Non Fiction

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

you have been shamed

My boyfriend James likes to say rather sarcastically: “Good luck having Vera read something from one of your recommended authors”. Why? Well, I tend to possess the gift of ‘a zero attention span’. I get super excited about an author’s recommendation, and five seconds later, I forget all about it. Despite how much I would like to read something from that author and the fact that their books are added to my TBR list (which I tend to ignore completely these days).

Why am I telling you this?

About 6 years ago, James recommended Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test to me, telling me how brilliant Jon Ronson was and how much he enjoyed that book. I listened, got super excited … and still haven’t read that book to this day….

A few weeks ago, I happened to find out Jon Ronson wrote this book about shame. Shame is one of those topics I always want to know more of. My curiosity was immediately sparked, I had to read that book!

Well, I did. And I loved it and I promptly told James off for not telling me sooner how brilliant Jon Ronson was… true story. 😉

For those of you, who have recommended me authors or books so far: there is still hope that I may read them one day… it may be a convoluted and a long-winded process, but I may get there. Do not despair! 😉 And I do appreciate all of your recommendations, I promise. ❤️


Let’s have a look at what Goodreads’ says about this book first:

From the internationally bestselling author of The Psychopath Test, a captivating and brilliant exploration of one of our world’s most overlooked forces.

For the past three years, Jon Ronson has been immersing himself in the world of modern-day public shaming—meeting famous shamees, shamers, and bystanders who have been impacted.  This is the perfect time for a modern-day Scarlet Letter—a radically empathetic book about public shaming, and about shaming as a form of social control. It has become such a big part of our lives it has begun to feel weird and empty when there isn’t anyone to be furious about. Whole careers are being ruined by one mistake. A transgression is revealed. Our collective outrage at it has the force of a hurricane. Then we all quickly forget about it and move on to the next one, and it doesn’t cross our minds to wonder if the shamed person is okay or in ruins. What’s it doing to them? What’s it doing to us?

Ronson’s book is a powerful, funny, unique, and very humane dispatch from the frontline, in the escalating war on human nature and its flaws.


I listened to this book as an audiobook. It is narrated by the author himself. I enjoyed both Ronson’s musical Welsh accent as well as his narrative. If you enjoy listening to non-fiction podcasts, the audio version of this book may be a way to go.

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed investigates, as the title suggests, public shaming. Shame is this corrosive feeling we may experience when we think we may just not be good enough. And we are worried that ‘they’ will find out one day. Public shaming is turning that fear of being found out, into a nightmare scenario of a roaring and upset crowd shouting at us ‘shame on you, what a terrible person you are’.

“We are defining the boundaries of normality by tearing apart the people outside it.” 

Ronson’s book seriously played with my emotions. His curious and funny approach got him to meet people who, according to his words: ‘didn’t do that much wrong’. I could not stomach how torn apart those people got. Hearing about it was both chilling and utterly terrifying. Sadly, it was all believable as well. And I think that is what got me.

“There is nothing I dislike more in the world than people who care more about ideology than they do about people.” 

I personally enjoyed the first half of the book a little bit more than its latter part. That could have been me getting confused with names though. I do have a poor memory and perhaps reading this as a book, rather than listening to it,  would have helped me as I would have been able to reference names a bit better that way.

What I did enjoy was Ronson’s sharp writing style, his diverse spectre of cases as well as the thought provoking topic itself. I also appreciated Ronson sharing some of his own stories. And his use of humour sometimes helped, especially when thinking about such heavy topic as shame.

What’s Ronson’s answer to public shaming? I’ll let you read the book to find it. 😊

Recommended? Yes! It’s not a collection of boring facts but rather a vivid portrait of incidents that could have potentially happened to many of us.

About Me, Bookish

How I Choose My Books Tag

The wonderful and kind Kelly from Another Book in The Wall tagged for the how I choose my books tag! Kelly has an amazing blog – not only does she write thoughtful reviews, but she also creates many thought provoking discussion posts as well as features inspiring book quotes. If you don’t know her blog, please go over to say Hi. I sincerely hope you will enjoy is as much as I do. Thanks Kelly for thinking of me. 

My attempt to catch up on all those lovely tags and awards continues. Let’s have a look how I choose my books, shall we? 🙂


  1. Find a Book on Your Shelves or E-Reader With a Blue Cover | What Made You Want to Pick Up This Book?

the witch of portobello

The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho

I love Coelho’s The Alchemist and because of that, I read a few of his other books as well. This one spoke to me via its blurb “How do we find the courage to always be true to ourselves—even if we are unsure of whom we are?” I thought to myself: ‘that’s an interesting question, I wonder how it will get answered’ and gave this book a chance. 😊

  1. Think of a Book You Didn’t Expect To Enjoy, But Did | Why Did You Read It in the First Place?

heartless

Heartless by Marissa Meyer (my review)

I am a big Alice in Wonderland fan. That was the reason behind choosing this book. I started reading it thinking ‘I sincerely hope that Lewis Carroll’s non-sensical world will not get ruined’… I had many arrogant and cynical assumptions at the back of my mind and they were proven completely wrong. I absolutely adored this book.

