Title: “I’m Fine?!” – Navigating Chronic and Mental Illness; without Faking ‘Fine’

Author: Kathleen Nicholls

Pages: 157 Pages

Publisher: Independently Published

The Blurb

Let’s face it, living with chronic illness is hard enough. Throw in mental health issues and that’s a whole other ball game most of us are too exhausted to play. I want to shed light on the often unspoken correlation between poor mental health and chronic illness. I aim to show you there is life after a diagnosis or either (or both), and how to adapt and thrive despite it all.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Having IBD is hard. It is damn hard. What is even harder is all the additional crap (pun intended) that comes along with it.

For some (and most definitely me) is the stress, anxiety, and emotional distress that can also come with having an IBD.

Kathleen Nicholls is the perfect person to talk about this topic because she has IBD and has suffered because of it.

I found I’m Fine comforting because someone else gets it on the same level as I do. Anxiety is different for everyone but knowing that someone else has similar symptoms due to the same underlying problem makes me feel less alone.

“I’m Fine?!” – Navigating Chronic and Mental Illness; without Faking ‘Fine’ by Kathleen Nicholls is available now.

For more information regarding Kathleen Nicholls (@kathfantastic) please visit www.kathfantastic.com.

Title: Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys

Author: Viv Albertine

Pages: 432 Pages

Publisher: St Martin’s Press

The Blurb

Viv Albertine is a pioneer. As lead guitarist and songwriter for the seminal band The Slits, she influenced a future generation of artists including Kurt Cobain and Carrie Brownstein. She formed a band with Sid Vicious and was there the night he met Nancy Spungeon. She tempted Johnny Thunders…toured America with the Clash…dated Mick Jones…and inspired the classic Clash anthem “Train in Vain.” But Albertine was no mere muse. In Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys., Albertine delivers a unique and unfiltered look at a traditionally male-dominated scene.

Her story is so much more than a music memoir. Albertine’s narrative is nothing less than a fierce correspondence from a life on the fringes of culture. The author recalls rebelling from conformity and patriarchal society ever since her days as an adolescent girl in the same London suburb of Muswell Hill where the Kinks formed. With brash honesty—and an unforgiving memory—Albertine writes of immersing herself into punk culture among the likes of the Sex Pistols and the Buzzcocks. Of her devastation when the Slits broke up and her reinvention as a director and screenwriter. Or abortion, marriage, motherhood, and surviving cancer. Navigating infidelity and negotiating divorce. And launching her recent comeback as a solo artist with her debut album, The Vermilion Border.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. is a raw chronicle of music, fashion, love, sex, feminism, and more that connects the early days of punk to the Riot Grrl movement and beyond. But even more profoundly, Viv Albertine’s remarkable memoir is the story of an empowered woman staying true to herself and making it on her own in the modern world.

The Review

I would be lying if I said that I knew who Viv Albertine was before I read Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys. Don’t get me wrong, I had heard of The Slits but I didn’t know who the individual members were.

I bought Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys based on the cover and fell into this amazing no-holds-barred autobiography that was flush with life experience and honesty that it made me want to know more.

Albertine does not obscure her life experiences. She bears all her scars to the world and it gives the reader an insight into what happens when the music stops.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys is one of the most honest, endearing works of autobiography that I have ever read and I implore you to pick up a copy whether you are a music fan or not.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys by Viv Albertine is available now.

For more information regarding Viv Albertine (@viv_albertine) please visit www.vivalbertine.com.

For more information regarding St Martin’s Press (@StMartinsPress) please visit us.macmillan.com.

Title: The Stonewall Riots

Author: Gayle E. Pitman

Pages: 224 Pages

Publisher: Abram Kids

The Blurb

This book is about the Stonewall Riots, a series of spontaneous, often violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBTQ+) community in reaction to a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The Riots are attributed as the spark that ignited the LGBTQ+ movement.

The author describes American gay history leading up to the Riots, the Riots themselves, and the aftermath, and includes her interviews of people involved or witnesses, including a woman who was ten at the time. Profusely illustrated, the book includes contemporary photos, newspaper clippings, and other period objects. A timely and necessary read, The Stonewall Riots helps readers to understand the history and legacy of the LGBTQ+ movement.

The Review

I read a lot of LGBT fiction but one thing that I haven’t read enough about is the history of the LGBT community. I am seriously behind on my non-fiction. From what I have learned through research after reading things in fiction I have picked up bits and pieces but I really need to expand my knowledge of the LGBT+ community and the ongoing battle for equality. This year I plan to change this. My non-fiction reading journey has begun with The Stonewall Riots by Gayle E. Pitman.

