Weekly Wrap-Up (26 March)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

This week I’ve not done much as I’m physically struggling with the adjustments to my pain medication. I’ve been in need of distraction so have been trying to get some long-overdue reviews posted on my blog, and also have been reading and listening to books.

This week I’ve finished reading five books:

Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

This is a lovely book and I really enjoyed reading all the stories from various people who knew David Bowie. The photos are great too. I’d recommend this to David Bowie fans.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

I just finished reading this yesterday and found it such a moving novel. I’ve already written my review so that’ll be up on my blog tomorrow if you’d like to read it.

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

I really enjoyed reading this book – it really does bring back so many memories from the 90s. Some great memories and some not so good but it is a journey on how we, as a society, got from there to here. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who is around the age of 40.

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

I listened to the audio of this book and very much enjoyed it. The narrater was great and I found the book easy to listen to. It’s a novel that really gives you a lot to think about though – every time I stopped the book I found I was thinking about all of the issues and ideas that I’d just been reading about. I can see why this book won the Man Booker last year, and I would absolutely recommend reading it if you haven’t already.

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

This book is so refreshing to read because it’s such a modern concept – a novel told in a series of podcasts! I enjoyed it and will be looking out to see what the author writes next.

This week I’ve blogged six times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday: Review of Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

Tuesday: Review of The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Wednesday: WWW Wednesdays

Friday: Review of The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

The Power by Naomi Alderman

This is my current audio book and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve had the book on my TBR since the end of last year and now I’m kicking myself for not picking it up sooner because it’s so good. It’s an interesting premise for a novel and has a very strong message throughout.

Sweet Pea by C.J. Skuse

This is such a good read – if it wasn’t such a big paperback I’m sure I’d have read it in one or two sittings but I’m just physically struggling to hold it at the moment. I do keep thinking about it when I’m not reading and when I do manage to read some of it, it feels like a treat. The black humour running through this novel is brilliant.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

I’ve managed to read a few more chapters of this week and am hoping to be able to finish it this week. It’s such a fascinating and horrifying book, the only reason I’ve not read it sooner is because I’ve not had the concentration for heavier non-fiction in recent weeks. I’d absolutely recommend this though.

 

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Update on my TBR…

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1882

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 15 

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 5

Books I’m currently reading: 3

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1895

 


 

I’m linking this post up to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

 


 

How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

See my new #BookHaul in this week’s Stacking the Shelves post (25 March)

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

 

These are the & eBooks I bought this week:

Substance- Inside New Order by Peter Hook

Substance: Inside New Order by Peter Hook

I’m a huge Joy Division and New Order fan, so can never resist a book about them. This has been on my radar since it was first published so when I spotted it in a kindle daily deal offer this week I snapped it up. It’s a much longer book than I realised so it may be a while before I get a chance to read it but I’m looking forward to it.

Synopsis:

Two acclaimed albums, an upcoming US tour – Joy Division had the world at their feet. Then, on the eve of that tour and the beginning of what would surely have been an international success story, the band’s troubled lead singer, Ian Curtis, killed himself.

‘We didn’t really think about it afterwards. It just sort of happened. One day we were Joy Division, then our lead singer killed himself and the next time we got together, we were a new band…’Peter Hook

That band was New Order.

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Buy Buy Baby by Helen MacKinven

I’ve had this book on my wish list for a while so when I spotted on twitter that it had been made free on Amazon for this weekend I immediately downloaded it. It sounds like such a good read and I can’t wait to start it. I believe the book is free all weekend so it’s worth having a look if you’re in the UK.

