I’m keeping my #EmptyShelf18 reads simple this year. I’ll read, post short reviews on Goodreads (which shows that I currently have 49 books on the go, and over 700 on my shelves awaiting reading), and then once a month, post a digest of reviews on my blog. Aiming for 40 full books this year…

How to be Champion: My AutobiographyHow to be Champion: My Autobiography by Sarah Millican
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoy watching Sarah Millican on stage, love her Christmas hashtag, want to listen to Standard Issue podcast … and tempted to use an audible credit to listen to this in her own voice!

I found it a little slow to get going, then really enjoyed zooming through it – lots of short chapters, lots of relevant thoughts about being a woman in 21st c life, esp if body image and lack of desire for children is a thing for you! Don’t be surprised at the swearing …

Women and Power: A ManifestoWomen and Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book has been highly recommended in many circles, so I purchased it. It’s very short, based upon two lectures for the London Review of Books, but there’s solid material to get you thinking (along with some ideas of where to go next).

As a historian by training (rather than a Classicist, as Beard is) I’ve always argued that where we are now is a result of ‘the past’, and that cultural change is hard work because norms are so deeply embedded. Beard highlights this, demonstrating roots right back to Greco-Roman times, bringing it right up to date with Trump/Clinton/May and Twitter trolls. She indicates at the end that she hasn’t greatly changed her (2014/2017) speeches as reflections of the time, but gives an afterward with a few extra thoughts.

One of the things that really appeals to me is the questioning of ‘what is power’ – what are women often trying to achieve in ‘breaking glass ceilings’, etc., and the sense that women need to ‘lower the tone of their voices’ and ‘wear trousersuits’ to fit with a patriarchal type of power, rather than defining a new kind of power… but that centuries of cultural normalisation are hard to challenge.

I have read/written this not long after #chemotherapy round 3, and it’s still v accessible!

Me Before YouMe Before You by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wrote a review of this, and Goodreads seems to have swallowed it … bought this book for 99p on Kindle, having seen the film (and the fuss) the year before re euthanasia (the storyline that really stood out from the film).

I enjoyed the book, there were things to laugh at, to enjoy, and to be sad about … and I look forward to reading the others in the series.

After You (Me Before You, #2)After You by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finally had given in and read Me Before You, and was curious how Lou would develop post Will’s death.

I enjoyed this as a story on its own terms, how Lou has got herself stuck back in a difficult life, some of the new story plot lines are a bit daft, but perfectly fitted the mood for a story that didn’t demand too much of me.

My Not So Perfect LifeMy Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I haven’t read a lot of Chick lit recently, but I’ve enjoyed reading the shopaholic series more than once … and that’s what I was in the mood for …

Perfect read for a post chemo recovery, and a good reminder that there’s often a lot more going on in people’s lives than they’ll let on in public .. so don’t be so swift to judge! Enjoyable story set in both London and Somerset – in the mix of the Marketing/branding world, and of course a little confused love story!

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