Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books to Read When You’re in Pain

Pain can get really old, really quickly. I like to use literature to take me away from it, but I’m not at all into the whole mindful, deep breathing, yoga self help books that are meant to help you to control pain. I just want to vent my frustration or to escape entirely from where I am in real life into a better place,or into a better person.

Depending on whether or not I want to calm down, I am more likely to pick up a book to help me overcome pain with rage, or to bring me cuddly peaceable feelings. So if you’re in pain, or even just angry, I’m going to offer both options, because sometimes, situations just call for them!

When you want to get rage-filled

Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates

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There’s nothing more infuriating than sexism (to me anyway) and so this book will make you ready to take a chunk out of anyone who dares to be a total pig to you or anyone in your vicinity based on gender. Nothing like re-routing your anger into smashing the patriarchy!

Plus, if your pain is due to chronic illness, Bates covers it in her book, so you won’t feel left out and voiceless… which was a very satisfying feeling for me.

 

 

 

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

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Nothing like a nice gory crime novel with some prime idiots to make you feel better.

Especially when Cormoran starts punching those prime idiots right in the face. Just imagine your pain into their position and BAM.

 

 

 

 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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People truly do suck in this book. From the racists to the sexists to the murderers, this book is full of people to direct your frustration at.

 

 

 

 

 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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This book is the total opposite of that dreadful earworm that is the Lego movie theme… Everyone is dreadful, and everything is crap coz they’re evil freaks.

Yup.

No one in this book is much good.

At best, they’ll haunt you for twenty years and smash your window. At worst, they’ll  hang your dog, dig up your rotting corpse and ruin your child’s life. So there’s that.

 

 

Books to calm down over

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Anne Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer8013752

This book is too lovely for words. You’ll become happy and cry at the end with joy, guaranteed. This is a place hurting from war, but also a place full of joy and beauty.

 

 

 

 

 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

51-3c6ufgsl-_sx327_bo1204203200_ Arthur Dent and his intergalactic co-conspirators are some of the funniest characters in the history of literature, and will definitely make your day, week, month and year. Plus, the books are really short, so re-reading is totally doable and there’s a whole series to devour!

 

 

 

 

 

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovich

61mbelfo6el-_sx324_bo1204203200_This series is also hilarious! I recommend it to anyone and everyone, and it will not fail to give you a smile. There’s so much awesomeness going on here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park

9780670076864 This book is one of the ones I wish I’d read as a child, but I’m still so happy to have enjoyed it as an adult. This time travelling book is beautiful and historically interesting, and will take you into another world

 

 

 

 

Orkney by Amy Sackville

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The writing in this beautiful novel is beyond words, and truly transports you to that beautiful island. I read this while having the gnarliest cold ever, and having a terrible time at university, but it helped me to escape from it all.

 

 

 

 

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson

511l2cetj1l_ss500_Sneaky entry here, but it’s so transportative and glorious to miss out on.

Top Ten Tuesday: Badass Women Writers I Love

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Some authors are downright inspirational when they have little to no intention to be. Others force it, and fail miserably. Some don’t want to be inspiring at all, and try to make sure they couldn’t be accused of it. I like the first and the last particularly, though I haven’t really ever read too many books setting out to inspire, except maybe Eat, Pray, Love, and I don’t intend to repeat the experience anytime soon!

But these authors are all badass in their own way, and I love them for it!

  1. Anne Brontë

Anne was quiet and stoic, dealing primarily with her deadbeat brother Branwell, her wild sister Emily and her disparaging Charlotte. She’s often forgotten and overlooked, despite her genius being as great (in my opinion) as that of her sisters. She endured her fatal illness without much complaint, even after watched almost all of her siblings die around her. She wasn’t afraid to tackle really full on, socially unacceptable topics in her works, making her my favourite Brontë of them all!

