Book Review: The Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris

Book Review: The Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris

Genre: Non-fiction, medical history, medicine. Publisher: Allen Lane, Penguin Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 * No Spoilers This is an electrifying book about the history of surgery from the point of view of one of its pioneers, Joseph Lister. A humble and unassuming Quaker, Lister managed to rise up through the ranks of Edinburgh’s…

Book Review: Standing At the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet by Joan Halifax

Book Review: Standing At the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet by Joan Halifax @jhalifax

Genre: Non-fiction, spirituality, Zen buddhism, psychology, philosophy. Publisher: Flatiron Books Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 Halifax with the Dalai Lama Standing At the Edge is a once in a lifetime kind of book. I don’t say that lightly either. It’s a life-changing and life-affirming book that combines philosophy, Zen Buddhism, psychology, and much more…

odd quirky emotion Book Review: Consolations:The Solace, Nourishment & Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words by David Whyte

Book Review: Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment & Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words by David Whyte

Genre: Non-fiction, Spirituality, Philosophy Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 1/2 stars *Contains no spoilers In this slim and elegant volume of philosophy and inspiration, writer David Whyte tackles the big topics and words that rarely get any airtime in our society, the kinds of things that haunt people but that are difficult to resolve and so…

Book Review: The Life Project: The Extraordinary Story of 70,000 Ordinary Lives by Helen Pearson

Book Review: The Life Project: The Extraordinary Story of 70,000 Ordinary Lives by Helen Pearson

Genre: Non-fiction, social sciences, history, public health Publisher: Counterpoint Rating: 🌟 🌟 The Life Project is published by Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Books that focuses serious non-fiction from different realms like history, politics, science and philosophy. I really expected a lot from this book and it didn’t deliver. The Life Project is written…

Book Review: Earthlings by Sayaka Murata

Book Review: Earthlings by Sayaka Murata

Genre: Japanese fiction, fantasy, Magic realism. Publisher: Granta *No spoilers Rating: This one is mindblowing, a solid 5/5 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 This is the second and much awaited fictional novel by the Japanese author of Convenience Store Woman. A book I have also reviewed and absolutely adored in the past. Earthlings traverses familiar…

Book Review: How to be A Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals by Sy Montgomery

Book Review: How to be A Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals by Sy Montgomery

Genre: Non-fiction, conservation, nature, spirituality. Publisher: HMH Books Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 *No spoilers This is an extra special book. It’s filled with nourishing and kind-hearted stories of one woman’s relationships with a lifetime's worth of unique and amazing creatures. Author Sy Montgomery’s relationships with animals mirrors so many other people's stories and…

Book Review: Standing Firm: Resisting The Self Improvement Craze by Svend Brinkmann

Book Review: Standing Firm: Resisting The Self Improvement Craze by Svend Brinkmann

‘Standing Firm’ in the sense of this book means to counter the incessant drive towards more, more, more of everything. It’s a call to action to resist and stand firm against ‘improvement culture’, not just self-improvement and personal development, but also the constant acceleration and growth in our economic systems, and the overuse and destruction…

Book Review: The Pregnancy Diaries Vol. 1 by Googie McCabe

Book Review: The Pregnancy Diaries Vol. 1 by Googie McCabe

Infused with the vast and never-ending love of a mum for her unborn daughter, The Pregnancy Diaries Volume 1 is an absolutely hilarious, witty and enjoyable romp through pregnancy from conception to birth. Any woman who has given birth (or any supportive man who has gone along for the journey) will be able to relate…

Book Review: Words of a Kaumātua by Haare Williams

Book Review: Words of a Kaumātua by Haare Williams

A compelling, rich and lush blend of essay, poetry, reflections and personal stories by one of New Zealand's most preeminent Māori writers. I have to admit that I didn't know much about Haare Williams before picking up this book in Te Papa Museum in Wellington. This is a definitive collection of Māori wisdom that is…