  1. Stand In Front Of Your Bookshelf With Your Eyes Closed And Pick a Book At Random | How Did You Discover This Book

Underland

Underland by Chanda Hahn

I read everything Chanda Hahn has written… I enjoy her re-tellings and especially loved her An Unfortunate Fairy Tale series.

When I found out Chanda wrote a book featuring Greek myths, well, it was a no-brainer for me to pick it up… and it did not disappoint by the way, I recommend this book.

  1. Pick a Book That Someone Personally Recommended To You | What Did You Think Of It?

what alice forgot

Norrie recommended me a while back What Alice Forgot from Liane Moriarty (my review). I loved this book because of its characters as well as the concept of ‘time travel thanks to amnesia’… and because of Norrie’s recommendation, I discovered another great author. 😊 With Big Little Lies (my review) being one of my favourite books of 2018 so far.

  1. Pick A Book You Discovered Through Booktube/Book Blogs

educated

Educated by Tara Westover (my review)

I picked this book up after I read this Umut’s review. It is still my book of 2018… despite being massively impressed with Circe

  1. Find A Book On Your Shelves With A One Word Title | What Drew You To This Book?

Outliers

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Oh, Gladwell and his impressive writing. No unnecessary words, everything well-thought-out and to the point. I adore his thought provoking books.

I was drawn to this book both because of its author as well as its description: “Gladwell asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing.

  1. What Book Did You Discover Through a Film/TV Adaptation?

The Lighting Thief

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

I read Percy Jackson’s adventures a while back, shortly after I watched Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief movie. I really wish I read those as a child, I enjoyed them as an adult but I know I would have loved them even more as a kid. 😊

  1. Think of Your All Time Favourite Book(s) | When Did You Read Them and Why Did You Pick Them Up In The First Place?

My All Time Favourite book is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

little princeI was given this book by my dad and we read it together for the first time when I was a child. Dad would always pause and let me think about what we just read. We would analyse it together and he would ask for my opinions page after page. 🙂 I read it again a few times as a teenager after that. My sister and I share the same love for this book. We used to talk about its quotes for hours in our local tea room, which is built in our Gothic’s town’s old town walls.

tearoomPhoto of that lovely tearoom

I still remember those discussions and cherish them very dearly.

I read it again many times as an adult and every time I read this bittersweet book, I discover something new in it.  It’s full of possibilities, dreams and love. 😊

Some of my favourite quotes from this book are:

  • “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye”.
  • “What makes the desert beautiful,’ said the little prince, ‘is that somewhere it hides a well…” 
  • “Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.” 
  • “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.” 

 


If you haven’t done this tag and are reading this post, I am tagging you. 🙂 

Tag, you are It! 🙂

Now over to you:

  • Have you read some of the books I mentioned? 
  • What Book Did You Discover Through a Film/TV Adaptation?
Bookish

3 Days 3 Quotes Tag: Day 3

I’ve been tagged by Kathy from Pages Below the Vaulted Sky in the 3 Days 3 Quotes Tag. Final day of the series. Hope you are having a great weekend. 🌞


Day 3

liz gilbert big magic
Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Liz Gilbert‘s Big Magic is a wonderful book for all those creative souls out there who crave making things.

We often celebrate our successes and beat ourselves up for our failures. This quote stood out for me as there is another option: we could celebrate our dedication to our cause no matter what the outcome of it happens to be.

We can focus on how hard we work towards our mission. How often we show up and how consistent we are. Isn’t that something worth acknowledging as the outcome is always uncertain? 🙂

Love both this quote as well as the book. 🙂 ❤


Fancy giving it a go?

Don’t feel pressurised to participate though. 🙂

And anyone else who would like to do this tag. You’re It!


Happy Sunday! 🌞

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend. And please do let me know what you think of this quote. 🙂 

Bookish

3 Days 3 Quotes Tag: Day 2

I’ve been tagged by Kathy from Pages Below the Vaulted Sky in the 3 Days 3 Quotes Tag. I’ll keep it short given it’s the weekend. 🙂


Day 2

Educated quote
Tara Westover, Educated: A Memoir

I can not stop thinking about Educated (my review)

I think people may think it’s about survivalists.