Synopsis:

What price tag would you put on a baby?
Set in and around Glasgow, Buy Buy Baby is a moving and funny story of life, loss and longing.
Packed full of bitchy banter, it follows the bittersweet quest of two very different women united by the same desire – they desperately want a baby.
Carol talks to her dog, has an expensive eBay habit and relies on wine to forget she’s no longer a mum following the death of her young son.
Cheeky besom Julia is career-driven and appears to have it all. But after disastrous attempts at internet dating, she feels there is a baby-shaped hole in her life.
In steps Dan, a total charmer with a solution to their problems.
But only if they are willing to pay the price, on every level…

 

The Absence of Wings by Mark Stewart

The Absence of Wings by Mark Stewart

I was contacted by the author about this book and as it sounds like something I’d be interested in reading I downloaded it through my Kindle Unlimited subscription. I’m finding myself drawn to books about the natural world at the moment so I’m looking forward to this one.

Synopsis:

“The Absence of Wings” is a collection of short stories intended to show the world through the eyes of some of the Earth’s most endangered and persecuted animals.

The collection is an ark of sorts, offering a literary refuge for creatures that may one day exist only in story books, fables and myths.

These are stories that will change the way you look at the natural world.

Lost Connections by Jim Ody

Lost Connections by Jim Ody

I got this book when it was a freebie on Amazon this week as it looks like an engrossing mystery novel. I hope to get a chance to read this soon.

Synopsis:

What would you do if the most important person to you had been kidnapped? One minute your daughter is there, and the next she has been bundled into a van right under your nose. They want something of your father’s. You don’t know what that is, and your father mysteriously disappeared over 7 years ago. Going to the police is not an option. And the answers will slowly appear in the most unlikely of places.

As single-parent Eddie’s world falls apart, an unlikely alliance forms between friends and neighbours who put their differences aside, to help get his daughter Daisy back. As the mystery unfolds a huge secret is uncovered that not only will affect Eddie and his family, but the whole of mankind…

Phantom Limb by Lucinda Berry

Phantom Limb by Lucinda Berry

The cover of this book caught my eye when I was looking through the Kindle Unlimited books this week, so I decided to download it. The book sounds intriguing and one that would keep me hooked so I may well pick this one up very soon.

Synopsis:

Emily and Elizabeth spend their childhood locked in a bedroom and terrorized by a mother who drinks too much and disappears for days. The identical twins are rescued by a family determined to be their saviors.

But there’s some horrors love can’t erase…

Elizabeth wakes in a hospital, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak. The last thing she remembers is finding Emily’s body in their bathroom. Days before, she was falling in love and starting college. Now, she’s surrounded by men who talk to themselves and women who pull out their eyebrows.

As she delves deeper into the mystery surrounding Emily’s death, she discovers shocking secrets and holes in her memory that force her to remember what she’s worked so hard to forget—the beatings, the blood, the special friends. Her life spins out of control at a terrifying speed as she desperately tries to unravel the psychological puzzle of her past before it’s too late.

I also received 8 ARCs:

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Fell by Jenn Ashworth

I’ll be honest here… I actually squealed when this book arrived this week! It’s a book that I’ve heard so many good things about and I’ve been so keen to read it. I’m so excited to read that I may well start it this weekend!

Synopsis:

When Annette Clifford returns to her childhood home on the edge of Morecambe Bay, she despairs: the long-empty house is crumbling, undermined by two voracious sycamores. What she doesn’t realise is that she’s not alone: her arrival has woken the spirits of her parents, who anxiously watch over her, longing to make amends. Because as the past comes back to Jack and Netty, they begin to see the summer of 1963 clearly, when Netty was desperately ill and a stranger moved in. Charismatic, mercurial Timothy Richardson, with his seemingly miraculous powers of healing, who drew all their attention away from Annette… Now, they must try to draw another stranger towards her, one who can rescue her.

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This Love by Dani Atkins

I was contacted by the publisher to ask if I’d like to read and review this and of course I said yes! I read Fractured by Dani Atkins back when it first came out and I loved it so I’m really looking forward to reading this new one by her. I hope to get chance to start reading it next week.

Synopsis:

Sophie stopped believing in happy endings a long time ago, but could this love change all of that?

Sophie Winter lives in a self-imposed cocoon – she’s a single, 31-year-old translator who works from home in her one-bedroom flat. This isn’t really the life she dreamed of, but then Sophie stopped believing in dreams when she was a teenager and tragedy struck her family.

