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Arlene Finnigan

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Such an important book

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-05-20

Thoroughly enjoyed re-reading this on audio. Using a cast to read the letters and records works really well, and obviously as a performance poet Lemn Sissay is a brilliant narrator. If you haven’t read this, you really should, it’s an compelling, eloquent account of a remarkable story, and vital insight into the historic flaws in the British care system. If you have read it, it’s well worth re-reading in a different format.

Great insight

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-04-20

This is a really enjoyable collection of essays. Diana Athill had a great interesting life, and is refreshingly honest about her privilege and the decisions she made. She was 98 when she wrote this and hearing the recollections and thoughts of that age is fascinating and makes you think about how you want to look back on your life if you're lucky enough to reach that age.

Great Own Voices insight

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5 out of 5 stars
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5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-04-20

This is a really good read. An excellent Own Voices insight into living with autism (obviously school is an absolute hellhole anyway but for neurodiverse kids or anyone who's a bit different it can be really crap) and the joys of finding your tribe. There's a lot of very helpful advice for both neurotypical people and people with ASD but, perhaps more importantly, it's really funny. I'm definitely going to check out Michael McCreary's stand up.

Fascinating read

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-03-20

This is a fascinating book. It's a great insight into the death industry, somethong that Caitlin Doughty clearly has strong feelings about. She has a great dark sense of humour but also talks passionately about how we need to be more open and honest about death instead of trying to hide and sanitise it. Another one I'd highly recommend to medical geeks with a twisted sense of humour.

(with hindsight this wasn't the best choice of book while working overtime at a hospital during a pandemic but that's my own daft fault)

Perfect for medicine geeks

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-03-20

This is a really fun interesting listen, with plenty of fascinating facts (did you know that at St Andrews University they've got a snuff box containing the pubes of one of George VI's mistresses?). Perfect for medicine geeks with a warped puerile sense of humour.

Highly recommend to music lovers

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-03-20

This is a hugely enjoyable read. Unpretentious music lovers enthusing about their specialist subject and intertwining it with social history is one of my favourite genres and this is a great example of it. Mark Radcliffe is as witty and engaging as you'd expect and I highly recommend the audiobook version. It's testament to how infectious his enthusiasm is that I wanted to listen to the music described after every chapter.

Interesting challenging read

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-02-20

This is an interesting and challenging (in a good way) read. I don't agree with some of his arguments, and I didn't find it as punchy and witty as The Subtle Art Of Giving A Fuck (but maybe that's an unfair comparison). It's good to challenge your ways of thinking about the world and life in general though, and he certainly does that. And there's lots of swearing which is big and funny and clever.

Incredibly powerful read

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-02-20

This is a beautifully written, incredibly powerful book, and I hope as many people as possible read it. A difficult read in terms of the subject matter - it's painfully, viscerally honest - but also very reflective and thought-provoking. Miller reflects on the ordeal the legal system puts sexual assault victims through, but also on white male privilege and entitlement - she wonders how differently Brock Turner would have been treated had he been a Latino kitchen worker, and compares how she had to remain composed when questioned about her drinking to how Brett Kavanaugh reacted. While being brutally honest and realistic, it's also remarkably optimistic and positive. I sincerely hope this is the start of a successful writing career for her.

Great gripping read

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-01-20

This is a great gripping read, a real page turner. An unusual mystery, not so much a whodunnit as whodunwhat. It's a fascinating and thought-provoking reflection on how petty small minded gossip and prejudices can escalate into something much more sinister, especially in a tight knit community. I'm not always a fan of child narrators, but it works perfectly here as Grace's inquisitive and innocent voice puts into perspective how illogical the adults around her have been.

As positive and funny as you'd expect

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-01-20

This is a great read, as funny and uplifting as you'd expect. If you're as cynical as me the relentless positivity is a bit much, but I know that says more about me than about the author (I'm sorry but if I'd have been at that Prince gig, I'd have called Nick Clegg a wanker too). He has a lot of great stories though, and his optimistic generous outlook on life runs throughout. I love the Last Leg, and it's great hearing how that developed. Highly recommend listening to this on audiobook, I really enjoyed the 'off-script' asides.