Book Review

Moon Reads: Kindness (a user’s guide)

Kindness (A User’s Guide) by Ali Catterall and Kitty Collins

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Read before: No

Ownership: The publisher did a giveaway of the books for Kindness Day and I got one

I am really bad with dates and remembering what day is meant to be what, so when I found out it was kindness day and there was this little book to be a “guide” I decided to give it a go. If you ever read Chicken Soup for Children/Teens, this is a more adult and less fun kinda book. It tries hard to be fun and it is presented in a very cute way with quotes and little tips, which were nice to read. But the stories had a very small font and not all of them had a little tip at the end. At first, I was interested to read a variety of them but slowly some became very focused on things that had happened in the UK or US and nowhere else, and I felt like there were missed opportunities of kindness.

It does explore things like the Japanese Skilled Veteran Corps or the meaning of ubuntu, but it would have also been really interesting to read about more recent acts of kindness, like the one included of Marcus Rashford. I felt like it had a lot of room for more unknown acts of kindness, the kind done less by rich or famous people and more the kind one does every day to that make people famous.

Still, some were new stories of kindness for me and I enjoyed those, I just wish there had been more of those. But overall it is a nice collection of stories and I will be passing it on to a friend because as soon as I saw it I already knew I had to pass on the favour and pass on the kindness.

I do think this book will be right for others and it will be a comforting book for many, it just wasn’t exactly what I hoped for with a title like this. But nevertheless, it is a kind book with lots of stories.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Dress in Detail From Around the World

Dress in Detail from Around the World by Rosemary Crill, Jenniger Wearden and Verity Wilson

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Read before: No

Ownership: Bought second hand

Found Dress in Detail as I was searching for a more varied and less Western focused costume encyclopaedia. It was a gamble since I found it extremely cheap second hand and it looked like it’d have a lot of photographs on the details of patterns, embroidery and other items of clothing.

Let me say, this was one of the best gambles I’ve done in a while. Each pair of pages is a stunning set of information. On the right page, you get a photograph of the details, and on the left, you get one or two flat lay illustrations of the garment composition, almost like a pattern of the piece of clothing included alongside a description of where it came from, its history and a few other details. This is even better than I had hoped to find, as I bought it as a reference to draw and write, and that extra details page with the full item drawn is like finding a perfect treasure. I cannot convey how amazing this was.

The book is laid out to highlight in sections different parts of clothing items, starting with necklines, or showing buttons, and it shows the many incredible details fo each piece alongside a good variety of garments, if I remember correctly theres about 150 of them with a good variety of countries and periods alongside occasions for those garments to be worn. As I went through the book I was in awe of the amount of details, and everything in it.

This is exactly what I wanted, and now I wish there was one per country and their costume history which I find fascinating and would like to know more about it. Definitely setting it up as a source of inspiration and reference for future works.

Book Review

Moon Reads: What Cats Want

What Cats Want by Dr. Yuki Hattori

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Read before: No

Ownership: Bought as a mood treat when I was a little annoyed. Who can resist cat illustrations?

Spoiler free review: No

What Cats Want is a fun format guide to cats, but also a collection of cute cat illustrations. I basically read it cover to cover even though I do not have a cat nor am I planning to have one any time soon.

I think it makes the how to make sure you take good care of your cat accessible given that it has a lot of illustrations, comes with small paragraphs, and more of a basic guide but at the same time it is quite comprehensive from what to do, where to touch a cat, how to deal with certain behaviours or understand their body language amongst a myriad of other details.

It was a case of opening the book going “oh, its a cat owners manual but cute and illustrated” and then I suddenly had finished the book and knew what to do about litter boxes, and how to make sure the cat is not bored and one interacts well with a cat, etc. It has a lot of common knowledge items but it also has little details or things one takes for granted or may not know how to navigate when choosing and owning a cat.

Id say, if you know of anyone wanting to have a cat for the first time, or someone who likes cats or someone getting a cat already who could do with a handy guide then this is the book for them.

Book Review

Moon Reads: My Neighbor Hayao

My Neighbor Hayao by Spoke Art Gallery (Compilation)

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I have a weakness for Ghibli themed books, and well, this was all about art, so it was utterly irresistible when I saw it and preordered. It is curated by the Spoke Art Gallery, featuring artwork from a huge variety of artists to celebrate Hayao Miyazaki and the impact he has had in filmmaking and animation.

The curation is beautiful and you can see that they made a huge effort to chose significant pieces there, some of my favourite ones are lantern shadow cuttings for the films, or film poster style reimaginings for each of the films but to reduce the content of the book into just those pieces would be to do it a huge injustice.

What this book does is bring the art exhibition, the gallery, into your home.

I poured over the book and kept coming back as the pieces and interpretations, the tributes left a mark on me. Some stay quite close to the source whereas others reinterpret the artwork and make a newer or very unique piece matching the artists’ style and mindset, and yet they all have a little of the magic that a Ghibli film has. The beauty of the simplicity of life infused by magic and Hayao Miyazaki’s life experience.