2. Fanny Burney

Fanny Burney risked the censure of her family to write. She spent a long time in a French prisoner of war camp during the Napoleonic wars- but Napoleon himself told her he liked her work. She underwent a mastectomy without anaesthesia, and lived to write about it. She wrote about things that pushed the envelope, and didn’t apologise for it. Very, very awesome.

 

3. H.D.

This woman overcame so many things that would have kept most people down. Stillbirth, a horrible husband, a fiancee who not only criticised her work and deserted her professionally, but also had TWO OTHER fiancees on the side, an unwanted pregnancy and much much more, and that was only in the first 20 years of her life. She then went on to be thoroughly awesome (I hope in revenge) and had a fairly stable lesbian relationship with Bryher for over 40 years. You go, girl!

 

4. Virginia Woolf

However much I dislike some of her attitudes, Virginia Woolf was Queen and she knew it. She totally dominated the modernist groups, wrote like a total maniac for weeks on end and did some pretty revolutionary things. Despite all this, she was emotionally fragile and admitted it, which to me is a strong thing in itself.

 

5. Jean Rhys

Not only did Jean Rhys manage to hold her breath long enough to sleep with Ford Madox Ford, she also wrote the most scathing portrait of a man EVER in After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie, and what’s more, he deserved it. Yes, she led a sad life, but she overcame so many things, such as bullying, racism, poverty and sexism. She even bounced back and smashed people’s expectations by publishing Wide Sargasso Sea, when people had assumed she’d succumbed to her raging alcoholism.

 

6. Rebecca West

I don’t even know where to begin with Rebecca West. She travelled through Yugoslavia on the brink of war, she hunted and shamed Nazis, she lived though terrible treatment from H.G. Wells and she wrote fabulous novels that deserve far more attention than they are given.

 

7. Colette

Her abusive absolute raging prick of a husband literally locked her in a room to write the Claudine novels, until she was so sick that she was on the edge of death. Then he claimed the novels and subsequent royalties as his own, t’then when he had been busted and spent all the money that should have been hers, he sold the rights to the books and left her utterly destitute, relying on dancing to scrape by. But scrape by she did, and went on to become even more unbelievably awesome.

 

8. Katherine Mansfield

Moving from a New Zealand sheep farm to London must have been quite the experience for a 19 year old woman, especially in the early 20th century. She somehow managed to be friends with Virginia Woolf without throttling her, a fear that seems to have been almost superhuman. She was bisexual, and had lovers of both sexes, including a Maori woman, which shows she wasn’t sucked in to the racism so prevalent in that era.

9. Maria Edgeworth

A contemporary of Jane Austen, Maria Edgeworth was an Irish woman who wrote about some pretty controversial topics, especially Anglo-Irish relations in a time when this was distinctly improper for a woman to do so. She met Lord Byron and thought very little of him, which makes me like her even more. She wanted to write about traditional Irish culture when it was an unfashionable thing to do, and she wrote about interracial marriage in Belinda (though publishers later removed it from her work). When the Famine raged across her homeland, she campaigned tirelessly for relief for the poor.

10. Natalie Barney

Natalie Barney, an American expat who moved to Paris in the early 20th century, was well known for her outrageous parties and bohemian lifestyle. She ran a literary salon that drew some very famous attendees, including Colette and Edith Wharton. She ran hers in opposition to Gertrude Stein, and absolutely rocked it. Her outgoing and unashamed lesbian behaviour and cross dressing was considered deviant, but she discovered some of the biggest names in English literature, and told her critics to get stuffed!

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hope Santa Gives Me!

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I think I won’t be getting many books this year, because “I have too many” (says my family). I’m certainly giving many books to others, whether they like it or not!

But if I were to get books this year, I’d be hoping for these ones…

 

  1. The Folio Society books

I’d be thrilled with anything from The Folio Society, but in particular I love their editions of Vile Bodies and The Queen of Spades. They’re both so beautiful!

 

2. The Invisible Woman by Claire Tomalin looks really interesting

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3. Any books about female writers, especially Jane Austen, Jean Rhys, Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield!

