#BookRevi:ew B: A YEAR IN PLAGUES AND PENCILS by EDWARD CAREY @BelgraviaB


ABOUT THE BOOK


‘I blame the pencil. I hadn’t meant to do it. I wasn’t thinking. It just happened that way.’

In March 2020, as lockdowns were imposed around the world, author and illustrator Edward Carey published a sketch on social media with a plan to keep posting a drawing a day from his family home in Austin, Texas, until life returned to normal. One hundred and fifty pencil stubs later, he was still drawing.

Carey’s hand moved with world events, chronicling pandemic and politics. It reached into the past, taking inspiration from history, and escaped grim reality through flights of vivid imagination and studies of the natural world. The drawings became a way of charting time, of moving forward, and maintaining connection at a time of isolation.

This remarkable collection of words and drawings from the acclaimed author of Little and The Swallowed Man charts a tumultuous year in pencil, finding beauty amid the horror of extraordinary times.


PUBLISHED BY GALLIC PRESS


PURCHASE LINK


BELGRAVIA BOOKS

MY REVIEW

This was a fascinating, absorbing and beautiful way of looking back at a year in lockdown. All through the eyes and stunning pencil drawings of the Author, as he began a project in March 2020 to draw a picture a day and upload it to social media until the madness of Covid left us…. he soon found the project carried on a lot longer than he had planned!

But having that distraction helped him cope, and the fact that many people online would eagerly anticipate the daily drawings kept him going and it is wonderful to see them all together here in this beautiful book! The words too strike a chord with his reflections on a very weird time in our history – his hopes and fears for the future mirroring our own! And how the simple action of committing to this project to begin with helped him cope with the uncertainty that each day brought.


A lesson to us all really in finding something to distract ourselves and giving ourselves a different focus each day. I do something similar with photographs on Blipfoto, and just having that outlet each day is a great way of dealing with life and all it throws our way! And it’s a wonderful way to look back over a period of time, as with these wonderful drawings that Edward Carey has put together. It reflects his mood on each day, those in the news, various historical figures,animals and memories and the attention to detail is so intricate and captivating.

I loved his honesty and frankness in the journalling side of this project. His yearnings to return home to London, and his experiences of lockdown in Texas and it just made for a wonderfully extraordinary piece of work for a year none of us will ever forget!

My thanks to the team at Gallic Press for a copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.

★★★★★

#Audiobookreview THE END OF MEN by CHRISTINA SWEENEY-BAIRD #BookReview



ABOUT THE BOOK


Set in a world where a virus stalks our male population, The End of Men is an electrifying and unforgettable debut from a remarkable new talent that asks: what would life truly look like without men?

Only men are affected by the virus; only women have the power to save us all.

The year is 2025, and a mysterious virus has broken out in Scotland–a lethal illness that seems to affect only men. When Dr. Amanda MacLean reports this phenomenon, she is dismissed as hysterical. By the time her warning is heeded, it is too late. The virus becomes a global pandemic–and a political one. The victims are all men. The world becomes alien–a women’s world.

What follows is the immersive account of the women who have been left to deal with the virus’s consequences, told through first-person narratives. Dr. MacLean; Catherine, a social historian determined to document the human stories behind the male plague; intelligence analyst Dawn, tasked with helping the government forge a new society; and Elizabeth, one of many scientists desperately working to develop a vaccine. Through these women and others, we see the uncountable ways the absence of men has changed society, from the personal–the loss of husbands and sons–to the political–the changes in the workforce, fertility and the meaning of family.

In The End of Men, Christina Sweeney-Baird creates an unforgettable tale of loss, resilience and hope.

PUBLISHED BY HARPER COLLINS


PURCHASE LINK

THE END OF MEN by CHRISTINA SWEENEY-BAIRD

MY REVIEW

I listened to the audioversion of this book – brilliantly read!


This is one of those timely reads, made even more relevant and relatable after our recent experiences! The amount of times you felt so connected to the story and the fear portrayed by the characters because of what we’ve all been through with this pandemic!


