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where our team of writers love to talk all things books, sharing reviews, features, lists, interviews and more.

Getting lost in a book is escapism at it's finest and it's what everyone who contributes here thrives on.

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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Know Your Place | Edited by Nathan Connolly | Review



Know Your Place is a collection of essays on the working class, which have all been written by the working class. A variety of writers share their thoughts on what it means to be working class and how it has impacted them, all of them brought together by the great editing work of Nathan Connolly.

I have always been a fan of this book, even before I read it. In fact, I liked it so much that I donated to the Kickstarter campaign as soon as I heard the pitch about it.

Despite a clear focus to the theme of working class, each of these essays bring something new to the topic. Throughout the collection, everything from mental health to the seaside and food is discussed in an interesting and informative way. Many of the essays brought up topics and connections that I wouldn't have considered by myself. It was certainly thought-provoking and meant that Know Your Place had my full attention every time that I picked it up and began to turn its pages.

I enjoyed each of the essays in Know Your Place, though for varying reasons.  I might not have agreed 100% with all of them but it is always good to read some opinions that are not your own.

However, I do have some favourites in the collection that I would wholeheartedly recommend. The first of these is 'The Pleasure Button' by Laura Waddell, which was an illuminating read about the relationship between money, food and enjoyment. I also loved Sian Norris' 'Growing Up Outside  Class', about the intersection between sexuality and class, and 'What Colour is a Chameleon?' by Rym Kechacha. This is about the way language has developed and how we choose to adapt. Both of these were truly fascinating reads.

I'm so glad that I picked up this book and took the time to read it. It is not often that I take the time to read non-fiction and Know Your Place has reminded me why I really, really should.

Kelly x
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Sunday, 15 July 2018

Send Us Your Thoughts On Our July Book Club Pick!

We really hope you're enjoying our July BB book club pick Portuguese Irregular Verbs, a collection of unusual tales chosen by Anjali. There's just under a week left to send us your opinions to be featured in our July roundup and infographic so make sure you click through to the Google form if you'd like to get involved!

If you haven't had time to read the book don't worry, we'll be announcing August's pick in just over a week's time.

Portuguese Irregular Verbs

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Friday, 13 July 2018

BB Book Club | UK vs USA Book Title Changes

If you missed this month’s Book Club announcement, we’re reading Alexander McCall Smith’s book, Portuguese Irregular Verbs. Head on back to that original post to get an overview of what it’s about.

In short, it’s a book about a philology professor (philology is the study of written language), and his adventures. As part of July’s language-y theme, I thought it would be fun to look at some of the ways in which language works in the books we read. In a recent post called Book Titles In Other Languages, we took a look at the changes that book titles go through when they’re being translated into or out of English. 

In my research for that post I found quite a few book titles that didn’t change between languages, but rather changed across English itself, most commonly between the United Kingdom and the United States (and sometimes Canada, though Canada titles and US titles were often the same). 

A book's title will change when it is being published in a new country for a few reasons; the words aren't relevant or don't mean the same thing as they do in the original country, if it's a saying that's not well known or used in the new country then it might change, the overall concept is slightly different, or the publishers think it'll do better with an altered name. 

Check out this infographic of UK vs USA book titles that have changed names as they’ve travelled over the Atlantic. 


A few honourable mentions:

P.G. Wodehouse and Agatha Christie have numerous titles between them that have changed.

Jenny Nimmo, the English author who wrote the Charlie Bone series, also had ‘Charlie Bone and the’ added to the beginning of most American versions, as well as a multitude of other alterations.

Further afield, Schindler’s List, by Thomas Keneally was originally called Schindler’s Ark, and was changed when the Australian novel was released in America. 

Can you think of anymore? Perhaps it’s an Australian or New Zealand novel that’s been changed up for the English or American market? Do share! 
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Thursday, 12 July 2018

The Summer Of Us | Cecilia Vinesse | Review


I'd read one of Cecilia's books before, Seven Days Of You, and while it was alright I wasn't the biggest fan. But, as I felt it was just the storyline/setting and not the writing style that was putting me off I thought I'd try out her next novel The Summer Of Us*. Lucky I did as I really enjoyed it! 


Aubrey and Rae have been planning their trip around Europe practically from the moment they became BFFs in primary school. And, now, it ought to be the perfect way to spend their last summer together before university.

