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Recent Reads and Audiobooks

“Maybe this is why we read, and why in moments of darkness we return to books: to find words for what we already know.” 

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My last post My top 12 Audiobooks was some time ago so I thought I'd update you all with what I've been enjoying since then. Unlike my previous list, which was a mixture of genres and themes, this list is predominantly centred around the themes of feminism and female issues. Frankly I think we should all be taking an interest in anyway, as people, regardless of how you identify physically. I was overjoyed to see Camilla on our very own prime-time Love Island discussing her feminist values and bringing the issue to the mainstream, discussion breeds change! It's not all political though, I'm also branching into reading some behavioural and evolutionary theory as well as theories of modern human relationships and dating - sound heavy right? Wrong! They were both written by comedians. Enjoy the list, read, listen and grow...

By Sara Pacoe

First up is Animal, by Sara Pascoe. When I really enjoy listening to an audiobook I will go and buy the hardcopy once I've finished. I know, I essentially buy the book twice. However, this allows me to re-read sections I have particular enjoyed, fold down pages (controversial), underline, make notes and basically deface said book with my love and adoration. Animal currently sits by my bed, folded and creased and generally loved and adored as aforementioned. I have always had an interest in behavioural and evolutionary biology since I studied both at A-Level and this book has allowed me to considerably expand that knowledge. It has also led me to challenge many of the behaviours which I myself  exhibit and which I see friends and family members exhibit on a daily basis. If you liked Caitlin Morans "How to be a Woman" then you will love this, it's a much more complex and scientific version of that book and reading the two is like moving from GCSE's to Degree levels of knowledge regarding the myriad of issues women face but with none of the loss of humour. Sara's incredible and illuminating knowledge is echoed by a dry intelligent wit that ensures the subject matter never becomes hard work and it covers so many topics! From why the mode (Most common) amount of years to stay married is 4 years, to how there are two different types of Sperm - the "fighters" and the "racers," to why Mallard Ducks have an adaptive Labyrinthine vagina. I often find myself daydreaming about the implications of a theory or study put forward in this book which at the very least renders me less vapid and shallow than when my daydreams used to merely consists of shoes and lattes. Thanks Sara. 

Modern Romance: An Investigation 
By Aziz Ansari

When purchasing the paperback version of Animal, the very nice lady at the Waterstones counter recommended this next audiobook to me. As usually I settled down to happily listen to the Audio version before purchasing the hard-copy but honestly found Aziz's comments regarding the "laziness" of doing so pretty grating. So grating in fact that I still haven't been tempted to purchase a hard copy out of principal (and pettiness), sorry Aziz no double-custom for you. Think of the Ramen you could of bought with my £6.99. Despite my annoyance it was actually fascinating to hear a male perspective on modern dating, sexting and even cheating. I can only usually elicit this type of information fro my male friends at roughly 3am after several tequilas and the narrative is usually muffled by the cheese chips they're resting their face on. It's genuinely very insightful for women to learn that it's just as nerve wracking for men to see the little blue dots appear at the bottom of the screen when a message is sent. Sometimes as a woman it's difficult to move past the idea that we are the pawns in the games of men when it comes to dating but often men are just as insecure and unsure as we are. It's just a shame that many of the fascinating and insightful research experiments and Reddit polls in this book were detracted from by a constant stream of unrelated and frankly unwarranted "jokes." I know that this guy is a comedian but at times it was so distracting that it prevented me from engaging with the subject matter and I don't even mind mixing science and humour usually (see above) Still worth a read or listen though. 

The Cows 
By Dawn O'Porter

I'm not going to lie, this is quite a ridiculous book but it also quite interesting. The narrative  follows the story of three women, a successful blogger with a toyboy and alack of biological clock, a single professional mother who makes a catastrophic error of judgement and a young believed girl suffering with the effects of a genetic illness. The book raised some interesting subjects, such as the power of social media trends on ordinary people and the rise in popularity of the "blogger culture" but ultimately it left me feeling a little unsatisfied. At times I felt as though the detailed development required for some of the characters overshadowed the rather shallow exploration of the others which was a shame. Having heard Dawn talk about the book on The Guilty Feminist Podcast I had high hopes for it's pro-feminst themes but it's just another novel really. Sidetone: The name itself came from the idea of women being feeding and breeding machines, like cattle. It's just a shame that the text itself didn't live up to the potential of said title and instead slid off into a rather unsatisfactory ending for pretty much all of the characters. 

