Jo Cox More in Common Book

The latest book I have read is More in Common by Brendon Cox. The book details Jo Cox’s life. Jo Cox was the Batley and Spen MP who was murdered in 2016 by Thomas Mair who shouted Britain First. Thomas was linked to neo-nazi groups.

The chapters alternate from the time leading up to Jo’s death and the aftermath to Jo’s years growing up. You learn very quickly that Jo was very determined, very ambitious however very down to earth. She was a proud Yorkshire woman and loved where she grew up. Cambridge followed and then Jo started her career working as Neil Kinnock’s advisor and then worked at Oxfam and then also worked as an advisor to Sarah Brown, who was spearheading a campaign to prevent deaths in pregnancy and childbirth. It was clear that Jo loved being outdoors and had aimed to climb all of the munros in Scotland with her husband and spending time walking and renovating their cottage and their travels on their canal boat.

Understandably as Cox was an MP this features heavily in the book. It charts the time she decided she wanted to be an MP (before she moved to work in New York) she signed up to a Labour party session for women who were interested in making the jump to being an MP with a friend. When the position of Batley and Spen came up she was originally selected from an all woman shortlist. Jo spent hours knocking on doors and visiting residents and local businesses in the constituency to secure her vote and she won with 43.2%.

Jo criticised the vote against military action in Syria and wrote an open letter along with Neil Coyle about why they regretted nominating Jeremy Corbyn. the national chair of the Labour Women’s Network and a senior adviser to the Freedom Fund, an anti slavery charity. After a member of her consistency wrote to her and told her about how a member of her family died and that although she visited her as often as she could this member really suffered with loneliness. Jo did some digging and found it is a larger issue then she first realised. Jo had started to set up meetings with Age Concern and the Royal Voluntary Service.

Image of the book More in Common by Jo Cox on a feather background

From the book you can see that Jo was very principled and this started out from when she started at Cambridge and she felt out of her depth amongst those that went to private school. She was determined that no one missed out on opportunities due to where they came from.

Balancing motherhood with working was a common theme which I felt was worth mentioning. It is so clear Jo loved her children (the fact that her children were so young when she died really hit home to me) and she would even vote in her cycling gear so she could get home and put her children to bed and really hated the fact that the voting in the House of Commons happens so late.

The book gives a very comprehensive account of Jo’s life and the effect that Jo’s death has had on Brendon and his family. It is a real privilege to understand and have that much access about her life. I really do recommend this book.

Have you read this book? If so what did you think?

Image of the book The Defining Decade

Hello, today I am writing about a book I brought recently in my haul called: The Defining Decade Why your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of them Now by Meg Jay. Meg Jay is a clinical psychologist who specialises in adult development. I don’t have any issues myself but I do love a good self-help book and the advice in them is a good reminder about how to make the most of the opportunities. This book interested me because it is specifically aimed for those in their twenties and for me heading into my late twenties. In this book she is bundles the most common issues that her clients have spoken about to help you make your descions more informed.

The book is split into three sections: Work, Love and The Brain and Body.  The work section I found to be the most interesting. Since I have left University I have started a career in Marketing and am in and have had very good jobs in marketing, but I know this isn’t the case for everybody and some people reading this are lost and not sure what they want from there life, especially after University.

Meg talks about how those that came into her clinic were putting off getting a career because they wanted there own ‘Eat, Prey, Love’ moment but it doesn’t happen like that. Whilst they are waiting for this moment they are underemployed and the result is taking longer and getting harder to climb on the career ladder. She gave one example of a man who spent his twenties doing ‘dumb shit’ and now in his thirties with a child he is finding it is so much harder to get where he wants to be as he lacks the experience, which he wish he spent his twenties collecting.

Planning is another skill that Meg is keen to get across. An example she gives is of a woman who wants to have a career in law and go to University to study law and wants at thirty to have a family. However she needed to started studying as soon as possible otherwise she wouldn’t hit her timeline. By planning a bit more Meg shows that it can be possible to hit your goals.

I think with work, it became evident that you need to have confidence. I have always believed myself that you have to be ‘in it to win it’ and at the end of the day if you send that email or apply for that job and get nothing back or a rejection at least I tried. Meg empathises this in her book that it is worth trying and she cites examples of her clients that have taken the plunge and are reaping the rewards now.

The section on love, for me, I just skipped over as I didn’t find it relevant to me and the last section on The Brain and Body was not that interesting to me. I do think, if you are in your twenties and feeling a bit lost or just want a read then give it a go!

Have you read any twenty something self help books? Do you recommend any books?

Image of the book

Recently I brought a load of books to keep me occupied over the Christmas period. One of them was this beauty of a book by Adelle Stripe. Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile tells the story of Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar. Andrea Dunbar grew up in extreme poverty on the Buttershaw Estate an estate in Bradford, Yorkshire. The book is interesting because it is a fictional story based on Andrea’s life events. I had to admit after reading the book I googled to find out more information as it wasn’t clear to me if Andrea had been a real writer or not. Looking back at the book for writing this review it does say that it is a work of fiction and ‘an alternative version of historic events’.

