Review: Social Goodness by Claire Burdett

Blurb 

Social Goodness is a guide to how your business can meet your customer’s expectations through your brand actions and so ensure you don’t just survive but thrive in the coming decade. Perfectly pitched for busy C-suite leaders and entrepreneurs it is a meticulously researched, comprehensive trendspotting business bible, which is an easy to read, enthralling, and engaging page turner.

Social Goodness forensically investigates current trends, like sustainability, human marketing and ESG, and joins the dots to show you how it all connects and affects businesses in the wider world. It looks at what works and what doesn’t for brands post-pandemic in the new ‘normal’. Social Goodness examines why some companies are getting it right both on social media and with their brand actions – and thriving as a result – and why others are experiencing severe backlash and criticism.

It takes a view from a different perspective of social media and the central role it now plays in society and for business. Most business leaders still think of social media as somehow ‘other’ – an add-on to the marketing and generally of minor importance to their core business unless a social media crisis erupts. Yet, as we saw throughout the last few years, social media is at once a reflection of offline life and a petri dish that causes and influences real life events. It has resulted in a fundamental and irrevocable shift in how business is conducted – i.e. business is now totally transparent at every point. People can see for themselves if companies are lying, and pressure brands to change their policies and strategies, boycott their products, get others to also avoid buying and quite literally topple major brands, if they are behaving inauthentically or unethically.

Buy Links https://www.socialgoodness.co.uk/#thebook

Continue reading “Review: Social Goodness by Claire Burdett”

Review: Thought Economics, by Vikas Shah

Blurb 

Since 2007, entrepreneur and philanthropist Vikas Shah has been on a mission to interview the people shaping our century. Including conversations with Nobel prize winners, business leaders, politicians, artists and Olympians, he has been in the privileged position of questioning the minds that matter on the big issues that concern us all. We often talk of war and conflict, the economy, culture, technology and revolutions as if they are something other than us. But all these things are a product of us – of our ideas, our dreams and our fears. We live in fast-moving and extraordinary times, and the changes we’re experiencing now, in these first decades of the twenty-first century, feel particularly poignant as decisions are made that will inform our existence for years to come. What started out as a personal interest in the mechanisms that inform our views of the world, and a passion for understanding, has grown into a phenomenal compilation of once-in-a-lifetime conversations. In this incredible collection, Shah shares some of his most emotive and insightful interviews to date.

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Pen & Sword TBR Pile: A History of Death n 17th Century England, by Ben Norman

51351995
Paperback, 208 pages
Published November 23rd 2020 by
Pen and Sword History
ISBN:1526755262 (ISBN13: 9781526755261)

Delve into the world of the unorthodox burial in seventeenth-century England, including mass interments in times of disease, the burial of suicides, and the unconventional laying to rest of English Catholics.

Death was a constant presence in the lives of the rich and poor alike in seventeenth-century England, being much more visible in everyday existence than it is today. It is a highly important and surprisingly captivating part of the epic story of England during the turbulent years of the 1600s. This book guides readers through the subject using a chronological approach, as would have been experienced by those living in the country at the time, beginning with the myriad causes of death, including disease, war, and capital punishment, and finishing with an exploration of posthumous commemoration. Although contemporaries of the seventeenth century did not fully realize it, when it came to the confrontation of mortality they were living in wildly changing times. 

My Review

Thanks to Rosie Crofts at Pen & Sword for sending me a copy of this book. It is one of many that I am working my way through.

This book covers the ways people died, how they were buried and how they were remembered in 17th century England. It’s a very specific subject, and it’s rather fun to read about a single subject sometimes. Sometimes I like learning about specific subjects as well as wider ranging books. This one was fascinating.

Humans have a habit of thinking that how things are now are how things have always been. In life and death. But that’s not always true. And this is one of those ways in which things are the same and different. People still die, are disposed of and are remembered, and most are buried in consecrated ground.

People don’t die from the plague anymore, and rarely die in war, Catholics don’t get buried in ditches and people who complete suicide aren’t buried at cross-roads with a stake through the heart. We don’t hang criminals either.

Which is nice.

This book covers the various ways people died, how they acted on the deathbed, funerals, unusual burials and how people remembered the dead. It has some interesting photographs and extracts from primary documents, to illustrate the descriptions.

I found the writing easy to read. I read a large chunk in one sitting and then had to finish the last chapter some weeks later due to other commitments. I could pick up the thread fairly easily and get back right into the book.

If you want to read a different perspective on the turbulent years of the 17th century, and you’re interested in death, I recommend this book.

For my friend Nicky: There are some good tips on ancient gravestones you could follow up for photographing.

