Weekly Update Oct / Nov 2019

I am sorry that I have been so quiet recently, I have started studying. Yes, I may be completely mad by I thought that if I liked books so much why don’t I study them. So, a mix of the books in the above pile are ones that I have to read, lets be frank I would not read Hamlet out of choice. This is my reading pile this week, I will of course update you as to how I get on and when I finish them and my thoughts. Let me know if you have read any of them and what your thoughts were?

 

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (published by Vintage )

In this vivid portrait of one day in a woman’s life, Clarissa Dalloway is preoccupied with the last-minute details of a party she is to give that evening. As she readies her house she is flooded with memories and re-examines the choices she has made over the course of her life.

This is one of my study reads.

This is another of the books that I need to read as part of my degree. Hamlet by William Shakespeare. I believe Maggie O’Farroll is due to release Hamnet her first historical novel around the story of Hamlet (Tinder Press) which I cannot wait to read.

Hamlet is considered one of Shakespeare’s most rich and enduring plays, the depiction of its hero Hamlet as he vows to avenge the murder of his father by his brother Claudius is both powerful and complex. As Hamlet tries to find out the truth of the situation, his troubled relationship with his mother comes to the fore as do the paradoxes in his personality. A play of carefully crafted conflict and tragedy, Shakespeare’s intricate dialogue continues to fascinate audiences to this day.

A Thousand Ships

I was very excited to see A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes (published by Mantle at my local library and knew that I had to pick it up. I have become obsessed with this type of book after reading Circe, I thought A Thousand Ships was an ideal companion.

In the middle of the night, Creusa wakes to find her beloved Troy engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of brutal conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over, and the Greeks are victorious. Over the next few hours, the only life she has ever known will turn to ash……

The devastating consequences of the fall of Troy stretched from Mount Olympus to Mount Ida, from the citadel of Troy to the distant Greek islands, and across oceans and sky in between. These are the stories of the women embroiled in that legendary war and its terrible aftermath, as well as the feud and the fatal decisions that started it all……

I have put This Is How We Change The Ending by Vikki Wakefield (published by Text Publishing) I heard Vikki talk over the weekend and she is one inspirational lady, if she is talking near you, she is a must to go and see.

Nate McKee is doing his best to be invisible. He’s worried about a lot of things- how his dad treats Nance and his twin half-brothers; they hydro crop in his bedroom; his reckless friend, Merrick.

Nate hangs out at the local youth centre and fills his notebooks with things he can’t say. When some of his pages are stolen, and his words turn up as graffiti on the centre, he realises he has allies. He might be able to make a difference, change his life, and claim his future. Or can he?

Targeted

The last book on my pile and I need to say a big thank you to Harper Collins for sending me a copy of Targeted by Brittany Kaiser I have already started reading this. It is an addicted, eye-opening read.

They know what you buy.

They know who your friends are.

They know everything about you- most of all how to manipulate you.

When Brittany Kaiser first sat down with Alexander Nix, the charismatic head of the upstart political communications firm Cambridge Analytica, she believed that personal data- the information collected about you from your smartphone, social media and online habits – could be a force for good.

What began as an unlikely job prospect soon became something much more nefarious, as Kaiser’s efforts to build the world’s leading data-science company culminated instead with Brexit and the presidency of Donald Trump.

Going behind the scenes of Cambridge Analytica’s rise and fall, Kaiser pulls the curtain back on the big business of Big Data, explaining how people’s online behaviour is influence when their data is weaponised against them.

A pretty diverse reading pile. What are you currently reading?

Have a good weekend

x

If you are a publisher and would like your book to feature in my reading pile, please message me at thesecretworldofabookblogger@mail.com

New Book – The Changing Room by Christine Sykes

I wanted to say a big thank you to the Ventura Press team for sending me a copy of The Changing Room by Christine Sykes which is due to be released on 1 November 2019.

Inspired by the woman behind the charity Dress for Success (DFS), The Changing Room is an uplifting and heart-warming story of female empowerment, proving that there is more to fashion than just clothes.

