The Bookcast Club // Episode 15 - discussion of Madeleine Miller's Circe


Welcome to episode 15 of The Bookcast Club. Alice and I discuss our joint read of Madeleine Miller's Circe, as well as our current and recent reads. If you have any questions or ideas for future episodes please contact us on Twitter @bookcastclub or by email.


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Support The Bookcast Club

If you would like to support The Bookcast Club, please visit my Patreon page to find out more.

I use affiliate links on Notes to the Moon. This means that if you choose to buy an item through one of my links I get paid (a teeny tiny) commission by the retailer I've linked to. My retailer of choice for books is Wordery, a UK based company. In fact, their customer service team and warehouse is right here in Norwich. If you would like to read more about how I make money through my blog, please click here.

Books mentioned in this episode:

How to Grow a Baby and Push It Out - Clemmie Hooper

The Seven Death of Evelyn Hardcastle - Stuart Turton

Daisy Jones and The Six - Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Pisces - Melissa Broder

Kitchen Confidential - Anthony Bourdain

Medium Raw - Anthonu Bourdain

Our Stop - Laura Jane Williams

Becoming - Laura Jane William

Ice Cream for Breakfast - Laura Jane Williams

I Am, I Am, I Am - Maggie O'Farrell

Circe - Madeleine Miller

The Song of Achilles - Madeleine Miller

The Odyssey - Homer. Emily Wilson translation.

Links Mentioned in this episode

@abigailemann - Abigail Mann's Instagram account

Edge of Tomorrow

Almost Famous

Parts Unknown

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid


Daisy Jones and The Six
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Hutchinson
Publication Date: 7th March 2019
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery

For a while, Daisy Jones & The Six were everywhere. Their albums were on every turntable, they sold out arenas from coast to coast, their sound defined an era. And then, on 12 July 1979, they split. Nobody ever knew why. Until now. They were lovers and friends and brothers and rivals. They couldn't believe their luck, until it ran out. This is their story of the early days and the wild nights, but everyone remembers the truth differently. The only thing they all know for sure is that from the moment Daisy Jones walked barefoot onstage at the Whisky, their lives were irrevocably changed. Making music is never just about the music. And sometimes it can be hard to tell where the sound stops and the feelings begin.

I feel like this book has followed me around for the past month. Popping up in my Instagram feed. Recommended to me on Audible. Talked about by bookish friends. Usually all signs that I should avoid like the plague. It is very rare that I enjoy a book that is getting a lot of hype and attention, but I did really rather enjoy this one.

Daisy Jones and The Six is a talking heads, tell-all documentary style story about Daisy Jones and her collaboration with the band The Six. It is reminiscent of Almost Famous in its setting and of Fleetwood Mac in its stories of the bands revelations and troubles.

I listened to the audio, which is narrated by a full cast, including Pablo Schreiber (who I love!) as Billy Dunne, the lead signer of The Six. The story is quite generic - troubled rock band who struggle with alcoholism, drug addiction, failed inter-band relationships, groupies, affairs, culminating in the bands split at the height of their popularity. It certainly isn't anything new, but the audiobook made for a refreshing listen. I zipped through it in just a few days. The tempo only wavering ever so slightly in the middle when the band are arguing over album tracks, rifts and the like.

I've read a number of reviews that didn't like the oral history, transcript format used in Daisy Jones and The Six and I can appreciate this. I never get on very well with epistolary novels for the same reasons that people are taking issue with this book. It's very hard to portray characters with any real depth using this format. It's quite difficult to give each character a distinct voice too. All completely unnoticeable listening to the audio, as the full cast naturally lends itself to giving each character their own voice.

In summary, I enjoyed the listening experience of Daisy Jones and The Six a lot, even if the plot is rather generic and lacking any real tension. I'm certainly intrigued to try other books by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Reese Witherspoon is set to produce a TV series adaptation of the book for Amazon and with that a whole album of original music, which I am very excited for.

Verdict: Story - 3/5
Writing - 3/5
Character - 3/5
Memorability - 3/5
Enjoyment - 4/5
Overall - 3.2/5

Coping with pregnancy after loss


If you follow me on Instagram you may have spotted my little announcement last week. I'm currently 23 weeks pregnant with our baby girl.

My missed miscarriage last year took me a long time to recover from. Not physically, but mentally. My periods didn't start again for 3 months, and until they did, I didn't feel like I could move on. It took another three months for me to feel ready enough, brave enough, to try again.

I wanted to share with you just how difficult pregnancy can be on your mental health, particularly after loss. I didn't have any signs with my first pregnancy that anything was wrong. In hindsight I thought that the minimal pregnancy symptoms I'd had, tiredness, sore breasts, had perhaps disappeared a few weeks before I miscarried. So when I fell pregnant again I analysed every ache, pain, symptom, lack of symptom I had. I worried they all meant I was going to miscarry. My boobs stopped hurting again at about 8 weeks. I was getting quite bad back pain that kept me awake at night. I didn't get any sickness again. I was basically a ball of anxiety for 3 months.

