Cover Image: Toksvig's Almanac 2021

Toksvig's Almanac 2021

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Toksvig's Almanac 2021 consists of many stories from history - mostly about women. A lot of these women are not well-known, but they should be.

Written humorously, Sandi Toksvig presents us with the achievements and destinies of many important women throughout history. A lot of women have found a place within this work, first woman scientists, doctors, activists, entertainers, and many more. Many of these stories are not well-known. At least, I didn't know most of them.

This audiobook is a very well-researched work. I was impressed by how much time and effort must be in this book.

I think the book might be a slightly better choice for some, as you can research all these names on your own for further information. But on the other hand, the audiobook version is also a great choice because it was fun to listen to the author's narration.
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I listened to the audiobook of this, which is narrated by Sandi. Her narration is wonderful and so engaging. 

I enjoyed the book and it has clearly been well researched. For each day, there is an entry about a woman throughout history, and brief information about them. The idea is you then find further information about them as many of them I had never heard of. 

Overall, this was a really informative and engaging book. As much as I loved Sandi’s narration, I think this is an instance where I would prefer a physical copy of the book. It’s the sort of book you would dip in and out of. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Hachette UK Audio, Trapeze for a copy of this for review.
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I love listening to Sandi Toksvig, she has a brilliant radio voice and she commands an audience; I always stop in my tracks when I hear her voice. She is also a great storyteller.  So, I was excited at the prospect of listening to this fascinating trivia audiobook.
I was captured by the stories of words, women, customs etc, that she talked about but I feel, for me, even though I love Toksvig’s dulcet tones, a printed version would have suited me better or at least as a back-up, so that I could take my time over all of the stories of amazing facts that she talked about; the details, the names, the dates etc, so I can make notes of names/words/customs etc and research them myself in more detail and at my own pace. It is good that she crammed many in as there are so many to be inspired and interested in, but I had to keep going back over the audiobook to pick up the details. Apart from that (which is no reflection on the audiobook but more my personal preference), this is a brilliant audiobook to lose yourself in and feel inspired, or simply to shut your eyes for an afternoon or three, but still feel like you are using your time wisely. Perfect for a lockdown listen.
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A fascinating collection of stories about fascinating women throughout history, mostly unknown to me, and interspersed with Sandi's sharp wit.  I made a few notes as I listened and will be doing a bit of research to find out more about some of the women.

Sandi's obvious passion for history shines through in her writing and narration, and made this a great listen.
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Absolutely fantastic, flipping amazing and a million other versions of squealing hyperbole ! I love Sandi so much so I was so excited when this book came out, I was even more happy to get this ARC of the audiobook. To be able to hear Sandi and her her passion in her book was even better, perfectly addictive listening, so interesting and full of Sandi’s humour, a simply wonderful audio experience. Definitely go buy or borrow this or the physical book. You will be glad you did.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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Arc kindly received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This is a book that takes us through the year by looking at critical dates in (almost exclusively) women’s history. It celebrates powerful women, many of whom I was unaware of. 

However ...

I feel like this just didn’t work as an audiobook. The book itself was fantastic and fascinating. But my enjoyment was reduced by several factors: 

*We get a very small glimpse into each woman, which is perfect, as it means so many could be included. However it was reasonably difficult to retain all the names I wanted to research more. I feel like having them down in print would allow and encourage me to delve deeper into those that really gripped me. 

*Because of the nature of the book, and the heavy use of dates, as an audio book it felt a little repetitive. I feel like the layout would work so much better in print. 

*There was a weird tinny thing going on with the narration, it almost sounded aug-tuned. 

However I love Sandi’s voice and honestly could listen to her all day. Plus you can hear how passionate she was as she was reading. 

Overall, a great book, but the format of audiobook does not do it justice. 

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This is yet another delightful audiobook that has accompanied me on my walks during lockdown 2020/21. I am delighted I chose this format for this particular book because it lends itself SO well to dipping in and out. Sandi Toksvig is, of course, a gifted storyteller, her dulcet tones are entertaining and amusing, and the humour is never far from the surface. She also has a very wise and thoughtful head on her shoulders.

She starts in January and moves right through the year, and with each passing day she features a woman (mainly, and often who has had to dress up as a man to be able to achieve her goals). Each woman has had something significant happen to her on that particular day: she was perhaps born, died, achieved something that has never been really celebrated or acknowledged, discovered something worthwhile to the human race; perhaps, even, she was notorious for all the wrong reasons. This really, in many ways, is a celebration of the achievements of women but also an exploration of the rather dismal story of how womanhood through the centuries has been recorded for posterity, indeed, much of it hasn't; very often a man has been given credit where in fact the woman has done the groundwork.

