TBR Pile: The Book of Dragons, ed. by Jonathan Strahan

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Hardcover, First UK Edition, 558 pages
Published June 25th 2020 by HarperVoyager UK
ISBN: 0008331472 (ISBN13: 9780008331474) https://www.harpercollins.co.uk/9780008331474/the-book-of-dragons/

A unique collection of stories by the greatest fantasy writers working today.

Sparking myths and legends from Asia to Europe, Africa to North America, dragons are the most universal and awe-inspiring of magical creatures.

Whether they are fearsome, rampaging monsters or benevolent sages with much to teach humanity, dragons bring creation, destruction, and adventure in stories told all around the globe.

In this landmark collection, award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan combines nearly thirty never-before-seen short stories and poems, written by modern masters of science fiction and fantasy, and illustrations by acclaimed artist Rovina Cai.

Featuring stories from Scott Lynch, R.F. Kuang, Garth Nix, Ken Liu, Kate Elliott, and many more, The Book of Dragons breathes fresh life and fire into the greatest magical beasts of all.

– Introduction by Jonathan Strahan
– What Heroism Tells Us poem by Jane Yolen
– Matriculation by Elle Katharine White
– Hikaya Sri Bujang, or The Tale of the Naga Sage by Zen Cho
– Yuli by Daniel Abraham
– A Whisper of Blue by Ken Liu
– Nidhog poem by Jo Walton
– Where the River Turns to Concrete by Brooke Bolander
– Habitat by K.J. Parker
– Pox by Ellen Klages
– The Nine Curves River by R.F. Kuang
– Lucky’s Dragon by Kelly Barnhill
– I Make Myself a Dragon poem by Beth Cato
– The Exile by JY Yang
– Except on Saturdays by Peter S. Beagle
– La Vitesse by Kelly Robson
– A Final Knight to her Love and Foe poem by Amal El-Mohtar
– The Long Walk by Kate Elliott
– Cut Me Another Quill, Mister Fitz by Garth Nix
– Hoard by Seanan McGuire
– The Worm of Lirr poem by C. S. E. Cooney
– The Last Hunt by Aliette de Bodard
– We Continue by Ann Leckie and Rachel Swirsky
– Small Bird’s Plea by Todd McCaffrey
– The Dragons poem by Theodora Goss
– Dragon Slayer by Michael Swanwick
– Camouflage by Patricia A. McKillip
– We Don’t Talk About the Dragon by Sarah Gailey
– Maybe Just Go Up There and Talk to It by Scott Lynch
– A Nice Cuppa poem by Jane Yolen

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Queer TBR Pile Review: They/Them/Their: A Guide to Nonbinary & Genderqueer Identities, by Eris Young

I’ve decided to add a new subsection to my TBR Pile reviews: Queer books. I’m Queer, myself, as well as Autistic, so I choose to use those words to describe myself and my way of categorising books. Don’t like it? Leave.

Or you could stay and learn something?

Anyway, on to the review.

Mum, Dad, don’t read if you don’t want to know some stuff about me.

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Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 19th 2019
by Jessica Kingsley Publishers
ISBN: 1785924834 (ISBN13: 9781785924835)

In this insightful and long-overdue book, Eris Young explores what it’s like to live outside of the gender binary and how it can impact on one’s relationships, sense of identity, use of language and more.

Drawing on the author’s own experiences as a nonbinary person, as well as interviews and research, it shares common experiences and challenges faced by those who are nonbinary, and what friends, family and other cisgender people can do to support them. Breaking down misconceptions and providing definitions, the history of nonbinary identities and gender-neutral language, and information on healthcare, this much-needed guide is for anyone wanting to fully understand nonbinary and genderqueer identities.

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Autism TBR Pile Review: I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder, by Sarah Kurchak

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Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 22nd 2020
by Douglas McIntyre
ISBN:1771622466 (ISBN13: 9781771622462)

Sarah Kurchak is autistic. She hasn’t let that get in the way of pursuing her dream to become a writer, or to find love, but she has let it get in the way of being in the same room with someone chewing food loudly, and of cleaning her bathroom sink. In I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder, Kurchak examines the Byzantine steps she took to become “an autistic success story,” how the process almost ruined her life and how she is now trying to recover.

Growing up undiagnosed in small-town Ontario in the eighties and nineties, Kurchak realized early that she was somehow different from her peers. She discovered an effective strategy to fend off bullying: she consciously altered nearly everything about herself—from her personality to her body language. She forced herself to wear the denim jeans that felt like being enclosed in a sandpaper iron maiden. Every day, she dragged herself through the door with an elevated pulse and a churning stomach, nearly crumbling under the effort of the performance. By the time she was finally diagnosed with autism at twenty-seven, she struggled with depression and anxiety largely caused by the same strategy she had mastered precisely. She came to wonder, were all those years of intensely pretending to be someone else really worth it?

