A year in (book) review

At the beginning of 2018, I set myself a target to read 100 books. I can’t for the life of me remember why.  I didn’t make the number.  I did read 65 (and 1/3) though, which isn’t too bad.  For completeness, I also read 52 editions of Take a Break magazine, quite a lot about learning theory for my post graduate course, and a large amount of children’s books (aloud as bedtime stories, I’m not weird).

books

The books have been, as ever, a real mix. Some serious stuff, some HR related stuff, some fitness stuff and some utter beachside romantic trash.  But I thought maybe someone out there (hi Mum) might be interested in a few recommendations.  So out of everything I read this year, these were my favourites.

Eve Was Shamed, Helena Kennedy

I read Eve Was Framed whilst at University, at the age of 20. It had a significant impact on me, and how I viewed the world.  It made me a feminist.  I was then thrilled to find that Helena Kennedy had written a follow up book.  This is the story about how British justice is failing women. It is brilliant, depressing and frightening.  I cannot recommend it more highly.

Deeds Not Words – the story of women’s rights then and now, Helen Pankhurst

The title says it all. A journey from the suffragettes to #metoo. A historical perspective as well as a call to action.  Statistics, quotes, facts.  Another great read (I may be saying this a lot).

The Elemental Workplace, Neil Usher.

I am a fan of everything Neil Usher writes, so this was always going to be a favourite. The impact of the physical space and place in which people work, in my humble opinion, is all too often overlooked by HR professionals.  It shouldn’t be.  This book is a must read for anyone who works in HR.

The Angry Chef, Anthony Warner

When I am not doing HR or social media stuff, I am also a Personal Trainer and Wellbeing Coach. I have a keen interest in diet and fitness BS, of which there is plenty.  This is a brilliant take down of much of it.  Never go on a diet regime or start an eating plan without reading this.

The Wonder Stuff Diaries (Vol 1), Miles Hunt

I love the Wonder Stuff. Their music is wrapped around my life.  So I thoroughly enjoyed this insight into the early years of the band based on the diaries of lead singer Miles.  I’m already onto Volume 2 which is just as good, and taking me on a trip down memory lane.

In Your Defence – Stories of Life and Law, Sarah Langford

A criminal law barrister, Sarah Langford describes some of her real life cases and the real people behind the legal processes. Beautifully written with both humour and compassion for the people involved in the stories.

Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken, the Secret Barrister.

I guess if you haven’t heard of this you have been living under a rock. This should be read by pretty much everyone.

Born to Run, Christopher McDougall

I do love a fitness book. To read the stories of others who have achieved amazing things with their bodies is inspirational.  This one is about the ultra runners.  Those folks that run unbelievable distances, putting their bodies under extreme pressure.  I’m never going to be one of those people, but I can marvel at them from the sofa.

Hired – Six Months in Low Wage Britain, James Bloodworth

This is another of those books that HR professionals ought to read, but that also should make each of us reflect as consumers. What does it mean, for the person at the other end of the process, when we click ‘buy’ on our Amazon order?  What is it really like to try and make a living driving an Uber?  And what is it like to not know where the next pay cheque or gig is coming from?  A sobering read.

Feminist Fight Club, Jessica Bennett

A survival manual for a sexist workplace (and world). Funny, thought provoking and practical.  If you work and you are a woman there is something in here for you.

Columbo – Seasons Greetings

This is a late addition, the final book I completed this year. Columbo is my guilty pleasure.  My wonderful OH tracked this down in a rare book store.  Written in 1972 and being very much of its time, this provided an amusing Boxing Day afternoon – but let’s just say the author could have benefit from a little bit more of the feminist reading I’ve covered…..

This is the first time I have kept a list of the books that I’ve read over a time period.  It has been interesting to go back – some of them I can’t recall at all, others have taught me new things, others have moved me.  There is already a 2019 stack by the side of my bed.  See you next year……

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