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A. Voulgari "bookmonkey" (UK)
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Breathe
Breathe
Price: 2.49

4.0 out of 5 stars A great addition to autobiographical writing., 24 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Breathe (Kindle Edition)
Kitty Baker's 'Breathe' reads like an autobiographical essay on her experience of eating disorders. It is short enough to be read in one sitting, but long enough to be insightful and reflective.

While describing her slow descent into obsessive dieting as an illusionary answer to her very real life problems, she looks back and gives us snippets of a traumatic childhood that set the spiral in motion, linking past and present. The writing moves from sweet and innocent to downright angry, echoing Marya Hornbacher's 'Wasted', but purely personal and without the scientific interludes.

I think that the only thing that could make this book better might have been a slightly extended version expanding the characters playing key roles in this story; parents, friends and boyfriends all appear significant but I would have liked to hear more of their voices to understand their true impact in Kitty's experience.

Having read numerous books on eating disorders, I found 'Breathe' to be a great addition to this style of autobiographical literature. It can be triggering for readers who are suffering or surviving eating disorders-there is no real conclusion to the story, truly emphasising the ongoing battle that sanity can often wage against obsession and unrealistic perfectionism; but the epilogue is a true message of hope that should really be a start to any kind of therapeutic transformation.

I would recommend 'Breathe' to anyone with an interest in mental health and eating disorders.


The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment (Norton Professional Books)
The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment (Norton Professional Books)
by Babette Rothschild
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 21.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, in-depth yet concise introduction to trauma, 10 Jan 2014
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I am immensely impressed with this book. As a psychotherapist, I found it very useful not only to help me understand my clients' experience of trauma on a physiological, psychological and emotional level, but it also helped me to find the right words to explain to them what they were experiencing.

Babette Rothschild uses accessible language to explain really complex terms; her writing is really easy to understand and she enriches the text with case studies and examples from her own professional experience of helping people to overcome the debilitating effects of trauma and PTSD.

I would only caution those readers who find it very difficult to grasp neuroscience concepts- I am inclined towards neuroscience and therefore found it quite easy to follow the text. It is made easier by diagrams and explanatory notes; however if you are really struggling with these terms, you might find the book slightly more challenging than you expected.

Either way however, I would still recommend it, whether you are a professional working with traumatised people, or if a loved one has survived trauma. It will give you a great insight into their experience and how to best support them.


The Flying Book: Everything You've Ever Wondered About Flying on Airlines
The Flying Book: Everything You've Ever Wondered About Flying on Airlines
by David Blatner
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best read for the airplane enthusiast or just the nervous flyer!, 15 Sep 2008
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For a number of years I have been plagued by two conflicting passions: a nerdy love of airplanes and everything about them and a paralysing fear of flying.

After reading this book, I feel much more informed about airplanes and flying; so much so I haven't had trouble flying ever since. I learned about the first flight in history, about pilot training and how airlines are operated, and about some of the most interesting airplanes ever constructed.

In addition, it satisfied my curiosity -and I believe every frequent flyer's curiosity- of some basic simple facts: how do airplanes take off AND stay in the air for hours on end? Why do the lights in the cabin switch off during take off and landing? The common belief that it's to direct more energy to the engines is wrong (and rather worrying); but read this book and you'll know exactly what goes on every minute of your flight.


Welcome to My Country
Welcome to My Country
by Lauren Slater
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent example of literary non-fiction, 27 Jun 2008
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This review is from: Welcome to My Country (Paperback)
'Welcome to my country' is the fascinating story of a young psychiatrist at the start of her career, narrating her account of her encounters with a number of different clients.

Lauren Slater's writing is beautifully captivating; she mixes psychological theory with her own reflective experience to create a fascinating acocunt that breaks down the barriers in our understanding of the terms 'doctor' and 'patient' and challenges our view of mental illness and recovery.

Going back into her personal history, the book's ending is absolutely fantastic, as it fully explains the author's personal troubled journey through to the other side of mental health. An excellent read for anyone interested in the social sciences, medicine, or just in challenging and questioning their own sanity.


Air Babylon
Air Babylon
by Imogen Edwards-Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.39

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining read for the seasoned traveler, 27 Jun 2008
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This review is from: Air Babylon (Paperback)
Air Babylon is all about what you do not (and would rather not) know about what goes on behind the closed doors of the airline industry. What do airport staff really think of you? Why is it in your best interest to be nice to flight attendants? What do flight crew get up to when not flying?

This book is an entertaining account of 24 hours in the life of a budget airline ground manager and his staff. Although not the wittiest or most fascinating accounts on the topic, still very entertaining and highly readable.


Self
Self
by Yann Martel
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent writing, however, story a bit too postmodern for my taste!, 13 Dec 2006
This review is from: Self (Paperback)
After 'The Life of Pi', Yann Martel established himself as a great author. However, I doubt as many people would have read the life of poi if they had read 'Self' first!

