The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough

the language of dying review

My review from GoodReads

The Language of DyingThe Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Five disconnected siblings return to their childhood home as their father is dying of cancer.The book is narrated by the middle child, and it was only after I started to write this review that I realised we never actually learn her name.

It’s only a short book, but there’s a lot packed into it. The narrator talks about watching her father dying, but she also tells us about the five siblings and their histories. We learn about how they grew apart, how they relate to each other now, and the different ways they deal with their father dying.

The narrator herself has a difficult story to tell about why she returned to live in her childhood home, and why she has been hiding from the world for so long.

The Language of Dying manages that difficult thing of being moving without being sickly sweet. It’s not an easy read, but Pinborough’s writing is beautiful, and she keeps a sense of humour and a magical element running through it.

I received a free copy from the publisher in return for an honest review. 

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Best of the Web – November 2016 Roundup

Manic Panic Isn't Just a Hair Dye Brand: It Was the First Punk Store in America

Manic Panic Isn’t Just a Hair Dye Brand: It Was the First Punk Store in America

BBC 100 Women 2016: Who is on the list?

Nicole Hellessey – Single Parent and South Pole Explorer

Is There an Echo in Here? Utilizing Amplification in the Sciences

Visions of the Future

Inexplicable Found Photographs of Women in Trees

Where to find Cheap Books

Who Will Command The Robot Armies?

Indian farmers fight against climate change using trees as a weapon

Meet the Tank Girls Taking on al-Shabab

Five boozy hot chocolates your granny wouldn’t make

There is no such thing as “free” vaccines: Why we rejected Pfizer’s donation offer of pneumonia vaccines.

Love, Disability, and Movies

How sexist stereotypes mean doctors ignore women’s pain

How an Ad Campaign Invented the Diamond Engagement Ring

Teaching 1984 in 2016

Visions of the Future

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Christmas Gifts for Book Lovers

These are my choices for the best Christmas gifts for book lovers. I’ve included some practical gifts, some cosy gifts and some that will make their home beautiful!

Panda Tea for One

Panda teacup Christmas gift for booklovers

Panda Tea for one £12 on Topshop.

Mini book necklace

Mini book necklace with coloured paper inside and a star on the front

Mini book necklace £12 at The Craft Fantastic

Bookshop Scented Candle

christmas gift for book lovers candle

Vintage bookshop scented Candle £10.99 at Old Glow Candles

Bookworm Badge

christmas gifts for book lovers badge

Bookworm badge £2.45 at Fable and Black

Recycled 100% Wool Throw

christmas gift for book lovers blanket

Wool blanket £22 from MARQUIS & DAWE

Classic Book Cover Cushion

classic book cover cushion

Classic book cover cushion £25.00 at The Literary Gift Company

Milk Chocolate Spoon with Marshmallows

Christmas gifts for book lovers - hot chocolate

Milk chocolate spoon with marshmallows – £3 at Whittards

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Dr. Potter’s Medicine Show by Eric Scott Fischl

My review from GoodReads

Dr. Potter’s Medicine Show by Eric Scott Fischl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A story of alchemy in the late 18th century set in a travelling freak show.

The main characters were all very morally ambiguous, and most of them were not very likeable. Dr Potter is the main narrator and he is an alcoholic that has done, and is still doing, some very bad things.

Lyman is the man who is really running the travelling show and he is a nasty piece of work. Reading about him and the way he controls people makes my skin crawl – he’s a villain but written in a way that is realistic enough to be very, very scary.

The two brothers, Ag and Sol, were brilliant though. They argued and drank their way through the book, stumbling from one crisis to the next with no real idea what they were trying to do.

I also liked Elizabeth, she started out as a forceful, motivated and likeable character and I wish she did more than end up as a standard damsel in distress type.

Overall I enjoyed reading this. It’s well written and the characters are all well rounded and you know they’ve lived full lives before we met them. There’s a very oppressive, claustrophobic atmosphere which builds tension to a satisfying finale.

I received a free copy from the publisher in return for an honest review. 

View all my reviews

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Where to find Cheap Books

Characters from the film Up reading books together.

I very rarely pay full price for a book, in fact only if I’m buying a kindle book or if I’ve been given a gift voucher will I actually pay the cover price.

If I really want a specific book I might pay up to £4 for it, but most of the books I buy I only pay 50p – £2.50.

This is a list of places I find cheap books. Proceed with caution though, this is one of the reasons our house is so full of books we have piles on the floors!

Market stalls

Book market stall

Our local market has a second hand book seller with a really decent selection.

There’s always a few new books every time we go, it’s part of our Saturday routine now to have a quick look around after we get lunch.

Car boot sales

Car boot sale

Car boot sales are where you will find the cheapest books, usually 50p but sometimes you can find them for 20p, or 3 for a pound.

There will be a lot of the same books, and endless copies of Dan Brown and Fifty Shades of Grey, but keep going back and keep searching because there will be good books there sometimes.

I managed to get nearly the full set of Trueblood books for about £4 – £5.

Charity shops

Charity Shop Book Shelves

Image from

One of the best places to find books, alongside the best sellers that everyone’s read you will find some gems.

I once found a charity shop with 5 or 6 Margaret Atwood books!

They will usually be a bit more expensive then buying at car boots or at markets, but normally they are less than £2.50.

The money goes to a good cause so you get to feel good about spending money for a change!

Second hand bookshops

Second hand book shop

These are few and far between but if you can find one they are good places to find popular authors, or pick up something new to try.

Prices vary in these places, but if it’s over £3 then it’s expensive!


Most books are for sale on eBay a bit cheaper than full price.

If they’re popular or a bit rarer they might be closer to full price, but it’s worth a quick search if you’re after something specific.