But things are more complicated at eighteen than they were at ten. There's Jonah, Aubrey's seemingly perfect boyfriend, and his best friend Gabe, the boy Aubrey may have accidentally kissed. And there's Clara, the friend Rae is crushing on, hard, even though there's no hope because Clara is definitely into guys, not girls.

Five friends. Ten days. Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, Florence, Barcelona. And a messy, complicated, can-this-really-be happening love story, or two ... because how could there not be?


Europe and YA together create rather predictable storylines but hey ho this wasn't too bad. While you could guess how the book would end, the middle wasn't as easy to predict and parts were actually surprising to me. I enjoyed most of the interactions between the five friends, however, Rae and Aubrey's relationship mostly just irritated me. There were a few select moments where their relationship was actually a nice proper friendship but for most of the book, I felt they were really snippy with each other and not at all best friends. Oh and yes for the gayness, even though it felt a little awkward.

The thing I loved about this book is the trip they took. I can imagine if I still lived in England I might have gone on an interrailing trip after I finished High School like these guys. Imagine simply taking a train to different places all over Europe in a few weeks. That's not something that's easy now in New Zealand! I know things like this is possible but the fact that Aubrey and Gabe went on a day trip to Rome. A day trip to Rome??? I'd like to visit Rome one day, and books like these take you there for a short moment as they suck you in.

If you like fluffy YA and can deal with teenagers being a little bit dramatic then I totally recommend picking this up. Also be prepared to slightly have mini heart attacks every time a 17/18-year-old goes wandering alone around a foreign country where they can't speak the language... cuz I did that frequently!

*Received as a review copy, however, all opinions are my own.
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Sunday, 8 July 2018

Bookish Links #44

bookish links

1. Decluttering Tips - we all need to declutter from time to time so if your book collection is in need of a cull you'll appreciate Emma's advice.

2. Sparking Creativity - this post explores the somewhat unusual rituals used by a selection of famous authors.

3. By The Sea - summer is finally here and Jamie has your beach reading list covered!

4. Read More - Lizzie shared some great tips on how to find time to read more. Do you have any more to add to the list?

5. Reflecting On 2017 - Marie shared what she learnt about her reading over the course of last year.

6. Digital Books - are you a fan of e-readers? Amy recently shared six reasons why she's a firm fan of her Kindle.

7. Reads For Kids - if you're looking for an amazing children's book for your own family or to give as a gift Rosie has seven great recommendations.

8. Reviewing The Stats - always feeling like you never have anything to read? Kerri felt the same way and for this post over on Bustle she decided to explore why.

9. Feminist Fiction - Cia shared her top recommendations of books every feminist should read.

Links From The BB Archives... Wish You Were Where? | Jellicoe Road | Rose Under Fire


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Friday, 6 July 2018

Features | Short Story Collections


I love short story collections at this time of year, when it's so hot I can barely concentrate on one thing for more than a few minutes before I'm desperate to run for the ocean, or just another iced coffee. A good short story can be perfect for reading on the beach, during holiday travel, or in a cool bath while you're calming your accidental sunburn (not that I speak from personal experience during this heatwave...) and I am here with suggestions to help you find the perfect short story collection to fit in between all your summer activities. Or to just read in one go while lounging in the garden.


Diving Belles by Lucy Wood

Diving Belles is a magical collection of short stories based all around the Cornish coast, featuring tales of giants, drowning houses, and lonely divers, every story is unexpected and enchanting. For dazzling seaside tales, Diving Belles is the one.


Summer Days, Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins

Featuring stories from twelve well loved authors, including editor Stephanie Perkins, Summer Days, Summer Nights is a perfect mixture of YA summer romances to fall in love with, ideal for reading by the pool or on the way to your summer holiday destination.


The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke

A spin-off of sorts from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, The Ladies of Grace Adieu is a collection of dark, magical tales, diving into the fairy tale world of Clarke's debut novel, but focusing this time on the many magical women of that world. Don't be turned away if you haven't read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, there are no spoilers here and this is perfect for reading under dappled sunlight streaming through the tree tops.


Cornish Short Stories edited by Emma Timpany and Felicity Notley

I might be a little biased, as I happen to be one of the writers included in Cornish Short Stories but this collection of stories set all around Cornwall is perfect for an afternoon spent traipsing on the moors, or settling down in a beach cave, away from the sea breeze.


Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link

And last but certainly not least, one of my favourite short story collections, Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link. A creepy collection of spooky and supernatural stories, ideal for reading in the cooling sunset hours, as the sky gets dark and the ghosts begin to take over...
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