What if your child was stolen? The tagline of Nicola Cassidy’s debut novel draws the reader in and plays on their emotions immediately. Her book, December Girl, is a historical fiction novel, based in the 1800s in Drogheda. I was lucky enough to receive an advance review copy to take part in the Blog Tour to launch this wonderful book, and have been devouring it over the past few nights. So, what’s the book about, and is it any good?
Our family holiday wasn’t exactly a lie back on the beach with a good book type of break, but that didn’t stop the reads from accumulating. Long flights will do that for you – the Kindle app on my iPad was definitely kept busy. Here’s a look at my October reads, the books I dove into over the last month, and what I thought of them.
As a child, I was a complete bookworm. So much so, that when I got lost in shops, the first place to look was the book section. There I’d be, whiling the time away stuck into another story blissfully unaware, while the world went on around me. As an adult, this has lessened due to circumstance – I don’t make the time as much as I used to. The vast majority of my reading is digital, through the Kindle app on my phone, and even that means time focused on just that. The big change came with my introduction to audiobooks through Audible. I’ve found that I’m able to multitask, listening to these books in the background and getting on with what I need to do.
I’ve found books I probably wouldn’t have picked up the hard copy of, and felt like a friend was talking to me listening to them. In particular, I like my audiobooks non-fiction – I don’t know why, it feels like they’re meant for things factual and conversational. I like them to pique my interest in a topic and pull it out slowly. I’ve found lots that have me inspired to be and do more with my life. So, here’s a few that I think every woman should listen to – for both that joy feeling, and self development all wrapped into one.
Oh New Year, how predictable you are. We enter into the freezing cold January mornings telling ourselves that THIS is the year we will stop being fat, lazy, unmotivated and engaging in dangerous hobbies. We start crash diets to be derailed by the horrible people in Tesco’s merchandising department who start selling Easter eggs alongside the unsold Christmas chocolate stash. Every year, we tell ourselves that by December, we are going to be different people. Oh yes, this is the year. I am completely sold on the idea of “New Year, New Me”, but putting it into practice is proving a little harder. There is, however, an industry that takes care of that – the Self Help Book industry.
This industry takes care of everything. If you have a problem (real or imagined), there’s a book (and possibly an audio cd) to help you fix it. Some are preachy. Some are full of it. However, here are five which I have found to actually be of substance AND aren’t condescending – a difficult balance. So, for the New Year, this Friday’s Five is “5 Books for the New Year, New You That are Actually Worthwhile”.
Every year I try to get “Read More” on my New Years Resolutions list. Now, I’ve lost a lot of faith in New Years Resolutions, but this is probably the one I’ve got the best chance of completing. For one, since E now somewhat sleeps (I don’t want to jinx it), I’m now getting more sleep AND more time to read before bed. So when I spotted the Goodreads reading challenge for 2017, I decided to join in.
I am not a fan of bedtime. The child going to bed, yes, perfectly happy with that (what parent isn’t?) but it’s an ordeal at the moment. No matter what kind of routine we try to put in place, it’s a bit of a non-runner. Basically my two year old has skipped childhood and gone straight to the teenage years. Refuses to sleep until late at night, is a GRUMP in the mornings and doesn’t want to listen to a word I say. I’ve not yet gone seeking a refund from the midwives in CUMH just yet but I’ve been close. However, the one bit I do like of the whole farcical routine is curling up with bedtime stories and reading together. It’s a nice time for the two of us and once I’ve got the books that I can’t stand out of the way (I’m talking to you Stickman!), it can be nice and relaxing. So, what have we been reading lately? A mesh of old and new books on the shelves, some I’ve spoken about before, but this is what the two and a half year old is loving right now (and I’m not tearing my hair out reading).
I’m an unashamed bookworm from childhood; I grew up with my nose in a book, I love libraries and get annoyed when life doesn’t work out for my fictional characters. It’s something I would love for E as he grows up, as it’s a love which can stay with you for life, the ability to fall into a million other worlds and lose yourself in their lives. I’m also a firm believer that it’s not Christmas unless there is a book present, so as far as the toddler is concerned, here’s a look through what we’ve got in mind this year!
The concept of rape culture is something that was probably first highlighted to me around the time of the furore around that “Blurred Lines” song – it’s not that my life had been in a massive bubble from it, but rather it had never been pointed out in such a way that it had a name, that it was a thing, not just a part of normal life. Things previously seen as “banter” or “just being lads” began to be framed in a whole new, less rose tinted, light. I consider myself extremely lucky in this regard, that it isn’t something that had hit me personally, that it wasn’t something on my radar. I remember being horrified hearing the details of the Steubenville case, the victim blaming, where society didn’t look at the horrific acts suffered by the victim but rather the damage to the reputations of these “promising young men” and the ruination of their futures, as if their “indiscretion” shouldn’t be something they needed to face up to, and one girl shouldn’t get to ruin their lives. This wasn’t the first case in the US in recent years where this was the premise; Savannah Dietrich from Kentucky, was assaulted and recorded in 2011, and faced her “justice” as her attackers having their records expunged by the age of 19 and a half, despite her having to live with their actions for the rest of her life, then faced potential incarceration herself for breaking a gag order by naming them online as her attackers. As a long term fan of shows such as Law and Order SVU, I’d seen time and time again the “ripped from the headlines” stories where girls and women who had been violated were unable to win a case against their attacker as much of the time, it came down to a “he said, she said”, and often, she wasn’t believed. It wasn’t until the Slane Girl debacle, almost a year after the Steubenville case that we got to see it hit our shores here, the difference in attitudes and the ruination of reputation and impact of social media in how we perceive sexual conduct in society. There were no Slane Boys, there was no shaming of them for their actions which were equal to that of the young woman involved. Instead we saw a public “slut-shaming”, photos going viral over social media, a drunken mistake displayed to the world and in an instant ruining a reputation and a life. It is with these cases, and others like them in mind, that Louise O Neill wrote the powerful “Asking for It”.
I’m having a rather unusual Saturday morning here at the Four Walls, Rainy Days house – there was sleep, lots of it, uninterrupted in fact. The joys of E being taken off to a sleepover at his Granny’s house on a Friday night – we got to have a lovely date night, a chance to celebrate some good news we got yesterday, and topped off by a lie in! Who knew this was possible in parenting? Apart from that, it’s been a pretty okay week, a couple of health bits gone bad (thank you athsma for showing up to join the party), it’s been nice having Himself home and getting to do things as our little family of three again. Here’s a bit of a round up of what’s been going on and what we’ve been loving this week – my contribution to the Little Loves linky (from the fab butwhymummywhy) which you can see more of here.Read More
Ah, reading, my old friend. Before I had a baby, I was one of these people who liked to read for pleasure, a book before bed, as a method of relaxing. These days, its more like my head hits the pillow and I black out until inevitably the child wakes up and wants the bottle which is right next to his head handed to him. My book shelves have changed greatly; my library membership now more utilised in the children’s section than the adults – although this is something I’m working on. Here is a look at what books we’ve been reading lately.