Title: Breaking and Mending – A Junior Doctor’s Stories of Compassion and Burnout

Author: Joanna Cannon

Pages: 160 Pages

Publisher: Wellcome Collection

The Blurb

“A few years ago, I found myself in A&E.

I had never felt so ill. I was mentally and physically broken. So fractured, I hadn’t eaten properly or slept well, or even changed my expression for months. I sat in a cubicle, behind paper-thin curtains and I shook with the effort of not crying. I was an inch away from defeat… but I knew I had to carry on.

Because I wasn’t the patient. I was the doctor.”

In this powerful memoir, Joanna Cannon tells her story as a junior doctor in visceral, heart-rending snapshots.

We walk with her through the wards, facing extraordinary and daunting moments: from attending her first post-mortem, sitting with a patient through their final moments, to learning the power of a well- or badly chosen word. These moments, and the small sustaining acts of kindness and connection that punctuate hospital life, teach her that emotional care and mental health can be just as critical as restoring a heartbeat.

In a profession where weakness remains a taboo, this moving, beautifully written book brings to life the vivid, human stories of doctors and patients – and shows us why we need to take better care of those who care for us.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I am not a monogamous reader. I cheat on my books all the time. It is very rare for me to sit down with one book and pore through it from beginning to end but that is exactly what happened when I picked up Joanna Cannon’s Breaking and Mending.

I spend a lot of time at hospitals due to my Colitis but Joanna Cannon made me feel like I was a junior doctor experiencing the highs and lows of hospital life along with her. I broke down along with the author and I fell for patients and their families. I had a lot of respect for those who work in hospitals before (from porters to surgeons) but after reading this book my levels of respect has grown exponentially.

With the NHS in such a precarious state and with the lifeblood of it being sucked out by money hungry politicians then books like Breaking and Mending, books that offer real life experiences inside the hospital walls are more than entertainment. They are necessary. They are important.

If you buy just one book this year then please make it Breaking and Mending.

Breaking and Mending – A Junior Doctor’s Stories of Compassion and Burnout by Joanna Cannon is available now.

For more information regarding Joanna Cannon (@JoannaCannon) please visit www.joannacannon.com.

For more information regarding Wellcome Collection (@ExploreWellcome) please visit www.wellcomecollection.org.

Title: If I Don’t Make It, I Love You – Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings

Author: Amye Archer and Loren Kleinman

Pages: 512 Pages

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

The Blurb

A harrowing collection of sixty narratives—covering over fifty years of shootings in America—written by those most directly affected by school shootings: the survivors.

“If I Don’t Make It, I Love You,” a text sent from inside a war zone. A text meant for Stacy Crescitelli, whose 15-year-old daughter, Sarah, was hiding in a closet fearing for her life in Parkland, Florida, in February of 2018, while a gunman sprayed her school with bullets, killing her friends, teachers, and coaches. This scene has become too familiar. We see the images, the children with trauma on their faces leaving their school in ropes, connected to one another with hands on shoulders, shaking, crying, and screaming. We mourn the dead. We bury children. We demand change. But we are met with inaction. So, we move forward, sadder and more jaded. But what about those who cannot move on?

These are their stories.

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You collects more than sixty narratives from school shooting survivors, family members, and community leaders covering fifty years of shootings in America, from the 1966 UT-Austin Tower shooting through May 2018’s Santa Fe shooting.

Through this collection, editors Amye Archer and Loren Kleinman offer a vital contribution to the surging national dialogue on gun reform by elevating the voices of those most directly affected by school shootings: the survivors.

The Review

So the world is in a bit of a mess. In the year of 2019, Britain are still trying to figure out Brexit. We have a very dodgy prime minister who is known for having poor morals and scruples and basically being a blithering buffoon.

However, I am eternally grateful that I live in the UK. There are many reasons for this – one of them being the lack of gun crime. I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen but in the UK you cannot got to a supermarket and pick up a gun.

In America, due to the second amendment – the right to bear arms – a rule that is outdated and in my opinion should be changed – the availability of guns and ammunition must have had a direct impact on the increase of mass shootings.

I read If I Don’t Make It, I Love You and was so saddened and disgusted that even after all the death of innocent school children that this rule hasn’t been changed. It is appalling.

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You gives real life accounts from the more memorable school shootings. These accounts come from survivors, paramedics, parents and siblings of those who lost their lives. It shows how the after effects of events like this are still so pertinent and that whilst in some cases pain eases with time it is never truly gone.

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You is a must read.

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You – Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings by Amye Archer and Loren Kleinman is available now.

For more information regarding Amye Archer (@AmyeArcher) please visit www.amyearcher.com.

For more information regarding Loren Kleinman (@LorenKleinman) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Skyhorse Publishing(@skyhorsepub) please visit www.skyhorsepublishing.com.

Title: Bookworm – A Memoir of Childhood Reading

Author: Lucy Mangan

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Square Peg

The Blurb

When Lucy Mangan was little, stories were everything. They opened up new worlds and cast light on all the complexities she encountered in this one.

She was whisked away to Narnia – and Kirrin Island – and Wonderland. She ventured down rabbit holes and womble burrows into midnight gardens and chocolate factories. She wandered the countryside with Milly-Molly-Mandy, and played by the tracks with the Railway Children. With Charlotte’s Web she discovered Death and with Judy Blume it was Boys. No wonder she only left the house for her weekly trip to the library or to spend her pocket money on amassing her own at home.

