So you may have noticed from the title, but this is something a little different to normal. I try to write reasonable length reviews about the books I read, but sometimes I have something I want to say but it’s a struggle to get something that I consider a review length piece. I’ve noticed that this means that I don’t really want to read after this, so I decided to do something a little different. Instead of struggling to find something to say to fill a whole review, I thought instead I’d offer a short (between 100 and 200 words) review – a reviewlet if you will. I hope this works well for you as well. I’ve got several of these scheduled, so I’d love to know your thoughts on the format.
Becoming The Supervet: Listening to the Animals by Noel Fitzpatrick ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
If you are a fan of the tv show The Supervet, and of Noel Fitzpatrick then you will enjoy this book. I thought it was a very interesting read, though a lot of the time his ideas went completely over my head because the science/maths was just a bit too much for me. It was interesting to learn about his past, and to see how he got to where he is now.This is definitely a must read for anyone interested in getting into veterinary medicine, or with some link to it. My only slight complaint is that the narrative isn’t necessarily linear, which I found confusing at times. It’s not a book I’ll go back to, but I definitely enjoyed reading it and seeing how far veterinary medicine has come – and how far, in a lot of ways, it still has to go. Noel’s idea of “One Medicine” is a really interesting one, and one I hope is explored in the future as it seems to have a lot of potential.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exputéry, translated by Michael Morpurgo ⭐️⭐️ (2 stars)
I don’t know if it was Antoine de Saint-Exputéry’s story or Michael Morpurgo’s translation of it, but this book really did not resonate well with me. I can kind of see why so many people love it, but it honestly just leaves me cold. Maybe I’m not in touch enough with my younger self to enjoy it. Certainly a lot of people seem to enjoy this story, whether in its original french or in a translation. The story itself has a certain whimsey to it, as do the illustrations. This is not a book for anyone who prefers linear narratives. It reminds me a bit of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, which I absolutely hated but which I suspect people who enjoyed that will enjoy this.
The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman (UK edition)
Title: The View from the Cheap Seats Author: Neil Gaiman Genre: Non-Fiction Publisher: HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP (11th April 2017) Blurb:
‘Literature does not occur in a vacuum.
It cannot be a monologue. It has to be a conversation’
This collection will draw you in to exchanges on making good art and Syrian refugees, the power of a single word and playing the kazoo with Stephen King, writing about books, comics and the imagination of friends, being sad at the Oscars and telling lies for a living. Here Neil Gaiman opens our minds to the people he admires and the things he believes might just mean something – and welcomes us to the conversation too.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars) Review:
In THE VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS Neil Gaiman dips his toe into the non-fiction genre with a series of essays on a variety of topics. It is hard to sum up this collection, as the topics covered are so varied and different; they have also been written at various stages of the author’s life. To try and create some form of cohesion within the book the eighty-seven (if I haven’t miscounted) articles are split into ten loosely themed sections, but even those are chaotic in nature. It is, despite being non-fiction, very “Gaiman-esq” in theme and style – by which I mean, a hodgepodge of non-connected ideas that somehow mesh and form a solid and entertaining whole.
The Queen’s Readers: A Collection of Essays on the Words & Worlds of Tamora Pierce ed. by Amanda Diehl and Holly Vaughn
Title: The Queen’s Readers: A Collection of Essays on the Words & Worlds of Tamora Pierce Editors: Amanda Diehl and Holly Vaughn Genre: Anthology, Essays, Fantasy Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (25th August 2004) Blurb:
Over the course of her career, Tamora Pierce has created two worlds that continue to inspire readers more than 30 years after her first book was published.
In The Queen’s Readers, contributors explore a myriad of topics as only fans can: with love and a critical eye. With more than 30 essays covering topics from feminism to Pierce’s mythical creatures Stormwings, no fictional stone is left unturned.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️ (2 stars) Review:
THE QUEEN’S READERS: A COLLECTION OF ESSAYS ON THE WORDS & WORLDS OF TAMORA PIERCE edited by Amanda Diehl and Holly Vaughn contains more than thirty essays about Tamora Pierce’s books. The essays cover a variety of topics from the author’s experiences with the book, to feminism and other academic based topics; each essay varies in length. They are described in the introduction as being “by her fans, for her fans.” The collection also contains a foreword by Mark Oshiro about his experiences in the Tamora Pierce fandom where he says fans “want to make sure that people are enjoying the books”.
Title: Hidden Figures Author: Margot Lee Shetterly Genre: Biography, Nonfiction Publisher: William Collins (9th February 2017) Blurb:
GENIUS HAS NO RACE.
STRENGTH HAS NO GENDER.
COURAGE HAS NO LIMIT.
The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space.