Tackling everything from autism parenting culture to love, sex, alcohol, obsessions and professional pillow fighting, Kurchak’s enlightening memoir challenges stereotypes and preconceptions about autism and considers what might really make the lives of autistic people healthier, happier and more fulfilling. 

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Review: Create Your Own Calm by Meera Lee Patel

Genre:  adult non-fiction / anxiety journal / mental health
Pages: 128
Publication Date 22nd Sept
Buy Link 


From the bestselling author of Start Where You Are, a beautifully illustrated journal for easing the everyday anxieties we all carry.

Feeling anxious, uncertain, overwhelmed? You’re not alone. In this empowering new tool for self-care, popular artist and author Meera Lee Patel presents a fresh approach to feeling better. Designed to help us better understand ourselves and dial down the everyday worries getting in our way, these thoughtful and beautifully illustrated journal pages are a safe space for reflection, self-acceptance, and the freedom to move forward with more clarity and joy. Bringing together inspiring quotes from great thinkers and writers throughout history and engaging journal prompts and plenty of room to capture your thoughts, the book is a calming breath of fresh air and a quiet space to reflect and recharge in a hectic and uncertain world.

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TBR Pile Review: Empire of Sand, by Tasha Suri

Paperback, 496 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by Orbit
ISBN: 0316449717 (ISBN13: 9780316449717)

A nobleman’s daughter with magic in her blood. An empire built on the dreams of enslaved gods. Empire of Sand is Tasha Suri’s captivating, Mughal India-inspired debut fantasy.

The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited.

When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda.

Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…

Empire of Sand is a lush, dazzling fantasy novel perfect for readers of City of Brass and The Wrath & the Dawn.

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TBR Pile Review: Bad Psychology, by Robert A. Forde

Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 1st 2017 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers
ISBN:1785922300 (ISBN13: 9781785922305)

For decades the psychological assessment and treatment of offenders has run on invalid and untested programmes. Robert A. Forde exposes the current ineffectiveness of forensic psychology that has for too long been maintained by individual and commercial vested interests, resulting in dangerous prisoners being released on parole, and low risk prisoners being denied it, wasting enormous amounts of public money. Challenging entrenched ideas about the field of psychology as a whole, and how it should be practised in the criminal justice system, the author shows how effective changes can be made for more just decisions, and the better rehabilitation of offenders into society, while significantly reducing the cost to the taxpayer.

This is a fearless account calling for a return to scientific evidence in the troubled field of forensic psychology. 

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Autistic Books Pile Review: Autism Equality in the Work Place, by Janine Booth

Paperback, 128 pages
Published April 21st 2016 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers
ISBN: 1849056781 (ISBN13: 9781849056786)

Neurodiversity in the workplace can be a gift. Yet only 15% of adults with an autism spectrum condition (ASC) are in full-time employment. This book examines how the working environment can embrace autistic people in a positive way.

The author highlights common challenges in the workplace for people with ASC, such as discrimination and lack of communication or the right kind of support from managers and colleagues, and provides strategies for changing them. Setting out practical, reasonable adjustments such as a quiet room or avoiding disruption to work schedules, this book demonstrates how day to day changes in the workplace can make it more inclusive and productive for all employees.

Autism in the Workplace is intended for any person with an interest in changing working culture to ensure equality for autistic people. It is an essential resource for employers, managers, trade unionists, people with ASCs and their workmates and supporters.

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TBR Pile Review: Sex and Sexuality in Georgian Britain, by Mike Rendell

Sex and Sexuality in Georgian Britain
By Mike Rendell
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 216
Illustrations: 30 black and white illustrations – integrated and 8 page mono plates
ISBN: 9781526755629
Published: 29th October 2020
Price: £10.49 was £14.99

Peek beneath the bedsheets of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain in this affectionate, informative and fascinating look at sex and sexuality during the reigns of Georges I-IV. It examines the prevailing attitudes towards male and female sexual behaviour, and the ways in which these attitudes were often determined by those in positions of power and authority. It also explores our ancestors’ ingenious, surprising, bizarre and often entertaining solutions to the challenges associated with maintaining a healthy sex life.

Did the people in Georgian Britain live up to their stereotypes when it came to sexual behaviour? This book will answer this question, as well as looking at fashion, food, science, art, medicine, magic, literature, love, politics, faith and superstition through a new lens, leaving the reader enlightened and with a new regard for the ingenuity and character of our ancestors.

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