In this book, set in 2025, there’s a virus that comes out of nowhere and only seems to affect men. And they drop like flies pretty quickly. While in the early stages, the seriousness is trying to be flagged up, there are those who dismiss the concerns… we all know how that works out in reality! But this is a story cleverly told from the point of view of a variety of women looking on with different hats on, so to speak! Those working in the medical industry, those reporting on it, those looking for a cure/vaccine – and those seeing their loved ones becoming poorly and wanting to do all they can to not lose those closest to them.


The author really captures the uncertainty and the panic with each character and it did feel like a race against time thriller at times with the urgency needed to do what needed to protect people. And how women were stepping up to fill the positions normally inhabited by the men and how that impacted on day to day life. And the emotional aspects of becoming pregnant, and then being told your baby was a boy was really stark and bought home the harsh reality of it all.


A gripping read.


★★★★

#BookReview KING OF THE CROWS by RUSSELL DAY #KingOfTheCrows

ABOUT THE BOOK

“Ocean’s Eleven meets 28 Days Later.”

2028, eight years after a pandemic swept across Europe, the virus has been defeated and normal life has resumed. Memories of The Lockdown have already become clouded by myth, rumour and conspiracy. Books have been written, movies have been released and the names Robertson, Miller & Maccallan have slipped into legend. Together they hauled The Crows, a ragged group of survivors, across the ruins of London. Kept them alive, kept them safe, kept them moving.But not all myths are true and not all heroes are heroes.Questions are starting to be asked about what really happened during those days when society crumbled and the capital city became a killing ground.Finally the truth will be revealed.

Praise for King Of The Crows“Staggeringly prescient – an absolute triumph…”“The most inventive heist novel you’ll ever read.”“In terms of plot, structure and ambition, this is the most imaginative novel I’ve read in years…”

Praise for Russell Day – winner of the CWA Margaret Allingham Prize“Russell Day is an artist – one who paints pictures with his words…””A brilliant book, one that has cemented Russell Day straight into my must read authors list.””Russell Day has established himself as one of the best new crime writers of recent years. I cannot wait for his next novel.”

PUBLISHED BY FAHRENHEIT PRESS

PURCHASE LINK

Publisher Website

MY REVIEW

Reading a book about a pandemic during an actual real life pandemic could be seen by some as a stupid thing to do!! BUT for me I found it the perfect time to read this book!! The parallels between fiction – this book was written a couple of years ago, which makes it even more staggering to me on how events are panning out… – and the reality are mindblowing and it’s a difficult book to put down once I started reading it!

Set in 2028, 8 years after the virus that ravaged Europe has moved on, this book is a story that looks back over those years when the virus was rife, how people lived through it and how people are looking back on it and questioning what they were told and how it has been portrayed by the media as films and books have been released chronicling the events, creating legends of those involved in particular events.

It’s told through snippets of the screenplays, the internet chatter, police interviews, graffiti seen, emails sent and the experiences of people moving around on the ground at that time and this really does help give it a more realistic feel. What struck me as the most pertinent and telling was the relevance of hearsay becoming belief! The internet rumour sites were readily spreading untruths quicker than the virus itself, and all it needed was one person to read this and a new truth is born. Oh and cats…. never trusted them before, even more so now!!!

As we follow the real story of the time during the pandemic, alongside the way the films portrayed the main characters of The Crows, it was fascinating to see how the hatred was whipped up amongst different factions – the anti government groups, anti police, anti media….. a little too realistic for my liking!! The virus itself mutates, there are zombies/undead but there is more insanity leading to extremes in behaviour and we’re witness to that with the actions of many, fighting for their lives after being hung out to dry by those in charge, while others see this as a perfect opportunity for a raid on the financial capital.

The before, the during, the after is all brilliantly captured in all its grim glory – the fear, the panic, the unknown, the theories! One phrase really struck a chord for me ‘Stay calm, Stay at home, do what we say’!! Sounds a little familiar!!

It was exhilarating, exhausting, extraordinary – an experience I am very grateful to have had the pleasure of reading – and living through! – and I cannot recommend this highly enough! One of my books of 2020!!

★★★★★