Title: The Hormone Diaries – The Bloody Truth About Our Periods

Author: Hannah Witton

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Wren & Rook

The Blurb

An honest, funny and feminist take on living with your period (and hormones!), by the award-winning sex education and body positivity vlogger, and author of Doing It!, Hannah Witton.

When it comes to periods, we’re often expected to cope with it quietly. But our periods and our hormones affect every area of our lives – so I am done with scuttling to the toilet with a tampon up my sleeve.

I vlog about periods and hormonal contraception, and it’s clear that I’m not the only one aching to be more open about this. When I reached out to my online community, I received an outpouring of raw, real and hilarious stories about what we through simply for having a uterus.

From first periods to first coils, pimples to hot-water bottles and PCOS to endometriosis, The Hormone Diaries is your essential companion on the hormone rollercoaster. Filled with Hannah’s insights, fascinating research and those priceless crowdsourced stories, it’s the reassuring hug we all need.

At least 50 per cent of the world has to deal with this stuff – it’s time we started talking about it.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I love Hannah Witton. She is my Stoma Hero – I should preface this by saying that I am currently considering getting a stoma fitted because of the symptoms of my Ulcerative Colitis being so horrid. However, before I knew Hannah Witton had UC, I read her book Doing It! and thus started my affection for her as a writer.

The Hormone Diaries is a brilliant book. It is so body positive about a subject that is often hidden away. The only book I ever remember reading about periods was Are you There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Bloom and even then the information was very basic.

What Witton has done has created a comprehensive guide that girls and women of any age will find informative and helpful. I, myself, found out that someone I know had been fobbed off by their doctors when they were diagnosed with Endometriosis. They were told that the only options were a total hysterectomy or to deal with it. Witton looks at why this is and explored how it is in part due to the patriarchal society we live in.

As an activist for the end of Period Poverty, I believe that along with sufficient sanitary products given to all young girls that every school should be given a copy of The Hormone Diaries. It is informative and entertaining.

The Hormone Diaries – The Bloody Truth About Our Periods by Hannah Witton is available now.

For more information regarding Hannah Witton (@hannahwitton) please visit www.youtube.com/hannahwitton.

For more information regarding Wren & Rook (@wrenandrookbook) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: An American Marriage

Author: Tayari Jones

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: One World Publications

The Blurb

Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she struggles to hold on to the love that has been her centre. When his conviction is suddenly overturned, he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward – with hope and pain – into the future.

The Review

Recently, An American Marriage won the Women’s Prize award. I had all of the shortlisted books but hadn’t made my way through them all. I decided to read An American Marriage after it had won and after having read some of the other fabulous shortlisted books you can see why this book managed to scoop the prize.

It is the story of Celestial and Ray. A newly married couple who are put through testing times when Ray is wrongly accused of a crime that he did not commit. It is about how marriage works, how individuals can struggle becoming a unit, and it is about the power of long lasting love.

I found myself having a very strong and negative reaction to the character Celestial. I disagreed with her choices and I found myself getting angry at her, believing her to be: petulant, spoilt and disagreeable. However, what is great about this story is that I believe that people coming from different backgrounds, different ages, and different marital status’ will all have different reactions. In my opinion, that is essentially what makes An American Marriage by Tayari Jones a great book.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is available now.

For more information regarding Tayari Jones (@tayari) please visit www.tayarijones.com.

Title: Three Women

Author: Lisa Taddeo

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Blurb

One of the most highly anticipated nonfiction debuts of the year

All Lina ever wanted was to be desired. How did she end up in a marriage with two children and a husband who wouldn’t touch her?

All Maggie wanted was to be understood. How did she end up in a relationship with her teacher and then in court, a hated pariah in her small town?

All Sloane wanted was to be admired. How did she end up a sexual object of men, including her husband, who liked to watch her have sex with other men and women?

Consequences are handed out to some but not to others. Three Women is a record of unmet needs, unspoken thoughts, disappointments, hopes and unrelenting obsessions that tests the boundaries of non-fiction.