It is utterly fascinating how his life experiences have fueled the films in such a way that war makes an appearance or his family history, but also you can see the love for food and Japanese culture, the day to day living, in a Ghibli film, it is the little details against the huge things happening, and this collection of artwork showcases how different artists have been influenced, or have immortalised even further into their work.

If you are a fan of Studio Ghibli films and Hayao Miyazaki’s work, I would suggest adding this book to your collection and enriching it. It also has a lovely ribbon and bookmark feature that meant I could stop and come back to it or highlight my most favourite piece it is a difficult choice).

Book Review, Books

The Secret Loves of Geek Girls Review

The Secret Loves of Geek Girls. Edited by Hope Nicholson.

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I bought this on a whim, because I consider myself a geek (and nerd) “girl”. And my curiosity was picked. This did not disappoint.

The anthology starts with a set of cartoons from Margeret Atkinson and it goes on with a mix of short stories, essays, comics and illustrations about the many aspects of being a girl and geek. It is about the spaces we made, and then got taken and had to reclaim. But it is also about gleefully enjoying going into a comic store and being the odd one out but still loving the comics loads.

The book covers a wide range of experiences and of course not all of them rang for me but I could still enjoy them, and there were some I read and felt like they had been watching me as I grew up. Giggles, concern and sometimes a lot of nostalgia ensued.

And part of me wished I had seen this book when I was younger, I would have felt less like the only one going through it and more like part of a bigger thing, in a better way. It’s hard to capture all the stories into a single review but I had a soft spot for some of the comics in it and just enjoyed reading about others visiting shops, conventions, and more.

It is nice to know that some things never change, but that others do and they can be better, more open to others, more accepting.

I can recommend this anthology as a pick and mix read that you can read one or two stories, maybe a comic or two, and drop then come back to it for some more fun stories later on.

Book Review, Books

The Fire Never Goes Out Review

The Fire Never Goes Out by Noelle Stevenson

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If you’ve been following Noelle Stevenson since the tumblr days and the Broship of the Ring, then this book will be like a walk through memory lane with a selection of comics/doodles/etc from those times. And the summary posts of her year that she had on her blog. Which may make this book feel a bit too familiar and maybe not that surprising/new.

However, for me, despite being one of those from way back then, I enjoyed it a lot. It was a refresher of whereshe was (and a reminder of her age and what she’s done so far), but it was also, a reminder of my own ghosts, successes and battles. Because in some ways I had similar things happen to me, grand things and then that fear of “will this be the last grand thing because I have used all the grand-thing-points alloted to me during this lifetime already?”. She is way better at wording this and even illustrating.

And it is a memoir of where she was before she realised a lot of her identity, but also, as her career in art got a massive kickstart and also what pushed her to find the way into it.

Reading it was fun and when I finished it (it was relatively fast since it’s art and short posts on how her year had gone and what was accomplished/not done/etc), I felt inspired to draw, to put some of my own experiences to paper. And at the same time I wanted to give her a hug. And maybe just sit down and talk because I have similar fears, I have had similar fears.

Afterwards, I even had a deep conversation with my husband pondering if I had done the most amazing thing I could’ve done already and how I felt I may have wasted that chance because life happened and well, I am relatively happy where I am, but I am doing less amazing stuff now than I was 5-10 years ago. I won’t go all into it but it was an interesting talk, and I can only recommend reading this book. Or if not the memoir, maybe give Nimona a go?

Book Review

Help, Thanks, Wow Review


This will be a short informal style review, with “spoilers” as this is a non fiction book.

I don’t talk much about religion because I believe religion is a personal choice and if someone asks I am happy to talk about it, but in general I don’t really feel like pushing my thoughts and beliefs to others (nor do I want them to push theirs to me, thank you very much). However, this review will talk a bit about religion, so feel free to skip it.

Before I bought this book and it arrived I had been in a bit of a rut. I felt sad, kind forgotten and felt like I wanted to believe more, but at the same time, I am not big on churches, so wanted something that would refresh my faith and my brain. I prayed that the next book that I decided to read of non fiction would be the right one.

It was. Help, Thanks, Wow is written by Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird (one of those books that are recommended reading about how to write). And mostly it explains what she calls the 3 essential prayers. You can “sum up” all prayers into one. And I have to say it makes sense. I have never been one to pray a long flowery litany of words out loud. My prayers are full of doubts, questions, anger, pleas and so much more, they are raw. And I kept thinking this was not the best as I couldn’t pray the way others do.

This little book however explains that your prayers can be so simple. A “Help me God/being/universe/whatever, I just can’t cope with the world today” is perfectly fine. It also reminds you that each day is a new day and that things don’t work perfectly, so your prayers aren;t answered the way you want them to. This made me smile, because I hate it when people tell you that your prayer wasn’t answered because you didn’t pray hard enough or something is wrong with you, or things like that.

