Book of the Week, non-fiction, Uncategorized

Book of the Week: Catch and Kill

It may have been a shorter than some reading list again last week, but nevertheless I am back to normal service with the BotW posts today and I’ve got a cracker for this week’s pick. And yes it’s had a lot of hype but it’s really worth it.

Cover of Catch and Kill

I think you’d have to have been under a rock to have missed the Harvey Weinstein story breaking last year. The former movie mogul – the producer behind many Oscar-winning movies – was accused sexual harassment and paying settlements to women in a New York Times article by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey and then five days later by multiple women of a pattern of predatory behaviour of sexual assaults (including rape) in a New Yorker article written by Ronan Farrow. Weinstein has always denied wrong doing, saying that via his lawyers that any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied and there are cases still making their way through the courts in the US. But Farrow’s investigation of Weinstein originally started as part of his work for NBC News. This is the story behind that original New Yorker article – of how Farrow assembled the witnesses and evidence to stand the story up and of the efforts that he says were being taken to stop the story getting on air.

Two years after those first articles (which saw Kantor, Twohey, Farrow, the NYT and New Yorker share a Pulitzer Prize) we already know most of the allegations about Weinstein and this book has mostly made headlines because of the allegations made about the attempts to suppress the story. But it’s also a pacey and incredibly readable piece of narrative nonfiction. It’s very easy to read, and Farrow is realistic about his role and position in the world – in case you’ve missed it, he’s the son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen and was a child genius who went to college in his teens and who is estranged from his father. Farrow has a way with words – this reads almost like a thriller novel, and not just because of the presence of secretive Israeli spies. It’s also wryly funny in places – mostly when Farrow’s partner, podcaster and former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett, appears, something that Lovett has Thoughts About when it comes to the audiobook:

This is one of the best nonfiction books I’ve read this year and would make a great Christmas book gift – even though the subject matter doesn’t sound like it would. I borrowed my copy from the library, but you should be able to get a copy of Catch and Kill from all good bookshops (I’m thinking it’ll be on a table/new books display), as well as on Kindle, Kobo and Audible, although I understand that there have been some problems in some territories with legal threats.  Is it any wonder that I’ve read and rewritten this post several times?!

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: November 4 – November 10

A super busy week. Again.  Also I spent Sunday at two concerts, which was amazing, but obviously not reading.  Maybe I’m finally getting my reading and everything else balance sorted out?

Read:

Already Home by Susan Mallery

The Princess Plan by Julia London

Wrapped Up In You by Jill Shalvis

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

Smoke and Mirrors by Elly Griffiths

Started:

Shirley Flight, Air Hostess and the Great Bullion Mystery by Judith Dale

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Any Old Diamonds by KJ Charles

Still reading:

The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

Three books – all Girls Own stuff – bought in a moment of weakness. Lovely stuff.

Bonus photo: The stage ahead of Maria Friedman’s concert at the Southbank Centre on Sunday night.

Spotlight on a microphone

Book of the Week

Book of the Week: No BotW

Yeah, I’m sorry. There was a wedding last week and I didn’t get as much read as usual.  All the good stuff I read last week is already earmarked for other posts or I’ve written about too recently and I can’t write about stuff that I don’t really feel enthusiastic about – it’s just not my style. Normal service will be resumed next week!  In the meantime, here’s some stuff I’ve written previously about Lumberjanes the graphic novels and the Lumberjanes novelisations and about Jill Shalvis .  And there’s a whole bunch of posts about Trisha Ashley too.

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: October 28 – November 3

A really, really busy week – what with an election coming our way in the UK in December and a family wedding to go to (and then recover from!).

Read:

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Lumberjanes Vol 11 by Shannon Watters et al

Died and Gone to Devon by TP Fielden

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

The Christmas Invitation by Trisha Ashley

The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden by Karina Yan Glaser

Started:

Wrapped Up In You by Jill Shalvis

Already Home by Susan Mallery

Still reading:

The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

No books bought – no time!

Bonus photo: a rare sighting of me, here I am in my finery at the wedding reception!

 

Book of the Week, graphic novels, Young Adult

Book of the Week: Pumpkinheads

A busy week in reading last week with lots on the list. You’ll be hearing more about some of them (yes I know, I keep saying that but look – you had a Recommendsday post last week and that was worth it right?) but as it’s Halloween this week this seemed like the obvious choice.

UK Edition of Pumpkinheads

Written by Rainbow Rowell and illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks, Pumpkinheads tells the story of one night in the life of Deja and Josiah.  They are seasonal friends.- they’ve worked at the same stall at the same pumpkin patch together, every autumn, all through high school – but never see each other between Halloween and next September 1. But their last year. And more specifically their last night. Josiah wants to be melancholy, but Deja wants him to seize the moment and let go of his quest to be the employee of the month and enjoy their final shift together. To that end she’s traded their shifts at the succotash stall for something closer to where Josiah’s long-term crush works, in the hope that she can persuade him to finally ask her out. But what actually happens ends up being a mad chase around the patch to finally see all the sights and taste all the snacks.