So, to be safe, she keeps everyone at arm’s length. Sophie understands she has a problem, but recognising it and knowing how to fix it are two entirely different things.

One night a serious fire breaks out in the flat below hers. Sophie is trapped in the burning building until a passer-by, Ben, sees her and rescues her.

Suddenly her cocoon is shattered – what will be the consequences of this second life-changing event?

Friend Request by Laura Marshall

Friend Request by Laura Marshall

I requested this on NetGalley and was thrilled when I got approved. The premise for this book sounds so creepy and intriguing. I’m trying to hold off reading this now as it’s not published until later in the year but I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to resist.

Synopsis:

Maria wants to be friends.
But Maria is dead.
Isn’t she?

When Louise Williams receives a message from someone left long in the past, her heart nearly stops.

Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook.

Maria Weston has been missing for over twenty-five years. She was last seen the night of a school leavers’ party, and the world believes her to be dead. Particularly Louise, who has lived her adult life with a terrible secret.

As Maria’s messages start to escalate, Louise forces herself to reconnect with the old friends she once tried so hard to impress. Trying to piece together exactly what happened that night, she soon discovers there’s much she didn’t know. The only certainty is that Maria Weston disappeared that night, never to be heard from again – until now. . .

A Book of Untruths by Miranda Doyle

A Book of Untruths by Miranda Doyle

I wished for this book on NetGalley so was very excited when my wish was granted. I’m really intrigued about the way this book is set out, it sounds like a very interesting way to tell your story and that’s what caught my attention with this book. I’m very keen to read this one soon.

Synopsis:

A Book of Untruths is a family story told through a series of lies. Each short chapter features one of these lies and each lie builds to form a picture of a life-Miranda Doyle’s life as she struggles to understand her complicated family and her own place within it.

This is a book about love, family and marriage. It is about the fallibility of human beings and the terrible things we do to one another. It is about the ways we get at-or avoid-the truth. And it is about storytelling itself: how we build a sense of ourselves and our place in the world.

A Book of Untruths is a surprising, shocking and invigorating book that edges towards the truth through an engagement with falsehood. It brings questions to its readers; not answers.

 

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

This is another of my wished for books on NetGalley that got granted this week. It was the cover of this one that caught my eye and then when I read the synopsis I knew I had to read it. 

Synopsis:

Frances is twenty-one years old, cool-headed and darkly observant. A college student in Dublin and aspiring writer, she works at a literary agency by day. At night, she performs spoken word with her best friend Bobbi, who used to be her girlfriend. When they are profiled by Melissa, a well-known journalist, they enter an exotic orbit of beautiful houses, raucous dinner parties and holidays in Provence.

Initially unimpressed, Frances finds herself embroiled in a risky menage a quatre when she begins an affair with Nick, Melissa’s actor husband. Desperate to reconcile herself to the desires and vulnerabilities of her body, Frances’s intellectual certainties begin to yield to something new – a painful and disorienting way of living from moment to moment. But as Frances tries to keep control, her relationships increasingly unspool: with Nick, with her difficult and unhappy father, and finally even with Bobbi.

Written with rare precision and probing intelligence, Conversations with Friends is exquisitely alive to the pleasures and inhibitions of youth.

The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse

The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse

I was pre-approved for this one on NetGalley, which was a lovely surprise. I love the sound of this and really want to read it but it’s a tough subject matter for me so I’m going to wait for the right time to read this one.

Synopsis:

With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter thinks she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

But becoming parents proves much harder to achieve than Lucy and Jonah imagined, and when Jonah’s teenage daughter Camille comes to stay with them, she becomes a constant reminder of what Lucy doesn’t have. Jonah’s love and support are unquestioning, but Lucy’s struggles with work and her own failing dreams begin to take their toll. With Camille’s presence straining the bonds of Lucy’s marriage even further, Lucy suddenly feels herself close to losing everything…

This heart-wrenchingly poignant family drama from bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: in today’s hectic world, what does it mean to be a mother?