It can also be a “Thanks for letting something happen (or not)”. Which I tend to do a lot for example I pray “thanks for letting me catch the bus in time”. They are really short, and I do them throughout bthe day (peppered with the Help ones too).

The final prayer is “Wow”. This is are for the breathtaking, for the surprises, for the sunset or sunrise that is just amazing. For that letting out the breath you didn’t realise you were holding…

Reading through it all was refreshing and made me feel like I wasn’t all the wrong and that having questions and challenging beliefs (in my own beliefs) is not a problem or something to be afraid of. Questions, pleas, anger, are good. It means it is a faith that is alive. And I like that. This little book gave me a new breath, a refresh and it was quick and easy and good to read.

I am glad I read it and I have got some more of her books to read once I need a pump of energy and faith.

Book Review

Japonisme Review

On one of my visits to Waterstones Piccadilly, I stumbled upon several Japanese themed books, with so many choices it was hard to see which one would be more interesting for me to read (and also which one I would actually be interesting in applying to myself).

I did try the Marie Kondo one and wasn’t wowed by it, so I have been wary to do this crazy trend thing (mostly because I already only keep useful or joyful things, try to keep things to minimal except books, tsundoku).

Thankfully while I was browsing online the options, I stumbled upon this little gem. (I say little because it is a relatively little book).


Japonisme by Erin Niimi Longhurst

A Japanese-inspired guide to living a happier, more fulfilled life.

Japonisme explores the Japanese art of finding contentment and includes practical tips and tricks to live a happier, healthier, more thoughtful life.
What is your ikigai (purpose)? How do you practice mindfulness in the unpredictability and chaos of everyday life?
From shinrinyoku (forest bathing), calligraphy, ikebana (fl ower arranging) to tea  ceremonies and their approach to food, the Japanese have found contentment through traditions, philosophies, and the practice of art. This book shows how we can all incorporate aspects of Japonisme into our daily lives.
Enhance your lifestyle and enrich your mind by looking at life through the lens of wabi-sabi (the transient nature of life), kintsugi (repairing broken ceramics with gold) or kaizen (habit-forming techniques), in an accessible, practical way.

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I preordered this little book hoping it’d give me a good panorama of Japanese ways and traditions, and I have to say I was not wrong. It does so beautifully, to the point that it includes tips, ideas and little prompts on how to do some of the things (for example, it has a few recipes).

It felt like a very good summary of all the possible philosophies and ways of life that are unique to the Japanese, and as such, it was a great read, it also helped me think which ones I would like to explore more and which ones I didn’t have much of an interest in. (Not that I don’t, just priorities, basically).

All in all a good read, it was relatively quick to read and easy to do so, and it has a lot of pictures which make it easier on the eyes and also to see the things that are being referred to.

Moon recommends

Checking this lovely book out. Otherwise, you can try Marie Kondo’s tidying method, or go search for other Japanese traditions.


Book Review

The Gift of Silence Review

This little book was provided to me thanks to bookbridgr and the publisher, and it took me a while to pick it up (mostly because I wanted to give it the proper attention).


The Gift of Silence by Kankyo Tannier

Do you struggle to find peace and quiet? Do you yearn to disconnect, find an escape, slow down and just breathe? Are you overwhelmed by modern life?

The simple solution lies in this book.

Rooted in the ancient Zen philosophies that ground her work, French Buddhist nun, Kankyo Tannier, will show you how to channel the power of SILENCE to get back in control of your thoughts and access the refuge that lies in your mind. Using her practical on-the-go tools, you’ll learn how to overcome stress and capture the moments of golden stillness that will transform all areas of your life, for an enhanced wellbeing and sense of fulfilment. Kankyo’s warm and engaging voice, spiritual insights, plus a sprinkling of French charm make this an accessible pleasure to read.

Switch off the noise and discover the calm and comfort you need to navigate this fast-paced world.

Unlock and practise the wisdom of SILENCE; stop surviving, pause, listen, and start thriving.

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Once I picked it up and actually started reading, I was hooked. I have read other meditation books and similar but most of them make it sound so “easy” when it just doesn’t click for me.

That wasn’t the case with this one. Kankyo actually gives you examples of how she failed and how she struggled and what made the difference in her case, which helps you try to figure out what works best. As I read, silence was more appreciated (I usually do a few of the things she suggests, so it wasn’t new to me, but put together it was a nice read).

I felt like I was chatting with a friend about silence and medcitation rather than a guru, and that made it a lot more approachable, more “human” and just nicer to read. It is also relatively short and full of resources which is a nice turn to it.

Moon recommends

I don’t usually review books similar to hers, so I have to say that I can only recommend hers as it is one I ahve enjoyed reding and found that it reminded me to make pockets of silence and mind peace.