editor's choice



Jodie Jackson’s You Are What You Read: Why Changing Your Media Diet Can Change the World is what all good non-fiction should be – exciting, challenging and perceptive.

That said, we are Jackson’s readership. The people who’ve stopped reading newspapers, watching the news, even watching terrestrial television because we’re irritated with the way in which information is handed to us, the way in which the press manipulates what we see, we read, we hear. We just get our news in a different way now. And we’re not the only ones.

The premise of this book is that the news we consume is predominantly negative and it inevitably impacts on our lives, the way we think, the way we act, the way we treat others.

We are familiar with the saying “You are what you eat”; a simple but effective summary that has made us increasingly aware of the impact that food has on our physical health,’ the author comments early on in the book. ‘… Well food is to the body what news is to the mind. … [T]he news affects our mood, our beliefs, our understanding of the world, our relationship to other people and our politics, but its impact remains largely unquestioned by the consumers who are affected by its content.’

In You Are What You Read, Jackson hands us the tools with which to protect ourselves against this insidious news cycle and shows us how to rethink the way in which we consume our news, thereby challenging the predominantly doom and gloom information that is ‘fed’ to us. It’s not about ignoring the bad things that happen but rather about not ignoring the positives, about allowing ourselves balance and the choice to make informed decisions about what is happening in our world and what we choose to do about it.

This is a thought-provoking read, the author providing us with enough intelligent prompts to look at how we interact with news without it appearing preachy or heavy handed. Certainly, we’ll be buying multiple copies of this book; we think it’s that important.

And it’s a book totally of our time. … As we type, we’re listening to the radio and being spoon-fed news about Trump’s visit to Britain.


You Are What You Read | Jodie Jackson | Unbound | hardback | April 2019

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Music to listen to: ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’, Gil-Scott Heron


Acknowledgements: Book text quote © Jodie Jackson 2019. This review is published as part of the Random Things Tour virtual book tour. Please check out the other participants. Many thanks to Anne Cater and also to the publisher for sending us a review copy and the jacket image. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved.


Also of interest:Permission by Saskia Vogel’; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’; ‘The beauty of Tom Cox’s personal landscape‘; ‘Call Me Star Girl’;Falling from the Floating World’; ‘Blood Orange’; ‘Lisa Ko’s The Leavers, Dialogue’s brilliant debut; ‘We should all be feminists’; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’;RW Kwon’s The Incendiaries’; ‘Beautiful words – The Language of Secrets’; ‘Beauty in translation – Roxanne Bouchard’s French Canadian noir‘; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”’; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

Select Q&As/interviews: ‘Meet Paul E. Hardisty’;‘Lilja Sigurðardóttir’; ‘Tom Cox’; ‘Vanda Symon; ‘Gunnar Staalesen’; Some like it hot – the joy of Carole Mortimer, award-winning novelist‘; Gina Kirkham;John Fairfax’; ‘Ian Ridley’; ‘David Stuart Davies’.


This review is © 2019 by The Literary Shed. All rights reserved. All opinions are our own. We welcome your feedback and comments. If you wish to reproduce this piece, please do contact us to request permission. Thank you so much.



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