MY Life on the RoadTitle: My Life on the Road

Author: Gloria Steinem

Pages: 276 Pages

Publisher: Random House

The Blurb

Gloria Steinem—writer, activist, organizer, and one of the most inspiring leaders in the world—now tells a story she has never told before, a candid account of how her early years led her to live an on-the-road kind of life, traveling, listening to people, learning, and creating change. She reveals the story of her own growth in tandem with the growth of an ongoing movement for equality. This is the story at the heart of My Life on the Road.

The Review

Ok, I’ll admit it. I wanted to read this book because Emma Watson recommended it.

I’m so very glad that I am a victim of pop culture. Steinem’s memoir, My Life on the Road chronicles various points in her life. She takes you on a journey, her journey, and reveals all the wonderful, amazing and sometimes heartbreaking things and people that she encounters.

With her uncompromising beliefs and tenacity you finish reading My Life on the Road desperate to get out there. Out there in the big wide world and have a life changing adventure and to just do a little bit of good.

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem is available now.

For more information regarding Gloria Steinem (@GloriaSteinem) please visit www.gloriastinem.com.

For more information regarding Random House (@randomhouse) please visit www.randomhousebooks.com.

4 Stars

on-bowieTitle: On Bowie

Author: Rob Sheffield

Pages: 208 Pages

Publisher: Headline

The Blurb

On Bowie is a thoughtful and loving meditation on the life of the late David Bowie that explores his creative legacy and the enduring and mutual connection he enjoyed with his fans

Innovative. Pioneering. Brave. Until his death in January 2016, David Bowie created art that not only pushed boundaries, but helped fans understand themselves and view the world from fantastic new perspectives.

When the shocking news of his death on January 10, 2016 broke, the outpouring of grief and adulation was immediate and ongoing. Fans around the world and across generations paid homage to this brilliant, innovate, ever-evolving artist who both shaped and embodied our times

In this concise and penetrating book, highly-regarded Rolling Stone critic, bestselling author, and lifelong Bowie fan Rob Sheffield shares his own feelings about the passing of this icon and explains why Bowie’s death has elicited such an unprecedented emotional outpouring from so many.

The Review

Let’s face it folks, 2016 has not been kind to out celebrities. Out of all of the celebrity deaths that have happened so far David Bowie was one of the harshest for me. I loved Bowie. I couldn’t tell you exactly when I discovered my love for David Bowie but being a child of the 80s my introduction to him must have come from the movie Labyrinth. From then on my love grew.

My love and indeed obsession with music came (like most) in my teen years and it was then that I discovered Bowie the musician not Jareth the Goblin King. Bowie wasn’t and still isn’t someone that you can listen to passively. His music dictates that you give him your full attention. Likewise this is what I gave to Rob Sheffield when I read his book On Bowie. The book was written in light of Bowie’s death in January and released a few months after and what I loved about it is that the biography (I feel weird calling it this) mixes moments from David Bowie’s life and shows the resonance that Bowie had on his audience. How what he did and how he did it impacted people. That is what, in my humble opinion, makes Rob Sheffield’s writing really exciting. You see it in his previous books and you definitely see it in On Bowie. It is the book that makes you shout “Yes! You get it. That is exactly how I feel.”

If you love Bowie then read On Bowie. If you love music then read On Bowie. And if you love it when an author just gets it then read On Bowie.

On Bowie by Rob Sheffield is available now.

For more information regarding Rob Sheffield (@robsheff) please visit www.robsheffield.com.

For more information regarding Headline (@headlinepg) please visit www.headline.co.uk.

4-stars

Confessions of a librarianTitle: Confessions of a Librarian: A Memoir of Loves

Author: Barbara Foster

Pages: 170 Pages

Publisher: Riverdale Avenue Books

The Blurb

In the spirit of such classic female erotic adventurers as Anais Nin, Erica Jong and Toni Bentley, Barbara Foster shares the story of four women who meet to tell the lurid details of their worldly romantic encounters in Confessions of a Librarian: A Memoir of Loves. From Istanbul, Buenos Aries, Israel and back to New York, featuring young women to women of a certain age, with threesomes and everything in between, these inter-connected tales of love and lust are sure to keep you rapidly turning the pages.

The Review

Oh dear. What a disappointment.

I loved the basis of this book because I personally think that there is something about the juxtaposition of librarians and heightened sexuality that simply go hand in hand. However Confessions of a Librarian didn’t deliver. It was the sexual misadventures of someone who happened to be a librarian.

The book just didn’t tick any of the boxes for me. I felt like I was being told every single thing about what happened, where she was, what colour the wallpaper, etc. in exhaustive detail in exhaustive detail.

Overall, Confessions of a Librarian was not an enjoyable read.

Confessions of a Librarian: A Memoir of Loves by Barbara Foster is available now.

For more information regarding Barbara Foster (@FosterLoves) please visit www.threelovestory.com.

For more information regarding Riverdale Avenue Books (@riverdaleavenue) please visit https://riverdaleavebooks.com.

2 Stars

Trying to FloatTitle: Trying to Float

Author: Nicolaia Rips

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Scribner

The Blurb

“Hysterically droll, touching, elegant, and wise—a coming-of-age story from someone who possibly came of age before her parents” (Patricia Marx,New Yorker writer and bestselling author), Trying to Float is a seventeen-year-old’s darkly funny, big-hearted memoir about growing up in New York City’s legendary Chelsea Hotel.

