#BookReview PRACTICALLY PAGAN – An Alternative Guide to Gardening by Elen Sentier #Pagan #nonfiction



ABOUT THE BOOK


Practically Pagan – An Alternative Guide to Gardening takes the spooky out of alternative and keeps the magic. Elen Sentier brings together, and expands on, recent scientific discoveries, and shows how close they are to the old ways that were labelled as superstition in the 20th century. Sentier’s writing is accessible and opens up the down-to-earth practicalism of pagans as people of the land to all, for that’s what the word pagan means, ‘of the land’. Sentier doesn’t preach or proselytise folk to become pagan, but brings to light how you’ve been thinking this way for years. Elen Sentier is a best-selling author of British native shamanism. She also writes paranormal mystery-suspense novels. She’s a wilderness woman, born on Dartmoor and grew up on Exmoor in a family who had practiced the old British magic for hundreds of years. Her books include Pagan Portals – Merlin: Once and Future Wizard (Moon Books, 2016), and Gardening with the Moon & Stars (Moon Books, 2015)


PUBLISHED BY MOON BOOKS


PUBLICATION DATE – 29TH OCTOBER 2021


PRE-ORDER LINK


Amazon

MY REVIEW


I found this an enjoyable and fascinating way to find out more about pagans and a different way to approach gardening. The author uses her own experiences for taking you through each season – 8 seasons in the pagan calendar, not 4! – and sharing lists of different jobs to do at that time, along with plants looking their best or ready for planting at that time.

I really found the pagan side of the book enlightening and has now got me interested in finding out more about pagans as I found myself connecting with many of her ways! She explains about pagan holidays and celebrations, alongside meditations and rituals that you can easily follow.

But at the heart of the book is a year of gardening tips and hints, and learning more about the plants she uses in her garden that can also be used in cooking, rituals etc. I really liked her approach to the world and gardening – she let her garden evolve to suit her needs at different times instead of being very rigid with her planning and structure.

I like the mix of family anecdotes throughout, and am sure this book is best read in stages, especially to correlate with the time of the year it relates to, which will help you garden well. It looks at different flowers and vegetables for each season, along with meanings of them for medicinal purposes so I’ve learnt a little more about certain plants in my garden, and ones I want to add in the future!

★★★★

#BookReview ‘CHERRY’ INGRAM:THE ENGLISHMAN WHO SAVED JAPAN’S BLOSSOMS by NAOKO ABE #NonFiction



ABOUT THE BOOK


The irresistible story of Japanese cherry blossoms, threatened by political ideology and saved by an unknown Englishman

Collingwood Ingram, known as ‘Cherry’ for his defining obsession, was born in 1880 and lived until he was a hundred, witnessing a fraught century of conflict and change.

After visiting Japan in 1902 and 1907 and discovering two magnificent cherry trees in the garden of his family home in Kent in 1919, Ingram fell in love with cherry blossoms, or sakura, and dedicated much of his life to their cultivation and preservation.

On a 1926 trip to Japan to search for new specimens, Ingram was shocked to see the loss of local cherry diversity, driven by modernisation, neglect and a dangerous and creeping ideology. A cloned cherry, the Somei-yoshino, was taking over the landscape and becoming the symbol of Japan’s expansionist ambitions.

The most striking absence from the Japanese cherry scene, for Ingram, was that of Taihaku, a brilliant ‘great white’ cherry tree. A proud example of this tree grew in his English garden and he swore to return it to its native home. Multiple attempts to send Taihaku scions back to Japan ended in failure, but Ingram persisted.

Over decades, Ingram became one of the world’s leading cherry experts and shared the joy of sakura both nationally and internationally. Every spring we enjoy his legacy. ‘Cherry’ Ingram is a portrait of this little-known Englishman, a story of Britain and Japan in the twentieth century and an exploration of the delicate blossoms whose beauty is admired around the world.

