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!
I’ve had a bit of a book buying splurge this week. I think it’s come from having cabin fever, and I felt like I deserved a treat…
Here are the books I bought this week:
4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster
I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since I first heard about it so this week I decided to treat myself this week. It’s a huge book so I’m going to save it for when I have a few days where I can mainly relax and read. I’m looking forward to it though.
On March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four Fergusons made of the same genetic material, four boys who are the same boy, will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Chapter by chapter, the rotating narratives evolve into an elaborate dance of inner worlds enfolded within the outer forces of history as, one by one, the intimate plot of each Ferguson’s story rushes on across the tumultuous and fractured terrain of mid twentieth-century America. A boy grows up-again and again and again.
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
I’ve heard so many good things about this book so I finally decided to get it. I’ve already started reading this so it will be the non-fiction that I read on and off over the next couple of weeks.
The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 and its amazing ‘White City’ was one of the wonders of the world. This is the incredible story of its realization, and of the two men whose fates it linked: one was an architect, the other a serial killer.
The architect was Daniel H. Burnham, the driving force behind the White City, the massive, visionary landscape of white buildings set in a wonderland of canals and gardens. The killer was H. H. Holmes, a handsome doctor with striking blue eyes. He used the attraction of the great fair – and his own devilish charms – to lure scores of young women to their deaths. While Burnham overcame politics, infighting, personality clashes and Chicago’s infamous weather to transform the swamps of Jackson Park into the greatest show on Earth, Holmes built his own edifice just west of the fairground. He called it the World’s Fair Hotel. In reality it was a torture palace, a gas chamber, a crematorium.
These two disparate but driven men together with a remarkable supporting cast of colourful characters, including as Buffalo Bill, George Ferris, Thomas Edison and some of the 27 million others who converged on the dazzling spectacle of the White City, are brought to life in this mesmerizing, murderous tale of the legendary Fair that transformed America and set it on course for the twentieth century.
Deceit and Self-Deception by Robert Trivers
I’ve always been fascinated by psychology and so this book caught my eye recently. I’m hoping to read this very soon but I think I need to be able to concentrate a bit better than I can at the moment. Hopefully it’ll be before too long!
Deception is everywhere in nature. And nowhere more so than in our own species. We humans are especially good at telling others less – or more – than the truth. Why, however, would organisms both seek out information and then act to destroy it? In short, why practice self-deception?
After decades of research, Robert Trivers has at last provided the missing theory to answer these questions. What emerges is a picture of deceit and self-deception as, at root, different sides of the same coin. We deceive ourselves the better to deceive others, and thereby reap the advantages. From space and aviation disasters to warfare, politics and religion, and the anxieties of our everyday social lives, Deceit and Self-Deception explains what really underlies a whole host of human problems. But can we correct our own biases? Are we doomed to indulge in fantasies, inflate our egos, and show off? Is it even a good idea to battle self-deception?
Cut: One Woman’s Fight Against FGM in Britain Today by Hibo Wardere
I’d not heard about this book until I spotted it in the recent kindle sale but it felt like a book that I need to read. I think this will be a harrowing read so I will keep it until I’m feeling a bit stronger.
Imagine for a moment that you are 6-years-old and you are woken in the early hours, bathed and then dressed in rags before being led down to an ominous looking tent at the end of your garden. And there, you are subjected to the cruellest cut, ordered by your own mother.
Forced down on a bed, her legs held apart, Hibo Warderewas made to undergo female genital cutting, a process so brutal, she nearly died.
As a teenager she moved to London in the shadow of the Somalian Civil War where she quickly learnt the procedure she had undergone in her home country was not ‘normal’ in the west. She embarked on a journey to understand FGM and its roots, whilst raising her own family and dealing with the devastating consequences of the cutting in her own life. Today Hibo finds herself working in London as an FGM campaigner, helping young girls whose families plan to take them abroad for the procedure. She has vowed to devote herself to the campaign against FGM.
Hanging with the Elephant by Michael Harding
This book was recommended to me on Amazon and I decided to get it as I’m really into books about overcoming things in life at the moment. I plan to pick this book up quite soon.
‘In public or on stage, it’s different. I’m fine. I have no bother talking to three hundred people, and sharing my feelings. But when I’m in a room on a one-to-one basis, I get lost. I can never find the right word. Except for that phrase – hold me.’
Michael Harding’s wife has departed for a six-week trip, and he has been left alone in their home in Leitrim. Faced with the realities of caring for himself for the first time since his illness two years before, Harding endeavours to tame the ‘elephant’ – an Asian metaphor for the unruly mind. As he does, he finds himself finally coming to terms with the death of his mother – a loss that has changed him more than he knows.
Funny, searingly honest and profound, Hanging with the Elephant pulls back the curtain and reveals what it is really like to be alive.
Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer
I’ve heard so many good things about this series and couldn’t resist buying this first book this week.