Can be slightly cheaper than eBay, but often about the same because they have a lot of the same sellers. It’s easier to find books and compare prices on Amazon though.

Goodreads giveaways

Goodreads giveaways has hundreds of competitions to win free books going on all the time. It seems to be a popular way to promote new book releases.

I won a book the first time I entered some giveaways on here. They’re easy to enter so enter loads, then just see what you end up with!

It’s asked, but not expected, that you leave a review for books that you get through the giveaways.

Be careful with Goodreads though, it’s very easy to find new books you never knew about but now you just have to read. I have a list of books to read about 200 long saved on there and it’s going up instead of down.

Book swaps

Organise book swaps with your friends / family or at work.

Where I work we have a set of shelves in the canteen, any books we’ve read and what to pass on we can just leave in there. Every so often it gets cleared out so any books that have been there for a long time get taken to charity shops.

It works well, though I do get a bit sad if I leave any books that I think are amazing, and they just get ignored.

This is a good way of getting newer books or specific books that you’ve been looking for, just ask around!


Bookbub is a service that gathers together kindle or eBook books that are on offer.

You tell it what kind of genres you like and it will email you daily with the best offers in those categories.

There is a lot of self published or lesser known publishers on there which means that the quality isn’t always great.

I have found a couple of authors I like thorough it though, and there is occasionally a well known author with a book on offer.

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Best of the Web – October 2016 Roundup

the art of being a woman

The real cost of Asos’s fast fashion

How the fun was filtered out of email inboxes

Women Talk About How the Pill Has Completely Fucked Them Over

The Racist and Sexist History of Keeping Birth Control Side Effects Secret

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

The real-world uses for virtual reality

This Week GQ Published a Sexist Climbing Piece, and Outdoor Research Stepped in With The Perfect Response

How an Athlete Used His Alleged Victim’s Sexual History in His Rape Acquittal

Hayao Miyazaki and the Art of Being a Woman

Strange purple sea creatures found in deep ocean trenches

Understanding Trump

3 Important Life Skills Nobody Ever Taught You

Dress for Success

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Halloween Playlist

David Bowie Dancing

I put together a Halloween playlist in Spotify for a party we’re having this weekend.

There’s 38 songs on here, and a bit of a mix of old and more modern songs with a few slower moments thrown in.

If you have any suggestions for anything I can add to this please let me know in the comments!

Spotify Halloween Playlist


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Halloween Films that are not Scary

I love watching films, but I’m easily scared and I’ve never liked watching horror films. Not being able to turn the light of to go to sleep at night is not my idea of fun! Stephen King’s It, I’m looking at you.

At Halloween I want to watch a film that has monsters, ghosts, magic, and general creepiness without being super scared.

These are Halloween films that are not scary, in no particular order.

Some may have jumpy moments in them and not all of them are suitable for children, but I don’t think they will keep you awake at night!


Giant worm monsters attacking an isolated community in the desert. One of my favourite films, the blend of horror and humour is almost perfect.


The Thing

Kurt Russell vs monsters in an isolated Antarctica research station.

Maybe a bit scary, but it’s the tension between the men in the station that really makes this film.

The Thing on IMDB



This is my favourite film; monsters, spaceships, and a female hero. What more do you need?

alien film

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The original Buffy film holds the honours of being the film with the best prom outfit (subjective), and the film with the best death scene (fact).


Any Harry Potter Film

Magic, and some of the best sets I’ve seen in a film. Can I move into the Gryffindor common room please?

Hermione Granger

Hocus Pocus

A teenager accidentally brings a trio of witches back to life. Load, bright, full of magic, and it’s set at Halloween!

Hocus Pocus

Practical Magic

A romantic comedy, but really the romance comes second to the relationship between the two sisters.

Not the sort of film I would normally like, but the addition of magic, a sort of zombie, and the wonderful aunts make this film special.

Practical Magic

Shaun of the Dead

A zombie film, but it’s more funny than scary.

Shaun of the Dead

Sleepy Hollow

Spooky atmosphere, wonderful sets, and Johnny Depp playing for laughs.

Sleepy Hollow


Creepy atmosphere front start to finish in this one.

It’s a Neil Gainman story so you know it’s going to be good.



Another animated one, this is from the same people that made Coraline.

It’s about a young boy that can speak to the dead. When a witch’s curse on his town is about to come true and zombies start rising from their graves, Norman is the only one that can stop it.

It’s a PG so never gets really scary, and it’s a nice one for kids too.


Troll Hunter

An absolute gem of a film, it’s a Norwegian “found film” about a group of university students who start out to make a documentary about bear poachers.

Troll Hunter


I don’t need to explain this one do I?

It’s all good fun until the orange bird things appear, then I have to hide behind the sofa. Probably the scariest moment out of all the films on this list.


Lost Boys

A vampire film that’s not scary really, but it does get a bit gory.

Lost Boys

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Folding Beijing by Hao Jingfang

Folding Beijing is a short sci-fi story written by Hao Jingfang, and it’s available to read for free on Uncanny Magazine.

It’s set in a city where 3 different parts of the city literally rotate to share one space. First Space has 24 hours in the open, Second Space and Third Space share the next 24 hours.

It won the 2016 Hugo Award for Best Novelette and is worth a read!

My review from GoodReads

Folding BeijingFolding Beijing by Hao Jingfang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A good story that starts off well and has some interesting ideas.

Third Space was vibrant and full of life, I enjoyed the parts that were set there.

When the character actually reaches First Space though I thought the story became dull and flat, only picking up again at the end.

View all my reviews

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Tuesday Tunes – Skunk Anansie

Skunk Anansie

I’ve been reliving my youth this week. I found a Skunk Anansie CD in the local second hand record shop. I’d forgotten how good they were!

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