PUBLISHED BY CHATTO WINDUS

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a fascinating and intoxicating book about a man and how his passion for plants became and obsession, and shaped his life along with the landscapes of Japan and many other countries at the same time. It does help if you love gardening, I do!, to ‘get’ this book but it also contains a staggering look at the history of Japan and its’ people, and I found myself learning so much.

There’s so much to admire about Cherry Ingram. He was born in 1880 and soon became obsessed by plant hunting and gardening, with cherry blossom trees being his absolute passion. He had many trips to Japan to see and collect rare species, and over the years he saw and was shocked by the changes in Japan, to the detriment of his beloved cherry trees so he took it on himself to start sending trees from his garden that he’d collected back to Japan to begin their revival. The attention to detail shown by him towards his plants was staggering – it often seemed he cared more for his plants than his own children!

As it looks at the man in his home life, as well as his plant hunting life, it explores many avenues of the life he led, over so many years in a world that was constantly changing. Even during the war he was always willing to be involved and was part of the local community effort to protect these shores.

He led an amazing life, devoted to his wife, his trees and birdwatching too, and I just loved learning about him and how this englishman had affected the way even the Japanese viewed their trees and the impact it had on the local people. The author shares his own history too with his family, and their experiences especially during the war and it was just one of those books that was interesting from start to finish.

★★★★★

#BookReview DIARY OF A MODERN COUNTRY GARDENER by TAMSIN WESTHORPE #20BooksOfSummer

ABOUT THE BOOK


Written by a hard-working horticulturalist for fellow gardeners, the aim of this diary is to jog people’s memories, share plant stories, demystify gardening and most importantly make the reader smile. You’ll find a personal year-long diary of gardening along with favourite seasonal plants, timely reminders and entertaining tales of moving sheep, visiting RHS Chelsea Flower Show and speaking at garden clubs. Tamsin’s open garden is at the heart of a working farm, so her book reflects the twists and turns of the countryside. For anyone just about to embark on a life in the country, or whose town garden is never tidy and who wonders how the professionals do it, it’s a must read. Pick up tips on how to keep warm whilst gardening, get rid of chilblains and grow seasonal food from someone who lives, breathes and eats country gardening. 


PUBLISHED BY ORPHANS PUBLISHING


PURCHASE LINKS


Publisher Website – signed with free postage

Amazon

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

This was book 16 of my 20 Books of Summer 2020.

The gardener in me loved this! From the helpful pointers, the humour that had me chuckling out loud and just the general amiable writing style of the author made this such a pleasure to read! I think it’s a book that will appeal to a wide spectrum of garden lovers – from the novices to those who’ve gardened for a long time.

It also shows the amount of work required to open gardens to the public and her energy never seems to flag in wanting her garden at Stockton Bury to look at its’ best for every visitor! The book is written in a month by month style which I loved as it gives you an insight into what needs doing in your garden too throughout the year, as well as a very handy plant list for must haves each month which is really invaluable as I often find myself having a little lull in the garden at various times so I now know what to look out for!

With her experiences in the garden comes a wealth of knowledge that she passes on and I’ve taken note of a number of hints that I plan on using here! She is also not afraid to mention the failures she has along with the successes – it’s always good to know that every gardener has their problems no matter what size of garden they have.

I loved the gardening quirks that she comments on and found myself heartily agreeing with many of them, along with how a garden evokes childhood memories – plants that remind you of loved ones, things you learn from them and how you can feel connected to people just through a plant or using a garden tool that has been handed down.

And to top it all off there are many beautiful photos throughout that are just a delight to look at! This is going to be one of those books I keep going back to when I need a smile or a gardening hint each month! Highly recommended!


★★★★★

#BookReview THE GARDEN JUNGLE by DAVE GOULSON

ABOUT THE BOOK

**SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER**


The Garden Jungle is a wonderful introduction to the hundreds of small creatures with whom we live cheek-by-jowl and of the myriad ways that we can encourage them to thrive.


The Garden Jungle is about the wildlife that lives right under our noses, in our gardens and parks, between the gaps in the pavement, and in the soil beneath our feet. Wherever you are right now, the chances are that there are worms, woodlice, centipedes, flies, silverfish, wasps, beetles, mice, shrews and much, much more, quietly living within just a few paces of you.


