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~Andrea~

Andrea's reading in 2019

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Introducing Psychology by Nigel Benson
Introducing Psychotherapy by Nigel Benson and Borin Van Lon

 

This year I've read a couple of novels with psychotherapy in them which I found a really interesting addition to the story. One was Nicci French's The Memory Game and the other was Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes. It got me thinking about psychology and therapy so I decided to read up on the subjects. I found both books really interesting, and the  graphic format, with little illustrations and cartoons made them very accessible and enjoyable. The only thing I wasn't keen on was some of the cartoon figures in the psychotherapy guide where it was talking about anorexia were super thin and I thought insensitively drawn, which was a surprise in an otherwise helpful book on the subject. I get that the book and its illustrations are meant to be lighthearted but it just jarred a bit. Otherwise I enjoyed both books and skipped through them nicely.

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I haven't heard of those two books before - interesting reading your review.

 

Which psychotherapy books have stood out for you?

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5 hours ago, Angury said:

I haven't heard of those two books before - interesting reading your review.

 

Which psychotherapy books have stood out for you?

 

These are the first books I've read on the subject. They're just very quick starter guides. I've bought another, more in depth book on psychology (by the same author) but haven't started it yet. Have you read on the subject?

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Gentleman Jim by Raymond Briggs
 
Jim is a toilet attendant, dissatisfied with his lot in life. He escapes into a world of fantasy and dreams of becoming so much more.
 

I've been fancying some graphic novels lately but have no idea really what kind I would like so I picked this up from the library because I enjoyed Fungus the Bogeyman as a child and I've enjoyed some of his animations. This was typical Ray Briggs really, gentle and domestic and with a touch of humour and a hint of sadness. I thought it was OK. The story wasn't that complicated - and in terms of plot it felt more like a children's story but for adults in an odd kind of way.

 

Vortex Butterflies by Nick Abadziz and Giorgia Sposito

 

I got this Dr Who graphic novel from the library at the same time. While I found the story more interesting, it was also more forgettable and I don't think I'd bother with any more of these Dr Who ones. It was OK but I'm not really a die hard Whovian, even though I enjoy watching the TV show now and again so I guess they're just not my cuppa.

Edited by ~Andrea~

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Locke and Key: Head Games by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
 
From Amazon: Following a shocking death that dredges up memories of their father's murder, Kinsey and Tyler Locke are thrown into choppy emotional waters, and turn to their new friend, Zack Wells, for support, little suspecting Zack's dark secret. Meanwhile, six-year-old Bode Locke tries to puzzle out the secret of the head key, and Uncle Duncan is jarred into the past by a disturbingly familiar face. Open your mind — the head games are just getting started!
 
This is the second book in this series and I enjoyed it much more than the first. It wasn't so graphically violent and there was some humour. The plot is developing more and I'm becoming intrigued by the various characters and the secrets from the past that have led to the strange situations that engulf the people of Lovecraft. Looking forward to reading the third one now.

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Yay, graphic novel reviews :D! I've wanted to read the Locke & Key books for some time, but they seem to be quite expensive and unfortunately my library doesn't have them. I love the cover of Gentleman Jim, thanks for including that :). Shame the Dr. Who graphic novel wasn't quite your thing.

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On 14/04/2019 at 10:58 AM, Athena said:

Yay, graphic novel reviews :D! I've wanted to read the Locke & Key books for some time, but they seem to be quite expensive and unfortunately my library doesn't have them. I love the cover of Gentleman Jim, thanks for including that :). Shame the Dr. Who graphic novel wasn't quite your thing.

 

Thanks Gaia! What a shame you can't get Locke & Key from your library!