The Review

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo is the fascinating set of stories chronicling three women and the sexual encounters that shaped them as women today. Lisa Taddeo has took the information from the three women and made a highly readable narrative non-fiction.

The stories centre around Lina, Maggie and Sloane – all of whom have been affected in some way by sex. I suppose it is one of those things that still seems a little taboo: women talking openly about sex. This just highlights the misogyny that the women faced in a patriarchal society.

I enjoyed reading Three Women but I do feel that it was a victim of its own hype. The way Taddeo writes is engaging and you do want to read more but Three Women was hyped up that much that I personally think I was expecting more.

That being said, Maggie’s story broke me a little. She was just a young vulnerable girl who was taken advantage of by someone in power who should have known better and when whole thing got out of control it was Maggie who was, once again, the victim.

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo is available now.

For more information regarding Lisa Taddeo (@LisaTaddeo) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

Title: How to Fail – Everything I’ve Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong

Author: Elizabeth Day

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

Based on Elizabeth Day’s hugely popular podcast, and including fascinating insights gleaned from her journalistic career of celebrity interviews, How to Fail is part memoir, part manifesto. It is a book for anyone who has ever failed. Which means it’s a book for everyone.

Including chapters on success, dating, work, sport, relationships, families and friendship, it is based on the simple premise that understanding why we fail ultimately makes us stronger. It’s a book about learning from our mistakes and about not being afraid.

Uplifting and inspiring and rich in personal anecdote, How to Fail reveals that failure is not what defines us; rather it is how we respond to it that shapes us as individuals. Because learning how to fail is actually learning how to succeed better. And everyone needs a bit of that.

The Review

I work in a high school and one the things I wish for the students I work with is that they learn how to fail. I don’t mean that in a nasty ‘fail-your-GCSEs’ way. That would be horrible of me but I do believe that failing is a valuable life lesson.

Failing is inevitable. It is a part of life. Most importantly, it makes you resilient.

Failing is the subject of Elizabeth Day’s book How to Fail. She explores the various ways in which she herself has failed – be it simple things such as her driving test or the more bleed-all-over-the-page topics such as her marriage and not having a child. Day shows her own failures along with those of the celebrities that she has had on her podcast – How to Fail with Elizabeth Day.

It shows not only our perceptions of ourselves which is often warped and leans towards the negative but how what we deem a ‘failure’ may be something that others see success in.

How to Fail by Elizabeth Day is one of the best non-fiction books that I have read in 2019. Day really gets her message across to the reader. It is ok to fail.

How to Fail by Elizabeth Day is a very cathartic read.

How to Fail – Everything I’ve Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day is available now.

For more information regarding Elizabeth Day (@elizabday) please visit www.elizabethdayonliine.co.uk.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (HarperCollinsUK@) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: Queenie

Author: Candice Carty Williams

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Trapeze

The Blurb

Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah in this disarmingly honest, boldly political, and truly inclusive novel that will speak to anyone who has gone looking for love and found something very different in its place.

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.

As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.

With “fresh and honest” (Jojo Moyes) prose, Queenie is a remarkably relatable exploration of what it means to be a modern woman searching for meaning in today’s world.

The Review

Queenie is a fabulous story of a young girl who is trying to find her place, find who she is and do so with the added discomfort of the gentrification in the world as she knows it.

I loved Queenie. Whilst I cannot state that I know what it is like to be black (a stupid thing to say, I know) I felt that throughout Queenie that Carty Williams has made the experience of being a girl in her 20s so relatable. I am no longer in my mid-20s but boy would this book have been handy when I was struggling to translate that difficult time in my life.

For me, one of the best things about Queenie is that although she goes through a lot you finish the story feeling hopeful.

I really hope Queenie gets optioned for a TV series. It was so damn good.

Queenie by Candice Carty Williams is available now.

For more information regarding Candice Carty Williams (@CandiceC_W) please visit www.candicecartywilliams.com.

For more information regarding Trapeze (@TrapezeBooks) please visit instagram.com/trapeze_books/