Dave Goulson gives us an insight into the fascinating and sometimes weird lives of these creatures, taking us burrowing into the compost heap, digging under the lawn and diving into the garden pond. He explains how our lives and ultimately the fate of humankind are inextricably intertwined with that of earwigs, bees, lacewings and hoverflies, unappreciated heroes of the natural world.


The Garden Jungle is at times an immensely serious book, exploring the environmental harm inadvertently done by gardeners who buy intensively reared plants in disposable plastic pots, sprayed with pesticides and grown in peat cut from the ground. Goulson argues that gardens could become places where we can reconnect with nature and rediscover where food comes from. With just a few small changes, our gardens could become a vast network of tiny nature reserves, where humans and wildlife can thrive together in harmony rather than conflict.


For anyone who has a garden, and cares about our planet, this book is essential reading. 


PUBLISHED BY JONATHAN CAPE

OUT IN HARDBACK/EBOOK NOW

OUT IN PAPERBACK – 2ND APRIL 2020


PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon


MY REVIEW


This is a book that will make you look at your garden differently! It doesn’t only focus on how it looks, but the goings on underneath the soil and the insects and wildlife that visits your little part of the earth daily, and as a keen gardener and fan of wildlife, I’m even more eager now to do more bit and take time out to notice the little things – and leave things a little more ‘wild’ to help do my bit!

This is a really relevant book for the times we are living in – and no more than now, with many people staying home due to the ‘lockdown’ and spending more time in their garden than they normally do! The only downside for me is that the people who need to read this the most are the ones who won’t pick this up as it’s not full of glossy photos, or quick fixes for a ‘low maintenance’ garden – the kind of people who revel in the throwaway society we find ourselves in, who want everything to be easy to look after and to keep all the creepy crawlies out! This books shows just how important all the wildlife is to the make-up of the garden, and doesn’t preach at you but explains things brilliantly and shows just how simple it can be to get the balance in the garden just right.

There are nods to using peat free compost, the benefits of being outdoors, the importance of allotments and growing your own, along with many other subjects such as the variety of animals that use our gardens daily, that shows that we can all do ‘our bit’ in a little way to help this planet of ours.

I really loved seeing a list of favourite plants he uses to attract different forms of wildlife, along with instructions on how to make your own wormery which has got me tempted to give it a go! I’ve learnt so much from this book and found it to be so informative and interesting, from a man who is clearly passionate about the subject he writes out! Highly recommended!


★★★★★

#BookReview The Bumblebee Flies Anyway; A year of gardening and wildlife by KATE BRADBURY @chiffchat

ABOUT THE BOOK

Finding herself in a new home in Brighton, Kate Bradbury sets about transforming her decked, barren backyard into a beautiful wildlife garden. She documents the unbuttoning of the earth and the rebirth of the garden, the rewilding of a tiny urban space. On her own she unscrews, saws, and hammers the decking away, she clears the builders’ rubble and rubbish beneath it, and she digs and enriches the soil, gradually planting it up with plants she knows will attract wildlife. She erects bird boxes and bee hotels, hangs feeders and grows nectar- and pollen-rich plants, and slowly brings life back to the garden.

But while she’s doing this her neighbors continue to pave and deck their gardens. The wildlife she tries to save is further threatened, and she feels she’s fighting an uphill battle. Is there any point in gardening for wildlife when everyone else is drowning the land in poison and cement?

Throughout her story, Kate draws on an eclectic and eccentric cast of friends and colleagues, who donate plants and a greenhouse, tolerate her gawping at butterflies at Gay Pride, and accompany her on trips to visit rare bumblebees and nightingales.

Published by Bloomsbury Wildlife

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK
 hive.co.uk

whsmith

MY REVIEW

What a wonderful little book! As a keen gardener and wildlife lover, I’m probably the target audience I’m sure for a book written by someone who looks on their garden as more than an ‘outdoor living room’ or as a space to be ignored or paved over as is the trend nowadays, but this gem of a book perfectly explains just how important a little green space is to the owner and to the wildlife of the local area. From a tiny bee moving into a bee hotel, to the flock of sparrows enjoying the safety of a buddleia bush, this book left me itching to get even more involved with my garden and to do more to attract more wildlife.