New York’s Chelsea Hotel may no longer be home to its most famous denizens—Andy Warhol, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, to name a few—but the eccentric spirit of the Chelsea is alive and well. Meet the family Rips: father Michael, a lawyer turned journalist with a penchant for fine tailoring; mother Sheila, a former model and world-renowned artist who matches her welding outfits with couture; and daughter Nicolaia, a precocious high school junior at work on a record of her peculiar “youth.”

Nicolaia is a perpetual outsider who has struggled to find her place in public schools populated by cliquish girls and loudmouthed boys. But at the Chelsea, Nicolaia need not look far to find her tribe. There’s her neighbor Stormy, a tall albino woman who keeps a pink handgun strapped to her ankle; her babysitter, Paris, who may or may not have a second career as an escort; her friend Artie, former proprietor of Studio 54. The kids at school might never understand her, but as Nicolaia endeavors to fit in she begins to understand that the Chelsea’s motley crew could hold the key to surviving the perils of a Manhattan childhood.

With a voice as fabulously compelling as Holden Caulfield’s, Nicolaia Rips’s debut is a disarming, humble, heartfelt, and wise tale of coming of age amid the contradictions, complexities, and shifting identities of life in New York City. A bohemian Eloise for our times, Trying to Float is a triumphant parable for the power of embracing difference in all its forms.

The Review

As far as memoirs about relatively unknown people go, Trying to Float by Nicolaia Rips is pretty damn funny.

Those of you who have read my reviews before will have no trouble believing that I chose yet another book based on the interesting cover. But, you see, if I didn’t have this method of choosing books then I would never have come across this little gem – much like author Nicolaia Rips – Trying to Float is a bit of a diamond in the rough.

Nicolaia is, unbeknownst to her younger self, a little bit odd. This isn’t that unusual; most children are a little bit quirky. For Rips, this has meant that she has been pretty much an outcast and socially stunted by her peers. Again, in real life, this is not something so unusual. As someone who experienced the uncomfortable awkwardness of childhood and teenager-dom I completely empathise – there isn’t anything crueller than school children and no amount of money in the world would make me go back and experience it again. However, I do wish that I had written down my experiences much like Rips has done.

Through all of this, Nicolaia Rips holds on tightly to her unconventional upbringing in the infamous Chelsea Hotel. The cast of characters that she has daily dealings with colour and shape her formative years in the best, most avant-garde way; the hotel and its inhabitants becoming as much a part of Rips colourful tapestry as her experiences outside of her awkward school days.

In Trying to Float, Rips shares her tales of woe, not with sadness or shame but with resignation way beyond her years. A resignation that, to be honest, fills you with hope. This sounds incredibly cheesy but you do get the sense that Rips has a beautiful and creative future ahead of her.

Trying to Float by Nicolaia Rips is available now.

For more information about Nicolaia Rips (@nicolaiarips) please visit her official website www.nicolaiarips.com.

For more information about titles from Scribiner (@ScribnerBooks) please visit the official website www.scribnerbooks.com.

35 Stars

Letters to my FannyThe Blurb

In this hilarious and candid memoir about twenty-first-century womanhood, Cherry Healey shares outrageous, poignant and eye-wateringly funny confessions.

“This book is a love letter, to my body. In fact it’s several letters – to every part from my brain to my belly. I spent most of my life hating by body. I forced it to survive on a diet of ham; I squeezed it into asphyxiating support pants; I accidentally cut my delicate area whilst trimming my lady garden. But now I’ve realized that it deserves some well overdue TLC.

This book is the story of how I’ve come to understand some vital life lessons, and started to love being a woman. I hope you enjoy it. Except you, Mum and Dad. You should stop reading now. It’s for the best. I promise.”

Warm, honest and heartfelt, Letters to my Fanny will have you gasping in recognition. (Amazon)

The Review

Firstly, I have to get this off my chest. I absolutely detest the word ‘fanny’. Much in the way some people find the words ‘succulent’, ‘moist’ and ‘juicy’ to be repulsive I find fanny much the same way. Unless it is used as a verb. I am strangely ok if someone is ‘fannying’ about but the noun ‘fanny’ turns my stomach and I can’t explain why.

With that in mind, every time the word ‘fanny’ came up in Cherry Healey’s Letters to my Fanny I visibly recoiled but I am nothing if not determined so I persevered; I am awfully glad I did. Letters to my Fanny (shudder) is a really funny, warm and entertaining memoir which exudes the message of positive body image.

There are some graphic descriptions of childbirth that, as someone who is physically terrified of the thought of going through labour, I should probably have veered away from (to be fair Healey did give a warning at the beginning of the chapter).

I did feel that some of the chapters lost its way a little bit. Sections of the book discuss feminism and the inequality of wages between men and women but then slips in to a discussion about diet made me a little sceptical. However, by the end of Letters to my Fanny I realised that the overriding message was just to feel comfortable in your own skin and that, for me, is a very powerful message.

I really enjoyed this memoir and – title aside – it made me feel good.

Letters to my Fanny by Cherry Healey is available now.

Follow Cherry Healey (@cherryhealey) on Twitter.

4 Stars