Non-Fiction TBR Pile Review: The Dark Fantastic – Race and the imagination from Harry Potter to The Hunger Games

42129087
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 21st 2019 by
New York University Press
ISBN:1479800651 (ISBN13: 9781479800650)

Reveals the diversity crisis in children’s and young adult media as not only a lack of representation, but a lack of imagination

Stories provide portals into other worlds, both real and imagined. The promise of escape draws people from all backgrounds to speculative fiction, but when people of color seek passageways into the fantastic, the doors are often barred. This problem lies not only with children’s publishing, but also with the television and film executives tasked with adapting these stories into a visual world. When characters of color do appear, they are often marginalized or subjected to violence, reinforcing for audiences that not all lives matter.

The Dark Fantastic is an engaging and provocative exploration of race in popular youth and young adult speculative fiction. Grounded in her experiences as YA novelist, fanfiction writer, and scholar of education, Thomas considers four black girl protagonists from some of the most popular stories of the early 21st century: Bonnie Bennett from the CW’s The Vampire Diaries, Rue from Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, Gwen from the BBC’s Merlin, and Angelina Johnson from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Analyzing their narratives and audience reactions to them reveals how these characters mirror the violence against black and brown people in our own world.

In response, Thomas uncovers and builds upon a tradition of fantasy and radical imagination in Black feminism and Afrofuturism to reveal new possibilities. Through fanfiction and other modes of counter-storytelling, young people of color have reinvisioned fantastic worlds that reflect their own experiences, their own lives. As Thomas powerfully asserts, “we dark girls deserve more, because we are more.”

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Autism TBR Pile Review: Stim – An Autistic Anthology, edited by Lizzie Huxley-Jones

44776034. sy475
Hardcover, First Edition, 216 pages
Published 2020 by Unbound
ISBN13: 9781783529025

Around one in one hundred people in the UK are autistic, yet there remains a fundamental misunderstanding of what autism is. It is rare that autistic people get to share their own experiences, show how creative and talented and passionate they are, how different they are from media stereotypes.

This insightful and eye-opening collection of essays, fiction and visual art showcases the immense talents of some of the UK’s most exciting writers and artists – who just happen to be on the spectrum. Here they reclaim the power to speak for themselves and redefine what it means to be autistic.

Stim invites the reader into the lives, experiences, minds of the eighteen contributors, and asks them to recognise the hurdles of being autistic in a non-autistic world and to uncover the empathy and understanding necessary to continue to champion brilliant yet unheard voices. 

My review

When Lizzie was hawking this book around Twitter, trying to get enough backers on Unbound, I asked to be put on the list for a gifted copy – that is, I was too poor at the time to support the book but if someone paid for an extra copy for someone without funds then I would be in with a chance of getting one.

I did, and I’ve been meaning to read it for a while, but blog tours and my job got in the way. But in the last few days I’ve managed to get up to date with the blog tours for March and have some breathing room so I read Stim.

I laughed, I cried, a lot, I enjoyed the stories and the art work, it was so refreshing to read other peoples’ experiences of life and see my own reflected back. People from many places and with different support needs. The only thing they had in common was a diagnosis of autism/Asperger’s Syndrome/ASC/ASC/whatever we’re being labelled as these days.

This is a weighty little book, nice texture to the pages, right size for carrying around. I love the cover, it’s not overwhelming or too bright. The resources at the end might be useful for a reader who isn’t autistic.

Autistic people are quite capable of telling their own stories, whether in words, pictures or gestures, and this book shares some of them.

Review: The Domestic Revolution, by Ruth Goodman @omarabooks @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Blurb 

A large black cast iron range glowing hot, the kettle steaming on top, provider of everything from bath water and clean socks to morning tea: it’s a nostalgic icon of a Victorian way of life. But it is far more than that. In this book, social historian and TV presenter Ruth Goodman tells the story of how the development of the coal-fired domestic range fundamentally changed not just our domestic comforts, but our world.

The revolution began as far back as the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, when London began the switch from wood to coal as its domestic fuel – a full 200 years before any other city. It would be this domestic demand for more coal that would lead to the expansion of mining, engineering, construction and industry: the Domestic Revolution kick-started, pushed and fuelled the Industrial Revolution.

There were other radical shifts. Coal cooking was to change not just how we cooked but what we cooked (causing major swings in diet), how we washed (first our laundry and then our bodies) and how we decorated (spurring the wallpaper industry). It also defined the nature of women’s and men’s working lives, pushing women more firmly into the domestic sphere. It transformed our landscape and environment (by the time of Elizabeth’s death in 1603, London’s air was as polluted as that of modern Beijing). Even tea drinking can be brought back to coal in the home, with all its ramifications for the shape of the empire and modern world economics.

Taken together, these shifts in our day-to-day practices started something big, something unprecedented, something that was exported across the globe and helped create the world we live in today.

Continue reading “Review: The Domestic Revolution, by Ruth Goodman @omarabooks @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours”

Review: 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. II, by Marielle S Smith

‘With this book by your side, anything feels possible.’ Jacqueline Brown

Tired of not having a sustainable writing practice? You, too, can get out of your own way and become the writer you’re meant to be!