Her memories of gardens she has spent time in over the years, especially with her family, are wonderfully told and had me remembering special times I have spent with grandparents and my parents who thankfully have always been fans of green spaces.

As a passionate amateur garden I totally ‘got’ this book – it understands just how you feel about your little patch of the world and the despair you feel when you see trees and shrubs being destroyed in the neighbourhood and surrounding areas. Through gardening it allows you to look back fondly at times spent out there, but also has you looking forward in ways you can help to attract more bees, birds and bugs to your garden. I recently saw this author present a piece on Gardeners World and her enthusiasm for bees especially had me wanting to rush out and buy a bee hotel or two, and that enthusiasm is clear for all to see in this book.

She looks back on tough times too, especially with her mother becoming unwell, and shows the importance of a garden on helping them both cope during that time. It’s a great distraction to sit out there with a cup of tea and toast and just to watch and see what is going on and let your mind wander!

It’s also fascinating to read the impact of humans are having on the ways of wildlife – habitats being destroyed and species disappearing and has just made me more determined to do my little bit, and hopefully it will encourage new gardeners to do the same and make people realise that whether they have a windowbox or a garden, there are things that can be done to help native wildlife.

I adored this book and highly recommend it as a memoir and as a book full of ideas and inspiration to help us all do our bit!

★★★★★

#BookReview The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn

ABOUT THE BOOK

Discovery. Desire. Deception. A wondrously imagined tale of two female botanists, separated by more than a century, in a race to discover a life-saving flower . . .

In Victorian England, headstrong adventuress Elizabeth takes up her late father’s quest for a rare, miraculous plant. She faces a perilous sea voyage, unforeseen dangers and treachery that threatens her entire family.

In present-day Australia, Anna finds a mysterious metal box containing a sketchbook of dazzling watercolours, a photograph inscribed ‘Spring 1886’ and a small bag of seeds. It sets her on a path far from her safe, carefully ordered life, and on a journey that will force her to face her own demons.

In this spellbinding botanical odyssey of discovery, desire and deception, Kayte Nunn has so exquisitely researched nineteenth-century Cornwall and Chile you can almost smell the fragrance of the flowers, the touch of the flora on your fingertips . . .

Published by Hachette

PURCHASE LINKS

hive.co.uk  £7.89

whsmith  £8.72

Bert’s Books  £8.99

MY REVIEW

An historical, dual time-line story about gardening and romance?! Yes please!! And I loved every minute of it and has made me want to set off on my own plant hunting adventures – but maybe with less danger involved!!

In the present timeline, Anna is a gardener who is currently overseeing the renovation of her beloved grandmothers’s house that she has been left, and when the builder start knocking walls down they uncover a box hidden in the walls. Anna and her family know nothing about this box and when she discovers what is inside she is intrigued to discover more.

Back in 1886, Elizabeth Trebithick is living at Trebithick Hall with her beloved father and sister. She has inherited her fathers’ need for exploring – he’s a plant hunter and is often away -and she wishes she could escape too. He shares his dreams with her of plants he aims to find and makes her promise him that she’ll carry on his work for him. She’s not one to be stopped and kept at home, as was expected of women back then, so she soon sets off with her maid to the other side of the world to hunt out a very rare and dangerous plant. Being seasick isn’t the best start for her journey though!

The 2 timelines work brilliantly with one another – as Anna delves further into the origin of the paintings she finds, along with reading the diary that was also hidden away she is drawn into the need to explore and finds herself travelling to Cornwall to see what more she can find out about this family she knows little about. 

And as Elizabeth settles into her new life, her head is soon turned by a local guide who seems to share her interest and passion for plants, but with a rival plant hunter also on the scene, she is unsure whether she can trust her guide with the real reason she is out there, other than painting the different plants she sees.