To me, this book is all about having courage to belong nowhere but to yourself.

To be strong enough to say goodbye to those toxic and hurtful relationships.

If you haven’t read this book yet, I recommend giving it a go.


Fancy giving it a go?

Don’t feel pressurised to participate though. 🙂

And anyone else who would like to do this tag. You’re It!


Hope you are having a great weekend full of sunshine and happiness.🌞

What do you think of this quote? 

Bookish

3 Days 3 Quotes Tag: Day 1

I’ve been tagged by Kathy from Pages Below the Vaulted Sky in the 3 Days 3 Quotes Tag.

Kathy writes passionate, extremely well-thought-out as well as funny reviews. Her posts also address diversity topics and I sincerely recommend checking her blog out if it is not known to you yet. 🙂 Thank you Kathy for the tag. ❤️

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  3. Nominate three new bloggers each day

Day 1

vulnerability quoteDr Brené BrownRising Strong


Some of you may know how much I love Dr Brown’s work.

Her books always make me cry. They are told via relatable stories, which deeply resonate with me.

Vulnerability is, as Brown says, the first thing we seek in others, and usually the last one we are willing to show them.

Vulnerability is for example:

  • picking up a phone to hear our medical test’s results
  • saying ‘I love you’ for the first time
  • seeing our child growing up and knowing we cannot protect her / him all the time
  • telling our partner we need help
  • opening up that fragile part of us that is usually so well guarded…

Vulnerability connects us, it brings us closer. It is never ever our weakness, in fact it is one of our biggest strengths.


Fancy giving it a go?

Don’t feel pressurised to participate though. 🙂

And anyone else who would like to do this tag. You’re It!


Fancy sharing a favourite quote of yours with me?

And what do you think of this quote? 

Fiction

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

great alone

“Were you ever out in the Great Alone, when the moon was awful clear,
And the icy mountains hemmed you in with a silence you most could hear;
With only the howl of a timber wolf, and you camped there in the cold,
A half-dead thing in a stark, dead world, clean mad for the muck called gold.”

 “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” by Robert W. Service.


The Great Alone melted my heart. 🙂 What worked for me in particular was that it wasn’t just a love story. Love did play an extremely important part in it but it was not the only focus point. Something I appreciated a lot.

After I have had some time to digest The Great Alone, I feel a few clichés were used, its ending seemed a bit rushed and there was a lot of drama that at times felt a little bit too… unnecessary.

But…

I loved it. My emotions were all over the place – I laughed, cried… and I wholeheartedly recommend this book despite of those points above.


Before I dive into my review, here’s what Goodreads‘ says about it:

Alaska, 1974. Untamed. Unpredictable. A story of a family in crisis struggling to survive at the edge of the world, it is also a story of young and enduring love.

Cora Allbright and her husband Ernt, a recently-returned Vietnam veteran scarred by the war, uproot their thirteen year old daughter Leni to start a new life in Alaska. Utterly unprepared for the weather and the isolation, but welcomed by the close-knit community, they fight to build a home in this harsh, beautiful wilderness.

At once an epic story of human survival and love, and an intimate portrait of a family tested beyond endurance, The Great Alone offers a glimpse into a vanishing way of life in America. With her trademark combination of elegant prose and deeply drawn characters, Kristin Hannah has delivered an enormously powerful story that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the remarkable and enduring strength of women.

About the highest stakes a family can face and the bonds that can tear a community apart, this is a novel as spectacular and powerful as Alaska itself. It is the finest example of Kristin Hannah’s ability to weave together the deeply personal with the universal.


The Great Alone is set in 70’s and is a coming-of-age story of 13-year-old Leni. I loved her straight away. She is an avid reader, a keen photographer but also feels lonely as her family moves from place to place. She is this curious and sensitive character that will melt your heart.

The story begins fully when her father Ernt decides to take her and her mum Cora to Alaska.

The Great Alone is a survival story. The survival is not just about lasting through harsh Alaskan winters though, it is also about facing increasingly unpredictable and volatile home dynamics.

“All this time, Dad had taught Leni how dangerous the outside world was. The truth was that the biggest danger of all was in her own home.” 

There is another survival story there, which Ernt is going through. He is a war veteran and his story of survival is how he manages to cope with all that emotional pain he endured during the war.

I thought Hannah’s touching on post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was important. This was 70’s. People didn’t talk about PTSD then. I do not condone any form of abusive behaviour and I think it is absolutely not OK to behave in such way – but having that knowledge of what Ernt went through made me understand, where his behaviour may have been coming from.