I’m not a horror reader, so Halloween themed reading is always a challenge for me.  But if you’re like me and need some low stakes, low peril Halloween reading, this may be exactly what is required. This is funny and sweet and not at all scary, but it is very, very Halloween-y. We don’t really have pumpkin patches over here – or if we do it’s a very recent arrival – so it’s not something that I’m familiar with, but that didn’t matter because the art did all the work for you.  I loved the visual style of this – the colour palette is gorgeously autumnal and the characters are all really expressive.  There’s so much detail here too – I loved the runaway goat and the troublesome teens.  Read this curled up on your sofa with a seasonal beverage whilst hiding from trick or treaters.

My copy of Pumpkinheads came from my local comic store – your local should be able to get hold of it too. Otherwise it’s available from all the usual sources.  I’ve also written about some of Rainbow Rowell’s books before – here are my reviews of Carry On and Fangirl. I also finished Wayward Son – which is the sequel to Carry On – last week.  It’s really good, but you need to have read Carry On to get the most out of it.  And there’s a third book coming too.  Exciting times.

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: October 21 -October 27

A week of finishing books and starting new ones. I nearly finished the Cormoran Strike on Sunday night, but it’s not exactly bedtime reading and I had to switch to something different last thing to try and avoid nightmares. I know, I’m a big child.

Read:

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

Playing for Keeps by Jill Shalvis

A Christmas to Remember by Lisa Kleypas, Lorraine Heath, Megan Frampton and Vivienne Loret

The Rogue of Fifth Avenue by Joanna Shupe

My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Started:

Died and Gone to Devon by TP Fielden

The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden by Karina Yan Glaser

The Christmas Invitation by Trisha Ashley

The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

Still reading:

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Bonus photo: a cache of books from my childhood, rediscovered in some boxes from my parents’ garage (delivered to me to deal with now we’re in the new house). And yes, I was reading Agatha Christie at the top end of primary school, at the same sort of time I was reading Narnia…

 

 

Book of the Week

Book of the Week: Vacationland

As I mentioned yesterday, was a bit of a week last week and there nearly wasn’t a BotW post this week – until I finished this on the train home on Sunday evening.  And after a long spell without an essay collection as a pick, we’ve now had two come along in quick succession.  Such is the way of reading. Or more accurately, such is the way of library hold queues.  This also continues a bit of a theme of things that I discovered through Jon Stewart, which includes previous BotW Jim Henson: A Biography (and you could argue Born A Crime as that’s where I first saw Trevor Noah – when he was a correspondent before he got the gig when Jon left) as well as a whole host of books people, shows and music I haven’t written about here, although the list here will expand further tomorrow. Aren’t I a tease?!

Cover of Vacationland by John Hodgman

Anyway, you may know John Hodgman for his turn as Deranged Billionaire* on The Daily Show in the Jon Stewart era.  Or as the PC in the apple ads in the 1990s. Or for his Judge John Hodgman podcast.  Anyway, he’s carved out a bit of a niche for what he calls in the book “Privilege Comedy”.  This is a book of essays which form a memoir about his travels through two states – Massachusetts, where he spent his childhood holidays and early adult summers and Maine, where his wife spent her childhood holidays. It’s also about losing a parent, realising that you’re a man in your forties, actually a grownup and that you need to learn to deal with it, and that freshwater clams are scary.

My life is really quite different from John’s, but I found this funny, reflective and thought provoking.  It’s also a lot more real than I was expecting given John’s stage personas.  I saw him do Judge John Hodgman live a couple of years back, and while it was very funny, it was definitely a performance of a character.  This is not that. I came away feeling like I had more of a handle on who he is behind the act, and what makes him tick.  He’s also very aware of the position that he is in, as a well-off white man and points out all the things that he is able to do (and tell you about) in this book because of that and that is refreshing in itself.

And as someone whose knowledge of New England comes almost entirely from Rich People novels and biographies or cozy crime, and of Maine specifically mainly from Murder, She Wrote, I felt like I came away knowing a lot more about that part of the American coast, what it looks like, how its economy work and what it really means when little towns in Maine or Massachusetts pop up in novels.

My copy of Vacationland came from the library, but it’s available in Kindle, Kobo and audiobook, as well as in hardback in the UK and paperback if you’re prepared to order in from the US. Foyles don’t have any available as click and collect, but say they can have the hardback to you in a couple of days, and Waterstones found one London branch and a brighton one with stock for click and collect so it is probably an order a copy job rather than a pop in and pick it up one.

Happy Reading!

*John in Deranged Billionaire mode on his final Daily Show appearance

Bonus picture: A terrible iPhone picture from when we saw him live!

John Hodgman on stage in a judge costume