I loved the characters in both timelines of this book – both women weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and do whatever became necessary to achieve their tasks! Be it uncovering a rare plant, or putting the pieces together in a mystery puzzle and discovering who hid the box in a wall and why. It really gave a great insight into just how precarious plant hunting was, but so rewarding when a new plant was found, or local knowledge helped you learn something new about a plant.

Really enjoyable and easy to read and I’ll definitely be reading more from this author in the future!

💮💮💮💮

#BlogTour The Wild Remedy by Emma Mitchell #BookReview @OMaraBooks #TheWildRemedy

A huge delight to be the latest stop on the wonderful Blog Tour for THE WILD REMEDY by EMMA MITCHELL.  My thanks to the author and Alara at Michael O’Mara Books for letting me be part of it all.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Emma Mitchell has suffered with depression – or as she calls it, ‘the grey slug’ – for twenty-five years. In 2003, she moved from the city to the edge of the Cambridgeshire Fens and began to take walks in the countryside around her new home, photographing, collecting and drawing as she went. Each walk lifted her mood, proving to be as medicinal as any talking therapy or pharmaceutical.
In Emma’s hand-illustrated diary, she takes us with her as she follows the paths and trails around her cottage and further afield, sharing her nature finds and tracking the lives of local flora and fauna over the course of a year. Reflecting on how these encounters impact her mood, Emma’s moving and candid account of her own struggles is a powerful testament to how reconnecting with nature may offer some answers to today’s mental health epidemic. While charting her own seasonal highs and lows, she also explains the science behind such changes, calling on new research into such areas as forest bathing and the ways in which our bodies and minds respond to plants and wildlife when we venture outdoors.
Written with Emma’s characteristic wit and frankness, and filled with her beautiful drawings, paintings and photography, this is a truly unique book for anyone who has ever felt drawn to nature and wondered about its influence over us.

Published by Michael O’Mara Books

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

Author Website

MY REVIEW

This is one of those books that not only looks good – it’s packed full of beautiful drawings and photos – but it’s also a wonderful reminder of what is around us all if we just take the time to look.  You don’t need to travel far to see something, or even just to hear the sound of bird song in your back garden, it all works in a way to help detract our minds from the negative aspects of life and can set us back on  a more positive outlook on life no matter what we are going through in our personal lives.

I really connected with this book through the positive aspect that I’ve discovered of gardening and nature while I’ve suffer with the illness M.E.  It is a very isolating and lonely illness at times, and there are many days when, like the author with her depression, leaving the house is impossible or a major struggle and just by spending a few minutes out in the garden looking at new things growing, or hearing the birds sing can make such a big impact on your frame of mind for the rest of the day and make those darker days seem just a little bit brighter.  Having something different to focus on instead of concentrating on what your brain is telling you is so powerful and often better than any medicine you can take, and I’m truly grateful for all things green everyday now, especially when the world we live in is seemingly becoming more grey and full of concrete.

In this book, the author takes us through her diary month by month to share her honest and frank experiences of how the depression affects her way of life and the way she thinks, and how each month she notices different things around her in nature which she draws, collects, takes photos of – it’s the little things in life that give you hope and clarity and she shows  how much the importance of noticing the smallest things can give the biggest amount of joy.  I loved the touches of humour too that she puts in – and the importance of Annie, her canine companion, in getting her out of the house when it all feels too much.

I’ve always taken photos of things around me that I see, but this book has inspired me to notice more and also start collecting leaves and flowers to press to keep an even more satisfying record of the world around us to help lift my spirits on the darker days when I’m unable to get out and about and this book is a beautiful reminder of how something as simple as birdsong, or the first signs of Spring can be so rewarding and a real benefit to your mental well-being and I highly recommend it as a must have on any bookshelf

.

