#BookReview WINDSWEPT by ANNABEL ABBS #NonFiction #Windswept



ABOUT THE BOOK


Annabel Abbs’s Windswept: Walking the Paths of Trailblazing Women is a beautifully written meditation and memoir that reflects on that most fundamental way of connecting with the outdoors: the simple act of walking. In absorbing and transporting prose, Abbs follows in the footsteps of groundbreaking women, including Georgia O’Keeffe in the empty plains of Texas and New Mexico, Nan Shepherd in the mountains of Scotland, Gwen John following the French River Garonne, Daphne du Maurier following the River Rhône, and Simone de Beauvoir—who walked as much as twenty-five miles a day in a skirt and espadrilles—in the mountains and forests of France. These trailblazing women were reclaiming what had historically been considered male domains.

The stories of these incredible women and artists are laced together by the wilderness walking in Abbs’s own life, beginning with her poet father who raised her in the Welsh countryside as an “experiment,” according to the principles of Rousseau. Windswept is an inventive retrospective and an arresting look forward to the way walking brings about a kind of clarity of thought not found in any other activity, and how it has allowed women throughout history to reimagine their lives and break free from convention. As Abbs traces the paths of these exceptional women, she realizes that she, too, is walking away from, and towards, a very different future. Windswept crosses continents and centuries in an arresting and stirring reflection on the power of walking in nature.

PUBLISHED BY TWO ROADS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

Blackwell’s

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

Just glorious!! I found this book to be inspiring, thought provoking, educational, fascinating and just wonderful!

The author uses her own life experiences, especially when she found herself in hospital unable to walk, to explore the art of walking and the fact that there was very few books around by women about walking and their adventures, when there are so many by men. With extensive research she uncovers some amazing characters – many of whom I had heard nothing about – and has brought their stories to life by challenging herself to walk the routes they did in the past, and this really just makes this book so immersive and inspiring.

The women she features are Frieda Lawrence, Gwen John, Clara Vyvyan, Nan Shepherd, Simone de Beauvoir, Georgia O’Keefe, but there is also reference to Daphne Du Maurier and Emma Gatewood.
All very different women but all sharing a deep passion for walking, exploring – and shockingly for women – walking by themselves!! The shame!! But in their adventures they enjoyed the freedom it gave them and allowed them to find their own minds, and the author shared these feelings as she uses each chapter to share her walk, alongside that of the woman she was walking in the footsteps of. There’s a look back in time to the lives of these amazing women, their trials and tribulations, the scandals, alongside her own experiences and thoughts on the changes over time as to the attitudes towards a variety of different topics.

It explores the benefits to your health of walking, the stories of the kindness of strangers met along the way, the pitfalls and reality of walking in the middle of nowhere by yourself, and the overwhelming sense of achievement and confidence these women had when they had finished a walk. And how eager they were to go on other adventures. Some weren’t afraid to go against convention, some lost their families over their actions, but most were just inspired by the solace they felt while walking, despite all of them having a real strong attachment to ‘home’ and realising just how little they needed in their lives.

I learnt so much about these women as the author relayed their stories, alongside her own walking experiences and how that time alone gave her time to think over her life choices. Reading about these women, inspired me to research a little more about them and their work and it’s been enlightening to learn more about these amazing women. The way the author connected with each woman also made this more of an experience as she wanted to feel what

It is one of those books that inspires, educates and just makes you want to walk!! To use your time wisely, and when you get the chance to grab that time for yourself and go out exploring, no matter how near or far!

★★★★★

#BookReview BOOK WARS by JOHN B.THOMPSON #nonfiction



ABOUT THE BOOK


This book tells the story of the turbulent decades when the book publishing industry collided with the great technological revolution of our time. From the surge of ebooks to the self-publishing explosion and the growing popularity of audiobooks, Book Wars provides a comprehensive and fine-grained account of technological disruption in one of our most important and successful creative industries.

Like other sectors, publishing has been thrown into disarray by the digital revolution. The foundation on which this industry had been based for 500 years – the packaging and sale of words and images in the form of printed books – was called into question by a technological revolution that enabled symbolic content to be stored, manipulated and transmitted quickly and cheaply. Publishers and retailers found themselves facing a proliferation of new players who were offering new products and services and challenging some of their most deeply held principles and beliefs. The old industry was suddenly thrust into the limelight as bitter conflicts erupted between publishers and new entrants, including powerful new tech giants who saw the world in very different ways. The book wars had begun.