The story is gritty, Andrea had gone through some real hardship, falling pregnant young and then miscarrying, living with an abusive partner and then moving to a safe house, her unhealthy relationship with alcohol and poverty. her playwriting comes in when her teacher at school picks up the fact that she has a talent for writing. This leads to her writing The Arbor which was performed at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1980. Rita, Sue and Bob too is the play which is she is well known for, debuted in 1982 tells the story of two women who have an affair with a married man. Her final play Shirley is about Shirley and her family and friends in an working class estate in Bradford in the 1980’s.

The book keeps you gripped throughout, at times the book makes you want to throttle Andrea as it seems that she is passing over opportunities at almost an act of self-sabotage.

I hadn’t heard of Andrea Dunbar before the book and I hadn’t heard of her screenplays before (it was in the 1980’s so before my time!) but I certainly want to read them. An extraordinary story about an extraordinary woman who managed to achieve her dream against every worse scenario possible.

 

I am very much a 90’s and 00’s child (I was born in 91!). I loved reading back then as much as I do now. So today I thought I would dedicate this post to some of my fave books I remember from the good ol’ days!

Animal Ark Series – Lucy Daniels

Image of a Animal Ark Book

The BabySitters Club – Ann M Martin

The Babysitters Club

Danny the Champion of the World – Roald Dahl

DannyChampionOfTheWorld

Letterland – Richard Carlisle and Lyn Wendon

Letterland ABC

Ballet Shoes – Noel Streatfield

Ballet Shoes

Biff and Chip – Roderick Hunt

Biff and Chip

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

Charlotte's Web

Gemma – Noel Streatfield

Gemma Noel Streatfield

George’s Marvellous Medicine – Roald Dahl

George's Marvellous Medicine

Goosebumps – R.L Stein

Goosebumps

Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Smith

Gullivers Travels

Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling

harry-potter-philosophers-stone

J17 (Just 17) book series

Kipper – Mick Inkpen

Kipper

Look – 360 Ginn Reading Series

Look

Malory Towers – Enid Blyton

Mr and Mrs Men Series – Roger Hargreaves

Little Miss Splendid book

Mucky Moose – Jonathan Allen

Mucky Moose

Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter

Peter Rabbit

Point Horror Series

Point Horror

Point Romance Series

Point Romance

Sheltie the Shetland Pony – Peter Clover

Sheltie the Shetland Pony

Spot – Eric Hill

Spot Book

Stig of the Dump – Clive King

Stig of the Dump

Sweet Valley Series – Francine Pascal

Sweet Valley High

The Sleepover Club

The Sleepover Club

The Bed and Breakfast Star – Jacqueline Wilson

The Bed and Breakfast Star

The Garden Gang – Jayne Fisher

The Garden Gang

The Demon Headmaster – Gillian Cross

The Demon Headmaster

The Lottie Project – Jacqueline Wilson

The Lottie Project Book

The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Secret Garden – Francis Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden

The Twins at St Claire’s – Enid Blyton

St Claire's

The Tower in Ho Ho Wood – Enid Blyton

The Tower in Ho-Ho Wood Book

The Worst Witch – Jill Murphy

The Worst Witch

Topsy and Tim- Jean and Gareth Adamson

Topsy and Tim

Two Weeks with the Queen – Morris Gleitzman

Two weeks with the Queen

DK Eyewitness Books

DK Eyewitness Book

A Child’s Garden of Verse – Robert Louis Stevenson

A Child's Garden of Verses

I would love to know your favourites! Leave your’s in the comments below!

The Year Of Living Danishly- Helen Russell. Image of Book
The deets:
Author: Helen Russell
Pages: 354
Publish Date: 2015
Publisher: Iconbooks
Genre: Non- fiction
Journalist Helen Russell just a year ago was living in London working in an extremely stressful job when her husband gets the opportunity to work at Lego for a year. Not being sure at first Helen does some research and finds that Denmark is one of the most happiest countries on the planet and she is intrigued why. Helen’s Danish journey is set out in 13 stages that follow the months of the year and an extra chapter called Christmas (the  layout reminded me of Gretchen Rubins books). Throughout, the book is littered with quotes from specialists in Denmark ranging from culture to health and her journey of adjusting to a new culture and all the crazy traditions that come with it.
So what is so different about Denmark than the UK that makes them happier? What I found interesting was that Danes as a whole prefer paying high taxes because they know that one day they will need either the health service or education and have faith that their taxes will be spent wisely. Danes also value family time, in winter whole towns shut down as they prefer to stay in with lots of candles lit. Danes have a good work culture as well as it is mainly 8am- 4pm (Helen was shocked to find her husband back before five some days) and also father’s are given long paternity leave and that working very late is viewed as a negative as it is showing you cannot get your work done within the allotted time.
Danish people as a whole and this is what I think and what Helen thought underpinned their happiness was the level of trust Danes had for each other. The trust that Danes had in the state and their politicians was high (unlike the UK) and the level of trust for each other meant that people were happy to leave their children in prams outside the shops! What I also loved and picked up in the book about the Danish is that traditions are valued. I feel that in the UK sometimes we don’t value our traditions as we should or we have to be apologetic all the time for being British. Whereas the Danes just don’t care they will set fire to things and throw plates at houses to greet the new year in because they can.
So what did I think of the book? Overall I enjoyed the book, it really gave me an insight to Danish culture  in a candid and fun way from someone who has experienced it first hand. At times, I was starting to find it boring and was ready for the book to finish. Nonetheless if you are interested in Scandinavian culture this book is worth buying.