Following the recent launch of Meghan Markles’ clothing line in conjunction with Smart Works, a similar service to DFS in the UK, The Changing Room captures the diverse stories of the women working with these charities.

Author Christine Sykes volunteered at DFS at their Sydney headquarters for many years before penning the novel. Motivated by the women working behind the scenes and many success stories they inspire, Christine captures the transformation that such a service can provide for women from all walks of life.

Synopsis – A story of hope, second chances and the power of female friendships.

Anna is in her sixties with dream job and the man to match. Claire is a forty-six-year-old philanthropist with a picture-perfect family. And then there is Molly, who has seen more strife in her twenty years than anyone should, but has more love to give than most.

When their lives are turned upside down, these women must discover how to start over. Guided by Sustainability, a clothing and styling service for disadvantaged women, Anna, Claire and Molly find the courage to rebuild their lives – with a few outfit changes along the way.

The Changing Room is published on 1 November 2019.

Weekly Update – October 2019

I have had an okay reading week. Although, I am struggling to finish my books, I have been wanting to start books and then just don’t fancy them. Perhaps it’s the typical I have so many clothes, but nothing to wear but with books. I am sure you will understand.

A Moth to a Flame

On my reading pile A Moth To A Flame by Stig Dagerman. This book is part of the Penguin European Writers collection. I have read a couple of chapters and already want to collect the rest of the books within the series. Stig Dagerman was a popular writer in Europe but had not quite made the same impact on the UK market. I have made a start with this book, I just need to finish it, there is nothing wrong with the book – it’s just me and my little brain unable to concentrate for longer then five minutes.

Synopsis – In 1940s Stockholm, a young man named Bengt falls into deep, private turmoil after the unexpected death of his mother. As he struggles to cope with his loss, his despair slowly transforms to rage when he discovers that his father had a mistress. Bengt swears revenge on behalf of his mother’s memory, but he soon finds himself drawn into a fevered and forbidden affair with the very woman he set out destroy….

Unfortunately, this book I did not managed to get to this weekend, but of course it will remain on my reading pile.

A Moth To A Flame is published by Penguin .

Mr Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore

The next book is Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Book Store by Robin Sloan which is another book that I am nearly done and hoping to finish over the weekend.

Synopsis – Clay Jannon, twenty-six and unemployed, reads books about vampire policemen and teenage wizards. Familiar, predictable books that fit neatly into a section at the bookstore. But he is about to encounter a new species of book entirely; secret. Strange and frantically sought after.

These books will introduce him to the strangest, smartest girl he’s ever met. They will lead him across the country, through the shadowed spaces where old words hide. They will set him on a quest to unlock a secret held tight since the time of Gutenberg – a secret that touches us all.

But before that, these books will get him a job.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Book Store is published by Text Publishing .

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The next amazing book is Paris Savages by Katherine Johnson, with the long weekend coming up I plan to make a dent in this novel. I must focus.

Synopsis – Fraser Island 1882. The population of the Badtjala people is in sharp decline following a run of brutal massacres. When German scientist Louis Muller offers to sail three Badtjala people – Bonny, Jurano and Dorondera – to Europe to perform to huge crowds, the proud and headstrong Bonny agrees, hoping to bring his people’s plight to the Queen of England.

Accompanied by Muller’s bright, grieving daughter, Hilda, the group begin their journey to belle-epoque Europe to perform in Hamburg, Berlin, Paris and eventually London. While crowds in Europe are enthusiastic to see the unique dances, singing, fights and pole climbing is relentless and the culture in the world, the attention is relentless and the fascination of scientists intrusive. When disaster strikes, Bonny must find a way to return home.

Paris Savages is published by Ventura Press..

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, I managed to get this book finished over the week. I adored this story and just simply find Jessie’s writing addictive. That is why I gobbled the book up in one sitting.

Synopsis – There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed.

On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives at a grand house in Amsterdam to begin her new life as the wife of wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt. Though curiously distant, he presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift; a cabinet-sized presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift; a cabinet-sized replica of her home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist; whose tiny creations ring eerily true.