My booking in appointment came and went. The awkward question of 'is this your first pregnancy?' needed to be answered on more than one occasion. But before I knew it I was back in that same waiting room at the hospital, waiting for my 12 week scan. Walking past the EPU unit was hard. Blocking out the thoughts that were telling me we would be back in there was hard. Being led into the same room to have the scan was hard. Nobody tells you how to cope with all of this. Needless to say when the sonographer started the scan and I could immediately see a lively little bean on the screen, I burst into tears. Her trainee quickly handed me some tissues. Very well trained.

It was certainly a very different experience to last time. It was the joyous experience it was supposed to be, but tinged with guilt as we walked past the EPU unit. There was a lady being led there in tears.

You would think that my fears would be lessened after having positive news, but I've realised that anxiety follows anxiety, follows anxiety. I was still very worried that something was going to go wrong. That the nuchal test for Down's Syndrome would reveal bad news, it didn't, then it was that there wouldn't be a heartbeat at 16 weeks, there was. I cried again. Then it was that I hadn't felt baby move yet. Turns out I have an anterior placenta (placenta is lying at the front of my womb). Then it was that I hadn't been very consistent in the first few weeks about taking folic acid and something awful would show up on our 20 week scan. Everything is fine. Except my brain evidently.

I didn't want to tell anyone. The part I struggled with the most was people congratulating me and feeling happy for me, when I was struggling to picture this pregnancy ending with a healthy baby in my arms.

It was the news that we were having a little girl at our 20 week scan that finally got me to calm down and accept that this was real. That we were really having a baby. The little bean was now a baby girl. A baby girl I had so longed for. A baby girl who's name had already been decided. A baby girl who my mum had already bought a very cute handmade blanket for. A baby girl that Ben has decided will be a pro golfer. Or footballer. The women's game will be just as big in 18 years time so he tells me. Quite right too.

People are right when they say that I will never stop worrying, not even once baby arrives. I'm determined to enjoy the rest of my pregnancy as best I can. I still have concerns, I always will, but I can feel our little girl wriggling as I type and she deserves to have a happy, relaxed mummy for the next 18 weeks or so.

This isn't your typical pregnancy announcement. Neither was my Instagram post. For me, pregnancy hasn't been a happy journey. Reading pregnancy announcements online really hurt. I wanted each one of them to acknowledge my pain. I muted and unfollowed a lot of people. So I just want to end this post by saying I know how much it hurts to see that someone else is pregnant when you are not. I want to keep sharing my story because although it isn't something particularly talked about, I think it is something an awful lot of women go through. And you are not doing pregnancy wrong because you're not enjoying it. This is me saying that I've been a pregnant mess and that's okay.

Once my miscarriage was 'complete' I was just left to it essentially. Nobody tells you how to deal with the raft of emotions that come your way. My only advice really is to just keep talking about it. If that means finding people online to have a chat with, then do it. Having to deal with anything alone does make it much harder. If you need a chat feel free to email me, or message me on Twitter or Instagram. Tommy's is a good online resource for advice on baby loss as is SANDS.

The Bookcast Club // Episode 14 - Women's Prize for Fiction 2019 and a read along announcement


Welcome to episode 14 of The Bookcast Club. Alice and I chat about the Women's Prize for Fiction longlist 2019, current and recent reads and announce our read along of Circe by Madeleine Miller. If you have any questions or ideas for future episodes please contact us on Twitter @bookcastclub or by email.


Listen in iTunes | Listen on Soundcloud

Support The Bookcast Club

If you would like to support The Bookcast Club, please visit my Patreon page to find out more.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Wedding Toast I'll Never Give - Ada Calhoun

Educated - Tara Westover

Little Children - Tom Perrotta

Animals - Emma Jane Unsworth

Heartburn - Nora Ephron

Conversations with Friends - Sally Rooney

An American Marriage - Tayari Jones

Milkman - Anna Burns

Hashtag Authentic - Sara Tasker

Circe - Madeleine Miller

The Song of Achilles - Madeleine Miller

The Pisces - Melissa Broder

Silence of the Girls - Pat Barker

My Sister the Serial Killer - Oyinkan Braithwaite

Lost Children Archive - Valeria Luiselli

Ordinary People - Diana Evans

Normal People - Sally Rooney

Ghost Wall - Sarah Moss

Links Mentioned in this episode

Modern Love - New York Times column

Giving up on the dream house


For as long as I can remember I've dreamt of living in the countryside, in an old farmhouse or cosy cottage, with land enough for chickens, ducks and maybe some goat. A vegetable patch at the bottom of the garden and a country pub just a short walk away. Basically I want to live in Kate Winslet's house in The Holiday.

