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May Reading Update

Thinking about what to read next? I keep a monthly list of what I read and listen to on audio-book. Maybe something here will take your fancy?

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If you decide to buy a book after reading my review you can do so from my shop

via any of the links I include.

This independent platform operates as a competitor to Amazon.

Splitting all profits between participating independent book shops and giving 10% to people like me who are part of their referral scheme.

I have lots of other books listed there if you want any other suggestions!

Previously on Shona's 2021 reading...

If you want to read back over my year so far, here are links to January February March and April reading.

What I read in May

I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. The plot revolves around a care home where a group of pensioners solve mysteries in their spare time.

I would say it has clearly been written with a TV series in mind. I'd pitch it somewhere between New Tricks & Death in Paradise.

Definitely in the easy read, page turner category.

A dog stands in the middle of the page with Richard Osman written at the top and The Thursday Murder Club at the bottom
The Thursday Murder Club

I finally made it to the end of the Game of Thrones series (so far) I'm glad I did read these books as there is loads that didn't make it into the series.

Probably both for length of the series if they did include everything, and some of it would change the plot quite a bit.

Looking forward to The Winds of Winter along with all the other GOT fans now.

A snowy landscape, mountains, no visible people, and the name of the book A Dance With Dragons II: After The Feast - George RR. Martin
A Dance With Dragons II: After The Feast

I am sure I'm not the only one to find work by Yuval Noah Harari hard to sum up. I'll have a go.

This book covers a massive amount of ground that really relates to evolution, and the problems and dilemmas that humans have at the moment and will have in the future.

It shades off into ethics, how long until we have designer babies as standard? If humans can increase longevity in their lives will that change the importance placed on raising a family? If we live to be 150 will we all be married 5-6 times with long term relationships less and less important?

Ultimately, how long will it be until humans of the future are completely different to the way we are at present.

This book is packed with history, anthropology, politics, and social and cultural discussion.

This is such an old book, I bought my copy in Chichester Waterstones about 20 years ago, and every so often I get it out and read it cover to cover again.

It provides a great overview of all the kings and queens of England starting back in the 800s.

If you want any depth on any of the monarchs you need to look elsewhere because it's around 1 page per royal, unless it's one of the better known like Elizabeth 1, Henry VIII or Victoria.

I was so delighted to read and review this book for Parents In Biz magazine so I won't write too much here.

I really like Graham Allcott's writing, first finding him through The Productivity Ninja & enjoy his Beyond Busy podcast where he interviews lots of interesting business founders.

This book is a collaboration with one of the Think Productive team, Hayley Watts.

It is stuffed full of tips on how to have better meetings, whilst acknowledging that meetings are a must.

One tip I particularly liked was about taking 10 minutes after each meeting to just work through any actions that will take less than a couple of minutes each. Rather than waiting for them to go onto lists of minutes and be distributed.

A marker pen (orange) hovers over the words How To Fix Meetings, where Fix has been underlined by the highlighting pen. A smiley face and a couple of paper clips sits under the word How.
How To Fix Meetings - Meet Less Focus on Outcomes and Get Stuff Done

This book has to be my standout read for May. It's a global best seller and I would highly recommend you add it to the list.

To summarise very loosely, Tara Westover was raised in a family who did not believe in modern medicine. Or registering children at birth. Or education. She was the youngest girl in a family with a lot of boys. Her father was an odd mix of religous zelot and survivalist, with mental health issues that included paranoia and delusion.

Family life was very hard. All the children were expected to work in the family junk yard which resulted in some horrendous accidents from head injuries to third degree burns. All treated initially at home.

This would be the worst kind of sad story, but Tara managed to escape, to drag herself away from the cult like figure of her father, and get one of the best educations possible for anyone let alone a home educated girl who basically wasn't home educated.

Read it!

A little white child with blond hair sits on a swing facing the camera wearing a white and grey outfit.
Educated - Tara Westover

This is such a beautiful book. The illustrations are incredible. It is YA and easy to read in about an hour. You can tell I have GOT withdrawals.

A dragon with their mouth open growls whilst a child sits on it's back
The Ice Dragon - George RR Martin

I started with Dawn O'Porter earlier this year with A Life In Pieces, in fact it was the third book I read this year.

So Lucky is a bit different. It is an easy read that focuses on several characters including the life of a woman with excessive body hair who hates herself and takes it out on her child. It is quite hard to like the character but you can also empathise.

Some of it feels quite unlikely, like discussion of certain items in the office, but maybe I just haven't worked in the right offices :)

I had not realised how much of an ambassador for racial justice June Sarpong is. I remembered her from her early Channel Four work. I wasn't aware just how much she has done since then. For example being the BBC's first Director of Creative Diversity since 2019.

I found The Power of Privilege a good read full of suggestions on how to be a better ally as a white person, that do not duplicate with other books on the same topic that I've read. I also thought June shared very generously from her own experience as a black British woman.

I'd definitely read more by June.

A black background with white writing, the main words are in a speech box
The Power of Privilege - How White People Can Challenge Racism

Another book I've read that is hard to summarise. This story centres on an old couple living in post Roman Britain. It has an almost dreamlike consistency, with the population suffering from memory loss, and lots of strange things occurring that seem anchored in folklore and myth.

I found this book in one of our fantastic little street libraries and thought it looked interesting. It is packed with life advice and stories from mainly British women delivered in short essay form.

Having read and loved Slay in Your Lane I was really keen to read more from Yomi & Elizabeth. Loud Black Girls did not disappoint at all.

It introduced me to some amazing new writers, as well as people I already know and enjoy like Candice Braithwaite. I've followed all of them on social media which I find a great way of keeping up with writers I enjoy.

Audio Books

10. Think Again - Adam Grant

I would describe this book as an overview of how to rethink what you believe to be right already. The writing style is fairly typical to fans of Adam Grant, conversational and not pitched at the academic.

11. Rage - Bob Woodward

It feels wrong to say you find Trump interesting, but I find myself still picking up books about him, watching documentaries & when I saw Rage come out, wanting to listen to Bob Woodwards book.

This book includes some audio short clips at the end from the hours that Woodward used to create the book. Really quite chilling to hear the way Trump spoke about world defining issues.

12. The Hours - Michael Cunningham

The Hours tells the story of 3 different women who all have a link to Virginia Woolf. I found it a little confusing at the beginning to work out which voice I was following but it becomes clear quite quickly. The version I listened to featured Fenella Woolgar as Virginia Woolf, Teresa Gallagher as Laura and Rosamund Pike as Clarissa.

Thanks for reading


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About Me

Shona Chambers Marketing is a Marketing Agency based in SE London.

Specialising in helping Small Business Owners and Freelancers with their Marketing.

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