Stuff I've Been Feeling Lately by Alicia Cook

Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately by Alicia Cook

This is another NetGalley book where the cover caught my eye first. I’m trying to read more poetry this year and this sounds like a great collection. I think it might be one of those serendipitous happenings where the right book found me at the right time with this one, so I really hope I’m right. 

Synopsis:

Structured like an old-school mix-tape, Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately is Alicia Cook’s lyric message to anyone who has dealt with addiction. “Side A” touches on all aspects of the human condition: life, death, love, trauma, and growth. “Side B” contains haunting black-out remixes of those poems.

Deconstructing Dirty Dancing by Stephen Lee Naish

Deconstructing Dirty Dancing by Stephen Lee Naish

I accidentally ended up with this one from NetGalley – you know when you click a link in an email by accident and the book gets added to your shelf?  The young part of me really wants to read this as Dirty Dancing was one of my favourite films when I was a young teen. The other part of me has personal reasons for not being able to cope with the film anymore. I want to try and read this but I’m on the fence at the moment.

Synopsis:

Renowned film critic Roger Ebert said Dirty Dancing “”might have been a decent movie if it had allowed itself to be about anything.”” In this broadly researched and accessible text, Stephen Lee Naish sets out to deconstruct and unlock a film that has haunted him for decades, and argues that Dirty Dancing, the 1987 sleeper hit about a young middle-class girl who falls for a handsome working-class dance instructor, is actually about everything. The film is a union of history, politics, sixties and eighties culture, era-defining music, class, gender, and race, and of course features one of the best love stories set to film. Using scene-by-scene analyses, personal interpretation, and comparative study, it’s time to take Dirty Dancing out of the corner and place it under the microscope.

I also won a giveaway this week on JaffaReadsToo blog…

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Foxes Unearthed by Lucy Jones

Firstly, hasn’t this book got the most gorgeous cover? It really is a stunning looking book. I’m really interested to read this and to learn move about foxes, so hopefully I’ll be able to read it very soon.

Synopsis:

As one of the largest predators left in Britain, the fox is captivating: a comfortably familiar figure in our country landscapes; an intriguing flash of bright-eyed wildness in our towns.

Yet no other animal attracts such controversy, has provoked more column inches or been so ambiguously woven into our culture over centuries, perceived variously as a beautiful animal, a cunning rogue, a vicious pest and a worthy foe. As well as being the most ubiquitous of wild animals, it is also the least understood.

In Foxes Unearthed Lucy Jones investigates the truth about foxes in a media landscape that often carries complex agendas. Delving into fact, fiction, folklore and her own family history, Lucy travels the length of Britain to find out first-hand why these animals incite such passionate emotions, revealing our rich and complex relationship with one of our most loved – and most vilified – wild animals. This compelling narrative adds much-needed depth to the debate on foxes, asking what our attitudes towards the red fox say about us – and, ultimately, about our relationship with the natural world.

 


 

So, that’s all of my new books from the past week. Have you bought any new books recently? Tell me all in the comments below, or if you have a stacking the shelves post on your blog feel free to post the link below too.:)

My weekly wrap up post will be on my blog tomorrow so please look out for that.

#BookReview: The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

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About the Book:

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

It all started that night in the woods.

Cass Anderson didn’t stop to help the woman in the car, and now she’s dead.

Ever since, silent calls have been plaguing Cass and she’s sure someone is watching her.

Consumed by guilt, she’s also starting to forget things. Whether she took her pills, what her house alarm code is – and if the knife in the kitchen really had blood on it.

Bestselling author B A Paris is back with a brand new psychological thriller full of twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

My Thoughts:

The opening of this book properly gave me the creeps. The idea of driving down a dark lane on a rainy night, knowing you’re in the middle of nowhere, and then seeing a car parked up, or possibly broken down in a lay by, is really unnerving to me. Cass sees the car and is unsure what to do, she stops and tries to see if anyone is in the car. It felt like the opening to a horror movie and I was really on edge wondering what was going to happen next, whilst at the same time being nervous to read on. Cass makes the decision that I think a lot of people on their own on a night like that would make, and that is to drive on, but this decision has consequences that no one could forsee and it sets this novel up brilliantly!