Side note: I am aware that not every brave soldier suffers from PTSD and that those who may suffer from it don’t necessarily exhibit abusive behaviour either. But I do believe that there are many heroic soldiers that need our help, and who may feel our system sometimes fails them. I hope things are better these days than they were in the 70’s, but I think we should still be raising an awareness around such a difficult topic. 

I thought at times, Ernt’s wife Cora senses that too. She knows that war changed her husband. She remembers what he was like ‘before’ and is hoping that her sticking by him and loving him could heal him somehow.

“Love and fear. The most destructive forces on earth. Fear had turned her inside out, love had made her stupid.” 


The Great Alone‘s story gently flows through the harsh and cold Alaskan wilderness. Hannah’s writing is extremely atmospheric; I felt I was in the stunning Alaska the entire time. Protagonists are well developed, the supporting characters are charming and I fell for all of them big time.

The questions I kept on asking myself whilst reading this book were following: “what does it mean to be alive?” and “how do we leave people we love?

Recommended: Yes! 

Possible triggers: Domestic abuse. Please do take care. 


Over to you now. As always, I love hearing from you.

  • Have you read The Great Alone?
  • If not, what do you think of its blurb? Is that something you may enjoy?

 

Bookish

T5W – Favourite Fathers/Father Figures

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@Thoughts on Tomes over on Goodreads.

This week’s topics for the Top 5 Wednesday series honours the upcoming Father’s day via Favourite Fathers/Father Figures discussion.

Today also happens to be my dad’s Birthday.

My dad is my hero. He showed me that I could do anything regardless if I am a girl or not. He was there to teach my to ice skate before I could barely walk, he never told me to be careful and to think twice before taking a risk. He was there to brush dirt off my knees after I had fallen down over and over again. He taught me how to think analytically via giving me puzzles and letting me question them whilst working them out. He also encouraged me to think for myself. He would happily discuss Plato or Taoism with me till early morning hours… But the most importantly: he has given me two of his biggest gifts – his unconditional love as well as my freedom to spread my wings and fly. I love you to the moon and back dad, Happy Birthday! 


Now without further ado, let’s take a look at my favourite Fathers/Father Figures:

  • Guido Orefice from Life Is Beautiful

life is beautiful

“This is my story. This is the sacrifice my father made. This was his gift to me.”

I cried my eyes out watching this movie.

It is set during the WWII. Guido is a gentle Jewish-Italian waiter that happens to suffer the faith of many Jewish people during that time – him and his family are taken to a concentration camp. Guido decides to protect his son, Giosué,  via making a concentration camp’s survival into a game. He sets Giosué ‘game objectives’ in order to protect him against those horrors happening all around him.

“Giosué Orefice <son>: When can I see Mama?

Guido <father>: When the game’s over.”

His unconditional love for his child mixed with his selflessness as well as gentle attitude made me fall in love with this character big time.

  • Lord Eddard Stark (Ned Stark) from Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin

ned stark

“Bran: Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?

Eddard (Ned): That is the only time a man can be brave.”

Oh Ned, the honourable, loving and law abiding character. I adore him for his unquestionable morals, for his fierce love for his children, for his goodness and for everything he did for John Snow. May his legacy continue…

  • Uncle Ben from Spiderman

uncle ben

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

Peter Parker would never be the man he became had it not been for his uncle Ben. Ben’s morals combined with his strong faith of protecting the weaker ones, gave Peter the foundation to become a great hero.

  • “Man” from The Road, Cormac McCarthy

the road

“You have to carry the fire.”
I don’t know how to.”
Yes, you do.”
Is the fire real? The fire?”
Yes it is.”
Where is it? I don’t know where it is.”
Yes you do. It’s inside you. It always was there. I can see it.” 

Well, my love/hate relationship with The Road continues… The “Man” is facing the end of the world. Everything around him is dying, there is no hope, the remaining human survivors are cannibals and the bleakness of that situation is something I can barely stomach. But…. the “Man” is there to shield his son. He is not giving up even though I could not blame him should he decide to do so… He keeps his son alive, he gives him hope and purpose (despite having none of those himself). For that, he belongs to my favourite fictional Father category for sure.

  • Jack Bartlett, Heartland

heartland

“I hope you know you can always call this home”

Heartland is my guilty pleasure. I love it for that “feel good” factor, for those family values that are very close to my heart and of course for those horses as well.

Jack aka “Grampa“, is what is holding Heartland together. He believes that family is what matters the most and would do anything to protect those he loves. He can be stubborn and short-tempered but despite those (or maybe become of them?), he truly is a well beloved character.


That’s is from me my friends.

Now over to you:

  • Who are your favourite fictional Fathers/Father Figures?

Fancy sharing them with me? 🙂