar circumstances but her energy and love for life shine through.

It was therefore incredible to finally enter the secret annex, after years of dreaming of a trip to Amsterdam the two-hour queue was tiny in comparison. Inside the diaryYet it was a strangely surreal experience to walk the rooms we only know through description, but missing the furniture and in a way the soul of the building. The emptiness of the annex and loss it had held still outweighed the many visitors inside, giving it an atmosphere somehow familiar yet so different from the world Anne knew.

The experience is something I will certainly take with me, it evoked a clear message for peace and unity. Reinforcing to my generation and those that will follow the despicable events that war entails and if we are lucky one day the world will realise that too.

autobiography · books · manchester · review · signing · young adult

All I Know Now

Alongside many peers of my own age, I’m constantly looking for role models; people who inspire and influence me. Those who appear to have a slightly better grasp on life then I currently do, who can offer advice, recommendations and aid us along our path.

All I Know Now - manchesterCarrie Hope Fletcher’s debut half-autobiographical half-advice book does just that, it’s a friendly guide, a chat with someone a little older then yourself. Her message is clear, we’re not facing our problems alone, they’ve been experienced before and they’ll be experienced once again. Whereas if we talk, discuss and open up ourselves things will get a lot simpler. Fletcher’s friendly tone follows through her writing, from friendship to bullying, optimism to reality and everything in between. Her guidance is perfect, approachable and easy to navigate through; certainly something I would have found very relatable through my early teenage years.

SignedWith my teens nearly behind me, there are of course aspect of the book that I found slightly irrelevant, but five years ago would have hung on to each little word. It’s a book that fills a much needed gap in the market, someones advice full of care and considerations with a clear audience in mind. Her incorporation of anecdotes fully reinstates that we all experience the same things, maybe not being chased by a bear, but we hit the same milestones at the end.

Her talk and Q&A session followed perfectly from her book; friendly and approachable, overly positive and eager to please her audience. We got to sing a long, giggle at the mishaps with the microphone and see her warmth and passion for what she’d written down. Fletcher reinforced her message, her positive approach to life and from that, it’s a book all ages can relate to; but if you’re in your early teens its an essential part to growing up.

All I know now          Book signing

All I Know Now is published by Little Brown, I visited her book tour event in Manchester. Find Carrie on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/carrie

Let me know your opinions on All I Know Now!