Non-Fiction · Young adult

All Boys Aren’t Blue – George. M. Johnson ★★★★★

Blurb; In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.

Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson’s emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults.

My Review; I stayed up late just to finish this one and devoured it in hours. What an amazing memoir. The book is all about George/Matthews life and growing up queer in America. The challenges he faced and conquered. The love and support he got from his friends and family. He wrote this to reach those who may be facing the same challenges he had to experience. For them to know they are not alone and learn through/from him.

I have to really look up to this guy. I really do. It was such a bold, brave, raw and honest thing to write about and put out to the world for all to read and see. I felt like I knew him as a friend and all his family. What really shines out for me in this book is his nana. What an amazing woman she sounds. She’s the glue to the whole family and story and that really stood out for me. Also the relationships between all the cousins and family as a whole. What a beautiful family.

The book is made more real with photos throughout of George and his family. This had me laughing. It had me crying. It broke my heart. But one thing throughout it all, he was honest. He wrote from the heart. He just wanted to be accepted for himself. A beautiful story.

I hope he is now living a very happy life and I feel proud of him! Thank you for sharing your story with us. It’s feels wrong to rate a book like this but I gave it all the stars and more. I loved it! I also learnt alot from it myself especially some history. Highly recommend. I also think the cover is eye catching and beautiful. An eye opening read.

Amazon Link US

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Non-Fiction · Short Stories

Seven Kinds Of People You Find In Bookshops – Shaun Bythell ★★★★

Blurb; It does take all kinds. If you visit bookshops more often than the grocery store, you’ll recognize the types. There’s the Expert (with subspecies from the Bore to the Helpful Person), the Young Family (ranging from the Exhausted to the Aspirational), Occultists (from Conspiracy Theorist to Craft Woman).
Then there’s the Loiterer (including the Erotica Browser and the Self-Published Author), the Bearded Pensioner (including the Lyrca Clad), the The Not-So-Silent Traveller (the Whistler, Sniffer, Hummer, Farter, and Tutter), and the Family Historian (generally Americans who come to Shaun’s shop in Wigtown, Scotland).
Two bonus sections include Staff and, finally, Perfect Customer — all from Shaun Bythell (author of Confessions of a Bookseller), the funniest sell-and-tell observer in the house of books.
This is the perfect read for anyone who ever felt a bookstore was home. You’ve been spotted! Or have you?

My Review; This is a short story at just under 130 pages. So an easy read for me. Layed out beautifully. It is exactly what the title says… A look into the people you will find if you run a second hand bookshop. A great insight. I did find myself trying to spot which group of characters I was but believe they didn’t included huge bookworm, friendly, introvert and buys lots of books etc.

Some of the characters described had me laughing out loud! I bet a second hand Bookseller has really seen it all to be honest. It is an honest, sometimes brutal description of each person that enters the shop. We are all different remember. The author also mentions his least favourite characters and his most favourite characters. Also includes some tips for those who do enter his bookshop!

With second hand bookshops very rare these days and competition with amazon we need to respect and use them. I enjoyed it! I cant wait to read his other books and I wish him all the success with his bookshop. A well deserved four stars from me.

Amazon Link UK

Amazon Link UK

Non-Fiction

Running With Scissors – Augusten Burroughs ★★★★

Blurb; Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor’s bizarre family, and befriending a pedophile who resided in the backyard shed. The story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, and the Christmas tree stayed up all year round, where Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull an electroshock- therapy machine could provide entertainment. The funny, harrowing and bestselling account of an ordinary boy’s survival under the most extraordinary circumstances.

My Review; My friend recommended this one to me and lent me her copy and from the start I could tell this was different from what I usually read. It’s a true story memoir. It’s a brutally honest, open and a heart breaking read. Nothing gets left unsaid or blanked out. It does contains swearing, fights and sex scenes.

When Augustens mum gives him up and let’s her own therapist adopt him his life changes forever. All I can say is he went from a lovely middle class life to the lowest of low very poor. What we would call a house full of feral kids, filthy, no rules and not much food to the point they try and eat dog food! The fact all of this is true amazes me.. Social Services would have stepped in if any of this happened recently. However, i really enjoyed it. Something different, eye opening. A look into a world I’ve luckily never had to endure.

I would recommend it! A well deserved four stars from me. I just hope Augusten has found himself a nice settled life now and is happy.

Amazon Link UK

Amazon Link US