The following day Cass’s husband tells her that a woman has been murdered in the lay-by and she can’t bring herself to admit to being there. Cass then becomes convinced that someone may have seen her that night and may now be watching her. She starts receiving strange phone calls and becomes increasingly anxious. The problem Cass has is like the old adage… just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. As a reader you’re aware that some of what Cass is anxious about is genuine because we’re in the know but other things we can’t be sure if she’s being paranoid.

The Breakdown is a book that’s fast-paced and easy to read but at the same time it does ramp up the tension, and it genuinely had me on edge at times. It was a book that I didn’t want to put down though because I really wanted to know what was going to happen and I read it in one sitting. This book does require suspension of disbelief at times, and I did work out the ending quite early on, but it’s such an engrossing read and it has many twists and turns that will have you second-guessing yourself all the way through. The ending is satisfying and does tie everything up nicely.

The Breakdown is out now and I highly recommend buying a copy!

I received a copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

WWW Wednesdays (22 March) What are you reading?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

What I’m reading now:

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

This book is so good. I’m really loving it – I want to try and read it slowly because I’m enjoying it so much but it’s calling to me to just read it all in one go.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

I can’t believe I’ve left this on my TBR for four months before picking it up because it’s such a good read. I started reading it last night and I can’t wait to get back to it today.

Sweet Pea by C.J. Skuse

This is a book that was sent to me as a complete surprise so I didn’t really know what it was about. I picked it up this week and am finding it a really good read – it’s got a lot of dark humour in it but it’s great.

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

This is still such an enjoyable read. It’s covering a wide-range of topics relating mainly to the 90s, some good and some not-so good but it’s really interesting.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

I’m still reading this on and off. It’s a good read and I’m finding that I’m enjoying it whilst I’m reading it but when I put it down it isn’t calling me back to it.

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

This is a book that is really lovely to dip in and out of. It has gorgeous photos of David Bowie and recollections of him from various friends and collaborators from various points in his life.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

I’ll be honest, I haven’t picked this up in the last week so it maybe shouldn’t be in this post. It’s a brilliant book, I’ve just not been in the right frame of mind to read heavier non-fiction but I definitely want to keep reading this as soon as I feel better. Hopefully it won’t be long.

What I recently finished reading:

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

I finished listening to this audio book yesterday and very much enjoyed it. It was easy to read and yet really kept making me pause for thought at what I was reading. I can see why this won the Man Booker last year.

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

I was engrossed in this book for most of Monday. I really enjoyed reading a book set out as podcasts. I’m debating whether to review this or not on my blog, I feel like I have a fair bit to say but there are already a lot of reviews of this out there.

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

I loved this book. It felt refreshingly different to me to have a book set in a newsroom, and to see a news producer investigating a crime. I reviewed this on Tuesday so you read my full thoughts here if you’d like to.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This was an enjoyable listen but I think I enjoyed it more for listening to the audio with my husband as it was good to discuss it with him. I found myself getting annoyed by Phil Collins’s lack of consideration for each of his wives but the stories he tells of early in his career, and of Live Aid are really interesting.

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

I really enjoyed this book and found it really opened my eyes to some of my own issues with keeping things. I reviewed this on my blog on Monday so feel free to check that out here if you’d like to know more.

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I read this over a couple of days at the end of last week and really enjoyed it. I hope to get my review written and posted soon but in the meantime I do recommend it.

What I plan on reading next:

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

I’ve had a review copy of this on my TBR since the end of 2016 so I think it’s time I started reading. It sounds like a really gripping read.

First Love by Gwendoline Riley

I bought this at the weekend with my birthday vouchers and I’m really keen to read it so I’m putting it on my up next pile.

 


What are you reading at the moment? Have you finished any good books recently? Any books you’re looking forward to reading soon? Please feel free to join in with this meme and share your link below, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below.

