‘This Is Going To Hurt’ – Book of the Week

Heart-breaking, laughter-inducing, page-turning. The best book I have read in a while.

Wow. Just wow. I finished this book last night and needed to take a day to reflect on it before I began writing. I do not think I could thank Adam Kay enough for writing ‘This Is Going To Hurt’. It has given me a whole new view on the NHS and the medical profession in general.

This book is the ingenious collection of diary entries secretly made by a Doctor from his first day on the job all the way until he becomes a consultant. It is a very difficult book to put down as it is a perfect cocktail of one part humour, one part sadness, and one part the infuriating general public. Kay specialises in gynaecology, so his anecdotes range from delivering babies to pulling bizarre things out of private parts.

This book highlights not only the importance of the NHS, but also the many flaws within it. My (already high) respect for our doctors has massively sky-rocketed. We all know that being a doctor is hard work, but this journal really gives such a deep insight into the true exhaustion and exploits they face. We get exposed to the goings-on inside our hospitals, and gain a new perspective on major issues being debated in society now surrounding health care.

I do not want to give too much away, but the ending absolutely blew me away. It came out of nowhere and will probably follow me for a long time. Due to the nature of this book written in fragmented journal entries, it is very easy to put down and pick up when you have time (which works well for me as and English Lit student who barely has time to read what she actually wants to) and so I do genuinely recommend this to anyone, especially those of us in the UK who want a greater insight into our nation’s greatest pride: the NHS.

 

Let me know what you thought of this book below, and let me know if you have any recommendations!

Lots of love, Evie x

‘Freakonomics’ – Book of the Week

What do I know about economics? Diddly-squat. Nil. Nothing. But this book taught me the absolute basics, and was also an enjoyable read. Can you ask for more?

‘Freakonomics’ is written by top economists Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, and was a best-seller when it came out. These two economists write about economics in a new and exciting way, sometimes criticised within the economics world, but loved by the public regardless. It answers questions like how are teachers like sumo wrestlers? Why do drug dealers still live with their mothers? And why swimming pools are more deadly than guns. You can explore the trends in baby names and whether they define your child’s future career prospects. ‘Freakonomics’ teaches you to view the world differently, and to remember that correlation does not equal causation.

I recommend this book to anyone looking to expand their literary horizons beyond classic fiction novels. It is a real change-up and very readable.

But it for super cheap on Amazon! £6.57!

Lots of love from Evie x

‘Spark Joy’ – Book of the Week

Note: Sorry I haven’t written in so long! My new term at Uni has started and it is 50 Shades of Cray. I have a whole list of blog post ideas to do though so if you haven’t already then please follow this blog so you never miss a new post!

I’m sure you have heard of the hit cleaning sensation of Marie Kondo. If you haven’t, I implore you to go check out her new Netflix show ‘Tidying-Up with Marie Kondo’. It is such a feel-good show and absolutely inspired me to change my life (as well as this book!) This show and book are not just aimed at slobs or hoarders, they are even aimed at the most “clean freak” amongst us. The KonMarie method is not only about tidying, but also changes your perception of how you treat your possessions and house.

Marie tells us that it is of paramount importance to go through every single item that you own, hold it to your heart and ask yourself “Does This Spark Joy?” (with few exceptions for 100% necessary items such as passports and birth certificates, etc.) If this item does not spark joy for you, then respectfully thank it and give it away/throw it away. By every single item I mean every piece of cutlery, book, sock and shoe. This way, by the end of the process, you are absolutely surrounded by things that make you genuinely happy. I did this method and did give away a massive deal of my items (I would estimate around 70%) but now my space is way less cluttered, and I feel happy everywhere I turn.

Marie also teaches us how to fold clothes in a way that saves space and also that helps us see exactly how many of each clothing item we have. She teaches us how to organise, display and take pride in our items. Ever since picking up this book, I have become obsessed with organising, reorganising, tidying and cleaning. I have a great deal more appreciation for my belongings.

I would absolutely recommend this book and the KonMarie method of tidying to anyone with some patience and a real desire to feel more joy and comfort in their home. This book has genuinely changed my life and I can’t stop telling people about it! If you would like me to make a post about how I personally approached the KonMarie method, or perhaps what changes I have seen in my life as a result, then let me know in the comments below!

Here is the link to purchase the book on Amazon (where it is cheapest at only £7.87!) click the picture below:

 

Thank you very much for reading,

Love from Evie x

‘Them: Adventures With Extremists’ – Book of the Week

By now you should all know what a massive Jon Ronson fan I am. I have already written two reviews of ‘The Psychopath Test‘ and ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed‘, and I adored both of these books. Again, I did really enjoy this book, but I would not say it is as strong as the other two.

