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

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!

 

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…

 

 

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: October 14 -October 20

It has been a week. I mean if you live in the UK I’m sure you’re well aware, but for those of you in the rest of the world, let me tell you, it has been a ride.  And I’ve been at work for a lot of it.  Consequently not a lot of reading has happened and I’ve had trouble finding stuff to read that fitted my mood, but a bit of stress-related book-buying has happened.  Tant pis.  On the brightside, I’ve started the Christmas-themed reading, which makes me somewhat better organised than I was last year.  Or better organised *at the moment* at least.

Read:

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan

Vacationland by John Hodgman

Started:

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

Still reading:

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams

Two books bought. One more pre-order arrived – after some aggressive chasing of a certain multinational mega-company who took my order in June, emailed me last week to say it wasn’t going to dispatch until November and yet had it as available with Prime on their website on release day. Colour me unimpressed.  I like to pre-order books from authors that I really like because it helps them with their publishers.  But I really wish the aforementioned company did their pre-order price guarantee on ebook orders because it would be so much easier all around.

Bonus photo: Sunday night dinner, as prepared by Him Indoors – the dish we call Coq O’ven – because it’s Coq au vin done in the oven.  The recipe is from The Roasting Tin which, along with its two sequels, is in frequent rotation chez nous.

 

A roasting tin with chicken dish

 

 

Book of the Week

Book of the Week: Next Year in Havana

It’s definitely starting to feel distinctly wintery here, and I’m being drawn to books about sunnier climes to counter act the gloom of the days shortening and the lack of sunlight.  So this week’s BotW pick is one that took me away from the damp of a British late-autumn and to the warmth of Cuba – but don’t worry, this isn’t a sunny beach read.

Cover of Next Year in Havana

Marisol Ferrera is on her way to Cuba for the first time.  She’s grown up on stories of the land her grandmother was forced to flee. Now with the easing of travel restrictions for Americans, she’s on her way to the country she’s heard so much about ostensibly to write an article for tourists, but with her grandmother’s ashes hidden in her luggage to fulfil her dying wish to return home.  But Cuba has changed a lot in the 60 years that have passed, and there are family secrets waiting to be uncovered. Back in 1958 Elisa Perez was a debutante, the daughter of a sugar baron and sheltered from the unrest sweeping the nation.  But that all changes when she starts an affair with a revolutionary who is fighting alongside Fidel Castro.

I liked both women and I was swept away by Cuba – in both time lines.  I do love a bit of last-days-before-it-all-comes-crashing-down society sometimes – all that doomed glamour and obliviousness; but actually modern day Cuba was just as intriguing – a country held in stasis, where you had to know the right people and say the right things to get on or else survive by your own ingenuity and cunning.  Which ever way there’s a lot of personal risk involved.  I will admit that I was a little worried that there was no way for there to be a satisfactory resolution to Marisol’s story, but actually it really pulled it off. I finished the book really wanting to visit to Cuba – but even more conflicted about doing that than I had been previously.

We all know that I love a dual timeline novel and I’ve had a fancy to read this since I first first heard about it, which I think (like it often is) was when Chanel Cleeton was a guest on the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books podcast back on episode 284 in early 2018.  And yes, it’s taken me this long to get around to getting hold of a copy and reading it.  In between it’s become a Reese Witherspoon book club pick and was a Goodreads choice award nominee for historical fiction last year. And actually it pretty much lived up to the hype, which isn’t always the case with books like this and as my Goodreads reviews will attest.  It was a period of history I don’t really know a huge amount about – beyond having studies the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis during GSCE history and it was nice to be swept up into a different era and a different culture – I’ve read a lot of European-set dual timeline novels (particularly recently) and it’s not often that I venture as close to the present day as the 1950s for novels like this so it was a refreshing change all around.

My copy of Next Year in Havana came from the library, but you can get hold of a copy on Kindle, Kobo or in paperback from somewhere like Book Depository.  I’m not sure how easy it will be to find in stores, Amazon say they can despatch it really quickly but Foyles say they can order it but it will take about a week, which makes me wonder if it’s an American import.  I’ve already got Cleeton’s next novel on hold at the library.

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: October 7 -October 13

A real mix of reading this week – with everything from graphic novels aimed at middle graders to prize winning translated fiction with romance and Hollywood history in between.

Read:

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

The Castle on Sunset by Shaun Levy

Lumberjanes Vol 10 by Shannon Waters et al

Backstagers Vol 1 by James Tynion IV et al

The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer

The Order of the Day by Eric Vuillard

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

Started:

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams

Still reading:

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Four books bought, no ebooks.  And one of the books was a book that had been recommended to me earlier in the week and that I then spotted in the charity shop serendipitously, so I can hardly be blamed for that right?

Bonus photo: my first attempt at flower arranging. I need help. Is there a book for that?

badly arranged flowers in a vase...