- Planet Ponzi by Mitch Feierstein
- A Clergyman's Daughter by George Orwell
- Stuffocation by James Wallman
- On Roads by Joe Moran
- North Korea Undercover by John Sweeney
- Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming
- Jumbo: The Making of the Boeing 747 by Clive Irving
- Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
- A Very Political Railway: The Rescue of the North London Line by Wayne Asher
- The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
- The Knowledge: How To Rebuid Our World from Scratch by Lewis Dartnell
- 100 Acts of Minor Dissent by Mark Thomas
- A New Kind Of Christianity by Brian D McLaren
- The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
- Waverley Route: the battle for the Borders Railway by David Spaven
- The End by Charlie Higson
- The Ladybird Book of the Hipster
- Damaged Goods by Dianna Anderson
This was the final book in Charlie Higson's mammoth Enemy series - seven really great novels detailing a world in which everyone beyond their mid-teens succumbed to a disease that turned them into a zombie. The series describes the struggles of various groups of kids around London as they attempt to survive attacks by the zombies, rivalry between groups and all the other struggles of a post-apocalyptic world. The books are aimed at young readers but the horror is pretty liberally splashed across the pages, and all the books are exciting and fast-moving, with a huge cast of characters and a complex sequence of events.
Many of the books only deal with some of the characters, and there's some overlap between them, but this book brings everything together, with all the groups of kids having to deal with an increasingly large army of diseased adults gathering in London. There's a lot of political argument going on, before a final battle takes place. The body count is pretty hefty, with some twists and turns plotwise leading to a satisfying and exciting climax. These books have been an annual treat for a while now, and I'm going to miss them! I really hope there's a film series on the way.
This book is produced in exactly the same format and with all the illustrations taken from a genuine Ladybird book of sixties/seventies vintage. For those overseas, Ladybird were a UK-based educational publishing firm who produced a wide range of books for kids learning to read - I learned using the Peter and Jane series. This one is a spoof of one of the books describing the world of work and science, and features such things as Petr and his micro-still in an abandoned substation, and Phoo the action poet, who records her performances on Betamax cassettes labelled with the names of ITV sitcoms and left in charity shops. It also describes a cocktail bar where all drinks are made of different kinds of water, and a café where all dishes are guaranteed to be things you've never heard of before, like oven-balched beetcorn labneys.
Hilarious and a bit subversive. I want to read the Ladybird Book of the Midlife Crisis next.
This book is written by an American feminist Christian who takes a look at evangelical purity culture, which has spawned things like The Silver Ring Thing, True Love Waits and other abstinence-only sex education programmes. They're less prominent in the UK but the influence has still been felt over here - it creates a culture where there's a lot of shaming of people who don't stay virgins until they're married.
The author of this book has done a lot of research on what happens in purity culture, how it has grown, what it aims to do, and how it can damage people. It's very thought-provoking and quite sobering - I won't go into too much detail, but it doesn't reflect well on the church, and it shows that there's still some very unhealthy extremely black and white thinking out there. Sexuality, morality and ethics are all things that we need to think very carefully about, and the book critiques a one-size-fits-all, harsh model of purity and ethics that can be extremely damaging to those who "fail". I wish it had been around 25 years ago when I was being told that good Christians weren't supposed to think about sex at all - that's a bit much really. The book encourages readers to think through issues themselves, and to ensure they understand readiness, consent and safety for themselves. It explains what the positive and negative consequences of sex can be, and encourages ownership of our bodies and sexualities, rather than allowing them to be the rather public property they're viewed as in some of the more fundamentalist churches.
Interesting - shows that nothing is as simple as some people would like it to be.