Archive for October, 2010

Title: Fertility: A Comprehensive Guide to Natural Family Planning

Author: Dr. Elizabeth Clubb and Jane Knight

Published: David and Charles, 1992

Genre: Non-fiction

Blurb: Written by a doctor and an experienced teacher of natural family planning methods, Fertility covers all aspects of natural family planning in considerable detail. Whether you wish to learn exactly when it is possible to achieve conception, or to avoid it, you will find this book an authoritative source of everything you need to know.

Couples can use the natural fertility awareness they learn from this book to achieve pregnancy where this has proved difficult, or to limit and space their family as desired. They will be independent and responsible for their own family planning.

Couples who – for whatever reason – prefer not to use artificial contraceptives or technology – will find here a unique source of information and support.

People who have already learnt natural fertility methods will find all the clear, accessible information they need – plus further insights into special aspects of the method.

Professionals needing to advise on the use of natural methods can be assured that the information here is completely reliable, scientific and up-to-date and is based on the work of practising professionals. There is also a section on the art of teaching natural family planning.

How I came to own it: This book was recommended on the FertilityUK website, which I visited to find someone to teach me natural family planning on the advice of a nurse, after suffering side effects from artificial contraception. It’s out of print so I bought a rather battered copy on Amazon.

What I thought: This is a brilliant book: it manages to combine being detailed and thorough with being clear, concise and accessible. I had intended to use it only for reference but I ended up reading the whole thing because it was fascinating. It’s bizarre how little most of us know about our bodies.

Rating: 5/5

How I’m doing: 45 to go.


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“In my mailbox” is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in which people share the books that they have acquired that week.

From BookMooch:

Yes, Freud.

46 books on the pile.


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Title: The Golden Notebook

Author: Doris Lessing

Published: Harper, 2007 (originally 1962)

Genre: Modern classic

How I came to own it: A Christmas or birthday present, requested after it was recommended in my Mslexia diary.

What I thought: This could be a little hard-going in places but this was more the result of the intellectual content than the quality of the writing. This is a profoundly political, psychological and philosophical novel. The themes, as I understood them, centred around: gender roles and relationships; 20th century politics (war and Communism in particular); writing; and madness and the (dis)integrated self. Much of the politics whizzed merrily over my head, I fear, but I found some of the discussion of writing – why one writes and why one does not – quite revelatory. You can see that, in terms of content, this is an extraordinarily dense work, which is partly why it took me so long to read. (That, and I misplaced it for a time.) If all that weren’t enough, it’s also revolutionary in terms of structure: a freestanding short novel interspersed with excerpts from four notebooks kept by the central character. I feel this novel to be an important one, in terms of 20th century literature and history. It is well worth the effort and deserving of its Nobel Prize.

Rating: 5/5

How I’m doing: 44 books to go!

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“In my mailbox” is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in which people share the books that they have acquired that week. Normally I’ll be posting mine on a Sunday, but I wanted to refer to BookMooch (where I got all this week’s books) and it was down so there was a delay.


  • Veil and Cowl: Writings from the World of Monks and Nuns collected by James B. Simpson – The result of an ongoing fascination I have with the female religious. That sounded less dodgy in my head. Hmmm.
  • Latin for All Occasions by Henry Beard – A bit of fun. Not adding this to the ‘to-read’ pile as it’s a dipper-inner rather than a cover-to-cover. My favourite insult is currently Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris.
  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold – This was very popular a while back. Thought I’d give it a go.
  • Judi Dench: With a Crack in her Voice by John Miller – I enjoy a good biography and I love Judi Dench. I see she has an autobiography coming out. Tempting. It’s taken all the self-control I have not to buy Stephen Fry’s.

The ‘to-read’ pile, then, currently stands at 45 books.

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