Review: My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

154510581 Gloria Steinem—writer, activist, organizer, and one of the most inspiring leaders in the world—now tells a story she has never told before, a candid account of how her early years led her to live an on-the-road kind of life, traveling, listening to people, learning, and creating change. She reveals the story of her own growth in tandem with the growth of an ongoing movement for equality. This is the story at the heart of My Life on the Road.

I had never heard of Gloria Steinem before this book was featured as the January pick for Emma Watson’s “Our Shared Shelf” book club, but I saw the book at work and thought it looked interesting, so decided to give it a solid shot.

I did not expect to love it half as much as I did. I didn’t expect to learn new things and find it incredibly inspiring and enriching to my long stifled feminism. I feel that I’m okay to loudly and proudly say that I am a feminist, as I don’t believe that the movement is solely about shutting men down- far from it, I have no problem with most men. I have problems with a certain type or group of men, but I have similar problems with certain women. But anyway, I digress.

“Feminist” has become a pretty dirty word to a lot of people. I’ve had people who don’t even know me talk down about “man hating, ugly feminists” and expect me to agree with them. My ex boyfriend repeatedly told me he would dump me if I ever said I was a feminist, for heaven’s sake… now I wish I had, but it’s a long time ago now.

Gloria discusses these ideas of feminism and breaks down the attitudes that have brought them about. She also discusses wider topics, such as the civil rights movement, indigenous rights, advocacy, her nomadic childhood, mental illness and politics with great sympathy and great anecdotes. Her storytelling throughout the book is phenomenal- for example, she talks of her most interesting experiences with taxi drivers, and I really didn’t want it to end!

The book is strangely organised, but I didn’t have a huge issue with it. I felt some parts would have been better slotted into other chapters, or some chapters would have slotted in better before or after others, but in general I thought it was fine. I didn’t really like that she assumed the reader was American, but perhaps she didn’t expect the book to gain the global readership that it has attracted.

The book details Steinem’s achievements as an organiser and advocate, but focus is often shifted to those that have inspired her throughout her journey. A chapter about her amazing friend, Wilma Mankiller (what a name!), was beautiful and truly inspired me to try and be as calm and patient in my own bodily suffering as she was.

I took quite a long time reading this book, as I felt the need to stop frequently to digest ideas and wrote all over the margins, underlining and commenting on ideas and thoughts. My copy now looks rather manky, but luckily the dust jacket is still there to cover up my sins…. and regardless, I will be keeping this book to read over again, to pick up and reinforce ideas and to contemplate.

So my first ever book club pick has been quite the success, though I read it a month late. I probably won’t read The Colour Purple, which is February’s pick, right now as I just don’t have the time at the moment. It doesn’t help that I couldn’t get a copy through work either! The OSS people seem to have wiped out the supplier’s stock! Well done!

I’d seriously recommend this book to anyone wanting an inspirational and enlightening book, to any woman wanting to read more about feminism without it being too “radical” (definitely no bra burning in this one, and no man hating either!) and those interested in contemplation of a nomadic lifestyle.

4.5/5 and Leo with a wine glass, not an Oscar.

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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.

Review: Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson

5290266The storyline of Miss Buncle’s Book (1934) is a simple one: Barbara Buncle, who is unmarried and perhaps in her late 30s, lives in a small village and writes a novel about it in order to try and supplement her meagre income.

 

For the first third of the book, I enjoyed it and found it charming, but easily forgettable. I dropped it for many weeks, almost forgetting that I hadn’t finished it, until on Christmas night I found myself lacking a book to read. Kindle at the ready, I took myself off to bed to read for a while. That “while” ended up being several hours, at which point the party I was avoiding ended, and I finally went to sleep. The next night, I again found myself up until 4 o’clock in the depths of finishing this book!

It was the perfect book for a laid back, Christmassy mood. No one wants to be slogging through the Russian greats when all your belly can do is grumble for another serving of ham and you’re pouring yourself your third Baileys (which for me is about 2.5 too many!) The premise is simple, the characters are funny and the story charming.

Miss Buncle is a rather quiet heroine, whom nobody suspects could possibly be clever enough to write a novel, let alone one so astute that could rock a little town to its core. She’s a smart cookie, and watches the townspeople with a keen eye. They have absolutely no idea that what they’re doing is feeding her content for her next book by acting like complete fools in regard to the first one, the aptly named Disturber of the Peace.

The leader of the band of naysayers is Mrs Featherstone-Hogg, a woman so caricatured that she manages to be exactly relatable to someone you know. She’s in the realm of the perpetually outraged. She literally wants the author of Disturber of the Peace to be horse whipped once she gets her hands on them. Obviously, this is the main antagonist of the novel, though she has her willing sidekicks ready to leap on the person who so truthfully depicted them in all their glory… or in some cases, evil.

Stevenson manages to touch on three rather interesting and important themes; domestic abuse, lesbianism, education and spinsterhood. There is a lesbian couple in this book, skirted around and never stated outright, but they are there, and they are sympathetically rendered by all. Women’s education is touched upon, as several women who could have been intensely clever are left without an education because of their father, or family’s, patriarchal opinion that smart women are an abhorration. There is a woman who is pitied by the more sensitive women in the community, who is married to a man who treats her and her children with disdain at best. She literally goes to ask a friend what to do because he was nice to her at breakfast. Her children are described as “mice”, who are timid and tiptoe around their house, and are unable to relate to other children. She also deals with the perils of spinsterhood, the lack of money that it can entail, and how women feel it is better to have a mediocre husband than none at all.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a light read that touches on some heavy topics with grace. It was laugh out loud funny at several points, and I’m definitely going to be keeping it for future comfort reading!

