Review of Not That Bad by Roxanne Gay.

This is a very difficult read. No matter whether you’re a survivor of a sexual crime or not, this book will haunt you in ways you cannot conceive.

The anthology hits you right at the core of your emotions. Each story leaving you feeling the emotions that the survivors all went through.

This is a book that is very relevant right now. This is a book that allows people who haven’t been attacked to feel some of what goes through the head of someone who has had this sort of crime committed against them.

Be warned, there are plenty of triggers in this book. The book isn’t graphic, it’s just highly emotional.

Review of Bloody Brilliant Women.

When I saw this book was up for a review I jumped at the chance to read it.

History books are littered with heroic men who have shaped the world we live in today.

But what about the women?

The history books seem to have forgotten about the women. Of course we know about Emmeline Pankhurst, Marie Stopes and a few others, but what do we know of engineer and motorbike racer Beatrice Shilling, whose ingenious device for the Spitfires’ Rolls-Royce Merlin fixed an often-fatal flaw, allowing the RAF’s planes to beat the Germans in the Battle of Britain?

Or Dorothy Lawrence, the journalist who achieved her ambition to become a WW1 correspondent by pretending to be a man?

Or development biologist Anne McClaren, whose work in genetics paved the way for in vitro fertilisation?

And then we have the women who paved the way for council housing in Britain, municipal swimming pools and humane laws relating to property ownership, child custody and divorce wouldn’t exist in quite the same way without these heroic women included in this book.

These trailblazing women, and many more, deserve the same recognition that their male counterparts were afforded. From the 1918 Representation of the People Act – which allowed some women the right to vote – through to the ousting of Margaret Thatcher from Downing Street, and beyond.

The book is a brilliant read, a humbling read, a read that will enrage you on behalf of these women for the way in which they were very often belittled. Bloody Brilliant Women was written using meticulous research with information gleaned from memoirs, diaries, letters, novels and other secondary sources. The author uses the stories of some extraordinary lives to tell the tale of 20th and 21st century Britain. It’s a history for both women and men. A history for our times.

I hadn’t heard of half of these women and that made me both sad and mad at the same time. Why were these women overlooked? Very often what they achieved, created, defended, fought for and much, much more was more incredible than some of the men who have been included in the history books.

The book is very thought provoking. It’s very humbling. It’s a bloody brilliant read and I highly recommend it.

Review Of The Book Of Celtic Magic

I began reading this book determined not to just put it down, never to come back to it again.  The thing about Celtic Magic, for me, is that I find it a hard subject to get into.  I love esoteric subjects, find them so fascinating, especially witchcraft and magic, but Celtic Magic has always left me cold.

This book, however, was different right from the beginning.  What I usually find when reading anything on Celtic Magic is how long winded it is.  I find it takes me so long to take in what the author is trying to impart, this often puts me off wanting to read the book.  I found this book to be very easy to understand – the language is clear and very informative.  I have learnt more from this book about Celtic Magic than any other book I have ever tried to read.

The book is full of rituals and meditations.  At the very start the reader is invited to start a journal so that they can record their thoughts and feelings upon performing the rituals and meditations.  I found this a very useful tool whilst reading this book and I actually think it helped me to connect with the book a lot more.  The book came across as a teaching tool, but there was nothing stuffy or boring about it.  I felt like I was sitting down with a trusted mentor each time I came to read, and that made reading the book a joy.

As you work through the book the author recommends other books that you might find useful.  Although this is not a new concept, some authors will have listed books that can seem unnecessary to readers.  The author seemed to only recommend what he thought would be of use to his readers, of course it is entirely up to the individual reader if they choose to act upon those recommendations, but I felt inspired to look up some of the recommended books with the intention of obtaining them.

Having read many books on the subject of witchcraft and magic I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book was not your usual Alexandrian, Gardnerian, neo-pagan offering.  Those sorts of books leave me cold, this book, however, was full of useful information; lists of Celtic Gods and Goddesses that the author had worked with, detailing their areas of usefulness.  The book has covered areas such as trees and plants, such as how to use them in magical rituals and how to feel more connected to nature.  There was a section on animals and totems, which was quite impressive.

I particularly loved how there is a meditation for more or less every area that the author covers in the book.  This not only helps the reader to connect to this particular practice, but it also helps you to absorb the information you are learning and helps absorb the material.

I also loved the glossary at the end, the words are listed and in brackets the author has included the correct pronunciation of each word.  This is particularly useful as there an awful lot of Welsh words included.

 

On the whole this book was a joy to read, in an area I have struggled to get to grips with in the past.  I would recommend this book to novices and those who are already walking a spiritual path, no matter how far down it you have got.  There is plenty to learn from the book and I think it will be a useful accompaniment for novices and those who are more established in their practices.

Highly Recommended 5 stars *****