While ebooks were at the heart of many of these conflicts, Thompson argues that the most fundamental consequences lie elsewhere. The print-on-paper book has proven to be a remarkably resilient cultural form, but the digital revolution has transformed the industry in other ways, spawning new players which now wield unprecedented power and giving rise to an array of new publishing forms. Most important of all, it has transformed the broader information and communication environment, creating new challenges and new opportunities for publishers as they seek to redefine their role in the digital age.

This unrivalled account of the book publishing industry as it faces its greatest challenge since Gutenberg will be essential reading for anyone interested in books and their future.


PUBLISHED BY POLITY PRESS

PURCHASE LINKS

Blackwell’s £21.35
Amazon £24.47
Waterstones £30


MY REVIEW

This was a fascinating look at the world of books and how the evolution of digital technology has changed the publishing world and its’ outlook over the years!
The author has left no stone unturned as he explores the rise of the e-book and how that has impacted the book world, and while digital technology had been feared by the publishers to begin with, it seems to have opened up new ideas to the ‘print’ world and seems to have rebooted the ‘book’ brand and publishing world – which is all good for us readers!


This book looks into how e-books evolved so quickly and how people like Amazon took advantage and how it changed the way people read and bought books. It was feared that with the rise of e-books the print world would suffer in the way that the music industry was, after downloads appeared on the scene, but over time it was realised that some books just worked better in print and this explores that subject in great detail and I really found it so interesting. As an old dinosaur myself, I always prefer the print edition, so it was fascinating to see the charts and graphs that displayed the figures involved in all forms of print, and what genres were enjoyed so much more in digital form.


This book explores a variety of subjects within publishing – the legal issues, marketing, the rise of self publishing, the use of crowdfunding such as Unbound (of which I am happy to have been part of!), the backlist, the use of audiobooks/audible and the role that social media plays now in all forms of publishing be it digital or print.


It brings to the fore how the numbers stack up of each book form and how the outcome of new avenues often have unpredictable results. It was a lengthy read – almost 500 pages – but there is so much to look into and the author has done a brilliant job of using the in-depth analysis to peek behind the curtain, so to speak, into a world of books that has had to change over recent times and showing there is room for both forms thanks to the digital form making the old guard of print rethink and become more creative!


A perfect read for all fans of the humble book – in whatever format you prefer!

★★★★★

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 17th April 2021



Hello! Happy Saturday! We meet again! And this week I got to stand in an actual real life bookshop again, after the lockdown restrictions were lifted and it felt wonderful! Time to clear some space on my bookshelves again so I can have a good spend up!
On the bookish front, it’s been a fairly steady week! Managed to finish 3 books, got 3 from Netgalley and one lovely piece of bookpost!  So here’s my look back at the week…


BOOKS FINISHED


THE METAL HEART by CAROLINE LEA – 4 STARS

THE SWEETNESS OF WATER by NATHAN HARRIS – 5 STARS

SISTERSONG by LUCY HOLLAND – 4 STARS

BOOKHAUL

3 tempted me at Netgalley this week…

MY MESS IS A BIT OF A LIFE by GEORGIA PRITCHETT 

Publication Date – July 2021

Multi-award-winning television writer and producer Georgia Pritchett knows a thing or two about anxiety.

From worrying about the monsters under her bed as a child (Were they comfy enough?), to embracing womanhood, (One way of knowing you have crossed from girlhood to womanhood is that men stop furtively masturbating at you from bushes and start shouting things at you from cars. It’s a beautiful moment) worry has accompanied her at every turn.

This memoir is a joyful reflection on just how to live – and sometimes even thrive (sometimes not) – with anxiety.