Before John Glenn orbited the earth or Neil Armstrong walked in the moon, some of the brightest minds of their generation, known as ‘human computers’, used pencils and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, and the Space Race, Hidden Figures is a powerful, revelatory tale of race, discrimination and achievement in the modern world. Now a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kristen Dunst and Kevin Costner.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars) Review:
HIDDEN FIGURES by Margot Lee Shetterly is a non-fiction book about the true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of the US’s greatest achievements in space. The book spans from World War II to the 1970s and charts the progress of race and gender equality against the backdrop of the US during the Second World War, the Cold War and the Space Race. Shetterly focuses both narrowly, on individual woman and their lives during this period, and broadly, on national events that were going on as the woman continued their work, to create an encompassing narrative of events during this time.
Title: Norse Mythology Author: Neil Gaiman Genre: Mythology, Non-Fiction Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (7th February 2017) Blurb:
The Norse myths are woven into the fabric of our storytelling – from the novels of Tolkien to the worlds of comics and superheroes. They are also the inspiration for Neil Gaiman’s own award-winning, bestselling fiction.
Now Gaiman reaches back through time to the original source stories in an epic and electrifying retelling of the great Norse myths – thriling tales of dwarfs and frost giants, of treasures and magic, and of Asgard, home of the Gods: Odin the all-father, highest and oldest of the gods; his mighty son Thor, whose hammer, Mjollnir, was forged by dwarfs and makes the mountain giants tremble; Loki, wily and handsome, reliably unreliable in his lusts; and Freya, more beautiful than the sun or the moon, who gives short shrift to the gods, giants and ogres who seek to control her.
Gaiman’s gods are thoroughly alive on the page – irascible, visceral, playful, passionate – as he leads us from the beginning of everything to Ragnarok, the inescapable final downfall of the gods . . .
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars) Review:
NORSE MYTHOLOGY by Neil Gaiman is, I think, more non-fiction than it is fiction. It is a collection of surviving Norse myths retold to us by the charming Gaiman. This collection contains an introduction, outlining why Gaiman chose to write this book, a glossary and tells sixteen Norse myths. These myths begin with the Norse creation story, and conclude with the Norse take on the end of the world. The fourteen stories in between paint a picture of the Norse gods; of Odin and his son Thor, and of Loki Lie-Smith who in this version of the stories is Odin’s blood brother and Thor’s friend.
Title: Doing It! Let’s Talk About Sex Author: Hannah Witton Genre: Identity, Non-Fiction, Sex Education Publisher: Wren & Rook (6th April 2017) Blurb:
Sexting. Virginity. Consent. The Big O . . .
Let’s face it, doing it can be tricksy. I don’t know anyone (including myself) who has sex all figured out. So I’ve written a book full of honest, hilarious (and sometimes awkward) anecdontes, confessions and revelations. And because none of us have all the answers, I’ve invited some friends to talk about their sexuality, too.
We talk about doing it safely. Doing it joyfully. Doing it when you’re ready. Not going it. Basically, doing it the way you want, when you want. So. Let’s do this . . .
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars) Review:
DOING IT! LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX by Hannah Witton is a book I have been curious about since I first heard Witton mention it on her YouTube channel. I’m in the same boat as Witton (and a lot of other people) in that I don’t think sex/sexuality/relationships/sexual health is talked about enough whether that’s at a school level or between friends/family members/partners. DOING IT! covers a wide variety of topics within this spectrum, though most are only briefly touched on, and serves as something of a handbook to point people in the right direction as well as expand (a bit) on SRE/PSHE lessons.
Title: Moranifesto Authors: Caitlin Moran Genre: Autobiography, Essays, Feminism, Humour, Non-Fiction Source: The publisher via NetGalley Publisher: Ebury Press (9th March 2017) Blurb:
‘I’ve lived through ten iOS upgrades on my Mac – and that’s just something I use to muck about on Twitter. Surely capitalism is due an upgrade or two?’
When Caitlin Moran sat down to choose her favourite pieces for her new book she realised that they all seemed to join up. Turns out, it’s the same old problems and the same old ass-hats.
Then she thought of the word ‘Moranifesto’, and she knew what she had to do…
This is Caitlin’s engaging and amusing rallying call for our times. Combining the best of her recent columns with lots of new writing unique to this book, Caitlin deals with topics as pressing and diverse as 1980s swearing, benefits, boarding schools, and why the internet is like a drunken toddler.
And whilst never afraid to address the big issues of the day – such as Benedict Cumberbatch and duffel coats – Caitlin also makes a passionate effort to understand our 21st century society and presents us with her ‘Moranifesto’ for making the world a better place.
The polite revolution starts here! Please.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars) Review:
MORANIFESTO is the latest book to come from Caitlin Moran. It is a collection of essays and musings on a variety of topics from the wearing of tights to reviews of TV shows to periods to austerity to interviews to obituaries to advice and finally a posthumous letter to her daughter. The subject matter of the book covers several years, and the variety of topics reflects this large period of time. The length of Moran’s musings on these topics varies, but all are started with a preface showing how they link into the overall section of the book and the overall idea of the book being Moran’s manifesto – or Moranifesto if you prefer.