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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

 

Well this book surely needs no introduction, however...
Mrs Bennett, the mother of five daughters (and no sons) is obsessed with finding a husband for each of them. You can't blame her really since the family estate is entailed on Mr Bennett's cousin, and as such she fears destitution for herself and her daughters in the event of her husband's demise. The story focuses on witty young Elizabeth Bennett and her potential suitor, the aloof Mr Darcy. We follow the family and the wider society of rural Hertfordshire through the ups and downs of nineteenth century love, courtship, money and manners, with a generous dose of Austen's witty social commentary thrown in.

 

I didn't intend to read this! I was arranging some books on my bookshelf and I just happened to pick it up and have a peek at its famous opening line. Well, I got so drawn in that this became my unintentional read for April! I've never actually read this all the way through before. I think I got about half way through when I was about 17 and needed to read it for A Level. While I remember enjoying it, I think I had so much reading and other work to do that I ended up just relying on the notes for the second half! And since then I've never been bowled over by Austen. I've read Persuasion (in the last few years) and I think half of Emma (when I was a lot younger - but after my first attempt at P&P). I found Persuasion to be a pleasant read but it didn't blow me away.

 

However this read of P & P was an absolute joy. I think it says something that I didn't even intend to read it, but the writing, the dialogue and the characters were all just so intantly engaging that I was hooked as soon as I glanced at the first page! I've read quite a few classics, and often find them to be a bit longwinded. They might be good overall but there are always those few pages (or chapters) where you just wish they'd had a good editor (cough Victor Hugo, cough)! However, this in some ways felt like a much more modern novel in that the writing was tight and lean, with no extraneous waffle, or description. Every word was there for a reason. I felt the characters sparkling from the page, and the story is constantly moving with plenty of little twist and turns to keep you on your toes. Of course the story was very familiar to me having seen so many adaptations (particularly the one with Colin Firth and Alison Steadman - which is surely the Queen of all P&P adaptations) so there were no surprises, but even so it was utterly absorbing and gripping. I came away understanding why this famous novel is so esteemed, it's an absolute masterpiece! I think it may actually gone to my number one spot. It was such a treat!

 

I liked it by the way. Can you tell? :)

 

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I think this one and Sense and Sensibility are her best books, have a go at Sense, I think you'll like that one too.  I don't much like her other books and am not a big Austen fan generally -  A Level English probably put paid to that !  I do intend to re-read Persuasion at some point though.

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Cassandra Darke

 

Millionaire art dealer Cassandra Darke is a crabby old recluse who doesn’t like people much. She’s been a bit naughty too and has a conviction for fraud, which she doesn’t think is that bad really, surely not worth all the trouble it resulted in. But when she finds some rather shocking items in her basement, left there by her lodger Nicki, she finds herself embroiled in a much darker and more serious criminal world.

 

As you can see I’ve got the graphic novel bug. I don’t know why but lately I just fancied reading something in that format: drawings of people with speech bubbles. Perhaps I’m hankering after my youth, where I used to devour comics like Mandy and Nikki, or just looking for some lighter quicker reads! Anyway, I searched the library where most of them seemed to be in the genre of horror, fantasy or sci-fi. I tried a few, including a star wars and Dr Who one, but they didn’t really hit the spot. This probably sounds silly but the graphic novel section at the library felt overloaded with ‘boys comics’ where I wanted something with a bit more female appeal.

 

So I had a brainwave and got hold of some Posy Simmonds! I really enjoyed this. It was exactly what I was looking for, an adventure with good strong female characters, just like the comics of my childhood! And the drawings are great too. I found the characters (excuse the pun) well drawn and interesting, and the writing witty and sharp. I shall be reading some more by this author. I just wish there were more graphic novels out there like this.
 

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That one looks interesting! My library's selection of graphic novels & comics is also more geared towards boys as well as children/YA in general. They don't have a lot of graphic novels for adults except the boyish ones (superman, batman, game of thrones). Most of the ones they have in the section are actually short comics written for mostly boys, sometimes for all genders.

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Cassandra Darke sounds like a great concept! I also agree with Brian, that is a great (and intriguing) cover.

