Best Non Fiction – Peter Frankopan



Worst Book 2016

I know I said the Awards would start on 19 December, however, this was before I had worked out how many categories there would be. That said, I’m bringing the start date forward to avoid running into the Christmas period because let’s face it, we’re not going to be interested in anything except roast, sprouts and pudding. So without further delay…


This book was not ready to be published. The authors have taken an interesting subject and left it mired in poor grammar, half formed ideas and sentences that read like notes. Madame Lalaurie should be fascinating and instead she is boring. Dull. Dull. Dull. There seems to be little known about the woman or anything really to do with her so the book is all conjecture and hearsay. Far too much of the opening chapters is spent detailing the business of her first two husbands, a hasty timeline of which children came from which marriage and where she died. The book also starts with the climax, popular in this style of writing but in this case, the authors had no where else to go. They used their best asset in the first dozen pages and from there on it was a slow plod to the end.

Mad Madame Lalaurie is worth a read if you’re interested in Creole women, New Orleans, slavery in the south, ghosts etc but don’t get your hopes up that you’re going to come away feeling satisfied or that you’ve learnt something.

Join Me – Nonfiction November

I am setting myself a challenge for November. I want to read nonfiction only. Okay, so it’s not really much of a challenge when you think about it though.

I would like to extend an invitation to you to join me in reading any of the books I’ve selected. They are;

Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London
The Murder of William of Norwich
Haunted Plantations of the South
The Four-Dimensional Human

You can follow this blog or you can Like my Facebook page or you can follow me on Twitter. The more the merrier!

Reading themes

This morning, I completed my Goodreads reading challenge! 45 books in 9 months and five days. Now I know I could have increased the number but part of me likes the number, 45. It’s a good, solid, rounded off number that at some points of this year, I didn’t think I’d ever reach.

So here I am. What do I do now? Well, I’ve had an idea and I’d like to extend it out to readers of this blog.

Next month will be Nonfiction November

I invite you to join me in reading

Followed by Dickensian December – where, if you should feel so moved, you could join me in reading

if time permits for all three – Bleak House is a hefty tome.

I fancy doing French February  as well but let’s not go to crazy on themes.

May in Review

May In Review

The Lake House written by Kate Morton – 4 stars
If This Is A Woman written by Sarah Helm – 5 stars
Elizabeth is Missing written by Emma Healey – 3 stars
The Three written by Sarah Lotz – 3 stars

Average Star Rating – 3.75

The Fall of Language in the Age of English written by Minae Mizumura [Review]

The Fall of Language in the Age of English

The Fall of Language in the Age of English
Author: Minae Mizumura (translators – Mari Yoshihara & Juliet Winters Carpenter)
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Date of Publication: 6 January 2015
Number of Pages: 240
Genre: Non-Fiction (Adult)

Rating: 2 stars

Disclaimer: Copy provided free by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary: Universal languages have always played a pivotal role in advancing human societies, Mizumura shows, but in the globalized world of the Internet, English is fast becoming the sole common language of humanity. The process is unstoppable, and striving for total language equality is delusional–and yet, particular kinds of knowledge can be gained only through writings in specific languages.

After a positive start this book quickly displayed how insular, insecure and racist Mizumura is. To make comments that imply anyone tall and blond(e) is Aryan, to call a German man a Nazi because of his bone structure, to be scared of a black man because he is black and to state that the Irish man, PADDY(!!!) had an Irish accent (duh!)  is simply unacceptable. Mizumura also complains about spending ten hours in coach on a flight but seems nonplussed by the thousands upon thousands of Australians (and Americans) who spend that length of time, sometimes to only reach the opposite end of their own country.

I realise this is a very personal account of Mizumura’s time at a writers retreat in America but it does not place the author in a positive light and it does nothing to explain why she thinks language is being diminished. This lack of explanation is hindered by faults within the translation.

The Fall of Language in the Age of English book does not work cross culturally and should have been reviewed by an anthropologist before being sent out into the wide world. Overall, this has been a big disappointment as I did not receive what the blurb promised. Perhaps I missed the point of the argument but neither am I wrong.

Recommended for – no one.