The amount of research that has gone into this collection is utterly staggering and she features people across the centuries and from around the globe. There are short poems, facts, musings and so much more in this wonderful and esoteric compilation.

You will discover who the only woman was who had her head spiked (after she had been beheaded, of course) on London Bridge; that Eleanor G Holm was disqualified from the Berlin Olympics in 1936 for drinking too much champagne; and why the British tax year ends on the 5th April rather than starting at the dawn of a new year. You may even be delighted to discover that on 19 September there is "Talk Like a Pirate Day" (who knew!) and OF COURSE she discovers that women pirates were very much doing their own thing, in fact inevitably far surpassing the feats of male counterparts. She admires the determination of Bessie Coleman, the first African American/Native American woman to hold a pilot's licence and the lengths to which she had to go to obtain said licence!

She loves a good festival too. She tells the story of the woman behind Walpurgisnacht (check that out!); she shares the details of The Hunting of the Earl of Rone in Combe Martin (she optimistically offers the dates for May 2021) and ponders the origins of the Honiton Hot Penny Festival . She describes the festivals in the States that are held in Battle Creek, Michigan (Kelloggs are based there) and the delights of the Gerber National Baby Food Festival in Fremont (also Michigan, what is it with this State?). In Klagenfurt there is body painting fest, where people paint anything and everyone and thus there is an awful lot of nudity on display over one hot weekend.

She moves over to France and the storming of the Bastille; she recored the story of the forgotten woman of the Eiffel Tower; she looks at the fascinating life of George Sand (who was, of course, a woman), who at one point was more famous than Balzac, and who flouted permission to wear trousers (women across the world have had to seek permission to wear trousers, and lamentably in some parts of the world it is still illegal for them to wear them); and she checks out the story of the woman who murdered Marat in the bath - any idea who she was? No I didn't either! But Marat was immortalised in a very famous painting, and she was, well, consigned to history.

It is truly mind boggling how many women have been left out of the history books, simply because of their sex; their contribution has been sidelined and the men, quite simply, bigged up. As she states, history depends very much on who is writing it and that has largely been men.

You will of course cherrypick your own favourite stories and anecdotes, and my only regret is that I simply couldn't assimilate all the wonderful information that she has brought together. Goodness, I would be a popular team member in a pub quiz!

I was very pleased that I listened to this on audiobook. It is a perfect format to tune in and out, and listen to in shorter and longer bursts, just as one chooses.
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Toksvig's eclectic collection of stories and history related to each day of the year provides an engaging listen that can be enjoyed in one go or daily throughout a year, With a growing familiarity throughout the dates of the year, I found myself eagerly awaiting certain sections, listening out for names and stories that I wanted to research further. ending up with a second listen through with a notebook simply to record the plethora of individuals that had sparked a special place in me. A book/audio that all women should dip into.
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This is a really lovely, dip in dip out audiobook. Sandi Toksvig reads as brilliantly as she writes. There are interesting facts alongside humour and warmth.

Although we won't buy the audiobook we will buy the book itself. we do not stock audiobooks sadly.
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An entertaining almanac giving insight into the lives of all sorts of fascinating women.   Warmly read by the author.
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A fine collection of stories about women that have been overlooked and who rightly should be more well known. Toksvig is as always charming and engaging.  A delightful and educational book wonderfully narrated. The only flaw is catching the names of some of the women mentioned.  Not being sure how the names are spelt makes it more challenging to do further reading. Overall decent enough way to spend a few days.
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What a fabulous book, so much information its hard to take it all in at the time. Based around famous and infamous women throughout time and many little known facts, although I did know about the Olney pancake race! Some fascinating myths and legends as well, very entertaining.
I listened to audio version and made a few notes along the way to go back to, but now can't find them, so will have to read again and place markers in the book. Each chapter is a month so the sort of book you can leave on a coffee table and come back to without losing your focus. 
Thank you to #NetGalley for the copy.
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If you are wanting to learn interesting and new facts or just sit back and enjoy a beautifully read book, this is the audio book for you. Sandi manages to mix historical detail and her own style of humour exceptionally well. I couldn’t help chuckling along to some of her one liners and she manages to mix in her own style of sarcasm that’s not too overbearing.

This book celebrates the stories of important women of history. Some known to most people but others obscure from the pages of history. It was fascinating hearing about the lives of these women and their impact on the world today. Mixed in are some delightful poems and fascinating folklore stories.

I thoroughly enjoyed this trip through history and sure hope this isn’t the last I hear from Sandi.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
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I was given a free copy of this audio book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

An almanac featuring significant dates from women throughout history. Some I had heard of but most I hadn’t. I’ll need honest, I didn’t know what an almanac was in the first place, so that was the first thing I learned. Toksvig writes of history being ‘the recollections of old men who weren’t there in the first place’ and I agree that that sums so much of what we know up. The lives and experiences of over half the population for thousands of years erased as the majority of ‘facts’ filtered through the male lens. The book contained funny and obscure festivals and important dates from around the world, as well as monthly poems. Lighthearted but definitely with heavier and sometimes shocking subject matter. 

