Category Archives: Books

December books

With these two books I’ve completed my latest goal of 60 books read this year. This will lead to a new project, details about it pretty soon. The books I’ve read this month can’t be more different from one another.

December Books. Two books, a cup of coffee

I remember when I was in school at a history class. My teacher told us that Hitler wrote a book called Mein Kampf. I was in high school and interested in psychology. So, naturally, my first though was a question, why did Germany and the rest of the civilized world let Hitler become so strong when they knew what he thought. I wanted to read the book, to see for myself what he wrote. This month I read it.

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

For years this book was banned in Germany until the copyright run out. I can’t understand why. Learning about what happened and what lead to the WW2 in Europe should be a better approach in my mind. People will not become Nazi after reading this book.

I will make a dedicated post with 10 things I learned about Hitler, after reading Mein Kampf. Besides the question I’ve thought of as a teenager when I heard about the book, I had another question in mind. Why Jews didn’t leave Germany?
After reading the book I’m still wondering why people in the civilized world thought it will not lead to a World War. Some of the words Hitler uses about Jews are shocking, full of hate. When he was talking to a group of a 100 people or so it didn’t matter. But, after he entered the German Parliament with German votes, what were other’s doing? I remember seeing a picture at National Football Museum of the English football team doing a Nazi salute in 1938 at a game in Germany. The first volume of Mein Kampf was published 15 years earlier, in 1923, and the second one after a couple of years. Hindsight is a wonderful thing though.

I still wonder why more Jews didn’t leave Germany, it must have been terrifying for them to read those words and still remain in the country. Maybe it was hope.
This is a book I would definitely recommend to anybody interested in modern history, psychology, and politics.

Best Mates. Six Favourite Stories by Michael Morpurgo

Best Mates. Six Favourite Stories by Michael Morpurgo

This is a children’s book. I got it from a charity shop thinking is something light I can read when I don’t have time to read something more substantial. The book has some ideas I wouldn’t want to teach a child, I didn’t enjoy it. The stories in the book were written from 1974 to 2008. I didn’t notice a particular improvement of the ideas over time. Of course, this is a personal opinion, others might think he is a great writer of children’s stories.
If I had a child, I would read the books/stories before, to know if it’s something I would be happy my child to read, or if we should have a discussion after about values and ideas.

Did you have any reading goals this year?

November Books

This was a busy month, hence I only read 3 books. At the moment I’m reading a fascinating book, but is quite big and I will not finish it before the end of the month. It’s quite a controversial book and not very suitable for Christmas, but now I’ve started reading it, so that’s it.

Stack of three books

With these three books, the total of books read this year is 58. After reaching 52 earlier last month, I set up a new target, of 60. It looks like I will reach that target easily now.

Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins

Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins

It’s the first book I read written by Richard Dawkins and I enjoyed it a lot. My husband read another one of his books, The God Delusion and we talked a lot about things mentioned in that book. I have another one of his books borrowed from the library, ready to be read.
Climbing Mount Improbable is about evolution. He talks a lot about spiders and they are fascinating. He also talks about the evolution of the eye, that part was fascinating too. I like this style of writing and I would definitely recommend this book.
One of the fun facts I learned from the book is about Swift birds. They live most of their lives flying. They sleep while flying (with a part of their brain, then they switch, I wish I could do that), they eat and mate in the air.

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Autumnal reads

This month I’m blogging about Autumnal books, all the books I’ve read this month. Some are more obvious Autumnal than others, but I think all of them are lovely to read on a colder day with a blanket and a hot tea (or any kind of beverages you fancy).

I mentioned in the last book roundup that I was one book away from my 52. I surpassed this target this month with the 4 books I’ve read.

The Little Book of LYKKE. The Danish search for the world's happiest people by Meik Wiking

The Little Book of LYKKE. The Danish search for the world’s happiest people by Meik Wiking
I already blogged about The Little Book of LYKKE. It’s the perfect Autumnal book.

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The Little Book of LYKKE

In August I finished a book by Meik Wiking called The Little Book of Hygge, review in “Curently reading”. I think most people know this book. It’s a must read for all bloggers. You might not know though that he published a new book last month entitled The Little Book of LYKKE. The Danish search for the world’s happiest people.*

The little book of Hygge was a bestseller. It outsold all other hygge titles combined last year. It is published in 31 countries. I imagine, after reading it, that The Little Book of LYKKE will have a similar success. It was a pleasure to read and I will read it again in a few months time.

This new book is about Lykke (Luu-kah) (n): Happiness. He starts by talking about how you measure happiness and how happiness is personal. As what makes me happy is not what would make others happy. After that, the next chapters are about the components of what makes one happy: Togetherness, Money, Health, Freedom, Trust, and Kindness.I will avoid talking too much about any of them, because the whole point of this post is to make you want to open the book and read it yourself. I will mention though a few things from the book.

