#EmptyShelf18 October Reads

I’ve been reading some good books this month:

F*** You Cancer: How to face the big C, live your life and still be yourselfF*** You Cancer: How to face the big C, live your life and still be yourself by Deborah James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Along with Tea and Chemo, this is probably going to be a book I’ll recommend to a whole lot of people (undergoing treatment or friends with those who do). I’ve read this book in 2 sittings whilst trying to deal with fatigue as I’m returning to work/upping my exercise – and been thrown into a chemical menopause in 8 weeks as part of my maintenance treatment. You can tell that Deborah used to be a teacher – the book is well structured and there are take-away tips at the end of every chapter. I’ve listened to Deborah on #youmebigc podcast, and interact on Instagram – and felt like I could hear her voice coming through – especially her sense of humour and hope. I’ve turned down a few pages to return to, and I think @beyondchoc would also like her advocacy of learning what to eat that makes you feel good, rather than because someone tells you it’ll be good for you!! Highly recommended – and thankful that she’s still here to see the book launch!!!

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) BodyHunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one very powerful memoir written after the author is already known for fiction and cultural commentary (not that I’ve read any of those – yet).

The book is structured around varying length chapters, very personal in tone, almost as if the author is thinking out loud.

I’ve read a lot about the body positivity movement, etc and Roxane seems to come close to many of my own experiences of it – learning self care and respect even if you never love the body you’re in – finding a better way to live with it – in the face of a world that shouts that you have no right to take up so much space.

The Tattooist of AuschwitzThe Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was put forward for the #YBCN book club, and I consumed it in one evening of insomnia! I have studied the holocaust extensively through my history A-Levels/degree, etc. and visited Auschwitz/Mauthausen so was able to picture a huge amount of this book very clearly as I was reading it.

When I was reading this book, I thought it was fiction, and was thinking it’s detail was very on-point, but at the end, it’s clear that this is drawing upon a lot of personal memories from the key character(s) – so it has all the pros/cons of a biography. I’m interested that there’s a plan for a second book on one of the other characters who I felt got a very raw deal post-war (forced to sleep regularly with an SS Officer, then convicted as a collaborator).

There’s some very interesting ethical and moral dilemmas highlighted within this book – how far would you go to keep yourself alive? How far would you go to keep the one you love alive?

Sea Changed: Coming Home, Healing and Being at Peace With GodSea Changed: Coming Home, Healing and Being at Peace With God by Kate Nicholas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another powerful memoir, which is part faith/life exploration, but there’s a lot of travel writing in there too. Kate has been fortunate to visit many parts of the world – and then found a way to use her PR skills to change the lives of some of the world’s neediest.

I feel a lot of parallels – being a driven person, always too busy, a traveller, an enquiring mind … and of course breast cancer which really makes you stop and reassess your life.

Am I Ugly?Am I Ugly? by Michelle Elman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book – another one I picked up to read a bit of, and ended up reading in 2 sessions. I can’t believe the author (was) only 25 at time of writing! She’s been through so much though so I guess that makes you more mature …

A real ‘life journey’ of coping with boarding school & uni & starting life after – with a body that keeps landing you in hospital and covers you in scars, and the potential career that emerged from that … and now as a body confidence coach – worth a follow on Instagram!

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