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Things to look out for……

#BookReview Rhapsody In Green by Charlotte Mendelson #nonfictionnovember

About the book

Gardening can be viewed as a largely pointless hobby, but the evangelical zeal and camaraderie it generates is unique. Charlotte Mendelson is perhaps unusually passionate about it. For despite her superficially normal existence, despite the fact that she has only six square metres of grotty urban soil and a few pots, she has a secret life. She is an extreme gardener, an obsessive, an addict. And like all addicts, she wants to spread the joy. Her garden may look like a nasty drunk old man’s mini-allotment, chaotic, virtually flowerless, with weird recycling and nowhere to sit. When honoured friends are shown it, they tend to laugh. However, it is actually a tiny jungle, a minuscule farm, a wildly uneconomical experiment in intensive edible cultivation, on which she grows a taste of perhaps a hundred kinds of delicious fruits and odd vegetables. It is a source of infinite happiness and deep peace. It looks completely bonkers. Arguably, it’s the most expensive, time-consuming, undecorative and self-indulgent way to grow a salad ever invented, but when tired or sad or cross it never fails to delight.

Published by Kyle Books

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk

waterstones

book depository

MY REVIEW

As a keen gardener myself, I adored this book!! I found myself on way too many occasions recognising my own irrational behaviours when it comes to the world of gardening and how a simple hobby transforms you into a raving maniac at times!

This is a real book for real gardeners! It understands the struggles and realities of gardening with restrictions of plot size, but never in your ambitions of just what you ‘think’ you can grow! And you really get the passion that the author feels for the subject as it takes you through so many topics – gardening catalogues, seed buying addiction, the hatred towards garden pests, the thrill of germination, gardening clothes – just to name a few! I think it’s one of those books I’ll be going back to over the years to feel that I’m not alone in my thoughts about gardening! How it can drive you to despair one minute, and then bring you so much joy the next!

Charlotte is a gardener who prefers to grow things to eat so it’s also fun to hear her thoughts on how she tries to plan ways of expanding her garden menu, and it’s also written with humour! It takes you through a year so points out the highs and lows of each season, the dreams and realities that each month brings and the never ending list of things to do!

And it was also nice to know that I’m not the only gardening who thinks certain ways about other gardens! As the author writes ‘ despite the chaos of my own garden, i feel entirely justified criticising everyone elses’!!! Yes to this!!!

So if you’re a gardener, or you know a gardener, then I’d highly recommend this book as you or they will ‘get it’!! The obsession, the erratic behaviour caring for your plants creates, the joy of compost and the art of plant watering!! It’s all there and I loved every page!

                                                 💮💮💮💮💮

Non Fiction November – The TBR!

NON-FICTION NOVEMBER TBR

Don’t panic!!  Christmas is approaching faster then ever!! How scary!!  Thankfully we have November to help slow down our stresses a little, and what better way to spend the month than by reading non-fiction! Every year I always find myself saying that this will be the year that I read more books that will teach me things  – and every year I fail! So that’s why I embrace Non-fiction November so much as it gives me a little time to focus and educate my poor little brain cells before they turn to mush with Christmas movies!

So I’ve put together a little TBR pile for the month ahead – I know I won’t be able to get through them all but the aim is to read at least 1 a week so we will see how that goes!

LANDFILL by TIM DEE

A ground breaking new book from the author of The Running Sky and Four Fields, Landfill confronts our waste-making species through the extraordinary and fascinating life of gulls, and the people who watch them. Original, compelling and unflinching, it is the nature book for our times.
We think of gulls as pests. They steal our chips and make newspaper headlines, these animals, often derided as “bin chickens” are complex neighbours, making the most of our throw away species. In the Anthropocene, they are a surprising success story. They’ve become intertwined with us, precisely because we are so good at making rubbish. Landfill is a book that avoids nostalgia and eulogy for nature and instead kicks beneath the littered surface to find stranger and more inspiring truths.
Landfill is the compelling story of how we have worked the rest of the living world, learned about it, named and catalogued it, colonised and planted it, and filled it with our rubbish.