Book Review: Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

*Contains no spoilers Right from the start I was hooked on this novel by the celebrated author Michael Ondaatje who wrote the classic The English Patient which won the Booker Prize in 1992 and was turned into an equally successful film. His follow up, Anil's Ghost failed to hit the mark, at least for me.…

Book Review: Names for the Sea by Sarah Moss

Book Review: Names for the Sea by Sarah Moss

*contains a few spoilers (sorry I couldn't resist) Iceland has always held a unique fascination for me. Driven by a love for Sigur Rós and Björk, along with the vague romance of going to a remote and icy place. In Names for the Sea by Sarah Moss, you get to actually explore the nuts and…

An Anatomical Guide to Godzilla and other Gigantic Japanese monsters

An Anatomical Guide to Godzilla and other Gigantic Japanese Monsters

These amazing diagrams showing a medical cross–section of Godzilla along with other Japanese monsters such as Mothra, Gamera and Agurius. These illustrations were created in 1967 by Shogo Endo for a book called 'An Anatomical Guide to Monsters'. This cult book was crafted by Shoji Otomo (writer) along with Shogo Endo (illustrator) (1967). An Anatomical…

Book Review: Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

Book Review: Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

*No spoilers A book about experimental archaeology and family violence that’s brimming with glorious dread and that closes in around you like a vice. The novel's short 160 pages are absolutely electrifying and seem far bigger. Best enjoyed during the witching hours of 11pm and 3 am. Ghost Wall opens with an ancient hair-raising scene,…

Book Review: The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

Book Review: The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

*No spoilers "We all live in patterns we do not see. We are all following magic ravens, even when we are lost. Otherwise there would be no story." ~ Sarah Moss, The Tidal Zone. Sarah Moss is now my favourite writer. She seems to be a occupied with the lives of women. However in this…

Seven suspenseful and unforgettable historical novels

Seven suspenseful and unforgettable historical novels

Great historical novels are fully immersed in time, place and have a tangible effect of bringing you into a time period that you may otherwise never know. This is what’s truly exhilerating about the historical novel. The setting and surroundings become like a fully formed character in the novel. Whether we’re talking about a British…

Historic Jukebox: Everything But the Girl, Deep Dish and Patrick Hamilton

Book Review: Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky: A London Trilogy by Patrick Hamilton

*No spoilers Patrick Hamilton isn't really as well known as he should be, which is a crime and a shame. He is a fantastic and yet underrated British writers of the post-war era. You may recognise his work in the play Rope which was turned into a well-known Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name.…

Travel: Weird subway ads in Japan

Seven Unique and Moving Fictional Books Set in Japan

Japan is a country close to my heart and since I first went there a few years ago, I have become a big fan of Japanese fiction and Asian fiction translated to English. Japanese fiction tends to emphasise the liminal and fantasy aspects hidden at the edges of everyday reality and also exploring the inner…

Book Review: Lost Wisdom by Una McGovern and Paul Jenner

Ten Quirky and Mind Expanding History Books

Here’s a collection of the best and treasured history books that I don’t think I could ever part with. They are quirky and delve into a little known aspect of history making them delightful lazy weekend reading. I hope you can get a hold of them, if you do...please let me know what you think…

Book Review: Lost Wisdom by Una McGovern and Paul Jenner

Book Review: Lost Wisdom by Una McGovern and Paul Jenner

Lost Wisdom and its two other companion books Lost Crafts and Lost Lore are beautifully typeset and laid out. Their contents are a cabinet of curiosities - a wunderkammer of the same sort as the Book of Barely Imagined Beings, which I have mentioned in the past. Although in this case Lost Wisdom runs the…

Book Review: All that Remains: A Life in Death by Sue Black

Book Review: All that Remains: A Life in Death by Sue Black

Scottish Forensic Anthropologist and Professor Sue Black's memoir about her life confronting death won the Saltire Book of the Year in 2018. Forensic anthropology (in case you are wondering) is the study of human remains in order to solve criminal cases. I was very excited to read this book. Yet the first few chapters of…

