Frequently Auto-Approved
Reviews Published Challenge Participant

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Neither Bomb Nor Bullet Benjamin Kwashi: Archbishop on the front line by Andrew Boyd

This is a wonderful book about an incredibly brave Anglican Archbishop who has to face the terrors of radical Islam in Nigeria but remains steadfast in his faith.

I enjoyed the beginning about his naughty antics as a young boy, his early days as a soldier and his stories about the culture of his country.Although his mother was semi-literate, his father was an educated civil  servant and his grandmother was deeply religious, young Ben fell into bad ways. He drank too much and failed his military exams although his superiors still wanted him to become an officer. Luckily, a street pastor converted him and he found his true calling.

His early romances and his strange love affair with the shy, but hot-tempered country-girl Gloria was also fun to read.  She sounds incredibly formidable but extremely wise!

After that the book becomes somewhat harrowing because of the military dictatorship and the rise of militant Islam. In 1987 a minor skirmish between a Muslim and a Christian led to riots and killings - the young minister's house and church were burned down. He had to give a speech in the midst of the upheaval and tell his flock what to do - he gave wise advice.  It's still a joy to read because of his happy and wise personality and Gloria is interesting, but it also brings home to the reader the rise of radical Islam.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest book review.

EDITION
ISBN
PRICE



Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Unmarriageable Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan by Soniah Kamal

This clever and witty Pakistani version of Pride and Prejudice by Soniah Kamal is great fun.

Like Pride and Prejudice, the story involves five sisters in a family down on its luck, but it concentrates on the two oldest sisters, Alys and Jenna. They are modern girls (although Alys is perhaps more modern) stuck in an old-fashioned world in which women are regarded as spinsters if they are single at 30.  They both teach at the BDS, a private school for girls, where Alys tries to convince the girls tthat there is more to life than marriage and children.

Mrs Binat, their mother, is determined to get the girls married, but she won't accept Abroads because their wives are unpaid servants or Absurdities, men from humble backgrounds. When the girls meet Mr Bumgles and his arrogant friend Valentine Darsee, Mrs Binat is overjoyed and thinks that there is a proposal in the offing. The girls have more twists and turns to face before they find true happiness, however. For example, Alys must fight off the attentions of the smarmy Kaleen, and choose between Wickhaam and Darsee.

Pride and Prejudice transfers very well to this exotic setting where good Muslim women are supposed to be virgins until they are married; there are huge wedding feasts; and class distinction and gossip are all-pervasive.  The main characters are very likeable, although some people might not approve of Alys smoking.

I was a bit puzzled when Mrs Binat prayed the rosary, but Muslims have a rosary as well as Catholics.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

EDITION
ISBN
PRICE

Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Art of Love The Romantic and Explosive Stories Behind Art's Greatest Couples by Kate Bryan

This was an interesting and enjoyable book about the often tumultuous romances of art's greatest couples. As Bryan writes, romances between artists raise lots of issues, such as how does the relationship affect the work, where do they work and the prospect of competition between them. Many of the women artists in the book suffered from 'little woman syndrome,' such as Sonia Delaunay, so it is good to see that she gives them their due.  Others had to be very strong and independent to get ahead, and to not let their relationships destroy them or destroy their art. Georgia O'Keefe, for example, would not put her art into all-women exhibitions.

My favourite couple were the Delaunays who were so in sync that they described their art as 'simultaneity'! I like the bright colours and modernist designs of Sonia Delaunay and I was pleased that she regarded her decorative work as equal to her paintings.


This is well-worth reading for anyone who likes art, and is interested in the love affairs of great artists.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Her Own Rules by Barbara Taylor Bradford

Klaus with K, edit by Thegreenj [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]

I usually find Barbara Taylor Bradford's books soothing, in spite of her heroines having lots of troubles. However, this one was quite harrowing, partly because of the connection with Australia. Bradford's characters were likeable and sympathetic, however, and the descriptions of Yorkshire and Connecticut were evocative and atmospheric.

Meredith is a successful hotel owner with two lovely adult children, but her childhood and her divorce upset her.  She had a difficult childhood in Australia, and decided to live in Connecticut when she was very young. When she travels to one of her hotels in Yorkshire, she feels the urge to visit Fountains Abbey nearby, and she feels that something tragic happened to her there. Haunted by strange dreams and a strange illness, she decides to resolve the dark secrets of her past before they start to destroy her health. She is lucky enough to have the support of her new French boyfriend Luc and her friends and children.

I found this psychological story quite hard to put down, and I enjoyed the settings and reading about Meredith's business dealings which were very detailed. I am not sure if I would call it holiday reading, however.

The Art of Mindful Reading Embracing the Wisdom of Words by Ella Berthoud

Did you love reading when you were a child or a teenager? Do you find it hard to make the time to read now? This wonderful little book will help you to regain that love, and deepen your experience of reading. Ella Berthoud discusses how to discover what kind of reader you are, and provides several reading exercises to choose from.

Research has shown that reading fiction is similar to meditation, so it is actually good for you! Ella Berthoud shows readers how to make it even more 'mindful'. First, she suggests that you decide what kind of reader you are - visual, aural or kinaesthetic, so that you can use your imagination to better effect. For example, I think that I am mostly a visual reader, so I like to imagine the details of scenes in my head, rather than actually acting it out.

The exercises which Berthoud suggests include having a reading nook, so that you can settle down with a good book in your private place, learning poems off by heart, and re-reading beloved children's books. I also like her ideas about writing about a book in six words and keeping a book journal. A book treasury for favourite quotations, scenes and poems is another idea. Some of these exercises do seem like a lot of work, unfortunately, but they are worth it - I used to keep a Commonplace Book, another name for a book treasury and I remember loving it. If only I had kept it!Many famous people, including Vivien Leigh and Alec Guiness, have kept Commonplace Books.

This lovely book is well-worth buying if you want to make your reading more mindful and enjoyable.

I received this ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

EDITION  Other Format

ISBN          9781782407683

PRICE       $14.99 (USD)