As Nella uncovers the secrets of her new household, she realizes the escalating dangers they face. The miniaturist seems to hold their fate in her hands – but does she plan to save or destroy them?

The Miniaturist is published by Picador.

The War Artist by Simon Cleary I completed today. At the end of the novel I was a completely emotional mess. Being an ex-military wife, I found a real connection with this novel, especially Penny, who was the wife of Brigadier James Phelan who had just returned from Afghanistan with the body of a young soldier. Brigadier Phelan has PTSD and we witness the consequences and impact war can have not within the environment, but at home and the ripple impact on the family.

Penny was such a believable and what I would say typically a military wife, she has learnt to get on with life at home and ensure it is running smoothly for when your husband / partner returning home. But what you do not realise until you have a partner who is away for long periods is that life can pass you by and it can be difficult for soldiers to fit back into “normal” life.

Thank you, Simon, what a beautiful and important story you have shared. This is a conversation that is often hidden or not discussed; however, the realities can have a catastrophic impact that no one can predict.

What a book!

Synopsis – When Brigadier James Phelan returns from Afghanistan with the body of a young soldier killed under his command, he is traumatized by the tragedy. An encounter with young Sydney tattoo artist Kira leaves him with a permanent tribute to the soldier, and it is a meeting that will change the course of his life. What he isn’t expecting on his homecoming is a campaign of retribution from the soldiers who blame him for the ambush and threaten his career. With his marriage also on the brink, his life spirals out of control.

The War Artist is published by University of Queensland Press.

There have been three novels / novella’s that have crept onto my reading pile.

Joan Smokes

The first is, Joan Smokes by Angela Meyer (which I have featured on my blog).

Synopsis – She used to be someone else, but now she’s arrived in Vegas, where she can start again. It won’t do to let the past leak in. It’s the Sixties now. She’s going to become…Joan. She makes a list; Buy a dress (fitted, floral). Dye her hair (dark). Curl it. Buy red lipstick. Buy cigarettes and a lighter, too; Joan, she decides, is a smoker. There’s no need to dwell on why she’s here, what went before. She is just moving forward, one foot in front of the other, becoming that new person. Joan. This city of flashing neon, casinos and shows is full of distractions. Finding a job will be quick and easy. Things to do. New People to meet. A clean sheet. She’s certainly not thinking about Jack, or…No. Not anymore. Her new life starts right here, right now.

Joan Smokes is published by Contraband an imprint of Saraband.

Happiness

The next book is Happiness by Aminatta Forna another book I have only heard good things about.

Synopsis – Waterloo Bridge, London. Two strangers collide; Attila, a Ghanaian psychiatrist, and Jean, an American studying urban foxes. Jean joins Attila in his search for his niece’s missing son, and mobilises the network of volunteer fox spotters she has built up, mainly from the West African immigrants working London’s streets and hotel doorways.

As Jean and Attile’s friendship deepens, Forna asks us to consider the values of the society we live in, our co-existence with one another and all living creatures – and the true nature of happiness.

Happiness is published by Bloomsbury.

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And the last novel, The Polyglot Lovers by Lina Wolff (Translated by Saskia Vogel)

Synopsis – Ellinor is thirty-six. She wears soft black sweatpants and a Michelin Man jacket. She fights. Smart and unsentimental, she tries her hand at online dating, only to be stranded by a snowstorm with a literary critic. Cut to Max Lamas, an author who dreams of a polyglot lover, a woman who will understand him – in every tongue. His search takes him to Italy, where he befriends a marchesa whose old Roman family is on the brink of ruin. At the heart of this literary intrigue is a handwritten manuscript that leave no one unaffected.

The Polyglot Lovers is published by Andotherstories.

Hopefully, with the bank holiday weekend here in Australia I can get started on my reading pile, I of course will keep you up to date on how I get on.

If you would like your book to feature in my wrap up or on my blog, please do email me at Thesecretworldofabookblogger@mail.com

Have a great week x