4. The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood

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5. More Persephone books!

My collection is steadily growing, but there’s always room for more.

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6. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgsen Burnett

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This edition is so pretty, and I never owned my own copy, so I’d like to have one to relive the wonder and magic I found in it.

7. The Diary of Samuel Pepys

I’ve become very interested in this man and his era, so reading his diaries would be great.

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8. Aunts Up the Cross by Robin Dalton

I ran across this at work and think it looks really good!

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9. SPQR by Mary Beard

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I have been naughty and bought it on Kindle, but I’d love a physical copy of Mary Beard’s newest book.

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I can’t think of anything else I really want or need… so I’m leaving the 10th spot for surprises and new discoveries for the new year. I feel content with what books I have right now, and haven’t seen many more I really want, which is a very nice feeling (and very rare…)

Top Ten Tuesday (on a Wednesday…again): Favourite Books of 2015

91e47-toptentuesdayAgain, I’m terribly disorganised and didn’t get around to writing this post when it should have been written. I’ve been quite ill and totally exhausted, as well as trying to organise things for Christmas, so my poor blog has had to take a back seat.

I have read so many good books this year, and many of them will be similar to my TTT post last week, but so what… it’s time to wax lyrical about this year’s favourites!

  1. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovich
  2. Orkney by Amy Sackville
  3. Bid Me to Live by H.D.
  4. The Silk Worm by Robert Galbraith
  5. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters + The Lake House by Kate Morton
  6. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  7. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  8. The Female Malady by Elaine Showalter
  9. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  10. Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf

 

Rivers of London is a damn good book. I’ve been at and at people to read it… most commonly my fiancee, poor bugger. It’s hilarious and very cleverly written. I’m trying to ration out the rest of the series, since I don’t want to devour them all and be left with no more left!

Orkney was my first Amy Sackville novel, and not my last, as I also read The Still Point recently. The prose is gorgeous and I loved the slowly unravelling story, laced with mysteries and unspoken, unseen moments.16057621

Bid Me to Live is a very special book to me. I fell in love with H.D.’s work whilst reading it, and it’s changed a lot of my thoughts about how and why literature is written. The Female Malady comes in here too, because it utterly changed my perception of the way women have been treated as humans and as writers- same goes for A Room of One’s Own, which I read on New Years Day, not realising how important it would be to my year.

I haven’t yet finished reading The Silk Worm, but I already know this is one of my favourites for the year! It’s sucked me straight in and I’m very sure I’ll break my moratorium on unmatched series sizes to get the third book tomorrow.24661340

Fingersmith took me way too long to read, having lost my copy halfway through, but once I found it again I chomped the rest down in one very satisfying gulp! The Lake House by Kate Morton is getting thrown in here too, because I seriously can’t choose between them. It’s all too hard!!!

North and South was a wonderful novel, and I’m sure to be reading more Gaskell soon. An honourable mention also goes to Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson, who sadly missed out in favour of Gaskell!

The Bell Jar came at the perfect moment for me, so though I am sad I spent so long without it, I am glad I read it at a time when it would speak to me so perfectly.

Reading Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus was an effort, since it was one of my forays into audiobooks, but the story and the magic of it sucked me straight in. Jim Dale’s narration was spot on, and was really what got this (somewhat flawed) book over the line for me.

Coming in last place is Between the Acts, simply because I can’t say I enjoyed the experience of reading it. It was a bit like having your guts smashed and put in a blender. However, it was one of the most heart 526033rending and gorgeous books I’ve ever read, beating Jacob’s Room on that point alone. The desperation and sadness in this novel isn’t just an undercurrent; it is the whole feeling and it slams the reader so hard it hurts.

I know I’ve put a few sneaky extras in here, but it was WAY too hard to choose ten favourites out of the 99 books I’ve read so far this year!

Yep, I’m one book off my goal of 100 books read in 2015, which I’m fairly sure beats all my other goals by about 20 books!