Ronson talks to a wide variety of characters to get a total understanding of different kings of extremists. He talks to an Islamic Fundamentalist, various KKK (Ku Klux Klan) branches, and even members of the Bilderberg group. He explores lizards ruling us in the form of Beyonce and Queen Elizabeth II. Gun lobbying white supremacists. Jihadis looking to take down the British government. These earlier topics were so interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning about them.

Although I did enjoy the novel, as I stated before I felt that it was not as strong as his other texts. Perhaps this is an unpopular opinion, but I felt some of the chapters were weaker and a bit repetitive. There are a few chapters dedicated to the Bilderberg group, which was relatively interesting but there was not enough substance to justify that much time. I would have liked more chapters on the KKK or Sharia Law advocates as these are the real extremist groups I think people were hoping to read about when they saw this novel. However, what is good about Ronson’s books is that the chapters are all separate stories, and so if one does not take your fancy then you can easily skip ahead to the next chapter.

Ultimately though I do recommend this book as it gives an interesting insight into the lives of these extremists. In true Ronson style, it is approached with a light-heartedness that does not make this a heavy read. He never truly mocks these extremists, rather tries to understand them, all while under the threat of them finding out that he is Jewish. His kind and respectable manner enables the extremists to trust him and we see a side of them that the world does not get to see.

This was only a short review as I think my blog content is a little Ronson heavy! Just wanted to share my opinion with you guys. What did you think of the book? And do you have any recommendations for me? Please let me know in the comments below!

To buy the book on amazon, click the image below:

‘Them: Adventures With Extremists’, £6.48, Amazon

 

Free Audible Download Link:

 

If you are interested then Amazon has given me the opportunity of offering you guys a 30 Day Free Trial with Kindle Unlimited! It’s like Netflix but for eBooks! There are over 1 million ebooks and audiobooks and you get to read an unlimited amount. The first 30 days is absolutely free with the link below, and after that it is only £7.99 a month, however you get to cancel at any time if you are unhappy with the service (which I highly doubt). That’s only £7.99 per month for unlimited books and audiobooks! And the first month is free? Unbelievable. You don’t even need a kindle! You can just download the free app onto your smartphone or tablet. If  you are ready to KindleUnlimited and Chill then just click the link below:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/kindle-dbs/hz/signup?tag=evelynrichard-21

Lots of love, Evie x

‘James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes’ – Book of the Week

I am going to be a little biased in this review as I absolutely adore James Acaster and his comedy. I just feel he is so clever and so weird, and we all know I love a weirdo! I first truly appreciated his work when he released four of his stand ups on Netflix titled ‘James Acaster: Repertoire’ and I honestly found them all so hilarious. Other friends/members of my family did not exactly “get” it, however the ones who did also instantly fell in love with him. I started listening to his podcast ‘Off Menu’ which is absolutely worth a try too.

I actually downloaded the audiobook of ‘Classic Scraps’ as I was going to be travelling in the car a lot over the Christmas holidays and did not want to get car sick. What is handy about this book is that it is a collection of short, funny stories from Acaster’s life. You can put the book down if you need to and come back to it- it isn’t a big commitment. Although the stories all stand alone, they do still refer back to one another and so the narrative does not feel too disjointed.

What is so funny and works about this book is that Acaster looks back on some of these stories with hindsight and does address the questions that the reader may be having, and so explains his backwards logic. I like that the ‘scrapes’ he gets himself into are not unbelievable or random, and there is some method to the madness, even if Acaster’s approach to the situation is not the same as regular people’s. This is the type of comedy I like as these situations don’t just occur “just because”, however there are a series of bad (and understandable) mistakes that snowball. Acaster has a rather literal interpretation of everything in life that always seem to result in him in some kind of mess.

I truly do recommend this to anyone who fancies a little pick-me-up on their commute as I know January can be a particularly drab time of year. Below I will provide the link to purchase the paperback on Amazon! Usually it is £9.99, however on Amazon it is only £6.92 which is an absolute steal:


‘James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes’, £6.92

 
I actually listened to this novel as an audiobook just because I was travelling a lot and it was easier for me to listen to it. I think this definitely added to the experience as his voice is so funny, and also there are a few songs in his book so you can actually hear how they go! So Amazon offers Kindle Unlimited (which is like Netflix but for books, audiobooks, magazines etc.) and has unlimited free stuff on it that you can download, I believe there are over 1,000,000 books on there so it is so worth it. Amazon offer a 30-Day Free Trial (I will link below) and then it’s only £7.99 a month after that. However, you can cancel at any time which is so handy, so if you did not enjoy your free trial you can just cancel. I honestly do recommend Kindle Unlimited if you a big reader/audiobook listener as in the long run it does end up being cheaper (especially for an English student like me who has to read like 2 books a week):

https://www.amazon.co.uk/kindle-dbs/hz/signup?tag=evelynrichard-21

Anyways let me know your thoughts on this book in the comments below! And do you have any books you want me to review or that you recommend for me? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Love from Evie x

‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’ – Book of the Week

 

Anyone who is a regular to this blog knows that I am a massive fan of Jon Ronson. After reading ‘The Psychopath Test’ (the detailed and enthusiastic review for that is here) I went and bought all of his books and downloaded his podcasts. My next book of choice was ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’. Again, a similar thing  happened when I started reading this book, I realised it sounded familiar. “Oh yes!” I thought, “I have already seen him do a Ted Talk on this topic.” The TedTalk also stuck in my mind, and so I will link to it below:

 

Although he explores many medias, Ronson mainly focuses his attention on online shaming- in particular Twitter. How people can tweet a misworded joke and end up being hated by the entire world. Death threats and rape threats thrown at them, and real-life ramifications such as being fired. Online shaming and exposure is even more relevant now than it was in 2015 when this novel was published as people like beauty-guru Laura Lee, director of Guardians of the Galaxy James Gunn, and more recently even beloved comedy-actor Kevin Hart have been under fire as people have dug up offensive tweets from years ago. It has started a debate around how long can someone have a dodgy tweet held against them? Should someone be fired for saying something offensive years ago, or do we forgive them? Who even deserves forgiveness? Is a racist tweet worse than a homophobic/sexist tweet? Ronson touches on these issues and more in his book. He also looks to empathise with the shamed. He gives context to their misworded tweets and gives advice on how to ride the shaming train and come out unscathed. He looks into the mob-mentality of public shaming and the psychology of being embarrassed. He researches cases where people have felt so ashamed for their acts that they have committed suicide (for example, Ashley-Madison is a site for people looking to start an affair. It was hacked and the names and details of thousands of users were leaked).

I recommend this book to anyone else who is as aware of the rise in online scandals and shaming and wants to explore the debates surrounding it. I would love to hear of your thoughts down below!

Love from, Evie x

‘Enduring Love’ – Book of the Week

First of all, I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Joyous Kwanzaa/Happy Holidays! Terribly sorry that I didn’t write for a while. I had a lot of essays to complete (including on this novel) however I could not write about it until after I submitted my essay in case I was accused of self-plagiarising! Anyways, I have a lot of posts lined up to make up for my absence!

The reason I focused my essay on ‘Enduring Love’ by Ian McEwan is because it asks more questions than it answers. While our narrator is telling us about how everyone is crazy and obsessive, we as a reader are left to wonder whether it was actually our narrator who was the mad one?

The main concept of the story is that Joe and Clarissa are having a picnic in a field when they notice a hot air balloon carrying a small child goes out of control. Joe and four strangers rush forwards to hold onto the balloon and save the boy. The balloon gets whisked into the air and four of the men drop off, yet a man called John Logan lets go too late and falls to his death. Joe is unable to rationalise the events that happened. One of the other attempted rescuers, named Jed, falls desperately in love with Joe despite them knowing one another. The rest of the text follows Joe making sense of the balloon event, and also trying to prove to Clarissa that Jed is obsessed with him.

McEwan drops so many clues within his twists and turns that cause the reader to doubt everything they read. Joe himself is proven untrustworthy as he contradicts himself and constantly lies to the police. What is going on here?  Is Jed really obsessed with Joe? Is Jed even real? Why does Clarissa not believe Joe for so long? I think you can really see that I enjoyed the uncertainty of this text.

The text also raises issues to do with philosophy, Science vs Religion, Game Theory, mental health and, as the title suggests, love. ‘Enduring Love’ could allude to Joe having to endure Jed’s love, which he does not want nor reciprocate. ‘Enduring Love’ could also suggest that Joe and Clarissa’s love has to endure the difficult events that take place in the book. McEwan plays with form; stream of consciousness, epistolary, various viewpoints and even an appendix with psychological case studies.

I very much recommend this novel to anyone looking for something that will really make them think. Although McEwan’s writing style is fairly simplistic and easy to follow, his actual content holds a great deal of ambiguity and forces the reader to truly think and fill in the narrative gaps. I love a book where I am forced to question not only everything I am told, but the actual narrative-voice itself. I would adore to hear what you thought in the comments down below!

Lots of love, Evie x