 

JANE BOLEYN by JULIA FOX

 In a life of extraordinary drama, Jane Boleyn was catapulted from relative obscurity to the inner circle of King Henry VIII. As powerful men and women around her became victims of Henry’s ruthless and absolute power–including her own husband and her sister-in-law, Queen Anne Boleyn–Jane’s allegiance to the volatile monarch was sustained and rewarded. But the cost of her loyalty would eventually be her undoing and the ruination of her name. For centuries, little beyond rumor and scandal has been associated with “the infamous Lady Rochford,” but now historian Julia Fox sets the record straight. Drawing upon her own deep knowledge and years of original research, she brings us into the inner sanctum of court life, teeming with intrigue and redolent with the threat of disgrace. In the eyes and ears of Jane Boleyn, we witness the myriad players of the stormy Tudor period, and Jane herself emerges as a courageous spirit, a modern woman forced by circumstances to make her own way in a privileged but vicious world.

FEMINISTS DON’T WEAR PINK by SCARLETT CURTIS

An urgent and inspirational collection of essays by a diverse group of celebrities, activists, and artists about what feminism means to them, with the goal of helping readers come to their own personal understanding of the word.

Feminism has never been more deeply and widely embraced and discussed, but what exactly does the F word mean?

Here, personal stories from actors, writers, and activists explore the contradictions and complications at the heart of the movement. By bridging the gap between feminist hashtags and scholarly texts, these essays bring feminism into clear focus.

Published in partnership with Girl Up, the UN Foundation’s adolescent girl campaign, contributors include Hollywood superstars like Saoirse Ronan, activists like Alicia Garza, a founder of Black Lives Matter, and even fictional icons such as Bridget Jones.

Every woman has a different route to their personal understanding of feminism. This empowering collection shows how a diverse group of women found their voice, and it will inspire others to do the same.

RHAPSODY IN GREEN by CHARLOTTE MENDELSON 

Gardening can be viewed as a largely pointless hobby, but the evangelical zeal and camaraderie it generates is unique. Charlotte Mendelson is perhaps unusually passionate about it. For despite her superficially normal existence, despite the fact that she has only six square metres of grotty urban soil and a few pots, she has a secret life. She is an extreme gardener, an obsessive, an addict. And like all addicts, she wants to spread the joy. Her garden may look like a nasty drunk old man’s mini-allotment, chaotic, virtually flowerless, with weird recycling and nowhere to sit. When honoured friends are shown it, they tend to laugh. However, it is actually a tiny jungle, a minuscule farm, a wildly uneconomical experiment in intensive edible cultivation, on which she grows a taste of perhaps a hundred kinds of delicious fruits and odd vegetables. It is a source of infinite happiness and deep peace. It looks completely bonkers. Arguably, it’s the most expensive, time-consuming, undecorative and self-indulgent way to grow a salad ever invented, but when tired or sad or cross it never fails to delight.

THE LONELY CITY by OLIVIA LAING

What does it mean to be lonely? How do we live, if we’re not intimately engaged with another human being? How do we connect with other people? Does technology draw us closer together or trap us behind screens?

When Olivia Laing moved to New York City in her mid-thirties, she found herself inhabiting loneliness on a daily basis. Increasingly fascinated by this most shameful of experiences, she began to explore the lonely city by way of art. Moving fluidly between works and lives — from Edward Hopper’s Nighthawksto Andy Warhol’s Time Capsules, from Henry Darger’s hoarding to the depredations of the AIDS crisis — Laing conducts an electric, dazzling investigation into what it means to be alone, illuminating not only the causes of loneliness but also how it might be resisted and redeemed.

UNQUIET WOMEN by MAX ADAMS 

Wynflæd was an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who owned male slaves and badger-skin gowns; Egeria a Gaulish nun who toured the Holy Land as the Roman Empire was collapsing; Gudfrid an Icelandic explorer and the first woman to give birth to a European child on American soil; Mary Astell a philosopher who out-thought John Locke.

In this exploration of some of remarkable – but little-known – women living between between the last days of Rome and the Enlightenment, Max Adams overturns the idea that women of this period were either queens, nuns or invisible. In a sequence of chronological chapters, a centrepiece biographical sketch is complemented by thematically linked stories of other women of the time. A multi-faceted and beautifully illustrated study of women’s intellect, influence and creativity, Extraordinary Women brings to life the experiences of women whose voices are barely heard and whose stories are rarely told.