Top Ten Tuesday (on a Wednesday!)- Ten Authors I Discovered in 2015

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I have been very much off the ball, and didn’t think I’d do this week’s TTT, but I have decided against it and want to discuss some of my favourite new -to-me authors I’ve come across this year!

As usual, this list is in no particular order, because really, they’re all very wonderful and deserve some love.

  1. Amy Sackville  

I first read Orkney in August on a recommendation from Kirsty @ the Literary Sisters, and absolutely adored it. I then read The Still Point in the last few weeks and loved that as well, though I think Orkney still has my heart.

      2. H.D. hdpoet

H.D. has literally changed my life, and changed how I view reading and writing. She has challenged me to the point of tears, but she is rewarding to the point of euphoria. I absolutely adore her as a woman, but her novel Bid Me to Live is one of my favourite books EVER. I also read Asphodel this year, which was an incredibly tough book, but again, rewarding. Her poetry is lovely, and I’ve been pacing myself well, only reading Sea Garden this year, though I have bought beautiful first editions  of The Walls Do Not Fall and Tribute to the Angels. 2015-10-17 17.08.35

3. Deborah Harkness

I’m about to start the second book in the All Souls trilogy, hopefully today, but so far I’ve really enjoyed her style. Yes, it’s not top quality literature, but it’s been an enjoyable ride and I’m glad to have got into her work!

4. Elizabeth Gaskell

Oh, how I loved North and South! I devoured it, and my (already high!) expectations were well and truly surpassed. I also read The Old Nurse’s Storya short ghost story which was also quite fun.

5. E.M. Delafield

I can’t wait to read some more of the Provincial Lady next year! I loved Diary of a Provincial Lady, and now have all the rest of the series, so I’ll get cracking on it soon enough!

6. Ray Bradbury

I’ve been recommending Fahrenheit 451 to anyone who will listen since I read it in February. I loved his dystopian future, and the creepily prophetic nature of the story.

7. Marghanita Laskim-laski

The Victorian Chaise-Longue was wonderfully creepy, and I’ve found myself pondering the ending well after I finished. I’m very excited to read more of her work, as I’ve heard even more wonderful things about her other books.

8. Ben Aaronovich

Another series I’ve been recommending EVERYONE is the Peter Grant series, beginning with Rivers of LondonI’ve read the first two books, and both have had me giggling my head off like a crazy lady. For those who are trying to read books with diverse characters, this is one to go for, as Peter is half West African.

9. Allen Ginsberg

Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems was my introduction to the Beat Generation, and one that I do not regret. Having read it has come in handy over the last few months, and I really want to go back and re-read it again… there’s so much more to it. Very dirty, very gritty, but fantastic.

10. P.G. Wodehouse

Ahhhh, Jeeves. Such fun. I will need to read far more of his work, but I’ve had such a good introduction.

 

There are a few more authors that I wish I could have mentioned here, but since I’ve read them before 2015 I couldn’t. However, this year has been the year I’ve really appreciated and fallen in love with their work. These writers are Virginia Woolf, Rebecca West, Sarah Waters and Henrik Ibsen. There are so many writers that deserve mentioning, but I just can’t list them all! However, here is the link to my 2015 Goodreads reading list, so if you’d like to pop over there and have a look at what I’ve been up to, and maybe become my friend, that’d be fabulous!

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Wishes I’d Ask of the Book Genie

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish.

Don’t genies usually give out three wishes? Perhaps the book genie is just more generous!

  1. A well stocked local library

Don’t get me wrong… my local library is a steaming pile of shite doing its very best, I’m sure. Well… I actually refuse to go there, because I refuse to pay a fine for “missing” books that were returned and lost by them. But, my NEXT closest library is alright, though sadly overstocked in bad paperbacks and Mills and Boon, and understocked in the type of books I’m interested in. Though, it has a very good poetry selection, funnily enough.

2. Kate Morton’s newest book to inexplicably drop into my lap right… NOW!

I just don’t want to wait until the end of the month! I’ve waited long enough! THREE YEARS I HAVE WAITED.