 

Glad you loved Pride and Prejudice so much too. I read it years ago and I know I liked it but I really cant remember much about it! I think it needs a re-read :lol:

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On 24/04/2019 at 11:16 AM, Madeleine said:

I think this one and Sense and Sensibility are her best books, have a go at Sense, I think you'll like that one too.  I don't much like her other books and am not a big Austen fan generally -  A Level English probably put paid to that !  I do intend to re-read Persuasion at some point though.

 

Agree about S&S, which is my favourite, but my other six-star read of hers is Emma (which I did for A-level, and introduced me to Austen).  The latter is a lot sharper in flavour than either of the other two though, and may therefore be more of an acquired taste (people usually rate P&P highest). Romantic they are not! The only book that I have a few doubts about is Northanger Abbey, but like/love them all.  Lady Susan is IMO her funniest, and is only 80 pages or so long (turned into a film - excellent - that for some reason was called Love and Friendship, which was the name of one of Austen's other stories, although it's usually misspelled Freindship, as that it was Austen did).  As you may gather, I'm a fan!

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Funny that A Level English put me off Austen for years!  I didn't like Northanger Abbey either, nor Mansfield Park, which I read somewhere was her own favourite of her books. 

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That cover of Pride & Prejudice is amazing! Glad you enjoyed the book. 

I agree with Willoyd, Lady Susan is brilliant and definitely worth a read. 

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On 04/05/2019 at 5:04 PM, Athena said:

That one looks interesting! My library's selection of graphic novels & comics is also more geared towards boys as well as children/YA in general. They don't have a lot of graphic novels for adults except the boyish ones (superman, batman, game of thrones). Most of the ones they have in the section are actually short comics written for mostly boys, sometimes for all genders.

 

I'll be on the hunt now for more graphic novels with female appeal.

 

On 07/05/2019 at 1:27 PM, Brian. said:

I love that book cover.

 

On 14/05/2019 at 9:49 PM, Hayley said:

Cassandra Darke sounds like a great concept! I also agree with Brian, that is a great (and intriguing) cover.

 

Glad you loved Pride and Prejudice so much too. I read it years ago and I know I liked it but I really cant remember much about it! I think it needs a re-read :lol:

 

Thank you. The cover is great isn't it? I think it sums up the content pretty well actually. A grumpy old woman more used to a quiet life suddenly mixed up in a violent crime.

 

14 hours ago, willoyd said:

 

Agree about S&S, which is my favourite, but my other six-star read of hers is Emma (which I did for A-level, and introduced me to Austen).  The latter is a lot sharper in flavour than either of the other two though, and may therefore be more of an acquired taste (people usually rate P&P highest). Romantic they are not! The only book that I have a few doubts about is Northanger Abbey, but like/love them all.  Lady Susan is IMO her funniest, and is only 80 pages or so long (turned into a film - excellent - that for some reason was called Love and Friendship, which was the name of one of Austen's other stories, although it's usually misspelled Freindship, as that it was Austen did).  As you may gather, I'm a fan!

 

That's interesting! I'd never heard of Lady Susan. I shall hunt it out, thanks Willoyd. And, S&S and Emma are both now on my hit list.

2 hours ago, Madeleine said:

Funny that A Level English put me off Austen for years!  I didn't like Northanger Abbey either, nor Mansfield Park, which I read somewhere was her own favourite of her books. 

 

I think A Level English has that effect for a lot of books. I don't think I could ever read a George Eliot for pleasure.

 

57 minutes ago, Lau_Lou said:

That cover of Pride & Prejudice is amazing! Glad you enjoyed the book. 

I agree with Willoyd, Lady Susan is brilliant and definitely worth a read. 

 

Thanks Lau_Lau. I look forward to reading Lady Susan.

 

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On 16/05/2019 at 12:22 PM, ~Andrea~ said:

I think A Level English has that effect for a lot of books. I don't think I could ever read a George Eliot for pleasure.