#BookReview: The Cutaway by Christina Kovac @christina_kovac @HannahVRoss

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About the Book

The Newsroom meets Gone Girl.” —Cosmopolitan

When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Despite skepticism from her colleagues, Knightly suspects this ambitious young lawyer may be at the heart of something far more sinister, especially since she was last seen leaving an upscale restaurant after a domestic dispute. Yet, as the only woman of power at her station, Knightly quickly finds herself investigating on her own.

Risking her career, her life, and perhaps even her own sanity, Knightly dives deep into the dark underbelly of Washington, DC business and politics in an investigation that will drag her mercilessly through the inextricable webs of corruption that bind the press, the police, and politics in our nation’s capital.

My Thoughts

I loved this book – I knew as soon as I read the quote describing this as ‘The Newsroom meets Gone Girl’ that I had to read it, and it didn’t let me down.

It felt refreshing to me to set a story about a missing woman in a newsroom with the police investigation as the side story. I was intrigued about what had happened to the missing woman but more so about the news producer Virginia Knightly’s fascination with her. This novel felt entirely believable in the way a crime is reported on the news – the push for new news, to be first on the air, to get the most sensational story at all costs.

Virginia is a great character, and I really enjoyed learning more about her as the novel went on. She’s such a determined, focused woman and she never relies on a man to help her, and I loved that. Virginia does have her issues, and they have made her who she is now but they never affect her ability to do her job. She does tend to be much more focused on certain cases as a result of her past but it reads as an interesting dynamic rather than a character flaw.

It’s not often that I read a crime/thriller novel without trying to work out whodunnit but with The Cutaway I was enjoying the story so much that I just got swept away in what was happening. I was suspicious of a couple of characters but I wasn’t actively trying to figure out how it might end, and it was brilliant to just read and see it all unfold. I was right to be suspicious about one of the characters but I was completely wrong about the other.

I loved the setting of Washington DC – it’s a place I’ve never been to and yet the writing in this novel made me feel like I had. The place just comes alive in this book, and it feels so real, almost like the setting is a character in its own right.

I also loved the setting of the newsroom, and the characters in this novel so much that I feel like, whilst this is a standalone and does have a resolution of sorts at the end, I want more. I would love if this became the first book in the series.

This isn’t a fast-paced thriller but it is gripping and once you’re hooked you simply won’t be able to put the book down until you’ve finished reading. I pretty much read this in one sitting and found it utterly engrossing.

The Cutaway is due to be published on 6th April in the UK, in both ebook and hardcover formats, and can be pre-ordered here.

I received a copy of The Cutaway via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Christina Kovac managed newsrooms and produced crime and political stories in the District. Her career as a television journalist began with Fox 5’s Ten O’Clock News, followed by the ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C. For the last nine years, she worked at the Washington Bureau of NBC News. She lives with her family outside of Washington D.C.

 

#BookReview: Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

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About the Book:

From Hoarders to The Life- Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the question of what to do with all of our stuff seems to be on everyone’s mind. Eve Schaub’s new memoir is the tale of how one woman organized an entire room in her house that had been overtaken by pointless items. It’s also a deeply inspiring and frequently hilarious examination of why we keep stuff in the first place—and how to let it all go.

Eve O. Schaub graduated from Cornell and Rochester Institute of Technology. She has written for Vermont Life and Vermont Magazine, among others. During her family’s year of no sugar, Schaub blogged regularly and was often a guest on WAMC, New York’s NPR affiliate, as well as a regular visitor to Vermont Public Radio. She lives in Vermont with her family.

My Thoughts:

I requested this book from NetGalley because I can’t resist books about clutter, which is kind of ironic given that my natural tendency is to hoard stuff!

I have to be honest and say that the first couple of chapters of this book didn’t pull me in,  reading about someone’s room full of clutter that they know has a dead mouse in, and also that a cat has peed all over made me feel a bit squeamish. This isn’t the kind of clutter situation that I can identify with. I do tend to want to keep things but I’m also quite obsessive about cleaning.

