Tuesday, October 13, 2020

“The Beekeeper of Aleppo” by Christy Lefteri

Started reading: 3rd October 2020
Finished: 10th October 2020
My thoughts: 9/10. 

Beautifully written, obviously heart breaking in many places as it is a story following the journey of a couple fleeing Syria and attempting to travel to the UK as asylum seekers. Wish some of the politicians making rules about detaining asylum seekers in off shore detention centres would read this and absorb some humanity from it.

"Dare to do" by Sarah Outen

Bought this kindle book (plus audible add on read by the author which is excellent!) after watching the film doco of Sarah’s journey last night (The film is called "Home" you can see a trailer HERE). The film was inspiring yet honest and raw so I think the book will make an impression too.
Started reading: 2nd October 2020

My thoughts:


“The Godmother” by Hannelore Cayre

 “The Godmother” by Hannelore Cayre (“La Daronne” translated from French by Stephanie Smee).



Started reading on my kindle: 24th September 2020
Finished: 2nd October 2020
My score: 6/10

“Danger Music” by Eddie Ayres


Started reading this immediately after finishing his first book “Cadence” which was one of the best memoirs I’ve read in a long time. Such an intelligent, insightful and compassionate person, I connected right away with his writing.

Started reading: 16th September 2020
Finished: 24th September 2020
My review: 8/10

Aussie author stats: Although born in the UK, I think Eddie has dual nationality with Australia so I think this book counts as a book by an Aussie author. Genre: Memoir.

Like “Cadence” this book is such a beautifully written and moving memoir. “Danger music” covers the period of Eddie’s life where he quit ABC radio and moved to Afghanistan to teach music to children in Kabul, which also coincided with his decision to transition from female to male in his late 40s. The insights into his time in Kabul and the lives and challenges of the kids he teaches is a roller coaster of beauty and heartbreak, and the way he describes his gender dysphoria and relief at transitioning alongside these experiences is really moving and hopefully normalising for many cis gendered people who read this who otherwise might not have knowingly encountered anyone experiencing this. I did prefer “Cadence” over “Danger music” maybe because of the travel angle but I highly recommend both books and that you start with “Cadence”.


“Cadence - travels with music” by Emma/Eddie Ayres

Started reading on my kindle: 10th Sept 2020.
Finished: 15th Sept 2020
My score/review: 10/10 - One of the best, or even the best, memoir I’ve ever read. Beautifully written, inspiring story, and interesting intelligent and compassionate writer that I felt an instant connection with, easy to read, even made me wish I could read music and play an instrument. Impressive for one book.

Aussie author stats: Although born in the UK, Eddie has dual nationality from what I read online, so I think this counts as a book by an Aussie Author for the Aussie Author Challenge. 

“On earth we’re briefly gorgeous” by Ocean Vuong

Started reading on my kindle: 6th August 2020
Finished: 8th September 2020
My score/thoughts: 7/10 

I feel conflicted in my review. This book is so beautifully written in many parts, the language is wonderful, the author is very talented, but the content/themes were often so hard to read and distressing for me that I find it hard to recommend it as although I felt moved by the writing I felt so upset by the book and did not enjoy it because of this. I will look forward to other books by this author though, hopefully with less traumatic themes. I feel this book needs trigger warnings, including animal cruelty, PTSD, intergenerational trauma, suicide, domestic abuse, war. Still having nightmares months after reading the book, yet still thought the writing itself was beautiful and powerful.

"Fauna" by Donna Mazza

I read “ghost species” by James Bradley a few weeks ago which was speculative fiction looking into de-extinction and bringing back Neanderthals through ancient DNA and IVF techniques and some of the story was told through the eyes of the resulting child. I was intrigued to find out that another author, Donna Mazza, had also chosen this somewhat niche topic to write a novel on recently. So I decided to start reading this one soon after finishing “ghost species” so I can compare the two while “ghost species” is still fairly fresh in my mind.

Started reading: 31 July 2020
Finished: 5th August 2020
My score/thoughts: 6/10
If you are going to read one of these two books, choose "Ghost Species"

Aussie Author Stats: Female author, New author to me, Genre: Speculative Fiction.