THE WOMAN IN THE PURPLE SKIRT by NATSUKO IMAMURA

publication date – June 2021

A bestselling, prizewinning novel of obsession and psychological intrigue about two enigmatic unmarried women, one of whom manipulates the other from afar, by one of Japan’s most acclaimed young writers

Almost every day, the Woman in the Purple Skirt buys a single cream bun and goes to the park, where she sits on a bench to eat it as the local children taunt her. She is observed at all times by the undetected narrator, the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan. From a distance the Woman in the Purple Skirt looks like a schoolgirl, but there are age spots on her face, and her hair is dry and stiff. Like the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan, she is single, she lives in a small, run-down apartment, and she is short on money. The Woman in the Yellow Cardigan lures her to a job where she herself works, as a hotel housekeeper; soon the Woman in the Purple Skirt is having an affair with the boss. Unfortunately, no one knows or cares about the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan. That’s the difference between her and the Woman in the Purple Skirt.

Studiously deadpan, highly original, and unsettling, The Woman in the Purple Skirt explores the dynamics of envy, the mechanisms of power in the workplace, and the vulnerability of unmarried women in a taut, voyeuristic narrative about the sometimes desperate desire to be seen.


SONGS IN URSA MAJOR by EMMA BRODIE

publication date – June 2021

A scintillating debut from a major new voice in fiction, Songs in Ursa Major is a love story set in 1969, alive with music, sex, and the trappings of fame.

Raised on an island off Massachusetts by a mother who wrote songs for famous musicians, Jane Quinn is singing in her own band before she’s old enough to even read music. When folk legend Jesse Reid hears about Jane’s performance at the island’s music festival, a star is born–and so is a passionate love affair: they become inseparable when her band joins his on tour. Wary of being cast as his girlfriend–and haunted by her mother’s shattered ambitions– Jane shields her relationship from the public eye, but Jesse’s star power pulls her into his orbit of fame. Caught up in the thrill of the road and the profound and lustful connection she has with Jesse, Jane is blind-sided by the discovery she makes about the dark secret beneath his music. Heartbroken and blackballed by the industry, Jane is now truly on her own: to make the music she loves, and to make peace with her family Shot through with the lyrics, the icons, the lore, the adrenaline of the early 70s music scene, Songs in Ursa Major pulses with romantic longing and asks the question so many female artists must face: What are we willing to sacrifice for our dreams? 


And in the post from Amazon Vine to review…..

SIX TUDOR QUEENS; KATHERINE PARR by ALISON WEIR

publication date – may 2021

A WOMAN TORN BETWEEN LOVE AND DUTY.

Two husbands dead, a boy and a sick man. And now Katharine is free to make her own choice.

The ageing King’s eye falls upon her. She cannot refuse him… or betray that she wanted another.

She becomes the sixth wife – a queen and a friend. Henry loves and trusts her. But Katharine is hiding another secret in her heart, a deeply held faith that could see her burn…

KATHARINE PARR. HENRY’S FINAL QUEEN. HER STORY.

Renowned, bestselling historian Alison Weir reveals a warm, clever woman of great fortitude who rose boldly to every turn her life took.



CURRENTLY READING

WHISPER DOWN THE LANE by CLAY MCLEOD CHAPMAN




HAPPY READING!

#BookReview THE SWEETNESS OF WATER by NATHAN HARRIS #TheSweetnessOfWater



ABOUT THE BOOK


In the spirit of The Known World and The Underground Railroad, a profound debut about the unlikely bond between two freedmen who are brothers and the Georgia farmer whose alliance will alter their lives, and his, forever.

In the waning days of the Civil War, brothers Prentiss and Landry—freed by the Emancipation Proclamation—seek refuge on the homestead of George Walker and his wife, Isabelle. The Walkers, wracked by the loss of their only son to the war, hire the brothers to work their farm, hoping through an unexpected friendship to stanch their grief. Prentiss and Landry, meanwhile, plan to save money for the journey north and a chance to reunite with their mother, who was sold away when they were boys.

Parallel to their story runs a forbidden romance between two Confederate soldiers. The young men, recently returned from the war to the town of Old Ox, hold their trysts in the woods. But when their secret is discovered, the resulting chaos, including a murder, unleashes convulsive repercussions on the entire community. In the aftermath of so much turmoil, it is Isabelle who emerges as an unlikely leader, proffering a healing vision for the land and for the newly free citizens of Old Ox.

With candor and sympathy, debut novelist Nathan Harris creates an unforgettable cast of characters, depicting Georgia in the violent crucible of Reconstruction. Equal parts beauty and terror, as gripping as it is moving, The Sweetness of Water is an epic whose grandeur locates humanity and love amid the most harrowing circumstances. 