3. A stock of Australian colonial women’s literature to appear

I’ve been on a mission to find some more Australian women writers, and I’m having a difficult time of it, despite enlisting the help of a friend whose expertise lies in this area.

4. To magically have read all those “books you must read before you die” kind of books that just don’t appeal to me.

I’m looking at you, Dante.

5. A continuation of North and South written by Gaskell herself

Because I have not had enough! I need more happy romance between Margaret and Thornton! I have to balance all the tears I shed with happy smiles and squirms! There’s even spare pages at the back of my copy, it could fit in there!

6. Unlimited funds… and shelf space.

Because books take up room, if you don’t download them all. They also cost money.

7. A Marauders series by J.K. Rowling

I WOULD CRY. It is known.

8. The most comfortable book chair in the world… and a super comfortable transportable chair

It’s such a pain to have the wrong chair. I was trying to read whilst sitting at a picnic table the other day, and the palings were cutting into my bum and my back began to ache. Lying on the grass was a no-go, unless I wanted bindis embedded in my skin until the day I die. I ended up lying across the bench and using my boyfriend’s leg as a pillow, and miraculously didn’t drop my 550 page novel on my face!

9. A wonderful reading space

One with lots of natural light, shelves, flowers and a pretty view, preferably. Also one containing my magical book chair, of course!

10. An unlimited supply of tea in an unending teapot!

How gorgeous would that be? I’d make sure the flavour varied on what I felt like drinking at the time, and that it is always the perfect temperature.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Intend to Read in October

Oh my lawd, I really miss reading for fun. I am absolutely going to devour as many books as I possibly can as soon as this thesis is handed in!

Wild Lands by Nicole Alexander

This book was recently released, and while I’ve never read anything by Alexander before, I was interested. I picked it up a few times in Dymocks, but decided to wait until the trade paperback is released (I hate the large formats!) but then Random House sent me a copy via Netgalley! I’ve grabbed a few of Alexander’s books on Kindle for $3 each, so if I love this, I’ll give the rest of her books a go, and I’m pretty excited.

Summer Crossing by Truman Capote

I have been dying to read this book for ages. I’m going to finally give it a read, as any time is a good time for Capote!

Delicate Edible Birds by Lauren Groff

Kirsty recommended this to me when I asked for a good book to read. Her newest novel has recently come out, and I’m pretty keen to get my hands on it, but I want to read her short stories beforehand.

It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane

This novel was on sale at Big W the other week, so I grabbed it. It looks like a lot of fun- the colour of the cover is enough to tell me this!

The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati

Another book that has been recently released by Penguin, and I have been wanting to wait until the trade paperback comes out. We’ll see if that happens, because I’m keen to read it.

Cheri by Colette

I want to get onto some Colette, as I’ve been reading so much about her in Shari Benstock’s Women of the Left Bank, and I am simply fascinated by her life.

Harriet by

Mercy at Mercy’s Bookish Musings recommended this, and it just so happened that I had picked it up from the library, so I think I should probably read it before they want it back. It sounds thoroughly morbid and fascinating.

Affinity by Sarah Waters

Ditto for this one, but I’ve been wanting to read some more Sarah Waters since reading The Little Stranger many years ago.

Tampa by Alissa Nutting

I said I wouldn’t read it a while ago, but was given a copy by a friend… and I know Rachel wanted to do a buddy read…. so Tampa it is.

The 11th man is…

Rush Oh! by Shirley Barrett 

What can I say? I like whales. I also like books set in my state. I like historical fiction. I think this book sounds perfect… and did I mention WHALES?

I’ve actually seen a doco that talked about this whale hunting phenomena… The Killer Whales would actually help the whalers to catch whales, in return for food. Savvy little things!

Since I’m dreadful at sticking to reading lists, I may not get to all these next month. However, I’m pretty excited to read all of them, so they’re going to be devoured soon!