Her breath rose and fell in fearful gasps but it was too late. She could already see what she dreaded most. The back seat was empty.
Her little girl was gone.
Abigail lives the perfect life with her doting husband and adorable baby Izzy. But someone knows a secret about Abigail and they want the truth to be told.
When Izzy is snatched from a carpark, it becomes a case for Detective Robyn Carter. Someone has been sending threatening messages to Abigail from an anonymous number. What is Abigail hiding?
Robyn’s instincts tell her there’s a connection between Izzy’s abduction and two murders she is investigating. But the last time she acted on impulse her fiancé was killed. To break this case and earn her place back on the force, she must learn to trust herself again – and fast. Robyn is on the hunt for a ruthless serial killer. And unless she gets to the twisted individual in time a little girl will die …
Girl Up by Laura Bates
This was also in the kindle sale this week. I wasn’t intending to buy this but I read a bit on the look inside feature and then felt that I wanted to read on so I bought it! It’s aimed at much younger people than me but I’m still interested to read it.
They told you you need to be thin and beautiful.
They told you to wear longer skirts, avoid going out late at night and move in groups – never accept drinks from a stranger, and wear shoes you can run in more easily than heels.
They told you to wear just enough make-up to look presentable but not enough to be a slut; to dress to flatter your apple, pear, hourglass figure, but not to be too tarty.
They warned you that if you try to be strong, or take control, you’ll be shrill, bossy, a ballbreaker. Of course it’s fine for the boys, but you should know your place.
They told you ‘that’s not for girls’ – ‘take it as a compliment’ – ‘don’t rock the boat’ – ‘that’ll go straight to your hips’.
They told you ‘beauty is on the inside’, but you knew they didn’t really mean it.
Well I’m here to tell you something different.
I received four review books:
The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce
I was beyond excited when this book arrived this week! I’m a huge fan of Rachel Joyce – Harold Fry is one of my all-time favourite books – so I am always eagerly anticipating new books from her. I can barely wait to start reading this!
From the author of the world-wide bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, a new novel about learning how to listen and how to feel; and about second chances and choosing to be brave despite the odds. Because in the end, music can save us all …
1988. Frank owns a music shop. It is jam-packed with records of every speed, size and genre. Classical, jazz, punk – as long as it’s vinyl he sells it. Day after day Frank finds his customers the music they need.
Then into his life walks Ilse Brauchmann.
Ilse asks Frank to teach her about music. His instinct is to turn and run. And yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with her pea-green coat and her eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems. And Frank has old wounds that threaten to re-open and a past he will never leave behind …
Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker
I spotted this book on NetGalley this week and immediately hit the request button. I loved Wendy Walker’s previous novel All is Not Forgotten so wanted to read this one. It sounds so good!
Two sisters go missing.
Only one returns.
We believe what we want to believe. We believe what we need to believe.
When my sister and I disappeared three years ago, they found Emma’s car at the beach. Some people believed she had gone there to find a party or meet a friend who never showed. They believed that she’d gone for a swim. They believed that she’d drowned. Maybe by accident. Maybe a suicide.
Everyone believed Emma was dead.
As for me, well – it was not as simple as that.
Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee
I’ve been anticipating this book arriving and it finally got her this week. It sounds like a really interesting novel but I’m a little apprehensive about the reviews saying it’s a horror. I will attempt to read it and hopefully it won’t be too scary for me.
‘Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’
A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.
There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.
Chase the Rainbow by Poorna Bell
This was surprise book post this week, I had no idea it was coming. It sounds like a really moving, and very important memoir about suicide. I’m very passionate about mental health so this is definitely a book I want to read soon.
An honest yet uplifting account of a woman’s life affected (but not defined) by the suicide of her husband and the deadly paradox of modern-day masculinity.
Punk rocker, bird nerd and book lover Rob Bell had a full, happy life. He had a loving wife, a big-bottomed dog named Daisy and a career as a respected science journalist. But beneath the carefully cultivated air of machoism and the need to help other people, he struggled with mental health and a drug addiction that began as a means to self-medicate his illness. In 2015, he ended his life in New Zealand on a winter’s night.
But what happened? How did a middle-class Catholic boy from the suburbs, who had an ocean of people who loved him, and a brain the size of a planet, end up dying alone by his own hand? How did it get to this point?
In the search to find out about the man she loved, and how he arrived at that desperate, dark moment, Poorna Bell, Executive Editor of The Huffington Post UK, went on a journey spanning New Zealand, India and England to discover more about him.
A month after his death, she shared her personal tragedy in an open letter to Rob on the site, which went on to be read by hundreds of thousands of people across the world. This is Poorna’s story, not only of how she met the man of her dreams and fell in love, but also Rob’s story and how he suffered with depression since childhood and had secretly been battling addiction as a means to cope with the illness.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 and a staggering 1 in 4 of us will experience mental illness disease at some point in our lives, but the stigma surrounding mental health means that millions still suffer in silence.
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.