Posted in book review

#43 Sapiens: a brief history of humankind

sapiens

I tend to shy away from non-fiction generally, but when a University friend suggested that I read Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari as it ‘changed her life’, I thought it was worth a shot. Clearly everyone had heard the same thing, as it took me months to get hold of…

Sapiens is the story of us; Homo Sapiens. Mapping life and its changes from the dawn of time to the present day, he explores all aspects of the human experience; religion, politics, society, science, technology and more. We know Homo Sapiens 100,000 years ago are very different from the humans today, but why? Why did we survive when so many others didn’t? What might the future hold? Harari explores these questions using a combination of artifacts, photos, anthropological, scientific and historical opinions.

Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power… and our future.

Keep on reading!

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Posted in book review

#39 The power

power

Next on my list was the latest Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction winner- The power by Naomi Alderman. It caught my attention with its striking cover and fascinating concept; a dystopian world where women, literally, hold the power. I couldn’t wait to get stuck in!

Ten years ago a strange power awakens in young women across the world. Beneath their skin is a formidable electric force that can shock or maim with a simple touch. Power has shifted; men are scared. We follow the stories of Roxy- the powerful daughter of a British crime lord, Tunde- a young, ambitious Nigerian male journalist, Allie- an abused foster child who hears a guiding voice, and Margot- a middle-aged, American politician.

The day of the girls has arrived- but where will it end?

Keep on reading!

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#37 Mortal engines

mortal

As you already know, as part of my quest to read the Carnegie shortlist earlier in the year, I came across the wonderful Railhead by Philip Reeve. It was completely out of my comfort zone and completely brilliant. When a colleague of mine suggested I try Mortal engines– in her opinion, the better of the two- I jumped at the chance.

Mortal engines is set in the post-apocalyptic future. ‘Traction Cities’ have been literally uprooted and spend their days chasing and consuming smaller, weaker cities across the Great Hunting Ground. The biggest and most renowned of these is London; home to Thaddeus Valentine, Head Historian and much adored archaeologist. One day Tom- third-level apprentice- saves Valentines life. “Ask him what he did to Hester Shaw” insists the disfigured assassin, minutes before they both fall from London into the Out-Country. Will Tom be able to find out the truth before it’s too late?

Keep on reading!

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#37 Baby doll

baby

Everyone needs a guilty pleasure. Mine come in many forms (reality TV, Disney films, cheap white toast and butter…), but in book terms it equates to nasty psychological thrillers. After reading some real crackers of late- prizewinners, worthy, thought-provoking reads- I needed a break. An easy read of sorts. Hollie Overton’s debut novel Baby doll fitted the bill.

It’s been eight years since Lily, Abby’s twin, disappears from the face of the earth. A community and family is left shocked to the core. Then the unthinkable happens; Lily escapes, battered and abused, and returns home. But what happened to her? And more importantly, what happens now?

Escape is just the beginning.

Keep on reading!

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#36 The aftermath

aftermat

Rhidian Brook’s historical novel- The aftermath– was my next book group read. I’ve read a lot of historical fiction of late, particularly books set around WWII (All the light we cannot see, Salt to the sea, The light between oceans, Wolf Hollow…), so I wasn’t sure how it would hold up.

It’s the bitter winter of 1946 in the war torn remains of Hamburg; people are displaced, starving. British Colonel, Lewis is tasked with the re-building of the once great city and the search for Nazis. Gifted a grand house, compassionate Lewis decides not to evict its previous tenants- German architect Lubert and his troubled daughter Frieda- much to the dismay of his wife, Rachel and remaining son Edmund. What follows is a story of loss, love and choices. In varying shades of grey.

Keep on reading!

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#35 One of us is lying

lying

I do love a good whodunnit book. Karen M. McManus’ debut YA novel- One of us is lying– looked right up my street:

A Geek, A Jock, A Criminal, A Princess. A MURDER. Who would you believe?

Five high school students enter detention; only four make it out alive. Simon- creator of the infamous gossip App- has dirt on all of them. And now he’s dead. Before he had a chance to tell. All of them protests their innocence, but who is lying?
Keep on reading!

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#34 The light between oceans

light

I’ve had to read a lot of books over the years that I would never have picked myself; some have been gems, others not so much. The light between oceans is absolutely a book I would never have considered had it not been on my book group list this year. The synopsis was promising:

The light between the oceans is the story of Tom, lighthouse keeper on the remote island of Janus, and his wife Izzy. One day a boat arrives. Inside is a dead man and a baby. Tom and Izzy have to make a choice. But is it the right one?

“This is the story about right and wrong and how sometimes they look the same…”

Keep on reading!