Post Script: Sugar and Snails – Anne Goodwin

What an outstanding read

Sugar And Snails

Sugar and Snails

Anne Goodwin

Inspired Quill

ISBN: 9781908600479

 

Description:

Diana Dodsworth, a Psychology lecturer, specialises in adolescent decision-making and, on the surface at least, her own decisions have led to a catalogue of successes: close friends, big house, good job. All that seems to be missing is romance, so when Simon crosses her path at a dinner party and proves to be the perfect partner, why is it so hard to tick the last box? In a marvellous twist, it soon becomes abundantly clear that one decision in particular, at the tender age of fifteen, still holds sway over Diana’s life. Can she reconcile her past self with the woman she aspires to be, or will she lose everything that has been so hard won?

 

Sugar and Snails, the debut novel from accomplished short story writer Anne Goodwin, takes sensitive subject matter, handles it with all the force of a freight train and leaves behind nothing but a truly immersive reading experience. Taking place in both the present and the past, between the urban streets of Newcastle and the pyramids of Cairo, the story is one of startling honesty and emotional connections. It carries comfortably the mantles of literary and LGBT fiction but, at its heart, is nothing more or less than a superb piece of modern storytelling.

 

 

My View:

What an outstanding read – the themes in this book are about identity and conforming to expectations, about sexuality, bullying, self-harm, adolescence…secrets and more (no spoilers here). I have not read anything like this before: powerful, engaging, intelligent, well written, with a mystery that is gradually revealed. I was really surprised at what this book had to offer – the synopsis just didn’t prepare me for the complexity of the issues and the emotional journey encountered in these pages.

 

A good read is entertaining, is engaging, is well written and if we are lucky shares a perspective that maybe the reader hasn’t considered before- Sugar and Snails ticks all these boxes and more. Anne Goodwin is a talented writer and I am sure we will be hearing more from her in the near future.

 

There are so many social issues to contemplate in this narrative (and I am having so much difficulty trying to avoid spoilers, I want you discover the depth of this story yourself.). The reader is given plenty of opportunity to consider what is being offered up whilst tying to work out the mystery that Cairo holds.   Goodwin writes a dual time line/dual narrative – Diane Dodsworth’s life as a young person and Diane‘s life now,. Diane’s early life is gradually revealed; going to school, facing many of the same challenges we may have faced in our youth – feelings of isolation, or not fitting in, not being the popular one in school…trying to work out where we fit in the world and what we want to do with our lives. Diane’s life now – is reflective; she is still contemplating the decisions she made in her youth that have directed her adult life, she still trying to work out where she fits in the world.   Identity.  Such an important part of how we see ourselves and expect others to see us and treat us but how much thought do you consciously give to this aspect of your personality? Some maybe more than others.

 

This is a wonderful coming of age (all be it a mature age) narrative with unique perspectives that will open your eyes to the world you are part of.

 

Check out Anne’s website: http://annegoodwin.weebly.com/

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Post Script: How Not to Disappear – Clare Furniss

How Not To Disappear

How Not To Disappear

Clare Furniss

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781471144820

 

Description:

Our memories are what make us who we are. Some are real. Some are made up. But they are the stories that tell us who we are. Without them we are nobody.

 

Hattie’s summer isn’t going as planned. Her two best friends have abandoned her: Reuben has run off to Europe to ‘find himself” and Kat is in Edinburgh with her new girlfriend. Meanwhile Hattie is stuck babysitting her twin siblings and dealing with endless drama around her mum’s wedding. Oh, and she’s also just discovered that she’s pregnant with Reuben’s baby.

 

Then Gloria, Hattie’s great-aunt who no one even knew existed, comes crashing into her life. Gloria’s fiercely independent, rather too fond of a gin sling and is in the early stages of dementia. Together the two of them set out on a road trip of self-discovery — Gloria to finally confront the secrets of her past before they are erased from her memory forever and Hattie to face the hard choices that will determine her future.

 

Non Pratt’s Trouble meets Thelma and Louise with a touch of Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, Clare Furniss’ remarkable How Not To Disappear is an emotional rollercoaster of a novel that will make you laugh and break your heart.

 

My View:

This is an engaging read, at time hilarious, at times poignant and heartbreaking – it may sound like I am describing a modern YA romance but this book is so much more than that. It is a coming of age story, a story of the circle of life – and in particular focusses on end of life/beginning of life, relationship and dementia.   But it is also about memory and identity, prejudice, love, family, assumptions, domestic violence and unplanned pregnancy…this narrative discusses so many issues you will wonder how the author managed to weave them all into a totally engaging and meaningful story. I enjoyed every moment of this – so much so I had a tear in my eye at its end.

 

In the acknowledgments Clare Furniss gives “heartfelt thanks” to the many friends, family and colleagues who “made the writing of this book possible in so many ways, from proofreading, and advising on historical details to child-minding and …support.”(p.407)

I would like to give my heart think thanks to Clare Furniss for:

  • Writing diverse characters  – with flaws, with temperaments, with histories, with dignity, with life experiences – the good and the bad.
  • Writing empathetically about aging and dementia.
  • Writing a complex narrative with so many social issues woven into its fabric – book clubs take heed – this book will suit your purposes very well.
  • Writing strong female protagonists – I loved then all – Gloria, Hattie, Kat, Edie, Alice, Hattie’s mum….
  • For not taking the easy way out and letting the car accident resolve the “problem” – no spoilers here.
  • For exploring and revealing the intricacies and diversity of relationships, the give and take, the abuse of.
  • For allowing Hattie to determine her own future.
  • For writing a wonderful mystery with twists and turns that you won’t anticipate.
  • For not sugar coating
  • For the dual story line/dual time lines – I loved the social commentary, the social history.
  • For writing a narrative that a fifteen year old or a fifty year old can enjoy.
  • For giving me a most enjoyable and entertaining evenings read.