Yann Martel's writing is excellent, very well-paced and enjoyable to read. Hoiwever, I was really troubled by the story I must admit. In this book he tries to explore the pains of life through anumber of different identities: the beginning of the book is autobiographical, then the main character suddenly becomes a lesbian woman. The identities continue to change without much warning or any particular reason. Yes, sex is very explicit in this book and so is violence. I suppose although I was quite drawn to it out of curiosity rather than suspense or un-put-down-ability of the book, I'm not quite sure I'd recommend it too highly. If you want a good introduction to Martel, start with the life if Pi!


The Secret History (Read Red)
The Secret History (Read Red)
by Donna Tartt
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book excellent on so many levels!, 13 Dec 2006
I found this book absolutely fantastic. Donna Tartt follows a clicque of friends studying classics in a highly exclusive college. The main character tries very hard to fit in with them, as they all appear to be extremely secretive for some reason. His knowledge and social skills eventually win them over; however, when he does join their little group he starts discovering things about them that he would rather not know...but he really finds himself trapped when his friends' secrets include, among others, murder.

Donna Tartt's writing is thorough, highly detailed and very well-paced. The characters are outlined perfectly and the atmosphere in every single chapter is absolutely chilling. I was stuck to it from beginning to end as, although the crime and the culprit are obvious to the readers from the very start, it is the motive behind the action that is waiting to be revealed.This suspenseful thriller/murder mystery is an absolute must-read.


Snakes & Earrings
Snakes & Earrings
by Hitomi Kanehara
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good debut, 13 Dec 2006
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This review is from: Snakes & Earrings (Paperback)
Only 100 pages or so, Hitomi Kanehara's first novel signifies a very good start to her career as a writer. The story follows a young teenage girl who has left home in her exploration of pain and pleasure through excruciatingly painful body modifications and violent sexual activities.

The writing is simple and powerful and will not fail to shock you and bring out powerful emotions in you. Although the characters are not everyday people you might have met, you will find it easy to identify with them in their lack of understanding of their own actions. Definitely a fresh look into teenage subculture.


Beloved
Beloved
by Toni Morrison
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I stand in awe of Ms. Morrison's writing!, 12 Dec 2006
This review is from: Beloved (Hardcover)
Reading this book it was obvious to see why Toni Morrison won a Nobel prize for literature.

The story follows the story of Sethe, a 19th century slave woman, the family she works for and the sudden appearance of a young woman in her life called Beloved who. by some eery coincidence appears to be Sethe's daughter, dead for over a decade. Beloved appears innocent enough at first, hoever soon begins to claim what she believes is rightfully hers: Sethe and everything about her, her womanhood, her motherhood, and the affection she never had the opportunity to give her long-lost daughter.

This book is a fascinating account of slavery and racial discrimination, as well as the nightmare that guilt can be. It describes the full spectrum of human emotions from selfless altruistic generosity to monstrous, destructive jealousy and guilt. The writing is thick with description and it will have you carried away in no time. I found myself utterly absorbed in the nightmarish story that is so flooded with love and despair at the same time.

I find Toni Morrison's writing should be an example to all writers. I was swept away by her story and I think anyone who reads this book will. Highly recommended!


Catch 22 (Everyman's Library classics)
Catch 22 (Everyman's Library classics)
by Joseph Heller
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.09

5.0 out of 5 stars An absolutely captivating account of the madness of war, 12 Dec 2006
In Catch-22, Joseph Heller follows the stories of a group of soldiers who have set up camp in a mediterranean island. The main character is Yossarian, and as the story unravels, we follow him and his comrades as they survive the war day by day.

It is easy to see why Catch-22 became a classic. On several occasions at the beginning I was frustrated and decided I just couldn't follow the story. However, as brilliant comedy moments alternated with perfectly described human situations unravelled, I found myself glued to the book. All the characters are next-door people that you could easily identify with. They start by making themselves at home at the camp and you follow the evolution of the war as slowly, each and every one of them begin to lose the plot. From perfectly human, easy-going people who just happened to find themselves fighting a war unsure of why they were fighting it in the first place, their logic and human emotions slowly start to give in on them; they can no longer dissociate the human from the monstrous or war from peace.

This book together with Orwell's 1984 I find the best descriptions of 21st century madness and obsession with terror. The character come alive before your eyes as the plot thickens and then turns into the most vivid account of destruction purely out of human greed that I have ever read; it had me literally biting my fingernails just imagining the shock and horror of war from the point of view of those not involved in it or those who thought they would never get caught in the middle of it.

I highly recommend this book to anyone as it describes situations in such a human way that it will make you think that you could actually be the writer if this happened to you.


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