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A Reader Leads a Thousand Lives Before ‘They’ Die

  • Hazel Butterfield
  • 25 August 2020

“We are all broken, that’s how the light gets in.” - Ernest Hemingway

A Reader Leads a Thousand Lives Before ‘They’ Die


Standing on my Brothers Shoulders - Tara Lal

Female Firefighter & Author on Transforming Her Mental Health After Trauma whose Memoir is Highly Praised by Director Alex Garland.

This memoir had me in tears quite quickly, so much so that when I was initially reading it in a café, a man to my left ushered his dog over toward me for a bit of comfort! It was actually cathartic, it assisted an outpouring of grief. Tara Lal, does however manage to make a story of great loss and confusion quite endearing. Although ‘Standing on my Brothers Shoulders’ refers to her brother Adam who tragically killed himself, it is also about illnesses and the affect they have on a family and its growth, both physical and mental illness. We are a constant working progress and need to remind ourselves that we do not have to live up to other people’s expectations. We can and often do make mistakes, but life goes on and this book is a great testament to how we are a constant working progress.

Milkshakes for the Almost Dead - Lulu Wood

‘They’ say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I guess in this case we can. The narrative is just as enticing as you want it to be. Snappy short chapters, nailing the complexities and intricacies of teenage and adult life and mental wellbeing. Throw in some ball achingly wealth centred misogyny, unrequited love and jealousy, just wow. There are so many poignant conversations and unapologetically strong female characters, that I just loved it. I still don’t know if this is for late teens or adults, but I don’t care!

“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women”.

The Hunted - Gabriel Bergmoser

I love a recommendation based on the twitter writing community and through ‘Get Booked’ at Women’s Radio Station. Jesus, Chris MacDonald was right, this book just hooked you from the off and not just due to the hooks prolifically used by the Hunters. It was scarily familiar to that some of us may have envisaged of the Australian outback murder which involved backpackers of Peter Falconio and his surviving travel partner Joanna Lees from my home town of Huddersfield.

What a relentlessly gruesome story of the outback gone further wild, those the sheer vastness of Australia have enabled pockets of areas to be left to their own devices and rules. The Hunted encompasses honour, family issues, violence and the importance of right and wrong judgement. What a ride!

No Precedent - John Uttley

A bittersweet tale of modern day life,  the north/south divide, politics, religion and relationships. Unique in its format, educational in its subject matter and thoroughly entertaining with its raw pragmatism and tongue and cheek nature. Clued up and yet sympathetic regarding the interchangeability of life. The dichotomy of the old world and emerging norms.

It explains Brexit so succinctly,  more than our politicians and news outlets have. I actually feeling quite schooled on politics now, John Uttley has such a broad knowledge of varying sides of a complicated fence.

Catch my interview at Women’s Radio Station here:


Previous Book Blogs

My latest book blog: Wellness, Grief, Friendship, the Devil and Revenge.