I had heard the term ‘Stonewall’ but never quite understood what it meant and its root. After reading The Stonewall Riots I now see how hard the initial fights for rights were and just how institutionalised the homophobia was…and sadly still is.

Pitman’s easy style means that the book can be read and enjoyed by all. It is a book that should be a feature of every school library and be used in PSHE lessons when discussing LGBTQIA+ issues.

If, like me, you are new to the non-fiction element of the history of LGBTQIA+ rights then The Stonewall Riots is a great book to start you off on that journey.

The Stonewall Riots by Gayle E. Pitman is available now.

For more information regarding Abram Kids (@ABRAMSbooks) please visit www.abramsbooks.com.

Title: Furious Hours – Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee

Author: Casey Cep

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Random House UK

The Blurb

The stunning story of an Alabama serial killer and the true-crime book that Harper Lee worked on obsessively in the years after To Kill a Mockingbird

Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted – thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend.

As Alabama is consumed by these gripping events, it’s not long until news of the case reaches Alabama’s – and America’s – most famous writer. Intrigued by the story, Harper Lee makes a journey back to her home state to witness the Reverend’s killer face trial. Harper had the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research. Lee spent a year in town reporting on the Maxwell case and many more years trying to finish the book she called The Reverend.

Now Casey Cep brings this story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South. At the same time, she offers a deeply moving portrait of one of the country’s most beloved writers and her struggle with fame, success, and the mystery of artistic creativity.

This is the story Harper Lee wanted to write. This is the story of why she couldn’t.

The Review

I have never come across anyone who didn’t love To Kill A Mockingbird. Equally, I have yet to meet someone who wasn’t slightly disappointed with Go Set a Watchman. After all those years of wanting more from Harper Lee her audience weren’t exactly infused with joy with her second release. Having said that, we all would probably have wanted more from Harper Lee.

In Casey Cep’s Furious Hours – Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee we get to see an inside picture of why we had to wait so long for Harper Lee’s work and more importantly how she struggled for decades to write something as good, as important as To Kill a Mockingbird.

Furious Hours is a good read. Casey Cep is a good writer. However, I do feel that Furious Hours could have been much shorter. There was an awful lot of background information given that had very little impact in the overall story of Harper Lee planning to write her novel on a crime that took place. A lot of it was irrelevant.

That being said, Furious Hours is an interesting read, it is well researched and the insight into Harper Lee’s life is fascinating. We finally get an impression of who this reclusive writer was.

Furious Hours – Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep is available now.

For more information regarding Casey Cep (@cncep) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Random House UK (@PenguinRHUK) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk.

Title: Curtains Down at her Majesty’s – The Death of Queen Victoria in the Words of Those Who Were There

Author: Stewart Richards

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: The History Press

The Blurb

‘Her Majesty the Queen breathed her last at 6.30 p.m., surrounded by her children and grand-children.’

With this notice, pinned to the entrance gate of Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s doctors announced the death of the most powerful woman in the world, who had sat on her throne and ruled through more than six decades. Her rule had seen her kingdom spread to become the world’s biggest empire, had seen massive change in society and leaps forward in technology. It is little surprise that the death of one who had ruled for all of many people’s lives created chaos, shock and mass outpourings of grief across the country.

Here author and researcher Stewart Richards has delved through the archives to put together the definitive view of Victoria in her final days, through the immediate reaction and aftermath of her death, to the state funeral of 2 February 1901. Based entirely on fascinating first-hand accounts, The Death of Queen Victoria offers a truly unique insight into the events of that tumultuous few days and is a volume that no enthusiast should be without.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Curtains Down at her Majesty’s is a fascinating and factual account of the days preceding the death of Queen Victoria and the days of mourning and the funeral that followed.

This isn’t a work of fiction. Author Stewart Richards has meticulously gone through diary entries, letters, telegrams, newspaper articles of the people who were there: Queen Victoria’s family, her physicians and her subjects.

What is revealed is how the pomp and ceremony surrounding royal deaths is conducted and it gives insight in how the current monarchy was created.

A truly fascinating read for those who love the Victorian era and the monarchy.

Curtains Down at her Majesty’s – The Death of Queen Victoria in the Words of Those Who Were There by Stewart Richards is available now.

For more information regarding The History Press (@TheHistoryPress) please visit www.thehistorypress.co.uk.