5 Unforgettable Books You Don’t Want to Miss

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New South Wales Australia experienced its wettest and coolest November on record since 1917. That’s perfect reading weather, I’d say.

In anticipation of Christmas I will be reading Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Cafe.

Book review Greenlights Matthew McConaughey Product In Heels


Matthew McConaughey

Product In Heels 5 Star Rating

5 stars because it’s Matthew McConaughey!

Seriously though, Matthew McConaughey is a wonderful storyteller on and off screen. I adore “Interstellar” and his his performance in “Dallas Buyers Club” was outstanding. This book is the perfect Christmas gift for the McConaughey fan in your life!

This was a good mix of stories that are funny, inspirational and provocative. I particularly enjoyed the insights into his hard work, dedication and overcoming his identity as the ‘romantic comedy guy’.

It’s all about turning those red lights to green.

The problems we face today eventually turn into blessings in the rearview mirror of life. In time, yesterday’s red light leads us to a greenlight.

Book review A River In Darkness One Man's Escape From North Korea Masaji Ishikawa Product In Heels

A River In Darkness: One Man’s Escape From North Korea

Masaji Ishikawa

Product In Heels 5 Star Rating

100,00 Koreans and 2,000 Japanese wives relocated to North Korea during the years of repatriation. There is a lot of history behind this mass migration. The Japanese empire brought Koreans over as slaves. Fast forward to the post war era, the Koreans living in Japan had to deal with this legacy and the social impacts. North Korea was in need of population and so the two governments hatched the perfect plan.

Masaji Ishikawa’s was born in Japan to a Korean father and Japanese mother. His father suffered from racism, unemployment and lack of opportunity. It was against this unhappy backdrop he decides to uproot his family under the false pretense of a better life in North Korea.

Socialism didn’t lure the Koreans to a life in North Korea. It was the perfect storm of socioeconomic hardships that did. Many Koreans couldn’t dismiss the promises of food and education. It reminds me of Nazi Germany where the humiliation and economic cost of reparations set the foundations for what was to come. Different circumstances, similar undertones.

The suffering Masaji Ishikawa and his family endured is almost difficult to believe (make no mistake it was real). His mother collected weeds so they could eat. Corruption, racism, starvation, fear, surveillance are the constant themes. It’s too dangerous to have thoughts.

Why do some of us suffer so incredibly deeply while others are born into privilege?

You don’t choose to be born. You just are. And your birth is your destiny, some say. I say the hell with that. And I should know. I was born not just once but five times. And five times I learned the same lesson. Sometimes in life, you have to grab your so-called destiny by the throat and wring its neck.

Book Review Madhouse at the End of the Earth Julian Sancton Product In Review

Madhouse at the End of The Earth: The Belgica’s Journey Into The Dark Antarctic Night

Julian Sancton

Product In Heels 5 Star Rating

I’ve always fantasised about Antarctica. If only I was born a man in the 1800s! Although, I’m not sure I would have wanted to be on The Belgica.

Adrien de Gerlache faced a critical decision 7 months into the adventure. He could turn around and face the humiliation of the Belgian press or push through the pack ice. Decision made, his men and their ship are condemned to a winter frozen in the most isolated place on the planet.

They spent 70 days in complete darkness during the winter. One by one, the men started to go mad (except Amundsen who enjoys the test of hardship). The ship’s doctor ordered a strict schedule of exercise, work and thawing in front of a fire. They ate raw penguin steaks to stave off scurvy.

Their ordeal doesn’t end with the warmer weather. The Belgica remains trapped in the ice and the men must think quickly to avoid another winter and certain death.

This is a historical account that will leave you on the edge of your seat. I don’t know what’s more amazing, the fact this occurred in the late 1800s or that some of the men continued to quench their thirst for adventure after The Belgica expedition.

Sometimes science is the excuse for exploration. I think it is very rarely the reason.

George Leigh Mallory

The Terranauts

T.C. Boyle

This book was exciting and suspenseful, I was hooked for all 500 pages.

I chose this book for the premise. Eight Terranuats surviving in a human and earth science experiment for two years. The Terranauts is inspired by the Biosphere 2 experiments in Arizona in 1994 and had great potential.

A lot of the reviews criticise the self absorbed, ruthless characters. If you were competing for years to gain one of eight Terranaut positions you wouldn’t be nice. I loved the characters, it made the story more authentic.

The reason it let me down was the last 200 pages. I still enjoyed the story, but what played out annoyed me. Sex plays a major part of this experiment but I can’t help but feel what happened to Dawn was just like ugh really? There were so many angles to take this but instead the author picks a stereotypical outcome for the lead female character.

I don’t want to say anything to spoil it because it is worth a read and the ending had a good twist.

And while it’s not right and it’s not fair, the fact is that everybody, from bottom to top, is competing for space and resources through every O2-laden breath they draw.

Book Review The Midnight Library Matt Haig Product In Heels

The Midnight Library

Matt Haig

In between life and death exists a library. It’s filled with all the possible stories that could have been yours. You have a chance to choose a different life. What are your regrets and which book would you choose?

It’s a cute story and I enjoyed it, but the plot was predictable. I like thinking about this concept though and the story had some nice lessons to learn. It’s a great beach read.

Every second of every day we are entering a new universe. And we spend so much time wishing our lives were different, comparing ourselves to other people and to other versions of ourselves, when really most lives contain degrees of good and degrees of bad.

I'd love to hear what you think!