Book Review: The Sky Atlas: The Greatest Map Myths and Discoveries of the Universe by Edward Brooke-Hitching

Book Review: The Sky Atlas by Edward Brooke Hitching

Edward Brooke Hitching, history-hound, lover of quirky things and writer for the ever-popular and erudite quiz show QI, has written The Sky Atlas. A treasury and history of some of humankind’s most beautiful maps and charts. Yet this book is more than that, it’s a sparkling and glittering array of sky-bound achievements. It’s a visual…

Book Review: His Bloody Project by Graeme MacRae Burnet

His Bloody Project by author Graeme Macrae Burnet recounts the story of the triple murder and subsequent trial of accused 17 year old crofter Roderick McRae, who brutally slays three people in his remote village in 1896. Roderick lives with his family in a tiny croft on a property and land owned by the laird. His…

Book Review: The Recovering Intoxication and its Aftermath by Leslie Jamieson

Book Review: The Recovering Intoxication and its Aftermath by Leslie Jamieson

The Recovering is a memoir about alcohol and how it runs rampant in the lives of writers and artists throughout history. It’s seen through the lens of the book’s author, Leslie Jameson as she navigates her way through life and the being drunk and being in recovery. Jamieson clearly has a knack for the written…

Book Review: Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach

Book Review: Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach

Tulip Fever is one of the most captivating historical fiction reads I have had the pleasure of enjoying in recent years. Tulip Fever takes place in Amsterdam in the 1630's during a time of immense wealth that is brought into the country by merchants and tulip sellers. If you enjoyed that other iconic historical novel…

Book Review: The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann

Book Review: The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann

*No spoilers Recently translated into English from German, The Pine Islands tells the story of Gilbert Silvester, a stuffy middle-aged lecturer in Germany. His area of academic specialisation is beard fashions in film. One day he finds out his wife is cheating on him (or so he believes, we never discover the truth). So he…

Book Review: Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson achieved great fame for her book Life After Life. This is one of her earlier and lesser known collections of short stories. I have to admit I never got into Life After Life, so I was a bit dubious about whether or not I would like this one. However, I was absolutely transfixed…

Book Review: Medieval Bodies: Life and Death in the Middle Ages by Jack Hartnell

Book Review: Medieval Bodies Life and Death in the Middle Ages by Jake Hartnell

Art Historian Jake Hartnell takes us on a macabre and enthralling journey from head to toe in the medieval human body. This is fascinating because, even though we share the same bodies as our medieval ancestors, we had wildly diverging beliefs about the inherent symbolic power of parts of our bodies and what could heal,…

Book Review: Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg https://wp.me/p41CQf-KRb

Six Exciting Frontier Novels Set at the Extreme Edges of Civilisation

Sometimes you want to be right there at the edge of an icy cliff staring death right in the face. But not really, just in your imagination. Here are some poetic, beautifully written and profound adventure and survival stories that will take you to dangerous places, without having to leave your sofa. To the Bright…

Book Review: The Lives of the Surrealists by Desmond Morris

Book Review: The Lives of the Surrealists by Desmond Morris

This is an incredible book. Written by Desmond Morris who is a prominent Zoologist and well-known for his book The Naked Ape. It's possibly less widely known that Morris was himself a surrealist and knew many of the prominent surrealists in the art movement. I have to admit not knowing much about Surrealism prior to…

The Book of Symbols: Reflections of Archetypal Images by the Archive for Research into Archetypal Sybolism (Taschen)

Book Review: The Book of Symbols by the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS)

The Book of Symbols is a masterpiece of art history, philosophy, mysticism, psychology, anthropology, biology and spirituality. It brings together the history of various symbols, concepts and objects from many cultures and civilisations.