 

 

 

 

Post Script: The 8 Week Blood Sugar Diet – Dr Michael Mosley

The 8 Week Blood Sugar Diet

The 8 Week Blood Sugar Diet

Dr Michael Mosley

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781925368413

 

Description:

Dr Michael Mosley, author of the bestselling 5:2 Fast Diet, reveals a game-changing approach to one of the greatest silent epidemics of our time – raised blood sugar levels.

 

The food we eat today, high in sugar and easily digestible carbohydrates, is not only making us fat, but is putting us at risk of type 2 diabetes, strokes, dementia, cancer and a lifetime on medication. More than a third of adults in the UK now have raised blood sugar levels and most don’t know it.

 

In this timely book, Dr Mosley explains why we pile on dangerous abdominal fat and shows us how to shed it, fast. He demolishes common myths, such as the claim that steady weight loss is always better than rapid weight loss and that those who lose weight rapidly will inevitably put it back on.

 

This is a book not just for those at highest risk but for anyone who has struggled with their weight and wants to regain control of their health.

 

‘I feel amazing. I have been given another chance at life.’ –Cassie, 28 — lost 20kg

 

Average weight loss: 14kg in 8 weeks.

Includes a detailed 8-week programme with menu plans.

 

 

My View:

It is not secret I am a big fan of Dr Michael Mosley – I love listening to him (he has a great voice) and I am intrigued by the lengths he goes to  test a hypothesis – he uses his own body to conduct scientific experiments on and shares with the reader/viewer the process and the results.  His advice is simple, easy to understand and based on science and medical knowledge (he s a qualified GP come film maker).

 

Before I started reading this book I came across a video “How to Stay Healthy, What the Latest Science Tells Us by Dr Michael Mosley at the All About Women Conference 2016. You can watch it here:  http://ow.ly/Z8BNN   I was inspired to read the book afterwards.

 

In this book Dr Mosley looks at the epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes that has recently engulfed the world. Look around at your own family, friends and colleagues and tally up how many people you know that are at risk of or have already been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I don’t have to look very far to find a few who have already been diagnosed in my immediate family.

 

The book is informative and provides sections on:  The Science – the why this disease is flourishing and ways to solve it. The Diet – talks about the core principles of the Blood Sugar Diet and is followed up with a Recipes and Menu Plan. This is a compact, easy to read, motivating read that will change your life. And if you listen carefully you will hear Dr Michael Mosley narrating the video playing in your head as you read – perfect!

 

 

 

My Dried Cherry and Chocolate Easter Buns: BakeClass – Anneka Manning

BakeClass Cover_Jacket

Anneka Manning

BakeClass

It is Easter a time for family get togethers and Easter Buns.

Thsi is what I made today – mine don’t have the flour paste crosses – as I am not a fan (and I used cranberries in pale of dried cherries as the recipe suggests ).

What do you think?

Dried cherry and chocolate hot cross buns

Anneka’s

Easter Buns

Or Mine? 

These taste great -and the when eaten warm  the semi melted chunks of chocolate – divine!!

Post Script: Where Love Begins – Judith Hermann

Where Love Begins

Where Love Begins
Judith Hermann
Translated by Margaret Bettauer Dembo
Allen & Unwin Australia
The Clerkenwell Press
ISBN: 9781781254707
RRP A$27.99

Description:
Stella is married, she has a child and a fulfilling job. She lives with her young family in a house in the suburbs. Her life is happy and unremarkable, but she is a little lonely-her husband travels a lot for work and so she is often alone in the house with only her daughter for company. One day a stranger appears at her door, a man Stella’s never seen before. He says he just wants to talk to her, nothing more. She refuses. The next day he comes again. And then the day after that. He will not leave her in peace. When Stella works out that he lives up the road, and tries to confront him, it makes no difference. This is the beginning of a nightmare that slowly and remorselessly escalates. Where Love Begins is a delicately wrought, deeply sinister novel about how easily the comfortable lives we construct for ourselves can be shattered.
About the author:
Judith Hermann was born in Berlin in 1970. She is the author of Alice,The Summer House, Later and Nothing but Ghosts, which have received a number of literary awards including the Kleist Prize. She lives and works in Berlin.

 

My View:
I like the sparseness of the narrative and the dialogue. No words are wasted and if you look a little closely at some of the prose you will find some brilliant insights/reflections on relationships, life, death and love. There is something intense, an anticipation of what is to come, a sinister creepiness that keeps you glued to the pages.
This is unlike any book I have read before – there is something about the simplistic prose, the sparseness of the words – yet the words are not empty, they convey so much feeling. I think the feeling of dread is summoned more from what is not said, than what is said. The same still is applied to the description of love. Such small details, such insignificant things, like the holding of hands, the rhythm of breathing have so much meaning. “That evening Stella sits by Ava’s bed until Ava falls asleep. Ava’s breaths changing from sighs, questioning sounds, into a slow rhythm that Stella listens to for a long time. Breathing as if there was nothing to fear in the world” (p.93). Every parent will recognise the emotions here. Beautifully written.
And then there is the stalking.

Something Very Special In The Mail Today

Can you guess what this is?

Precious Things

How special is this? A beautiful gift from HarperCollins Australia.

Precious Things - Kelly Doust

And if you live in Australia and are a member of Goodreads there is a giveaway of 20 copies of Precious Things by Kelly Doust. Precious Things is an intricate mystery about desire and the memories locked inside the things we love.  for this book  running right now enter here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/178886-precious-things

The giveaway ends March 26 2016.
Good luck to all that enter