12 Book Reviews in 12 Sentences

I can’t believe we are heading towards the end of February already. I’ve managed to read 12 books so far this year and I thought it would be a good idea to review every single one of them! For the sake of laziness brevity, I’ll condense each review to one sentence per book.

1. “Er ist Weider Da (Look Who’s Back)” by Timur Vermes

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Not as funny as I thought it would be, but a great premise and it was unbelievable scary how some of Hitler’s speeches in this novel are Trump-esque.

2. “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves” by Karen Joy Fowler

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I was completely beside myself after reading this novel and did a lot of public crying on Sydney’s trains while reading this novel.

3. “Before I Was Yours” by Virginia Macgregor

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An unexpectedly comprehensive story about adoption that made me feel all of the feelings on the emotional spectrum.

4. “Archie Appleby: The Terrible Case of the Creeps” by Kaye Ballie

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Probably the best example of a kid with anxiety who is prone to jumping to conclusions about the stranger extended family members.

5. “Jamaica Inn” by Daphne du Maurier

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A little bit scary and surprisingly really violent, but a well written story by one of my favourite authors.

6. “Foundation: The History of England from Its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors” by Peter Acroyd

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Very detailed, comprehensively researched and well written, but unfortunately not enough focus on the “normal” people (those that weren’t royalty or connected to royalty) and their daily lives.

7. “How to Build a Girl” by Caitlin Moran

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All teenage girls need to read this novel – I think I laughed so hard in some places because I related so much to this story.

8. “Lives in Ruins” Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble” by Marilyn Johnson

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This book made me want to become an archaeologist – even though it’s clearly (partly) a warning against taking it up as a profession if you ever want to earn money and have a relatively stable family life.

9. “Foxglove Summer” by Ben Aaronovitch

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Probably my favourite book in the Rivers of London series – a seamless novel with perfect pace and as always in this series, plenty of laughs.

10. “Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice” by Colin Renfrew

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A really good starting point for beginners in archaeology – or just your every day archaeology enthusiasts!

11. “Fifty Shades of Feminism” by Lisa Appignanesi

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Two reasons why this book is worth reading – 1. Feminism and 2. The copy I found in the book story was wrapped up, as if it had some dangerous ideas inside.

12. “Skinny Liver: Lose the fat and lose the toxins for increased energy, health and longevity” by Kirstin Kirkpatrick

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Definitely the self-help book I needed to read on New Year’s Eve.

Let me know what you’ve been reading in the comments section – try to keep it to one sentence!

Review: “84, Charing Cross Road” by Helene Hanff

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From Goodreads:

It all began with a letter inquiring about second-hand books, written by Helene Hanff in New York, and posted to a bookshop at 84, Charing Cross Road in London. As Helene’s sarcastic and witty letters are responded to by the stodgy and proper Frank Doel of 84, Charing Cross Road, a relationship blossoms into a warm and charming long-distance friendship lasting many years.

A book about books, a bookstore, a writer in New York and the lovely city of London. Yes, this one is definitely a book that ticked all of Adrienne the Anglophile’s boxes.

This one had been on my TBR list for a long time. I can’t remember where I heard about it or why I wanted to read it so badly, but I finally checked it out of my local library a couple of weeks ago and read it over the Easter long-weekend.

This book was amazing.

It was very similar to The Potato Peel Pie Guernsey Literary Club, in that it was a collection of letters, but also being oh so English and so lovely all round. The main difference here, of course, is that 84, Charing Cross Road is a non-fiction book and these characters were real people and the events were not fiction. I think this really satisfied my nosy parker self – lately I’ve been craving more stories about “real” people.

I’m going to leave this review as a short and sweet one, just like the book itself. I read this book in one sitting on a comfy Saturday afternoon at home and I strongly recommend that you all do the same!

I would love to find more epistolary novels and non-fiction works of collected letters. Please leave your recommendations below and let me know what you’re reading this week!

Review: “The Lifestyle” by Melissa Giovanna

The Lifestyle is a book that is designed to help you, by shifting your thoughts, words and behaviours through value-based action. Don’t worry, value-based actions aren’t anything scary or overwhelming – it’s as simple as acting on what you value (think kindness, patience and gratitude) and practicing these values consciously in your day-to-day actions until they become habits. We’ve all heard the saying that “Willpower is like a muscle; the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes” – this is the same principle for action-based values. The Lifestyle will guide you through recommended value-based actions over a four-week cycle and bring you that much closer to developing and achieving full potential, that is, becoming your “actualised-self”.

I know that this book isn’t meant to be read cover to cover in one sitting, since the idea of it is to work through the “Days of Action” and only read ahead for the next couple of days at a time. But let’s just say I took one for the team and read it in one go anyway.

I’m not one for that fluffy, motivational stuff, (so I don’t say this lightly) but this book was inspirational and gave me goosebumps at the thought of all of the amazing ways it could (and will) change my life.

What I found absolutely enchanting and hypnotic was each example of the “admissions from your actualised-self”. These were great, beautifully written examples of how to incorporate the specific value-based action for that particular day into your everyday life. It also helped to highlight how much your life, and the lives of those around you, will benefit in the long run when these value-based actions become habits and you reach self-actualisation.

I’ll be honest – I haven’t yet embarked on my conscious quest for self-actualisation and followed the Days of Action, but from reading through The Lifestyle, I know a couple of things for certain:

  1. I don’t have anything to lose and so much to gain from exercising these value-based actions as outlined in The Lifestyle.
  2. I am absolutely going to rock it.

Overall, The Lifestyle is a book which will help you live a better way of life and become a better human. So if you need a bit of hand-holding to get you through a rough patch, or you’re not quite sure what it is that you need to do to become a better person right now, you need to buy this book (or at the very least, visit the website for more information).