TBR Pile: Food Isn’t Medicine, by Dr Joshua Wolrich

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Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 15th 2021 by Vermilion
ISBN: 1785043455 (ISBN13: 9781785043451)

Blurb

Losing weight is not your life’s purpose.

Do carbs make you fat?
Could the keto diet cure mental health disorders?
Are eggs as bad for you as smoking?

No, no and absolutely not. It’s all what Dr Joshua Wolrich defines as ‘nutribollocks’ and he is on a mission to set the record straight.

As an NHS doctor with personal experience of how damaging diets can be, he believes every one of us deserves to have a happy, healthy relationship with food and with our bodies. His message is clear: we need to fight weight stigma, call out the lies of diet culture and give ourselves permission to eat all foods.

Food Isn’t Medicine wades through nutritional science (both good and bad) to demystify the common diet myths that many of us believe without questioning. If you have ever wondered whether you should stop eating sugar, try fasting, juicing or ‘alkaline water’, or struggled through diet after diet (none of which seem to work), this book will be a powerful wake-up call. Drawing on the latest research and delivered with a dose of humour, it not only liberates us from the destructive belief that weight defines health but also explains how to spot the misinformation we are bombarded with every day.

Dr Joshua Wolrich will empower you to escape the diet trap and call out the bad health advice for what it really is: complete nutribollocks.

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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

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

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

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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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First Review of 2021: Queer: A Graphic History, by Meg-John Barker, Illustrated by Julia Sheele

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Paperback, 176 pages
Published November 15th 2016 by Icon Books
ISBN:1785780719 (ISBN13: 9781785780714)

Blurb

Activist-academic Meg-John Barker and cartoonist Julia Scheele illuminate the histories of queer thought and LGBTQ+ action in this groundbreaking non-fiction graphic novel.

From identity politics and gender roles to privilege and exclusion, Queer explores how we came to view sex, gender and sexuality in the ways that we do; how these ideas get tangled up with our culture and our understanding of biology, psychology and sexology; and how these views have been disputed and challenged.

Along the way we look at key landmarks which shift our perspective of what’s ‘normal’ – Alfred Kinsey’s view of sexuality as a spectrum, Judith Butler’s view of gendered behaviour as a performance, the play Wicked, or moments in Casino Royale when we’re invited to view James Bond with the kind of desiring gaze usually directed at female bodies in mainstream media.

Presented in a brilliantly engaging and witty style, this is a unique portrait of the universe of queer thinking.

My Review

Happy New Year. Let’s hope 2021 is better than 2020.

I treat myself to this book because I had the spare cash and it has been on my wish list for a while. It arrived this morning and I’ve spent a few hours today reading it. I rather enjoyed it. This book is an illustrated introduction to Queer Theory and its history from about the early twentieth century. Introduction is the key word here, if you know something of the subject already it would probably seem simplistic, but for those of us with a bit of amorphous knowledge but nothing specific, things we’ve seen online but haven’t entirely understood, this book is excellent. The emphasis on questioning binaries (man/woman, homosexual/heterosexual), the fixed nature of gender, sex and sexuality, the cultural context of same, was fascinating, and ties in with thoughts I’d already had.

I must recommend this book to people interested in the subject but without the formal academic background usually needed to understand this sort of thing.

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

34878545
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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TBR Pile Review: Happy Fat, by Sofie Hagen

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Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 2nd 2019 by Fourth Estate
ISBN13: 9780008293871

‘I am a fat person and I love my body. I feel lucky to be able to say that – it has taken a lot of work and a lot of time. I want to tell you what I have learned and how I got here.’

In Happy Fat, comedian Sofie Hagen shares how she removed fatphobic influences from her daily life and found self-acceptance in a world where judgement and discrimination are rife.

From shame and sex to airplane seats, love and getting stuck in public toilets, Sofie provides practical tips for readers – drawing wisdom from other Fat Liberation champions along the way.

Part memoir, part social commentary, Happy Fat is a funny, angry and impassioned look at how taking up space in a culture that is desperate to reduce you can be radical, emboldening and life-changing.


My Review

I ordered myself this book last year when it was published. I’ve just had the time to read it, and I read it fairly quickly. The early chapters made me cry because they covered some very distressing topics, and the later chapters have information that I already knew from reading Health At Every Size by Linda Bacon and The F**k It Diet by Caroline Dooner. While those books are focused on the diet industry, this book is more biography and encouragement to self-love. I found the writing moving and amusing by turns. I enjoyed the inserted interviews and the illustrations. It’s a good introduction to the fat liberation movement.

Review: In Black and White, by Alexandra Wilson

Alexandra Wilson was a teenager when her dear family friend Ayo was stabbed on his way home from football. Ayo’s death changed Alexandra. His death compelled her to enter the legal profession to search for answers.
As a junior criminal and family law barrister she finds herself navigating a world and a set of rules designed by a privileged few. A world in which barristers sigh with relief at the retirement of a racist judge: ‘I’ve got a black kid today and he would have had no hope.’

In her debut book In Black and White, Alexandra beautifully re-creates the tense court room scenes, the heart-breaking meetings with teenage clients and the moments of frustration and triumph that make up a young barrister’s life.

Alexandra speaks with raw honesty about her experience as a mixed-race woman from a non-traditional background in a profession that is sorely lacking in diverse representation. A justice system in which a disproportionately large number of black and mixed-race people are charged, convicted and sent to prison.

She shows us how it feels to defend someone who hates the colour of your skin or someone you suspect is guilty, and the heart-breaking youth justice cases she has worked on. We see what it’s like for the teenagers coerced into county line drug deals and the damage that can be caused when we criminalise teenagers.

Her account of what she has witnessed as a young mixed-race barrister is in equal parts shocking, compelling, confounding and powerful. Alexandra’s story is unique in a profession still dominated by a section of society with little first-hand experience of the devastating impact of violent crime.

Endeavour • 13th August 2020
£16.99 • Hardback

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