SOMETHING OF HIS ART by HORATIO CLARE

Something of his Art is Horatio Clare’s recreation of the long walk that J. S. Bach took in the depths of winter in 1705 – his long walk to Lübeck across northern Germany, and visualising the light, landscape and wildlife the young, and as yet unknown composer would have seen.

A BOOK OF SILENCE by SARA MAITLAND

In her late forties, after a noisy upbringing and then adulthood as vocal feminist and mother, Sara Maitland found herself living in the country. She fell in love with the silence, and in this profound, frank memoir she describes how she explored this new love, searching for silence and solitude.

🍃🍃🍃🍃🍃

Hopefully the mix of topics will keep me on my toes – have you read any of these books? Will you be taking part in non-fiction November? If so, I wish you well!!

HAPPY READING!

my bookish weekly wrap up – week 39 2018

Hello! Hoppy Saturday to you all! Bunny and I managed to get in the garden for a little while this morning to start some bulb planting! Why does he never dig holes when I need him to?! Peeing down with rain out there now though so safely snuggled on the sofa to share my bookish week with you all!

Hope yours has been a good week?! Quite restrained here on the reading and hauling front! Managed to finish 4 lovely books this week, 3 books made new homes with me and just 1 newbie from NetGalley! I’m rather proud of myself haha! Ooh and GoodReads informed me this week that I’ve  read 200 books so far in 2018! I was a little shocked but very happy! And even with reading that amount you’d think my bookshelves would be emptying out a little….. wrong! oops!

Here’s a look back on  my week – click on the title for a link to the GoodReads pages!

BOOKS FINISHED

Melmoth by Sarah Perry  – 5 stars

Loved it!! As soon as my signed copy arrived from Waterstones I just had to read it and didn’t put it down until I’d finished!

The Paris Secret by Lily Graham  – 4 stars

a fabulous read full of history, secrets and romance 

The Light in the Dark by Horatio Clare – 4 stars

A fascinating look at winter and how it affected the author. Beautifully written. Will be reviewing in full on the Blog Tour at the end of the month! 

A Little Christmas Charm by Kathryn Freeman – 4 stars

The Christmas reading has begun!! And this was a sweet romance to start it off for me!

BOOKHAUL

The Shape of Us by Drew Davies – netgalley/bookouture

In a city of 8.8 million people, you’d be surprised. Surprised at how many times your path crosses with that stranger you spotted on the other side of the street. Surprised at how lonely living in a busy city can feel. Surprised that falling in love – against all the odds – is just about possible.

One day in London…

Daisy is rushing to work when a stranger on a bicycle almost knocks her over – and then asks for her number.

JoJo, a wife in her sixties, is trying desperately to win her beloved husband back from his mistress.

Adam has recently lost his job and lies to his housemate about where he goes every day.

Dylan, a teenage boy, lives with an illness which means he can’t leave his bedroom – but which hasn’t stopped him falling in love.

These four total strangers – whose paths cross in the charming and crazy city of London – have one thing in common. They’re all looking for love and they’re totally hopeless at it. But that’s about to change. 

Frogkisser by Garth Nix –  spotted this in the library sale for 50p!

‘Wise and wondrous’ – Holly Black
 
Garth Nix is on hilarious form as he spins his very own fairy tale, featuring Princess Anya, who, with her loyal dog, must embark on a terribly important (capital Q) Quest to acquire the ingredients for a reversal lip balm, the vital item needed to change a frog back to a prince . . . oh, and save her kingdom from her villainous step(step)father. 

Something of his Art by Horatio Clare

Very grateful to Little Toller for sending me this copy to review.

CURRENTLY READING

Where the What Ifs roam and the moon is Louis Armstrong by Esther Krivda

A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor 

☔☔☔☔☔

What has been filling your reading time up this week? The perfect weather for reading now this afternoon so I’m off to get a few more pages read!

happy reading!!