Category Archives: The BOOKS etc. Club

Our fantastic book club! we’ll be putting monthly book reviews on here from our wonderful reviewer Becky.

Normal People – Our October Book of the Month

LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2018

Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years.

This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person’s life – a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us – blazingly – about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. Alternating menace with overwhelming tenderness, Sally Rooney’s second novel breathes fiction with new life.


Review
By Becky Hinshelwood

In what is at first glance a contemporary love story about millennial students, Normal People manages to be entirely accessible. Sally Rooney writes her characters and dialogue so naturally that it’s hard not to care about them; the overused and patronising term ‘snowflake’ didn’t cross my mind once.

Marianne and Connell are coming to the end of their school years. Their social class sets them apart, as does their popularity at school. Marianne is from a wealthy family but is an outcast at school. Connell’s mother cleans Marianne’s family home, but at school he enjoys the status of a popular player on the football team.

Having been thrown together and experiencing a connection, the two begin an on/off relationship / friendship. They traverse the challenges of school and university social structures. They explore and discover their sexuality, character, intellect, past trauma and mental health. It’s more than just a love story, but written in such an understated way that you never feel that ‘issues’ are being discussed.

Sally Rooney’s subtle but affecting novel also manages to resist the gimmicky trappings of the modern world. Mobile phones and Facebook are mentioned, but do not direct the action. Connell plays FIFA but there is no preoccupation with online communication. Indeed, when he and Marianne embark on a period of email correspondence, he composes his emails in a way that is more reminiscent of the lost art of letterwriting than textspeak.

I began my degree in 1997, when you had to go to the computer room to send an email. During this year these characters would have been about three, if we assume that they are around 17 when the story picks up in 2011. This thought makes me feel impossibly old and the assumption could be that this story isn’t for my eyes. But it is. Sally Rooney manages to paint distinct yet universal characters who speak to the adolescent in all of us. She conveys beautifully the shock that we all go through when we realise that the complex society of school is actually an illusion.

Part of what makes this story so engaging is the clever timeline structure. The narrative tense is present, but we are aware from the very clear chapter headings (Three Months Later, November 2011) that the action happens in the past. In addition, the present narratives regularly take a dip back into the recent past to explain the couple’s relationship at that particular present. This allows us the window into both Marianne and Connell’s frank emotional expression that is often confused in their exchanges with each other. We understand the root of Marianne’s feelings of worthlessness, for example, or Connell’s dips into anxiety and depression.

The brutally frank narrative also opens up the sex scenes in this story to become something very much more meaningful. There is an openness and graphic description that is startling at first. However, in keeping with the narrative tone, the narrative extends to how Marianne and Connell are affected emotionally by their sexual exchanges. Both with each other and the alternative partners who drift into and out of their lives over the four years of the book.

Similarly, the ebbs and flows of both Marianne and Connell’s mental health are tackled with stark openness whilst avoiding over explanation. A lot is hinted at, including child abuse, sexual abuse, bullying, eating disorders, chronic anxiety, manic depression, suicide. To list all this makes the book sound heavy going. It’s not. It manages to maintain a positive and hopeful tone throughout, perhaps because all of these darker aspects are simply normalised, recognised and accepted.

Which is where the characters find salvation. There is no ‘reader, I married him’ here. The story is about love between two people, yes. However it is moreover about how those people have grown with each other, improved each other (on the whole) and are a continually evolving entity. That evolution will continue beyond the end of the book, as is true in life. And so we leave Marianne and Connell with feelings of hope and optimism, if not a final ending. Which is good enough for me.

If Becky’s review has inspired you to read more, then you can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery. Published by Faber & Faber

Take a look at our October Book club

If you love books then why not join our popular Book Club. See new titles, enter brilliant giveaways and if you write a short review of a book of your choice you can win this amazing bundle!

How to submit your own book review:

  • Type the title of the book that you want to write a review on into the search bar
  • At the bottom of the page click on the submit review and login to enter

At the end of October, you will be entered into a grand prize draw to win the complete set of books. Go on give it a go! you might surprise yourself.

You can join Here: The BOOKS etc.Club


Normal People
By Sally Rooney

LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2018 Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years.

This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person’s life – a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us – blazingly – about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. Alternating menace with overwhelming tenderness, Sally Rooney’s second novel breathes fiction with new life.

You can buy your copy HERE + free Uk delivery 


Talking to North Korea
Ending the Nuclear Standoff
By Glyn Ford

Despite recents attempts at ‘negotiation’, the attitudes of both Kim Jong-un’s regime and the West seem unchanged. North Korea is still shrouded in mystery, and there are no clear plans for the future… Can we trust either side to bring about peace? And if so, how?

This provocative insider’s account blasts apart the myths which paint North Korea as a rogue state run by a mad leader. Informed by extraordinary access to the country’s leadership, Glyn Ford investigates the regime from the inside, providing game-changing insights, which Trump and his administration have failed to do. Acknowledging that North Korea is a deeply flawed and repressive state, he nonetheless shows that sections of the leadership are desperate to modernise and end their isolation.