One of them is about money. He said that, after you have the minimum amount of money needed (for rent/mortgage, food), the extra money will not make anybody happier.
He mentions Michelle McGagh, a British woman that lived an year buying the bare minimum and how she discovered what really made her happy and it wasn’t weekly dinners at the restaurant or pub. It resonated with me. I had a point in my life when I was going to restaurant because I was too busy to cook at home and I wasn’t happy. Now I love cooking with my husband, each of us doing something, is so much better for us than going to a restaurant for dinner.

In another chapter he talks about freedom. This is another point that resonated with me. I need to feel free, it has a real impact in my happiness. I enjoyed that chapter a lot. He talks about the parental happiness gap (child-free couples are happier in UK, a definitely interesting read) and the happiness of entrepreneurs, despite the issues related to being your own boss and not employed somewhere.

I would definitely recommend the book. Meik presents stats (that is something I love in a book, real scientific data), but in a way that is enjoyable for everybody, including the ones not that keen on stats and percentages. The Little Book of LYKKE is filled with lovely looking pictures, something I enjoyed a lot in the hygge books. The pictures are creating a relaxing mood while I’m reading.

If you fancy the book, it is available on Amazon, Foyles, Hive, Waterstones, and WH Smith. I think this book can make a wonderful gift for Christmas and it has just the right price for a Secret Santa.

*I received the book for the purpose of this review.

Books in September

This is my second post about books this month, as I already blogged about the latest book by Philippa Gregory. The Last Tudor was published last month and I wanted to talk about it as soon as I finished it. There is a link at the end of the post to the review. This month I finished 5 books, bringing the total at 51 this year.

Books in September

My choice of books is quite unusual, but if you’ve seem my posts so far I think you are already used to this. I seem to continue to be drawn these days to non-fiction, hence 3 of them are non-fiction, one is historical fiction based on real historical facts and the last one is a poem book.

None of Us Were Like This Before. American Soldiers and Torture by Joshua E.S. Phillips

None of Us Were Like This Before. American Soldiers and Torture by Joshua E.S. Phillips

It was hard to read it, not because of the style, but of what it was written in it. In the book is talked about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. The author goes into details about torture and it’s hard to comprehend why did U.S. authorities allowed this to happen. Prisoners died in captivity (a lot of them) and nobody was wondering why. The whistle-blowers had their lives shattered after coming forward and military personal that abused the detainees committed suicide (accidental death is written in the military reports despite having multiple suicide attempts).
I just hope this is not as widely happening as it seems in the book. I say this because, the last thing I want to accept, is that, from the money I contribute through tax, the army is paid to rape/sexual assault prisoners and call it “interrogation” (have a look at the pictures from Abu Ghraib on wikipedia, a warning though, they are disturbing).

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The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory

I don’t usually write book reviews on their own, but on the 8th last month, one of my favourite authors released another book. So, here is The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory review. This book can be found at the library (most likely it’s already reserved for the next few months) or it can be bought from amazon or even a local supermarket (I saw it in Asda and Tesco).
If you’ve read my monthly books roundups this year, you saw how smitten I am with Philippa’s books. I’ve read many of her books, as you can see at the end of the post.
Philippa said that this is the last Tudor book she will write. Her future projects will be just as exciting, I can’t wait to read them.

If you don’t know Philippa, she was born in Kenya and moved with her parents in UK. She studied here and has an PhD in History. Her first books were a trilogy, Wideacre. I read one of them and I plan to read the other two. The Other Boleyn Girl, a book about Anne Boleyn’s sister is now published globally and the book won the Parker Pen Novel of the Year award 2002 and the Romantic Times fictional biography award. It was adapted for the BBC as a single television drama. She lives in Yorkshire and has a small charity making wells in Gambia, called Gardens for the Gambia.

The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory

The book is divided into 3 books, the first one about Jane Grey, the second one about Katherine Grey and the last one about Mary Grey. Spoilers! (if you don’t already know their stories).

Continue reading The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory

Currently reading

This month I managed to read a lot of books again, 8, all non-fiction, that brings the total to 46! I think the next month will be pretty similar as I already borrowed&bought a few books that I’m keen on reading.

Currently reading

Before moving to UK, terrorism wasn’t a part of my life. I remember vividly the news about the 9/11 attack, I remember telling my mother horrified that the second tower collapsed. I remember how I was feeling at that time, the memory had too much of an emotional impact not to remember every detail. I also remember other events that happened in UK, for example, with the same accuracy. While all these events were memorable, it wasn’t like any of them would have a direct connection to me.
So, why does terrorism matter now? Maybe because I’m here and it happened in places I’ve been to, like London, in a location I know well, in Manchester the day after I spent the weekend there. It happened at a concert, at a supermarket, at an event, on the streets.
I know that it’s more likely that I could die in a car crash, we even had a few of those (minor incidents), I still travel with the car. It’s also more likely I would die from heart problems, but that doesn’t stop me eating something that’s not healthy or having a second cocktail. I wanted to understand, so I got a couple of books about terrorism. I learned a lot from them. Sadly, after I finished the first book, another two attacks took place in Spain. So, I continued with the second book. While I was reading the second book, another attack took place in Finland.

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