Another book from an indie publisher (Lonely Planet) today in my aim to read as many books published independently as I can this month for Kaggsysbookishramblings and LizzySiddal’s “Read Indies month“ (I have two more to go, one finished and awaiting review (self-published) and one on the go that I might get finished in time (Unbound).  You can just see the book on my TBR, three in from the left, so it also helps with my task to read all my oldest books as soon as I can.

After that review, a quick note to record a book I’ve read and perhaps warn others who might be drawn to it …

Don George (ed.) – “The Kindness of Strangers”

(25 December 2019 – from Gill)

A collection of “Tales of Fate and Fortune on the Road” as the subtitle has it, and I should have paid more attention to that subtitle as some of the stories in it were less about kind strangers and more about twists of fate (not being killed by a serial killer, for example, doesn’t feel to me like the kind of random act of kindness I was expecting). While some of the stories are lovely tales of help and kindness in a really difficult situation not of the teller’s making, others seem more entitled and slightly annoying. The writers are a mix of established authors (Jan Morris! Who of course is marvellous) and others by people who sent stories in, so it was by definition a bit patchy, but I’m glad on balance that it made its way to me from my wishlist. The preface by His Holiness the Dalai Lama might have been the best bit:

Kindness and compassion are among the principal values that make our lives meaningful (p. 5)

and Morris shares that her religion is kindness. An interesting book I’m glad I read.

Camilla Sacre-Dallerup – “Dream, Believe, Succeed”

(05 October 2020 – NetGalley)

It’s the ex-Strictly dancer’s combo biography and self-help book, updated to be re-released, with an extra chapter on her fun and achievements. The stories of her early struggles and hard work and the Brendan Cole scandal are interesting enough; the self-help bits are either very obvious (she does sort of admit this when she writes, “I thought, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ – another cliche that has shaped my life”) or downright dangerous, labouring the “What’s meant for you won’t pass you by” and “Everything happens for a reason” concepts – all very well if it’s positive things or learning points, but not everything that gets you is positive or a learning experience, and certainly we can’t get anything we want just by working hard or making a mood board. While there is some good stuff on visualisation, I wouldn’t go looking to this to change your life.

Thank you to the publisher for making this available to me via NetGalley.


I’ve finished Paul Magrs’ “Hunky Dory” and am on to “Trans Britain” then have a few Shiny review books to enjoy. I also have another NetGalley book to review that I haven’t managed to fit into this month. How is your February reading going?