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I was fortunate to be enrolled into the SocialBookCo reviewer program and was sent Tim Marshall’s Prisoners of Geography to review. Growing up I was always a devout reader. I loved books, loved collecting books, loved locking myself in my room and allowing my mind to enter new worlds, understand new concepts and live in the life of the characters of my book. Reading is what helped me get through most of my rocky childhood. I usually stuck to science fiction such as Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Divergent etc. Anything with action, adventure and a bit of suspense. When I received Prisoners of Geography I was super excited as I didn’t really know a thing about geopolitics. Tim Marshall did not disappoint. The book begins with a super power that every person on this planet has heard of before, a place where power and principles stand true today as they have in the past, Russia. My opinion of Russia and the culture and territory have changed in my 20s I must say the book has made me think extra hard of the plight Russia now faces. With its barren land, decline in population growth and restrictions from the other super powers of the world, the book made me feel a bit of concern and sincerity for Russia. By reading Prisoners of Geography, it sparked an interest to learn more and to research into what Tim Marshall describes as “six million square miles vast, eleven time zones vast; it is the largest country in the world”. Marshall begins each chapter by outlining the geographical barriers that influence the politics of the continent, the demographics and culture. He begins with the major bodies of water that help with foreign trade and go on to talk about deserts, mountains, plains, etc. Anything that affects the relationships of the country and its neighbors. He begins with Russia, which in my opinion was brilliant as Russia is so vast yet people such as myself from North America know very little. We know what history books have taught us and we know of the European countries as travel destinations but we don’t necessarily pay attention to the geopolitics of the countries and how it affects the country in which we live and their relationships. When we ask why it’s so hard to get visa’s, why oil prices fluctuate, why it’s cheaper to go to some places and not to others or why people are migrating it has to do in some sense with geopolitics and political ties that countries have made in the past. Marshall goes on to outline these very barriers and political outcomes for places such as China, United States of America, Western Europe and many others. The chapter that really peaked an interest, not that all of them didn't as each were enlightening in their own way but the chapter on Africa. Africa is a place in constant need yet sometimes we are not enlightened to why it has become the place we know today. Tim Marshall outlines the geographical barriers that Africa faces, the fight against diseases, the lack of medical information and supplies, the malnutrition and plight of about 75 million people and the ever existing internal wars that happen daily. Reading Prisoners of Geography has opened my eyes to each people's plights and fears and has provided me with an understanding of how much geography plays in the politics, cultures, immigration and safety of our planet. I did not expect much from Prisoners of Geography but I must say it has sparked a hunger for more information regarding geopolitics and has enticed me to research and learn more. That is what a great book does for its reader. It encompasses learning, the love for reading and affects the reader's’ feeling in some way. I appreciate SocialBookCo for sending me this book to review as I probably would have gone into a bookstore or seen this book on Amazon and not taken the chance on it. I am so glad I did through Social Books as now I am on a journey for more information, intrigued at the politics that will shape the world for our children and their children. I should’ve paid closer attention to geography class in high school, never knew it could be so interesting. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, you do not have to love geography or politics, but have the love for reading. This is definitely a great read and will spark an interest in history and political chess in which there is no definitive lines of the chessboard but instead mountains, bodies of water, deserts and forests. Any thoughts??
I never would have found Mike Gayle had it not been for my flatmate insisting I read one of his books. I have to admit I wasn't too sure at first. The blurb read a bit too much like chick lit novel for my liking. I'm a man, and I like manly things dammit! Luckily I got past my silly male ego and embraced my metrosexuality, and a good few years later and I'm one of Mike Gayle's biggest fans. My Legendary Girlfriend was Gayle's first novel, having spent time as a journalist and features writer. This book was a huge success as Gayle followed in the footsteps of fellow lad lit author Nick Hornby to write a book about relationships from a male perspective with very high praise indeed. English teacher Will Kelly is single and pretty miserable to be honest! Set over one weekend, Will spends most of his time pining over his ex-girlfriend, Aggi, who cheated on him with his best pal. Then Kate enters Will's life in a series of phone calls which start to make Will feel like he has found someone to help him get over his ex. Dubbed a male version of Bridget Jones Diary, Mike Gayle's first book isn't too bad. And I say that having read a number of his books since, and knowing how good some of his later novels are. I enjoyed the book when I read it, but I did struggle to relate to the main character at times. Sometimes I wanted to grab him, give him a slap, and tell him to snap out of it! But Gayle writes in a way that makes you want to keep reading to see what happens, regardless of whether you like Will or not. And it has to be said that the ending has a nice twist. This is not my favourite Mike Gayle book, but it holds a special place for me as this was my first real introduction to lad lit, and in a way, this was probably one of the biggest influences on me to pursue the idea of writing The Drought. All in all, I would say that My Legendary Girlfriend is a decent read, but if you don't like or fancy this book, make sure you check out other books by Mike Gayle because you won;t be disappointed! 3/5 stars http://stevenscaffardi.blogspot.co.uk/
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell A monumental classic considered by many to be not only the greatest love story ever written, but also the greatest Civil War saga. Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind is the bestselling novel of all time, and her unforgettable characters have become American icons. The New York Times Book Review proclaimed Mitchell's masterpiece to be "Beyond a doubt one of the most remarkable first novels produced by an American writer. It is also one of the best."
Friends Like These by Danny Wallace The ‘blurb’ Danny Wallace is about to turn thirty. Recently married and living in a smart new area of town, he's swapped pints down the pub for lattes and brunch. For the first time in his life, he's feeling, well ...grown-up. But something's missing. Something he can’t quite put his finger on. Until he finds an old address book containing just twelve names. His best mates as a kid. Where are they now? Who are they now? And how are they coping with being grown-up too? And so begins a journey from A-Z, tracking down and meeting his old gang. He travels from Berlin to Tokyo, from Sydney to LA. He even goes to Loughborough. He meets Fijian chiefs. German rappers. Some ninjas. And a carvery manager who's managed to solve time travel. But how will they respond to a man they haven't seen in twenty years, turning up and asking if they're coming out to play? Shortly before his 30th birthday, Danny’s Mum sends him a huge box containing memorabilia from Danny’s childhood, including an old address book. It contains 12 (13, if you include The Michael Jackson Fanclub!) addresses of children with whom he was best friends over the years. However, his Dad’s job meant that the Wallace family moved a few times, and over the course of time and distance, Danny has lost friends with all the names in this address book. However the memories of them are as strong as ever, and so, in some kind of mid-life crisis, Danny decides to try to track them all down. What follows is both funny and touching as Danny describes how he goes about trying to track everyone down. The humour is gentle but there are more than a few ‘laugh out loud’ moments. The writing style is lovely - very easy to read. If there was an Olympic sport of Crying at the drop of a hat then I’d win it the gold medal hands down, so it’s hardly surprising that I cried at the end of the book - I won’t say why! Did Danny finish his challenge and track everyone down? Now, that would be telling, wouldn’t it! I think anyone who likes travel writing would enjoy this. The style reminds me of McCarthy’s Bar by Pete McCarthy, or perhaps One Hit Wonderland by Tony Hawks, both of which I enjoyed, so it’s no surprise to me that I liked this too. I can’t wait to try Yes Man now! The paperback is 407 pages long and is published by Ebury Press. The ISBN number is 978-0091896775.