I loved it. I loved that the audio book was narrated by Sandi Toksvig herself as this made her dry wit shine throughout. I think it was really nice to dip in and out of - a 10 minute listen in the shower or whilst out walking the dogs. A brilliant listen but I think for me, this is a book that I would like a hard copy of. Because there are so many women mentioned, it’s hard to remember names or spelling for later research, because who doesn’t love to fall down a good Google rabbit hole? The author admits herself that she’s only scratching the surface and encourages the reader to delve deeper into the women who have been forgotten about through history.
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What a joy this audiobook is for anyone who likes 'fact-bites'. Toksvig whips through the year offering fascinating and very interesting bits of information  on very diverse characters. I have found myself googling certain people she talks about in order to learn more. I would be happy to recommend this easy listening and entertaining audiobook. My grateful thanks to the publishers, author and Netgalley for an ARC of this work
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What a lovely way to meander through the year. As a huge fan of anything Sandi Toksvig does, I was eager to read this and I'm happy to see that it would make a perfect companion throughout the year. It's even better to get an audiobook that's narrated by the author, giving the experience of each story told as intended. 

This book is perfect for just about anyone with any interest in history. It covers such a wide range of women and accomplishments that everyone will find sections that intrigue them. I certainly found myself going down an internet rabbit hole about many people who piqued my interest. What's even better is that many of these women will be unfamiliar to you even though they shouldn't be. It's not filled with all the same people you've already read about in similar books, at least not ones that I've read. 

While I really enjoyed listened to Toksvig's fantastic narration, I do think I'd recommend it as a physical copy, It's one that you're pretty likely to want to flick through and come back to. But if you prefer an audiobook, I wouldn't be turned off entirely. She does a great job with something that's fairly difficult to read out loud and it will still be a fascinating time.
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This is a wonderful book, an absolute treasure trove of information for anyone interested in ... well, anything really.  

Broken down into months, you are treated to a miscellany of information about the month itself before Toksvig delves into a brief biography of women throughout the world who were born or died in this month and the reason why they are noteworthy.  Whilst many will be familiar with the likes of Ada Lovelace or Heddy Lamar, most of the names will be totally unfamiliar, which is the point. Rather than a full biography, this book acts as an amuse-bouche, tempting you off to do your own fuller research into the lives of so many remarkable women.

Now for the hard decision: book or audiobook?  I listened to the audiobook version and it was a real joy.  Although it is in many ways a difficult book to read aloud, Sandi Toksvig makes it seem a doddle and listening to it is genuinely enjoyable and extremely companiable, like spending time with an especially erudite friend.  BUT, it’s easier to follow up on ‘leads’ and bookmark interesting finds if you have a hard copy.  My solution: indulge in both, I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC which really was a hidden gem.
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"Women have always done these things. And they will continue to do so." 

This is one of those non-fictions that I don't think could or should have been written by anyone else. Toksvig is respectful, hilarious and unapologetically feminist. Her Almanac does it's best to balance between the absolute fact, and how we (as modern feminists) respond to those facts. Prime examples are for women Pre 400 BC who managed to make their way into history, but not without the classifications of 'courtesan, prostitute or harlot.' Or certain Asian scientists, who proved theories that other men won Nobel prizes for. 

Toksvig gives just enough to whet our appetites, and I've now got a long list of people I'd very much like to research further. 

As I said above, all of this is done with hilarity. Even in those moments where women have been erased from history, Toksvig wraps them in the blanket of her humour, protecting them whilst giving them the notoriety they duly deserve.
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Well I'd like to say that this is a masterpiece but 'master' isn't right and 'mistresspiece' seems wrong on a number of different levels! What I will say is that I learned something new on nearly every page and her research for this book has opened up new areas of reading for me as well. It really is amazing in its detailed recounting of the impact of women, throughout history, on every aspect of the social realm. Whether you read this daily - as an almanac - or dip in and out, you will find fascinating tales of fascinating people, written with warmth and humour.  It was a delight.
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'Hang on to your womb, it's going to be a bumpy ride.' Sandi will take your from 1st January to 31st December introducing you to marvellous women from all through ages from across the globe. Did you know the most successful pirate that headed the red flag fleet was a woman? Want to know the real story of Pocahontas? Then get this book! 

I listened to the audio version and was not sure how it work but Sandi's carried out of with her usual good humour. Fair warning, I love listening to her podcasts, so was pre-disposed to like this attempt to bring stories of side-lined and marginised woman to life. I can see myself buying the physical copy for friends.
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