In Bookworm, Lucy revisits her childhood reading with wit, love and gratitude. She relives our best-beloved books, their extraordinary creators, and looks at the thousand subtle ways they shape our lives. She also disinters a few forgotten treasures to inspire the next generation of bookworms and set them on their way.

Lucy brings the favourite characters of our collective childhoods back to life – prompting endless re-readings, rediscoveries, and, inevitably, fierce debate – and brilliantly uses them to tell her own story, that of a born, and unrepentant, bookworm.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Bookworm is the delightful memoir of Lucy Mangan. It is a narrative of how important books can be in the growth of a person – emotionally along with physically. We see the books change and grow with Lucy.

What is wonderful is that this book makes you look back and value your own bookish growth.

For me, personally, it went Biff, Chip and Kipper -> Enid Blyton -> Miss Wiz -> The Worst Witch -> Sweet Valley Series -> The Babysitters Club -> Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging Series -> Harry Potter -> Twilight and now adulthood with a toe firmly dipped in the young adult fiction genre.

I love books about books they make me remember the reasons why I love reading.

Bookwork – A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan is available now.

For more information regarding Lucy Mangan (@LucyMangan) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Square Peg (@SquarePegBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk/vintage.

Title: All the Lives I Want – Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to be Famous Strangers

Author: Alana Massey

Pages: 257 Pages

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

The Blurb

Mixing Didion’s affected cool with moments of giddy celebrity worship, Massey examines the lives of the women who reflect our greatest aspirations and darkest fears back onto us. These essays are personal without being confessional and clever in a way that invites readers into the joke. A cultural critique and a finely wrought fan letter, interwoven with stories that are achingly personal, ALL THE LIVES I WANT is also an exploration of mental illness, the sex industry, and the dangers of loving too hard. But it is, above all, a paean to the celebrities who have shaped a generation of women–from Scarlett Johansson to Amber Rose, Lil’ Kim, Anjelica Huston, Lana Del Rey, Anna Nicole Smith and many more. These reflections aim to reimagine these women’s legacies, and in the process, teach us new ways of forgiving ourselves.

The Review

All the Lives I Want is a collection of essays that celebrates women. It holds a mirror up to society and shows how women are not so subtly pitted against one another or how they are sexualised or how they are forced into submissive roles. It truly is a book to put fire in your belly.

Part memoir/part journalism, Massey’s penned thoughts percolate in the brain giving you food for thought long after you have finished reading.

All the Lives I Want – Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to be Famous Strangers by Alana Massey is available now.

For more information regarding Alana Massey (@AlanaMassey) please visit www.alanakm.com/books/

For more information regarding Grand Central Publishing (@GrandCentralPub) please visit www.grandcentralpublishing.com.

Title: The Sisterhood – A Love Letter to the Women Who Have Shaped Me

Author: Daisy Buchanan

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Headline

The Blurb

‘My five sisters are the only women I would ever kill for. And they are the only women I have ever wanted to kill.’

Imagine living between the pages of Pride And Prejudice, in the Bennett household. Now, imagine how the Bennett girls as they’d be in the 21st century – looking like the Kardashian sisters, but behaving like the Simpsons. This is the house Daisy Buchanan grew up in,

Daisy’s memoir The Sisterhood explores what it’s like to live as a modern woman by examining some examples close to home – her adored and infuriating sisters. There’s Beth, the rebellious contrarian; Grace, the overachiever with a dark sense of humour; Livvy, the tough girl who secretly cries during adverts; Maddy, essentially Descartes with a beehive; and Dotty, the joker obsessed with RuPaul’s Drag Race and bears.

In this tender, funny and unflinchingly honest account Daisy examines her relationship with her sisters and what it’s made up of – friendship, insecurity jokes, jealousy and above all, love – while celebrating the ways in which women connect with each other and finding the ways in which we’re all sisters under the skin.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I was about 17 when my sister asked me if I would be a surrogate for her. Not right now. This was a hypothetical situation. My sister knew then (and she still knows) that I have no desire to give birth – it looks painful and messy and I have heard that sometimes you poop. Carla is my sister and I would do anything for her and so I agreed. Fortunately for me my sister didn’t need to call on me and my uterus and gave birth to my gorgeous niece in 2015. However, this story was mentioned because if you have sisters you know what you would do for them. Daisy Buchanan just gets it.

The Sisterhood is a celebration of the sisters we have in life. Buchanan mentions friends that become sisters and she talks in depth about real life siblings. She celebrates each of them for their individuality, she shares stories of their shared past and she shows that sometimes being a sister can be hard.

What is wonderful about this collection of essays is that Daisy Buchanan doesn’t hide behind her words. She shows aspects of her own personality that aren’t always the most desirable qualities but she needs to do that  to help you understand how much you can love your sister but want to thump them in the arm until they squeal too.

It is an amazing celebration of sisterhood that can be found within these pages. Read it, love it, and then buy it for your sister for Christmas.

The Sisterhood – A Love Letter to the Women Who Have Shaped Me by Daisy Buchanan is available now.

For more information regarding Daisy Buchanan (@NotRollerGirl) please visit her Twitter page.

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