Feminist Review: Running like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley

 Book review | Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley | 5 stars

Running Like a Girl
 by 
Alexandra Heminsley

Cover design: Richard Ogle
Cover photography: Colin Thomas
Windmill Books 2014
ISBN 978 0 09 955895 8

Synopsis

Alexandra Heminsley had high hopes: the arse of an athlete, the waist of a supermodel, the speed of a gazelle. Defeated by gyms and bored of yoga, she decided to run.

Her first attempt did not end well. But years later and with several marathons under her belt she agrees with her dad: you run with your head as much as your legs.

So, while this book is about running, it’s about much more – ambition, relationships, and willful boobs. But it’s also about realising what you can do if you want to.

Whether you’re in serious training or thinking about running for the bus, this is a book for anyone who thinks they might … just might … like to run like a girl.


Bullet-point review

★★★★★

+ emotional
+ realistic
+ practical tips
+ history of women and marathons
+ inspirational
+ even boyfriend wants to read


Full Review

„Running is awful. It feels unnatural, unnecessary, painful. It can hijack you with breathlessness, cripple you with panic and overwhelm you with self-consciousness. … But it is also the pleasure of being outside on a sunny day …“

This is exactly what I love about this book. It doesn’t start off saying everything about running is amazing, from the beginning to the end. It describes, in detail, how it’s terrible. How it can be terrible and scary in the beginning. It informs you furthermore how eventually, step by step, you might start to enjoy it. It doesn’t pretend that it’s all lovely from the very beginning, because, it’s not. And that’s okay.

Another point I loved, were the practical tips in the end. Everyone who starts of doing anything, has a lot of questions and is scared of doing it wrong, whatever it is. So, this little guide is very much appreciated.

I also enjoyed reading about the progression of women in running. How, for example, a couple of decades ago women were still not allowed to run marathons. And how those barriers were broken down. This really inspired me. Which is why I immediately made my boyfriend go running with my after I finished reading the book. Sure, I suck, but I did it!


Confessions of a Book Blogger: I can DNF Books after all

A while back, I wrote a blog post where I explained that it is really hard for me to DNF (Did Not Finish) books. However, more recently I’ve changed a bit around in my life that has also affected my ability to DNF books.

As you’ve seen, I’ve gotten rid of a lot of things (and a lot of books) due to Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying. Our home has become less cluttered and all the things I didn’t like anyway have left the premises. This has also opened my eyes more and more to doing things I don’t like.

Of course, there are certain things you have to do, mostly because in the end they are beneficial. Finish school, go to work, go to the bathroom, getting dressed and more. However, finishing books that are boring, uninteresting, sexist or horribly written are definitely not part of this list.

Sure, I already knew this before, but somehow my mind would still see it as a failure if I didn’t finish the book. As a perfectionist, that was the hardest part. Failing to finish a book.

Now however, I see getting rid of a book I just can’t get through as a victory. A victory over the restrictions I have, for so long, placed on myself. It still feels scary, and a little part of my brain still isn’t convinced that it isn’t really failure taking over after all. However, practice makes perfect. Or, from the field of behavioral psychology: just keep doing it until the anxiety about it subsides and it’ll become as normal as waking up in the morning.

So, for all those out there I can tell you from personal experience: it is possible. And it’s freeing to be able to say to a book: “You suck, fuck off! Stop wasting my time.”

Series review: Newsflesh trilogy

 Series review | Review of the Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant | 4 stars

Newsflesh by Mira Grant

Cover design: Lauren Panepinto
Images: Shutterstock
Orbit Books 2010
ISBN: 978 0 356 50056 0

Synopsis

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop.

The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED. Now, twenty years after the Rising, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives—the dark conspiracy behind the infected.

The truth will get out, even if it kills them.


Bullet-point review

★★★★☆

+ zombies
+ social media
+ political intrigue
+ bloggers
+ 20th century references
+ sci-fi

 – So many side characters, I sometimes got them confused


Full Review

There are so many things I love about these books. For starters, I’m going through a bit of an (after-) apocalypse phase, so the zombies in this book totally do that. On top of that, there are often references to what people did in zombie movies and how they should or shouldn’t do this as well.

However, zombies are the main focus of this book, at least not quite. They just happen to inhabit the world this book is set in. It’s the political events that are the real story; often of course related to the zombies.

Bloggers are the only still remaining trust-worthy news source, as the regular media didn’t pick up on the zombie outbreak until it was too late. Our bloggers, who are the main characters, get to follow a political campaign and this way get involved into this whole new world.

