April was a very slow month of reading for me with only four books added to the yearly total.
I think I’ll put this down to moving from Liverpool to Edinburgh, getting stuck into my new job and a trip around the Scottish highlands as to why I didn’t get much reading in for April.
Oh, and maybe the fact the pubs are back open too…
Anyhow, here are reviews of the four books I did manage to read in April.
Corporate Social Responsibility is not Public Relations by Sangeeta Waldron (Gifted)
Research shows that CSR improves long-term business performance and that consumers prefer to patronise organizations with strong histories of social responsibility. Customers and employees are speaking with their values as well as their wallets! But consumers especially are sensitive to empty promises and want brands to be committed to the planet, sustainability and other social issues. This book argues that trust is at stake for every organization and is the reason why communications strategies must respond authentically. If you can’t be authentic about social initiatives, then don’t do it because CSR is not a publicity tool! Yet some see the relationship as nothing but a marketing trick – an organization’s blatant self-promotion. This book will define the real role of PR in CSR and what that relationship should be.
My rating: ★★★★
This is a must read for anyone working in communications, PR or CSR. Or even anyone that wants to think more about their own personal social responsibility. The book takes us through examples of company that haven’t operated well in this arena and also examples to learn from. Sangeeta includes interviews with various business owners from around the world to discuss their CSR and their opinions of CSR in general, which gave a great edge to the book. Reading this definitely made me consider how I’m treating the planet and what I could be doing better. I’ve been influenced to change my ways starting right now!
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
In a large house in London’s fashionable Chelsea, a baby is awake in her cot. Well-fed and cared for, she is happily waiting for someone to pick her up. In the kitchen lie three decomposing corpses. Close to them is a hastily scrawled note. They’ve been dead for several days. Who has been looking after the baby? And where did they go?
My rating: ★★★★
I hadn’t read a thriller in quite some time, so it was good to get back to reading something a little darker than usual. I bought this secondhand from World of Books and it did not disappoint. Lisa Jewell is a well-known author but this was the first of hers that I have read. A mysterious and twisted tale of murder, estranged families and cults. A great book that had me really hooked by the halfway point.
No Filter by Sarah Frier (Gifted)
Frier draws on unprecedented access–from the founders of Instagram, as well as employees, executives, and competitors; Anna Wintour of Vogue; Kris Jenner of the Kardashian-Jenner empire; and a plethora of influencers worldwide–to show how Instagram has fundamentally changed the way we show, eat, travel, and communicate, all while fighting to preserve the values which contributed to the company’s success. “Deeply reported and beautifully written” (Nick Bilton, Vanity Fair), No Filter examines how Instagram’s dominance acts as a lens into our society today, highlighting our fraught relationship with technology, our desire for perfection, and the battle within tech for its most valuable commodity: our attention.
My rating: ★★★★
I first thought No Filter would talk through the Instagram app and it’s effects on society through the years, but the book takes a deep dive into the beginnings and creation of the app, its development from the point of view from its employees and its progress under Mark Zuckerberg’s ownership. No Filter was incredibly insightful for me to know about the deep ins and outs of the company and how much of an effect Facebook has and had on the app while it was gaining popularity. The book was published before the birth of Reels and Instagram shop, so it will be very interesting to see the sequel of this book in a few years!
After You by Jojo Moyes
Lou Clark has lots of questions. Like how it is she’s ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places. Or why the flat she’s owned for a year still doesn’t feel like home. Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago. And will she ever get over the love of her life. What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change. Then, one night, it does. But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for – or just more questions? Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered, safe. Open it and she risks everything. But Lou once made a promise to live. And if she’s going to keep it, she has to invite them in…
My rating: ★★★
Even though this genre isn’t my usual go-to for reading, I really enjoyed Me Before You when I read it last year. I will say that although it makes for very wholesome reading, I don’t know if the sequel was needed. And I will also say that Louisa being offered a job in New York with visa and accommodation included that she kept turning down aggravated me a lot. Not that I’m bitter about no longer living in New York or anything…