Sometimes I Lie 
By Alice Feeney

I went a bit off-piste with this one as I was lying in the garden in the sun and didn't want to move. I scrolled through the 99p section of ibooks and found this absolute gem. Now, I don't usually read from the thriller genre but having thoroughly enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone to listening to, reading and watching the film adaptation of the "The Girl on the Train" earlier in the year I decided to give "Sometimes I lie" a go and I'm so glad I did. Also I'd had three beers and couldn't get up off my chair to fetch another book from inside. The story centres around Amber Reynolds and skips between three timeframes, "Now," when she is speaking from a paralysed state inside a coma, "Then,"when she looks back on the events leading up to the circumstances of her coma and "Before," her childhood.  I think the reason I find thrillers disappointing is that they are very often un-thrilling. This on the other hand kept me guessing with every chapter. Why is she in a coma? Who did this to her? What is the deal with her husband and her sister? There were constant plot twists and consistent character development which flipped my theories upsidedown with each turn of the page. The ending is as surprising as it comes, something you'd never guess and that's why I would definitely recommend this book as it's one you won't be able to put down. I did eventually, to put some aftersun on and drink some much needed water. 

Fight like a Girl 
By Clementine Ford

Finally my favourite. Again I listened to this book in audio format, a format which I think works particularly well for pro-feminists text as you get a much clearer understanding of the authors passion and anger when talking about the issues close to their heart. I've followed Clementine for a while now on Twitter and what I loved most about this audiobook is that, like on Twitter, Clementine doesn't hold anything back. When she recites the hatred and death threats that she received from men she spits them out of the book with the same malice and scorn with which I can imagine they were delivered to her and that has real power. It incites real fear as a reader, it brings the issues home to you as a crucially important facet of our female existence and not just as some flimsy sideline theory that some people would like to curb it off as. This audiobook made me feel radicalised, militant in my approach to my rights as a woman and in many cases it ignited a fierce pride in all that women have achieved so far. This is a must read and must listen, for all of us who wish to one day be equal. Here is one of my favourite quotes:  

“My voice is strong and imposing, and my legs are powerful enough to hold up its weight. I wake up every day assured of my right to not only participate in the world as an equal part of it, but to loudly reject the narrative that keeps trying to tell me to pipe down, fold in, shrivel up, simper, apologise and slink my way through life so as not to offend or upset anyone with the complicated, beautiful mess that is me. I have fought the odds to get here, empowered by the knowledge that every single woman who has come before me has fought her own battle in order to survive. We fight like girls. This is how we prevail. And this is why we're still standing.”  - Clementine Ford


So those are my current recommendations for books and audiobooks. Stay tuned next month for another list and let me know if you've been particularly enjoying reading or listening to anything lately by commenting below this post  


  1. I'm very intrigued to read Modern Romance and Sometimes I lie. They sound a bit different to what I'd normally read, it's nice to get some variety though! Disappointing to hear about THe Cows. I've heard really good things about it so it's a shame it sounds like it's not as in depth as it could be. Will still give it a read though.

    Becca x

    1. Hi Rebecca

      Yes, I was a bit disappointed that The Cows didn't live up to its potential as it started so well and Dawns writing style is really easy to connect with. I'd definitely still recommend it though as there are some really interesting themes :)

      Thanks for leaving such a detailed comment



  2. Margaret Epstein5 October 2017 at 03:59

    Oh, thank you for the reviews! I've seen the covers of some books at reviews but I really didn't want an academic review. Your fresh and simple written opinion of a regular reader is just what I was looking for.

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