I grew up in rural South Wales. We lived in an old farmhouse with an acre of land, stables (that Mum stored coal in), an old chicken coop that me and my sister used as a Wendy House and a big Aga in the kitchen. In my nostalgic memory it was idyllic and we had the perfect childhood. It's easy to forget that Mum used to shovel coal into the house everyday to keep it warm. That, as we grew up and wanted to participate in activities like Brownies and swimming club, Mum had to make the 15 mile round trip into town in a crappy old Fiat Panda. And when it snowed, or we had a heavy frost, the driveway up the hill to the main road was impassible. I had a mile walk to catch the school bus in the mornings and the reality is, my Mum must have been awfully lonely once it was just me, her and my sister. Still, this is the life I longed for. The life I longed for my future children to have. The alerts I'd set up on RightMove, along with an unrealistic budget, flooded into my inbox, but it soon became clear that this wasn't a lifestyle we could afford. Turns out, Norfolk is a lot more expensive than South West Wales.

I blame my unrealistic expectations on a mix of childhood nostalgia and Instagram. Some of my favourite accounts to follow are those of women who live in the dream idyllic country cottages. They have chickens and ducks and live the simple life I think I long for. They have Agas, log fires and exposed beams. I have to remind myself that I don't know the circumstances behind their way of life and I generally only see the good bits. I don't get to see their salary slips, they're mortgage balances, their clapped out Fiat Pandas. All I know is, I was longing for a life that we simply cannot afford. And perhaps, when I consider the realities this lifestyle would throw at us, one I wouldn't have enjoyed quite as much as I think I would.

All this to say, our new house was built in the 70s. We now live closer to Norwich, on a fairly busy main road, and it needs completely modernising. There's no room for chickens and it has no chimney, so a woodburner is looking unlikely. It does however have a floral toilet, which if we decide not to keep, I've got a whole host of interested folk on Instagram eyeing it up. But the house was within our price range and essentially a blank canvas that, over time, we can make completely us. The garden is bigger, has a pond, and I may not have room for a vegetable patch but across the road from us are allotments. We're within walking distance of one of Norwich's beautiful parks. I can still pop into the city on a Saturday morning for breakfast with my friends. The house is big enough for us to grow into and I don't feel I had to make any sacrifices in life to make the move work. I've also come around to the thinking that our children won't be left wanting simply because they don't live in the middle of nowhere.

I'm slowly encouraging birds back into the garden, I'm not sure the old folks that lived here fed them. I'm making plans for the flower beds and need to get myself on the allotment waiting list. The little study room is getting a makeover first, as the very old carpet stank of cat piss. And eventually we'll knock the wall down between the kitchen and the dining room to make it into one big kitchen diner. Something that was top of my 'what do we want from our new house?' list. I plan to share progress here on the blog. I'm actually really excited to start blogging again properly. If you would like to see the full house tour it's over in my Instagram story highlights.

And talking of Instagram, I still follow all the country cottage accounts that I love, but I'm also in the market for modern home renovation accounts and have found a couple that I really enjoy. Are there any that you recommend? Feel free to recommend chicken accounts too, I live vicariously through them.

The Bookcast Club // Episode 13


Welcome to episode 13, our first episode of 2019. Alice and I chat about reading slumps, current and recent reads and the books we're looking forward to in 2019. We're also looking for recommendations on a group read for April. A book you think we would both enjoy, or at least you would enjoy hearing us talk about, something readily available and not in hardback only. If you have any questions or ideas for future episodes please contact us on Twitter @bookcastclub or by email.


Listen in iTunes | Listen on Soundcloud

Support The Bookcast Club

If you would like to support The Bookcast Club, please visit my Patreon page to find out more.

Books mentioned in this episode:

I'll be Gone in the Dark - Michelle McNamara

Manhunt - Colin Sutton

Educated - Tara Westover

Spool of Blue Thread - Anne Tyler

Midnight Chicken and Other Recipes Worth Living For - Ella Risbridger

The Christmas Chronicles - Nigel Slater

Wedding Toast I'll Never Give - Ada Calhoun

Melmoth - Sarah Perry

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life - Ruth Franklin

Live Green: 52 Steps for a More Sustainable Life - Jen Chillingsworth

Cruedo - Olivia Laing

The Water Cure - Sophie Mackintosh

Milkman - Anna Burns

Normal People - Sally Rooney

Circe - Madeleine Miller

Becoming - Michelle Obama

Links mentioned in this episode:

Wendy Cope - poetry collections

Brian Bilston - InstaPoet

Captain Fantastic - film with Viggo Mortensen

Sentimental Garbage - podcast

Modern Love - New York Times column


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