With chapters on recent developments including the Trump / Kim summit, Ford supports a dialogue between East and West, whilst also criticising Trump’s facile attempts. Talking to North Korea provides a road map for averting the looming threat of a war in North East Asia that would threaten the lives of millions.
You can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery


Time Out 50
50 years, 50 covers
By Time out

In August 1968, Time Out was created in London to help people make the most of the city – the iconic brand’s fiftieth anniversary will be celebrated with this book packed with fifty amazing magazine covers and the stories behind them. Time Out’s fiftieth anniversary will also be marked by the exhibition Time Out 50: 50 Years, 50 Covers – Charting five decades of London through Time Out’s front pages at London’s Museum of Brands from 12th September 2018 to 3rd March 2019. Time Out 50 will be celebrated in 50+ Time Out cities worldwide, with dedicated issues of print magazines and original online content.

Time Out launched in London in 1968 and Time Out has been publishing internationally since the mid-’90s and has established readerships in New York, Chicago, LA, Miami, San Francisco, Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore and the main Australian cities, as well as franchise operations in Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Bangkok, Dubai and elsewhere.
You can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery 


The Hate U Give
By Angie Thomas

Movie tie-in edition of the No. 1 New York Times bestseller and Waterstones Children’s Book Prize winner. Now a major motion picture from Twentieth Century Fox, starring Amandla Stenberg No. 1 New York Times bestseller

“A classic in the making.” The Times

“Places a spotlight on Black Lives Matter.” Stylist

“Passionate and uncompromising.” The Observer

“Outstanding.” The Guardian

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
You can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery  


Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself
How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One
By Joe Dispenza

You are not doomed by your genes and hardwired to be a certain way for the rest of your life. A new science is emerging that empowers all human beings to create the reality they choose.

In Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, renowned author, speaker, researcher and chiropractor Dr Joe Dispenza combines the fields of quantum physics, neuroscience, brain chemistry, biology and genetics to show you what is truly possible. Not only will you be given the necessary knowledge to change any aspect of yourself, you will be taught the step-by-step tools to apply what you learn in order to make measurable changes in any area of your life.

Dr Joe demystifies ancient understandings and bridges the gap between science and spirituality. Through his powerful workshops and lectures, thousands of people in 25 different countries have used these principles to change from the inside out. Once you break the habit of being yourself and truly change your mind, your life will never be the same!
You can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery  


Theo
By Amanda Prowse

From the million-copy bestseller Amanda Prowse, the queen of heartbreak fiction. Amanda Prowse is the author of The Coordinates Of Loss and the no.1 bestsellers Perfect Daughter, My Husband’s Wife and What Have I Done? This is an unforgettable romance about what happens when two very different people fall in love.

Theo Montgomery grew up in a rich family where he had all the toys and trinkets money could buy. But his childhood was full of neglect and he was bullied at school. Now he is an adult, he longs to find a soulmate. Someone who understands him. Someone who will love him unconditionally. Then, one day, Theo meets Anna Cole in a lift. Anna grew up in a care home, and has always wanted to create the noisy family life she never had. She brings love and laughter into Theo’s life. But she wants a baby, and Theo can’t imagine bringing a child into this cruel world…

Theo and Anna are two damaged souls, from two different worlds. Is their love for each other enough to let go of the pain of their pasts? Or will Anna and Theo break each others’ hearts? There are two sides to every love story. This is Theo’s.

You can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery    


Farm Sounds
Noisy Books
By Sam Taplin
Illustrated by Federica Iossa

Little ones will love bringing the farmyard to life with this adorable sound book. Press the pages and hear hens clucking, cows mooing and much more, and pore over colourful scenes include a sheepdog rounding up sheep, a piglet playing in the mud and ducks splashing in the pond. With simple text, holes to peep through and fingertrails to explore.
You can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery


Lantana Cafe Breakfast & Brunch
Relaxed Recipes to Start Each Day
By Shelagh Ryan

“Food that inspires, delights and nourishes, food that really hits the spot – this is [Shelagh] Ryan’s culinary cause. She manages to balance a bit of indulgence with seasonal, satiating, healing dishes.” Review of Cafe Kitchen, Psychologies magazine.

A collection of stylish and relaxed Australian cafe style breakfast and brunch dishes to cook and enjoy at home. Here you’ll find a stunning repertoire of healthy and delicious breakfast and brunch recipes to inspire you, whether you are looking for something quick to prepare on a busy week day or a relaxed way to entertain at the weekend.

Featuring a host of appetizing recipes from nutritious bowls of cereal to hearty baked dishes, there is a recipe here to suit every taste.
You can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery 


People Like Me
By Lynn Ruane

A force of nature from the day she was born, Lynn Ruane grew up in a loving home in Tallaght, West Dublin. But in her early teens things began to unravel, and she fell into a life of petty crime and chaotic drug use.

By age fifteen – pregnant with her first child, no longer attending school and still reeling from a series of shocking incidents in her personal life -Lynn decided she had enough of running away from herself and set about rebuilding her life. Inspired by her daughter, she returned to education and, with the help of some brilliant mentors, slowly began to heal the hurt of her younger years. She began campaigning on behalf of the people society had left behind by developing addiction services, becoming an activist in Trinity, and then as a senator in the chamber of the Seanad. But as the debate around consent gained pace, the lines between personal and political were redrawn, and Lynn was called to reckon with her past in a new and frightening way … Intimate and brave, People Like Me is the exhilarating story of one woman’s journey to the brink and back, emerging as a leading light for change in Ireland and an inspiration to women everywhere.
You can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery