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byzanne (Scotland)

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All Our Welfare: Towards Participatory Social Policy
All Our Welfare: Towards Participatory Social Policy
by Peter Beresford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £28.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Nuanced and inspiring!, 4 Mar. 2016
This book is a very thorough overview of social welfare provision in the UK - though mostly in England - from the Poor Law to the present day. Having used many aspects of the UK Welfare State since the 80s, I recognise a lot of my own experiences and reflections - unlike almost every other social policy text book I have read. Peter Beresford makes the point that social welfare is about the people who use it and work in it and I particularly appreciated the inserts from himself and members of his extended family on their experiences and opinions. He doesn't hark back to the glorious post war years - he sees how patronising and conformist services often were and he talks about the abuse and failures. As we see it being eroded and sold off and people suffering from austerity, the temptation is to gloss over these problems. However, he doesn't do this but he still makes the case for having a welfare state. A different one to the that of 50s - where those of us who need it - which is almost everyone - can shape it and be supported by it as appropriate. Instead of defending an imperfect and eroded welfare state, he invites us to fight for something better. Inspiring!


Why Do I Do That?: Psychological Defense Mechanisms and the Hidden Ways They Shape Our Lives
Why Do I Do That?: Psychological Defense Mechanisms and the Hidden Ways They Shape Our Lives
Price: £5.49

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Honest, straightforward yet not simplistic, 30 Mar. 2013
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What I most liked about this book was the author's honesty that change is difficult and perfect happiness is unattainable. No empty promises here. At times I thought "well, why bother understanding my defences and do all these exercises then?!" Yet he offers hope that self-understanding is possible and that it is worthwhile in its own right.

He explains clearly the difficult psychological concept of defence mechanisms and how they affect what we do and think. His open questions give the reader the opportunity to explore how and why they use different defence mechanisms to ward off pain. Understanding brings the possibility of gradual and sustained change and a capacity to bear the difficulties of life without being overwhelmed and to fully enjoy life's joys.


A Beginner's Guide To Acting English
A Beginner's Guide To Acting English
by Shappi Khorsandi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and sad, 8 Aug. 2009
I'd add my praise for this book to the previous reviewers, but be warned there are some very tragic parts to it. I cried more than once.

It is not simply a funny story of a child making a new home in England (I loved the difficulties little Shappi has in explaining Christmas to her grandmother) but it is also about the fear and worry of having family back home who are living through revolution and war.


Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
by Alison Bechdel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, intelligent and thought provoking..., 22 Dec. 2006
I bought this book simply because it was by Alison Bechdel and I love her "Dykes To Watch Out For" strip. It is not like her usual work but is a powerfully moving autobiography in cartoons - the way she uses pictures and words to tell this complex story is amazing and meant that I read this much more slowly than I normally read and I immediately reread it. I really loved how she does not simply tell her story in a linear manner but comes back on it over and over again, so each time, I felt I was getting closer to the heart of the matter. I also liked how she linked her reading with what was going on for her and her father. Like the previous reviewer said, that this is a real story involving real people, was constant in my own mind as I read it, and raises a lot of questions about autobiography in general and how we remember things. Well worth a read - I can't think of anyone who would not be moved by this book.


All Families are Psychotic
All Families are Psychotic
by Douglas Coupland
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny enough for me, 27 Jun. 2003
This novel is funny, funny enough to distract me from both phycial and mental worries. That's pretty good. It is over the top, and with every new plot turn and every convenient coincidence, I wonder if I can take any more. But I do, and keep turning the pages. BTW, the family are Canadian - only the father is American, but the mother is Canadian and the kids were born and grew up in Canada. It reminds me a bit of The Corrections. Only read one other book by Coupland, Girlfriend in a Coma - he does good titles, doesn't he? Will be looking out for more by him.


A Bright Red Scream: Self-mutilation and the language of pain (A Virago V)
A Bright Red Scream: Self-mutilation and the language of pain (A Virago V)
by Marilee Strong
Edition: Paperback

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 12 Jan. 2003
Having self-harmed myself, though cutting was not my main way of doing so, and working with people who do, I found this book very insightful. Its strength is that the author listens and quotes the people who self-harm, sees them as people not as cases, and offers a variety of explanations, theories etc. She comes at it as someone interested not as someone whose job it is to cure. I find this a very positive and helpful approach. In my own work, I do not focus on stopping someone's self-harming but am interested in them as whole people - and in the long run, that is what helps people, whether or not they stop cutting etc. This book should be read by everyone who has any connection to anyone who self-harms - especially anyone who is a professional and thinks they know it all. And of course to anyone who does self-harm, or cares about someone who does


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