PUBLISHED BY TINDER PRESS

PUBLICATION DATE – 15TH JUNE 2021

MY REVIEW

This is a beautifully written, understated story that looks into the complexities of human relationships, especially at the time in America when the Civil War had just ended so many people were dealing with loss and a new way of life.

It centres around 2 brothers and their relationship with George, a local man who shuns most human contact and finds it difficult to express his emotions. But the moment he finds these brothers on his land, he seems to connect with them and finds it easier to open up to them than his own wife.

His relationship with these 2 brothers angers many of the locals who find it strange and seems to antagonise many. With his wife on board for his vision for his land, we get to explore a number of relationships and the intricacies that come with them – friends, family, lovers.. – and it’s the exploration of the male side of things that I really enjoyed reading about. How awkward someone can be with someone so close, yet so open and free with a ‘stranger’.

With resistance from the locals to his plans, George and his family find themselves being shunned because of their relationship with the brothers, and what followed is a story that’s full of heartbreak, hope, determination and fight.

The brothers share an extraordinary bond which makes their scenes even more touching, and makes some of the situations they find themselves in even more heartwrenching as things unfold. I loved the style of writing throughout, the action builds up slowly which allows you to connect more to each character and giving a number of characters their own voice allowed you to see more of the picture and understand the times.

A staggering debut and a story that stays with you.

★★★★★

My thanks to amazon vine for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview WHILE PARIS SLEEPS by RUTH DRUART #WhileParisSleeps

ABOUT THE BOOK


A family’s love is tested when heroes-turned-criminals are forced to make the hardest decisions of their lives in this unforgettably moving story of love, resistance, and the lasting consequences of the Second World War.

After. Santa Cruz, California, 1953. Jean-Luc and Charlotte Beauchamps have left their war-torn memories of Paris behind to live a quiet life in America with their son, Sam. They have a house in the suburbs, they’ve learned to speak English, and they have regular get-togethers with their outgoing American neighbors. Every minute in California erases a minute of their lives before — before the Germans invaded their French homeland and incited years of violence, hunger, and fear. But their taste of the American Dream shatters when officers from the U.N. Commission on War Crimes pull-up outside their home and bring Jean-Luc in for questioning.

Before. Paris, France, 1944. Germany has occupied France for four years. Jean-Luc works at the railway station at Bobigny, where thousands of Jews travel each day to be “resettled” in Germany. But Jean-Luc and other railway employees can’t ignore the rumors or what they see on the tracks: too many people are packed into the cars, and bodies are sometimes left to be disposed of after a train departs. Jean-Luc’s unease turns into full-blown panic when a young woman with bright green eyes bursts from the train one day alongside hundreds of screaming, terrified passengers, and pushes a warm, squirming bundle into his arms.

Told from alternating perspectives, While Paris Slept reflects on the power of love, loss, and the choices a mother will make to ensure the survival of her child. At once a visceral portrait of family ties and a meditation on nurture’s influence over identity, this heartbreaking debut will irreversibly take hold of your heart. 


PUBLICATION DATE – 23RD FEBRUARY 2021

PRE-ORDER LINK

Amazon


MY REVIEW

This was a engrossing and emotional read as we follow the stories of characters caught up in the horrors of World War II – a mother desperate to save her child, and a young man wanting to escape the chilling scenes he finds himself witness to day in, day out. It is all written beautifully and considerately and you find yourself torn by the outcome years later.

The story starts in 1953 with Jean- Luc and his wife Charlotte, who are starting a new life in America, desperate to escape the past of what they were caught up in France during the Nazi occupation. He used to work on the railways so had to endure some horrific treatment and sights, so when the opportunity presented itself for him to flee and find a better life for his family he took it.

But his current life is about to be shattered as the past catches up with him and he’s questioned about his past life and the consequences are far reaching and a devastating blow to the family.

We also follow the character of Sarah in 1944, a young jewish mother who is fearful for her life and that of her son, so she makes a decision that isn’t easy to make or live with.

This is one of those stories that really connects with you as a reader as you can sympathise with both sides of the dilemma. The horrors that everyone faced back then are difficult to forget, and are never easy to escape from. It’s a real page turner as you race through each chapter desperate to see both characters find a resolution that gives them both peace. 

★★★★