Archive for the ‘what i’m reading now. . .’ Category


off to bed with a good book. . . .

In Book Reviews,CannonballreadIX 2017,Fiction,what i'm reading now. . .,YA literature on April 9, 2017 by mrsdillemma


It’s 8:45 on a Sunday night and I am off to bed with what I hope will be a good book; Perfect – the second in what I imagine is a trilogy from Irish powerhouse Cecelia Ahern.

The trilogy opened with Flawed – the world in which the series is set is defined simplistically ( in Flawed ) through this quote from the protagonist, Celestine; “Before I was born, there was a great recession in this country, banks folded, the government collapsed, the economy was ravaged, unemployment and emigration soared.” In addition to the criminal code there is a moral code by which society lives, the moral code is in response to what was believed to be the moral causes of the great recession. If you break this code you are branded; flawed.





I was thoroughly disappointed.

In Book Reviews,CannonballreadIX 2017,Fiction,what i'm reading now. . . on January 22, 2017 by mrsdillemma

Without Prejudice is a story told in two halves; Flashbacks to the story of two children, one black and one white, who are thrown together in 1960s Chicago and a present day dilemma; Should I let this man into my privileged life?

Late one night, Robert Danziger receives an unexpected call from a childhood friend, Duval Morgan. Duval has spent more than twenty years in an Illinois state penitentiary for the horrific rape and assault of a young nurse. Now he is finally out.

The protagonist – Robert, is a rather bland character, he comes across as petty and randomly racist. I don’t believe that the author would have intended him to be perceived in that way. His wife seems wholly ideological and their relationship is not believable or as compelling as it needs to be for this story to work.

The story is a very slow burn, the flashbacks add insight but it takes 90% of the book to get to a point where the reader feels they have caught up to the action and then when all the strands of the plot are drawn together the pace is so rushed it feels like the author was editing to acknowledge a word count.

I believe the thought provoking premise and the flashbacks were worth reading the entire book for, just,  but I would only ever recommend this for someone who can live with cliche characterizations and predictable plot lines. I was thoroughly disappointed.


Was the Buzz Justified? The Mothers Brit Bennett

In Book Reviews,CannonballreadIX 2017,Fiction,what i'm reading now. . . on January 7, 2017 by mrsdillemma

cbr9-the-mothersBuzz? Justified? Yes! The Mothers is a stunning debut, it is beautifully crafted and is a wise and lingering piece of writing. The complexity of the characters and Ms Bennetts ability to allow them to unwind so slowly ( whilst in the middle of a fast paced storyline ) keeps the reader hooked. I wanted to know, not what was going to happen next, but how the characters felt about these events as they unfolded.

The Mothers is the story of the constraints of a smaller community where everyone knows everybody else’s business.  The story is told, firstly, by the Mothers – the eponymous older women of the church community in which the three pivotal characters; Nadia, Luke & Aubrey, live and love.  All three characters are marked by tragedy and that draws them together at different points with different consequences. Nadia’s decision to terminate her pregnancy early in the narrative impacts across all three characters lives, their stories are intertwined, their destinies tangled.

“All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we’d taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season.”

A line like that is magic, it demonstrates the skill and talent of its writer and shows such promise, and such hope for not only the rest of that work but for the rest of their body of work. Brit Bennett is a young writer to watch, with some spectacular commentary on important social issues under her belt she writes with grace and forceful eloquence.


BUSTed: Feminism and pop culture

In Feminism,what i'm reading now. . . on August 28, 2016 by mrsdillemma

This event was one that I was looking forward to albeit tentatively, I would describe myself as a feminist but it is something I hold close to my chest. I’m not entirely sure why I do that and one of the takeaways from this Q & A was the power our voices hold as women and my own desire to raise my voice in support of other women and to shout down the ingrained sexism in our society.

Panelist Debbie Stoller is the co-founder, co-owner and editor of BUST magazine and has been credited with being one of the founders of girlie feminism, the “third wave feminist” strategy in which traditional feminine activities and traits, especially those rejected by feminists of the 1970s as being oppressive, are re-evaluated and often embraced.


Stoller was asked what she had seen in women’s magazines that existed at the time that she wanted to change? She responded that seeing womens primary obsessions depicted as  beauty and fashion was just not what she wanted to read, the negative body image and perceptions of beauty just made women feel bad and she wanted to produce a magazine that made women feel good, a magazine that produced truth and variety.