Throughout the series, we find out more and more about this strange new world, where fear is overwhelmingly present and decides peoples’ actions. This is just about the single most important thing I took away from this book: you cannot let fear decide how to live your life.

Plus, a bunch more cool stuff happens, but I don’t want to spoil any of it. Some of it sci-fi and relatively far-fetched, but not so much as to make it unbelievable. There were a lot of side characters in the books and sometimes I got a little mixed up trying to figure out who was who again. Apart from that, it was easy to read.


KonMarie Method – Step three: books

As promised a long time ago, here finally are some pictures of step 3 of the KonMari Method, the decluttering of my books.

20160920_19282420160920_19284820160920_20242920160920_202439

As you can see, that’s a lot of books. Also, lots of chaos! I discarded almost half of all these books. My list stands at 235 that I got rid of. This means that there were 326 that I wanted to keep them.

Another joyful fact is that my bookcase looks so much better now. It was by no means crowded before, but somehow something always seemed off. Now, I find, that it looks so much better!

For a bunch of the books I’ve already found some lovely people who would like to have them. All the other ones will be donated/sold to second hand shops.

Next on the KonMari Method list is papers. We already did this as well. Lots better organized now, and a lot less papers still around. We’re now slowly going through all the other things we have to do, before moving on to sentimental items.

Ps. I think my TBR never went down as fast as this, and probably never will again.

Favorite books of 2016

It was really hard to cut this list down to only ten books. I wanted it to be a mix of fiction, non-fiction, Dutch, English, German, children’s, young adult and adult books. So it took me a while to get all those categories represented in the best way!

So, without furrther ado, in no particular order (or well, the order they were read in throughout the year):

  1. De Gouden Dolk by Thea Beckman 1551208

  2. 16147181The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

  3. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne39999

  4. 21686Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

  5. Feed by Mira Grant7094569

  6. 18808023I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

  7. Room by Emma Donoghue24968083

  8. 22011085The Life Changing Magic of Tyding my Mari Kondo

  9. Das Paket by Sebastian Fiztek28254289

  10. 19542841More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

What were your favorite books of 2016? Did you read any of the books I read, what did you think of those?

Confessions of a bookblogger #7 – I don’t really like bookish goodies

Yep, I’m not the biggest fan of bookish goodies. Sure, there are things that I like, but mostly something related to books won’t really make me happy. I’d rather just have a piece of chocolate, or a book of course.

Somehow I’ve a bit of a thing against anything that I can’t use. This means that certain things, like pillows and tote bags, I’m a big fan of. However, funkos… not so much. I love the way they look, don’t get me wrong, I just feel their useless (which I suppose technically they are). They’d just be standing there, taking up space, gathering dust… which means it’s something extra I’d have to clean – I don’t like cleaning.

I hardly ever wear jewelry, so bookish jewelry? Not for me. Different cell phone cases? Nope, I only use one anyway. I’d forget the change them and the other ones would end up in the back of a drawer.

It pretty much comes to this: if I use it without it being bookish, I’ll also use it when it’s book-related. However, if I don’t use it anyone, just making it bookish, isn’t going to make me like it.

Confessions of a book blogger #6 – I don’t like reading challenges

Reading challenge banner

Throughout the year, as most of you will know, there are numerous reading challenges that one can compete in. Some are fairly simple, only prescribing the number of books as a goal. Others, will try to give specific prompts to use when picking out a book (e.g. a book with a number in the title, a book with a blue cover). However, what all of them have in common, and what I hate about them, is that they ‘force’ you to read.

The whole point of a challenge is of course completing it. Though I’m a huge fan of deadlines (I almost always finished my assignments minutes before them), I really don’t like to feel pressured into something. Whether that be drinking alcohol (seriously, cut the crap, I don’t like that shit!), or reading certain books.

I pick out the books I read based on what I feel like reading, so if I have no good books with blue on the cover, then it’s really just not going to happen. Reading a certain number of books seems a bit pointless too, since I already set a goal for the entire year; no need to make things worse by forcing myself through 5 books in 7 days. This means the only challenge I participate in, is the Goodreads challenge, by setting a goal for a certain number of books to read.

Reading challenge banner

When it comes to these challenges, I’m all rebel teen inside: forcing me to do something is the best way to make sure it’s not going to happen.

What’s your opinion about challenges? Do they actually help you read more (I know it works for some people)? Or do you dislike them, like I do?