For the Love of the Library: This Week’s 5 Books

If I’m going into town to run errands, I will tend to stop at the library to see what new books they have in. I don’t go every week, as I’d end up borrowing up to the limit of 15 books and they’d just sit in a pile on my desk, gathering dust for weeks whilst I worked through the books I am actually currently reading.

This week I loosened the reigns a little and just let myself borrow whatever I fancied. – I know, what a rebel I have become. They had a number of new books (that I’ve seen quite recently in Smiths) and I knew if I didn’t borrow them someone else would, then they’d be gone for months and end up being transferred to another library, then I’d have to wait for their return, then..well..they might never return and I’d have to pay the 40p to reserve one and get it transferred back and who wants to pay the 40p when at present it’s on the shelf right in front of you just asking to be brought home for free?!

So I got a little carried away with this notion and took home more books than I knew I’d be able to read.

1.) WINNERS AND HOW THEY SUCCEED by Alastair Campbell

I’m very interested in how successful people come to be so successful, so this book swiftly made it to the pile. I also love quotes, and this book’s full of them.

Extract from the introduction:

“I have two great passions in my life: politics and sport. I have a lot of experience in the former, a lot of knowledge about the latter, and a fascination bordering on obsession with the one thing that most obviously unites those passions – the importance of winning.

Winners explores that fascination. Given some of the remarkable people who flit in and out of the following pages, offering their wisdom and insight and also their lessons on defeat – an important ingredient in most recipes for winning – I hope those who share my interest in politics and sport fill enjoy reading it…”


2.) REAL AMBITION by Psychologies Magazine

Me being me, I couldn’t keep myself away from the self-help/personal development section. Published this year and given the sparkly-newness of the book, I felt a real urge to scan it’s pages for any nuggets of applicable wisdom. As it turned out, the majority of it was applicable wisdom. Home it came.

Extract from the Foreword by Suzy Greaves, editor of Psychologies: 

“Our ethos at Psychologies magazine is ‘your life, your way’. This book is how to live that ethos. Real ambition is about defining success on your own terms. We are all unique and when we tune into what we really want versus the world’s definition of success, it’s the ultimate ticket to freedom. Why? Because then you can start to build a life around your values and what you love instead of wasting your energy comparing and competing for something you never really wanted in the first place.

To discover your real ambition, you do need to spend some time working on your life versus being in it. This book invites you to dig deep and work out what really does inspire and fulfil you.”

3.) WHOSE LIFE IS IT ANYWAY by Dr Linda Papadopoulos

I really really didn’t want to take this book home. I thought God I really don’t need another self-help book. But this book’s a little different. It’s not a how-to, but more a “..this is what is going on, and maybe you can’t see it, because you’re in it, but there are a few reasons why you might feel a little shit in your twenties and here’s why you really don’t have to feel anxious..”. 

I’m very easily drawn in if a book’s written by a doctor. I just think well they must have something important to say if they felt the need to take time from their busy-Doctor-lives to sit and write a book on something. – They must feel strongly about, it must be something worth reading. This book couldn’t have fallen into my lap at a better time.

Yes there are facts and statistics but it’s all very interesting and helps form a more objective outlook on a whole range of topics and issues.

Extract from the blurb:

“..Leading psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos lifts the lid on our high-pressure world to see what’s really happening in the lives of twenty-something women. We live in a world that floods us with expectations about everything – from what we should weigh to what we should wear  to how often we should be having sex and how much money we should be making. It’s easy to feel that we need to tick all these boxes in order to have the ‘perfect life’. And when we inevitably fall short, we feel anxious, we feel as if we are failing and have the sense that we are losing control.

But it’s up to you to write your own script. Dr Papadopoulos offers valuable insight and practical strategies that will empower you to start living the life you want..”

4.) FIFTY SHADES OF FEMINISM edited by Lisa Appignanesi, Rachel Holmes & Susie Orbach

I’m still baffled as to why not everyone consider’s themselves a feminist. What exactly are the multiple meanings of this term? I’m hoping this book will shed some light on an issue that really doesn’t seem all that complicated to me, but perhaps I’m over-simplifying it. According to Wikipedia, Feminism can be defined as:

..A range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment…”. 

Extract from the editors ‘ note of Fifty Shades of Feminism:

“….We’re very pleased that this small volume contains women of all ages, with a rich mix of experience and expertise, world-class talents, spectacular frustrations and failures, knowledge, wit, wisdom, irony and passion. From a young barrister to a composer, to a gang-worker, to comedians, politicians, campaigners, academics, a psychoanalyst, poets, writers, theatre directors, actors, fighters, journalists, mothers, sisters, Dames and daughters, these are women who think, who do, and who inspire. They don’t pretend to be representative and nor does this volume. Luckily, there are more than fifty walks of life and more than fifty types of women.

But these are brilliant ones. They made us laugh. They made us cry. They opened our eyes to the different ways of seeing and being and thinking. They made us consider the meanings of feminism today an what remains to be done to make our condition, which is also the human condition, a better one…”

5.) MAKING IT UP AS I GO ALONG by Marian Keyes


“Because of the powerful hold sugar has on me, I can’t keep any in the house. But as luck would have it, I live five minutes drive from my parents, which is Trans-Fat central – if you open a cupboard in their kitchen, you’re in very real danger of being brained by an avalanche of biscuits, and their freezer is so jam-packed with Magnums I sometimes worry that when I open the door the ice creams will explode at me, like chocolate-coated bullets.”

She had me at “powerful hold sugar has on me”. – I knew this would be a woman I could relate to.


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