Stoller talks about the projection of perfection and what that means to us as women and posed the question – why are we supposed to be like that?

During the panel Stoller was asked her opinion about celebrities who deny they are feminists – she explained that she doesn’t understand why they won’t use the feminist label. She phrased it so simply – if there is sexism and inequality in society then we, women, should all be feminists. If they ( the celebrities – Katy Perry, Sarah Jessica Parker ) acknowledge sexism and inequality then why can’t they acknowledge they are feminists.

I am thrilled that during the course of this discussion I was introduced to some new ideas;

  • Gloria Steinem’s “If men could menstruate”
  • President Barack Obama’s Glamour article “this is what a feminist looks like”
  • Time magazine’s “Which word should be banned in 2015”

and last but most importantly, BUST magazine itself. Off to find a subscription. . . .






WORD: Busted – feminism and Pop Culture, with Debbie Stoller and Charlotte Graham

In Feminism,what i'm reading now. . . on August 28, 2016 by mrsdillemma

Event_Busted-Feminism-and-Pop-CultureSome days are better than others for being a feminist. Today, so far, is a good day.

I started my WORD Saturday with Busted; Charlotte Graham interviewing Debbie Stoller, editor in chief of US feminist magazine Bust. The art gallery theatre was full of people – mostly women – I assume mostly feminists – keen to hear her talk.

Bust magazine has recently celebrated its 100th issue. Stoller says they were often not sure there would even be a next issue. “There’s not a lot of money in feminism, and I often do feel like I’m in the feminism business … We have to pull ourselves up by our bra straps every day.” Funding is a constant issue. Selling ads on the website doesn’t work; Bust has to be supported by readers subscribing to the print magazine in order to survive. “Hopefully print will come back like vinyl.”


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three days in chicagoland

In Book Reviews,E books & E readers,what i'm reading now. . . on September 13, 2013 by mrsdillemma

Three days in Chicagoland – R.J. Ellory, A story told in three parts, three e-book novellas. the sister. the cop. the killer. genius.

Ellory has used a new format to enhance his surprisingly simple story – an e-book short utilised in a surprising way. Ellory’s Three Days was released in three segments, each a month apart.

The trilogy uses three viewpoints to describe a single event, the death of a young woman in 1950s Chicago. It is an utterly intriguing tale, full of emotion, striking social commentary and to top it off, a killer punch.

Ellory has created a dynamic journey which forces us to consider how we deal with preconceptions and even how we deal with the hand we are dealt. His writing is creates an atmosphere that drags you in and you don’t want to leave, you become totally and utterly absorbed, there are elements that will enthrall any lover of crime fiction but others that will appeal to lovers of a damn good story.

The emotions Ellory puts on display here are tangible and heart wrenching, add to that an unexpected and almost perfect ending, and this is one of those stories that will stay with you long after you are finished. Don’t let this one pass you by.

Postscript: Ellory’s publishers created a trailer for the trilogy, it gives a glimpse of possibility, worth a watch.


Wool – Hugh Howey

In Book Reviews,E books & E readers,what i'm reading now. . .,YA literature on March 12, 2013 by mrsdillemma

With a beginning that internet legends are made of, short stories going viral on Amazon, movie rights sold to Ridley Scott at 20th Century Fox and finally an actual paperback. . .  Sounds a little familiar doesn’t it? the science fiction version of Fifty Shades of Grey.

But, the Fifty Shades comparison does the author an injustice, Howey can write. What sets Wool apart from hundreds of thousands of self-published e-books is that it’s a good and compelling story, and very well told.  There are times at which his writing is a little clumsy and the characters a tad wooden and predictable but with a story this bold he can be forgiven. His work is  frightening, its intriguing claustrophobicly and most of all its thoroughly engrossing – a dystopian vision of the future especially in these times of global warming.

Hugh Howey has created a world to rival Orwells 1984, a future in which earth is a toxic wasteland and the survivors live in giant silos underground. The first section of the book ( there are 5 ) revolves around the ritual of the Cleaning – cameras are positioned at ground level to provide images of the toxic remnants of their planet and the cameras gradually get coated in filth, so, the silo authority issues punishment sentences to heretics where they are sent outside to their certain death to clean the cameras.

Wool is the kind of science fiction novel you can give to those who love the genre and those who never read the stuff and they’ll love it.