52 Weeks of Writing:

  • makes you plan, track, reflect on, and improve your progress and goals for an entire year;
  • helps you unravel the truth about why you aren’t where you want to be; and
  • keeps you writing through weekly thought-provoking quotes and prompts.

With this second volume of the 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, writing coach and writer Mariëlle S. Smith brings you the same successful strategies to craft the perfect writing practice as she did in the first journal. The only difference? Fifty-three different writing quotes and prompts and a brand-new look!

Purchase Links

A printable PDF is available through: https://payhip.com/b/0YgJ Get 50% off until 31 March 2021 by using the coupon code 52WOW during checkout.

Continue reading “Review: 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. II, by Marielle S Smith”

Pen & Sword Review: A History of The Undead: Mummies, Vampires and Zombies, by Charlotte Booth

A History of the Undead
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 30 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526769060
Published: 9th February 2021

£12.79

Are you a fan of the undead? Watch lots of Mummy, zombie and vampire movies and TV shows? Have you ever wondered if they could be ‘real’?

This book, A History of the Undead, unravels the truth behind these popular reanimated corpses.

Starting with the common representations in Western Media through the decades, we go back in time to find the origins of the myths. Using a combination of folklore, religion and archaeological studies we find out the reality behind the walking dead. You may be surprised at what you find.

My Review

Thanks to Rosie Crofts at Pen & Sword for my review copy. I’m going to read the author’s book about ancient Egypt next.

The Rosie Synopsis

The book is divided into seven chapters, two each on mummies, two on zombies and three on vampires. The author covers the literary and film history of the undead in one chapter and then the folklore in the second chapter. In the vampire section Booth also covers the modern ‘vampires’ – people who think they’re vampires or live a ‘vampire lifestyle’.

The Good

I liked the way the author wrote the chapters as individual essays, because they can be dipped into, and the illustrations. It is a good introduction to the subject, and the author states that it is an introduction not the be-all-end-all on the subject.

The Not-So-Good

Despite my enjoyment of academic texts, I found it was a bit dry at times and there were some errors in reference to some of the televsion series.

It would have been good to have a summation chapter drawing all the thought lines together.

The Verdict

Not a bad introduction to the subject.

Pen and Sword TBR Pile Review: Balloons and Airships, by Anthony Burton

Balloons and Airships
By Anthony Burton
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 60
ISBN: 9781526719492
Published: 30th September 2019

This book tells the often dramatic and always fascinating story of flight in lighter than air machines. For centuries man had dreamed of flying, but all attempts failed, until in 1782 the Montgolfier brothers constructed the world’s first hot air balloon The following year saw the first ascent with aeronauts – not human beings but a sheep, a duck and a cockerel. But it was not long before men and women too took to the air and became ever more adventurous. The aeronauts became famous giving displays before crowds of thousands, often accompanied by special effects.

In the early years, ballooning was a popular pastime, but in the 19th century it found a new use with the military. Balloons were used to send messages out during the Siege of Paris and later found a role as observation balloons for the artillery. But their use was always limited by the fact that they were at the mercy of the wind. There were numerous attempts at steering balloons, and various attempts were made to power them but it was the arrival of the internal combustion engine that saw the balloon transformed into the airship. The most famous developer of airships was Graf von Zeppelin and the book tells the story of the use of his airships in both peacetime and at war. There were epic adventures including flights over the poles and for a time, commercial airships flourished – then came the disaster of the Hindenburg. Airships still fly today and ballooning has become a hugely popular pastime.

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Pen & Sword Review: The Real World of Victorian Steampunk, by Simon Webb

43972585
Paperback, 168 pages
Published November 13th 2019 by Pen and Sword History
ISBN: 1526732858 (ISBN13: 9781526732859)

In the last few decades, steampunk has blossomed from being a rather obscure and little-known subgenre of science fiction into a striking and distinctive style of fashion, art, design and even music. It is in the written word however that steampunk has its roots and in this book Simon Webb explores and examines the real inventions which underpin the fantasy. In doing so, he reveals a world unknown to most people today.

The Real World of Victorian Steampunk shows the Victorian era to have been a surprising place; one of steam-powered airplanes, fax machines linking Moscow and St Petersburg, steam cars traveling at over 100 mph, electric taxis and wireless telephones. It is, in short, the nineteenth century as you have never before seen it; a steampunk extravaganza of anachronistic technology and unfamiliar gadgets. Imagine Europe spanned by a mechanical internet; a telecommunication system of clattering semaphore towers capable of transmitting information across the continent in a matter of minutes. Consider too, the fact that a steam plane the size of a modern airliner took off in England in 1894.

Drawing entirely on contemporary sources, we see how little-known developments in technology have been used as the basis for so many steampunk narratives. From seminal novels such as The Difference Engine, through to the steampunk fantasy of Terry Pratchett’s later works, this book shows that steampunk is at least as much solid fact as it is whimsical fiction. 

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