 

I did Middlemarch for A-level, and, like Emma, really didn't like it by the time I finished my first year.  I then decided to read all my texts as books over the summer holidays, and found that I generally really liked, in some case loved, them - I suppose the study to date had provided me with some insight, which I could now appreciate as I put the books all back together again.  I loved Emma so much that I went and read all the rest of Austen's main novels (bar Mansfield Park) before the end of the holidays.  Both books are amongst my favourite half dozen or so novels of all time. I reread Middlemarch a year or so ago, and it was, if anything, even better than I remember it. The same, admittedly, can't be said for some of the more modern books I studied (Gatsby just about manages 'OK' in my ratings for instance!).

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On ‎14‎/‎04‎/‎2019 at 5:34 AM, ~Andrea~ said:

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Gentleman Jim by Raymond Briggs
 
Jim is a toilet attendant, dissatisfied with his lot in life. He escapes into a world of fantasy and dreams of becoming so much more.
 

I've been fancying some graphic novels lately but have no idea really what kind I would like so I picked this up from the library because I enjoyed Fungus the Bogeyman as a child and I've enjoyed some of his animations. This was typical Ray Briggs really, gentle and domestic and with a touch of humour and a hint of sadness. I thought it was OK. The story wasn't that complicated - and in terms of plot it felt more like a children's story but for adults in an odd kind of way.

 

 

 

I love Raymond Briggs illustrations and bought my grandfather Father Christmas and Father Christmas Goes On Holiday, as a teenager. I was given them back when he died and loved reading them to my children, his humour is delightful. I'll keep my eye out for this one, Andrea :) 

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Back when we were grownups by Anne Tyler

 

In her fifties, Rebecca Davitch sits up one day and wonders who she really is. Has life taken her down the path she really wanted to go along? Has it changed her into someone she can no longer recognize? A whirlwind romance in her twenties changed her path dramatically, but widowed by thirty with three young stepchildren and a daughter she was left to run her late husband's family business by herself. Now she wonders what might have been and starts to think about the man she was engaged to before she met her late husband.

 

This was my first Anne Tyler, who I'd heard lots of good things about. While I found it took a little while to get into, once I did it was a pleasure to read. The prose is lovely, and while not a huge amount actually happens I somehow found myself turning the pages. It was a gentle, thoughtful read with engaging characters and lots of well drawn details and insights that made me feel I was right in the middle of the story and could recognize the interior life of the characters. I enjoyed it and would read more from this author.

 

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Reading your review reminds me that I really need to return to Anne Tyler. I've read a couple of her books, and both have been pretty much as you describe.  No, nothing much happens (actually, in one it did, but it didn't feel like that), but that's not the point.  She's so into character examination and development, that that is where the focus lies, and the plot is pretty much about how or why people turn out the way they do.  Compulsively readable and thought-provoking.

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I've heard of Anne Tyler but never read anything by her. Usually 'not much happens' would be a pretty damning review for a book but this sounds fascinating! 

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9 hours ago, Hayley said:

I've heard of Anne Tyler but never read anything by her. Usually 'not much happens' would be a pretty damning review for a book but this sounds fascinating! 

 

I think it's only damning if one is focused on plot, which a lot of writers and readers are; thus the popularity of the thriller genre.  I tend to avoid them nowadays, and have enjoyed quite a lot of books where 'not much happens'. Indeed, most of my one star books are plot driven novels (including both those so far this year)..

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35 minutes ago, willoyd said:

 

I think it's only damning if one is focused on plot, which a lot of writers and readers are; thus the popularity of the thriller genre.  I tend to avoid them nowadays, and have enjoyed quite a lot of books where 'not much happens'. Indeed, most of my one star books are plot driven novels (including both those so far this year)..

Yes I would definitely say there are more plot driven novels out there. Although there are, of course, some very good ones mixed in with the one star type. Out of curiosity, what are your favourite 'not much happens' books? 

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