I’m so glad that I decided to give the book another go through because from the point when Eve starts to explore what makes a hoarder, and what makes her the way she is I was fascinated and I could really identify with some of the things she discovered about herself.

There is a point where she writes that as a child she believed she had to keep everything so that she’d have enough stuff to fill her own home when she was grown up, and that is just how I was too. I kept all my childhood ornaments for years because I believed that shelves had to be filled with stuff. The idea that some people had empty surfaces in their home was alien to me. Eve’s father had a problem with clutter so she sees that her issues partly came from seeing what his house was like. My mum was very sentimental and could never get rid of things that people had given her, so I can see how Eve, and I, ended up being clutter bugs.

The part that really got to me was when Eve talks about her belief that if she lets go of things that she is sentimental about then she risks losing the memory of that particular point in time: that by holding on to the object, she has a trigger to bring back the memories instantly. I struggle with this too. It’s really hard when you get to an age where you’ve lost people who meant the world to you, how do you let go of the things they gave you? I felt Eve’s pain as she tried to work out which things to keep, and which to let go of.

Eve has an issue with making decisions, she really fears making a wrong choice and believes this feeds into her obsession with keeping things. This was eye-opening for me. I’ve always been indecisive but have never connected that to the way I keep things, but it makes total sense that if you really dread making a bad decision that you would find it hard to be confident in the things you get rid of. Eve gradually learns that it’s not the end of the world if you get rid of something and later wish you hadn’t, and that’s something I’ve learnt during my regular de-cluttering sessions. To be honest, I’ve agonised over some of the things I’ve being considering getting rid of but once they’re out of my house I’ve never regretted any of it. Objects might hold memories but they can’t bring a person back, it’s how you feel in your heart that matters.

One of the things Eve struggled with most was dealing with her paperwork. She couldn’t get rid of any of it without reading it first and then had to deal with whatever memory was attached before she could move on to the next lot of papers. It really struck a chord with me when Eve said: ‘… I keep souvenirs even of negative occurrences in my life, for fear that without them I would forget that event and even any lesson learnt from that event’. It sounds utterly ridiculous to keep paperwork from the worst moments of your life, but I used to be exactly the same. My mum kept some papers that were so painful to her but she felt she couldn’t ever shred them. When she died I took the papers for safe-keeping, and added some of my own from the year my mum was dying. I kept all of her hospital letters because I didn’t want to forget, and yet I was trying to hard not to drown in all the trauma that happened in that year. I moved in with my then new boyfriend (now my husband) the year my mum died and I took all the paperwork with me because I just couldn’t leave it behind – it felt like it was haunting me. Then one day I decided enough was enough. I burnt the lot and it was so therapeutic to let it go for both me, and my mum’s memory. I try to always remember now that the things we keep will one day be someone else’s problem to deal with and it helps me get rid of stuff that’s not really important in the grand scheme of things. Eve learns the same lesson in a different way. We can’t keep everything, we don’t have the room. So if you can only keep a fraction of the stuff, pick the good stuff, the happy stuff.

This isn’t a how-to book, it’s not about helping you clear your clutter. It is one woman’s open and honest journey through her own battle with clutter but in the process of reading you will probably recognise yourself in Eve, as I did, and it will spur you on to deal with your own clutter.

I highly recommend this book. Year of No Clutter is out now and available here.

I received a copy of this book from Sourcebooks via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:

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Serial memoirist Eve O. Schaub lives with her family in Vermont and enjoys performing experiments on them so she can write about it.

During 2011 Eve wrote a blog about her family’s attempt to live and eat for a year without any added sugar in their food, which became the book Year of No Sugar (Sourcebooks, 2014). She has been a guest on theDr. Oz Show, and FOX and Friends, and has appeared in numerous print and online outlets. She considers not hyperventilating on national television one of her greatest accomplishments.

Her upcoming book, Year of No Clutter, (March, 2017) reveals her deepest, darkest secret: clutter. In it, she details her struggle to transform herself from a self-described “clutter-gatherer” into a neat, organized person who can actually walk through every room of her house and does not feel the need to keep everything from childhood raincoats to cat fur. And yes, the family gets roped in on this one too.

Eve holds a BA and  BFA from Cornell University, and a MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology. At various times she has been a newspaper reporter, magazine columnist, and copy writer. She likes to say that she has written for everything but the classifieds section, but in truth she did that too.

(Author bio taken from her website: EveSchaub.com)

Weekly Wrap-Up (19 March)

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This week has been a bit of rough week. I’ve reduced my pain meds again and it’s left me feeling really unwell at times. This is going to be par for the course on and off for the next couple of months so I just need to get on with it as best as I can.

I did cheer myself up with an online book buying splurge as I still had my birthday book vouchers so that was lovely. I shared what I got in my Stacking the Shelves post yesterday if you’d like to see that.

This week I’ve finished reading five books:

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

This is such a good read. It’s a crime thriller but the focus is on the newsroom, and how they report a crime, the way they get information, and also how easily a reporter can become obsessed with a case. It’s not a fast-paced, twisty novel so far but it does grip you from the the opening chapter. I highly recommend this one. I’ll be writing my review of this one soon.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This is the audio book I’ve been listening to with my husband over the last month. I’m not really a Phil Collins fan but I found myself really enjoying this book. The first half was better than the second half for me. I enjoyed hearing about how his career got started, and about the people he worked with etc, and hearing what was going on behind the scenes at Live Aid was very amusing, but I didn’t like the way he was so dismissive of how his treatment of each of his wives affected them. I know we all paint ourselves in our best light but it’s hard to listen to someone have seemingly no awareness of how he made other people feel. Aside from that aspect of the book, Phil Collins shared some great stories that did make us laugh, or caused a few raised eyebrows so I would recommend this to fans of his, but be ready to grit your teeth when he talks about his various relationships with women.

Year of No Clutter by Eve Schaub

I struggled to get into this book but I’m glad I persevered. I found that as the book went on I could identify with a lot of how Eve felt about her clutter, and the reasons why she had let it build up. I’ll be reviewing this on my blog soon.

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I’m a big fan of Paula Daly’s novels so was very excited to read this one. It kept me engrossed all the way through but I’m still unsure how to rate it. I read an ARC so I will be reviewing it as soon as I’ve got my thoughts in order.

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

This is also a review book and I’ve had it on my TBR for a little while now but I’m annoyed with myself for being so slow to pick it up as I loved it. It grabbed me from the opening and I’m still thinking about it now, days after I finished reading. I hope to get my review finished and posted on my blog soon.

 

This week I’ve blogged six times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday: Review of It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Review of The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Friday: Review of Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

I’ve only read the first few pages of this novel so far but I can tell it’s going to be one that I won’t be able to put down once I pick it up again!

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

This is my current audio book and I’m really enjoying it. It’s such a clever book that really gives you a lot to think about, whilst remaining easy to read and enjoyable.

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

This is such a good read. The first few chapters bring back memories of the 90s, with talk of pre-internet/mobile phone, the fashion, the music, the obsession we all had with The Body Shop (I loved Dewberry body spray from there!). Then the book discusses the internet boom and the impact it had on the creative industries, and on women. I’d definitely recommend this to Generation X-ers!

 

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

I’m enjoying this book but it’s suffering from me being in the middle of it but not really in the mood to read it. I hope to get back to it in the next few days.

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

This is a lovely book to dip in and out of as it’s a collaborative book featuring people who knew David Bowie, and it has some great photos in it too.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

I’m still struggling to read serious non-fiction so I haven’t read much of this over the last week. Hopefully, if I feel a bit better this week I’ll be able to read more of it. It’s a great read, it’s just bad timing for me to be reading it right now.

 

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Update on my TBR… 

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1871

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 16 

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 5

Books I’m currently reading: 6

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1882


 

I’m linking this post up to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.


 

How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