 

4/5 stars

Review: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

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Cormoran Strike is back, with his assistant Robin Ellacott, in a mystery based around soldiers returning from war.

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…

Career of Evil is the third in the series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. A mystery and also a story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives.

Oh. My. God.

 

I just finished this, and I think this is definitely the best by far- and I really, really enjoyed the last one. I know some people hated it, but I disagree on all points, and think Rowling is far from formulaic. If I hadn’t accidentally dropped the book at work, and seen some chunks of the last few chapters, I’d have been guessing until the end… Regardless, I was still second guessing what I’d seen and thought it must be wrong! I’m battling to keep this review spoiler free for you, but if you’re worried, let’s just say that I loved it and you should read it!

I loved how much time we got with Robin in this book, and I found her so much more relatable here. I totally get why she behaved the way she did, and feel that many people would do the same thing in her position. There was so much emotion, so much tension and stress that Strike could have barely guessed at that drove her in this book, and I found it hugely relatable. I wish she didn’t make the one MAJOR decision she did, but again, I truly understand her motivations, even if I disagree with them. She is reacting not only to a violent event in her past, but to current violence, work problems, people treating her like a lesser being than Cormoran simply because she’s a woman, and a family who just doesn’t really understand her. Of course she’s going to be turbulent and make decisions that just aren’t rational.

Strike himself annoyed me slightly, particularly towards the end, and likely more because I felt so closely aligned with Robin’s feelings. His relationship with his new girlfriend, Elin, didn’t sit right, and for good reason. I’m glad that much of the Charlotte angst is over for him, because she was really effing annoying. I like Strike a lot, however, and understand how he feels, especially physically. I was about ready to punch people when he did. I was with him in the Saatchi gallery cafe, raging at those who cannot truly understand the frustration of disability since they aspire to it. I was cheering along when he finally pulls through and does the right thing in the end. I still see him as looking like the bastard child of Vincent D’Onofrio and Rebus though!

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I do like how their personal and professional lives have grown and shifted around each other, and that they have become far more comfortable, yet in the same way, uncomfortable, around each other. It’s such an interesting dynamic and I can’t wait to see where it ends up.

As for this killer… he actually scared me. Even though the murder in The Silkworm was grisly, the misogyny and outright hatred that drives the killer in this novel was far more frightening. I didn’t particularly enjoy his chapters, because I hated being in his head, but they were enlightening and kept me jumping from suspect to suspect. I did lean towards the right suspect for most of the book, even before I accidentally saw his name, because his past known crime was so abhorrent and fitted his MO. I also didn’t think the other two entire fitted the crime, even though they were both as disgusting in their own ways. However, I totally did not expect him to be where he was. That hit me by total surprise and the implications of it were shattering.

I hated Matthew in this book almost as much as I hated the murderer. In his own way, Matthew is almost as despicable, but of the most insidious, garden variety misogynist hiding behind a pretty veneer and urban normality, not the raging serial killer type. I’m struggling to decide which is more damaging. Matthew, who represents safety to Robin, is as repulsive in his misogyny, because it is so common and so accepted. He sees it as his business to tell Robin what shoes to wear (“Matthew didn’t like her too tall”), who she should be working for and accuse and implies that she either is, or will be, unfaithful because of Strike. What is frightening is that for many people, his behaviour is normal, even excusable. He delights in her failures and masks it as concern. He abuses her trust repeatedly and goes way beyond what a partner should be doing with the others belongings, to the point that Robin is consciously making sure he can’t get at her things and invade her privacy. He deliberately tries to sabotage her, for heavens sake! That’s not something that ANY partner, let alone someone who apparently loves you and says he wants to marry you!

It’s a mark of a good book that it can make you giggle, cringe, become thunderous and then grin stupidly at the page within a couple of chapters. This one had me doing just that, and I enjoyed (almost) every second of it. My only criticism is that I didn’t like the killer chapters very much, as I preferred the flow of Robin and Cormoran’s points of view and didn’t like them interrupted to go into the mind of a sadist. Other than that, I loved it, and stayed up way past my bedtime for two nights running to keep reading!

5/5 stars

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…)

The London Fog in Literature

I stumbled across this article in The Guardian about how the dramatic fogs that used to plague London have seeped not only into literature, but also our collective imaginations.

Being a complete British literature nut, particularly for things set in London, I can think of several books straight away that involved the fogs; most recently, Sarah Water’s Affinity captured the fog in a way that made me feel like I could see it swirling around me. Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth also has a scene in which the fog makes an appearance and further complicates a hazardous delivery.

Having never experienced a proper London pea souper, all I can say is that the one fog in London that I have experienced was bad enough, and that was just a very dense regular one. The yellow or black fogs must have been terrifying, and I can definitely see how they have become so important in scene setting in literature.

The most vivid depiction of the great fogs of London, I think, is in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot.

“…The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.
And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea…”

Can you think of more? Have you ever experienced a proper fog in London? Let me know!

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.

Review- Names for the Sea by Sarah Moss

Sarah Moss had a childhood dream of moving to Iceland, sustained by a wild summer there when she was nineteen. In 2009, she saw an advertisement for a job at the University of Iceland and applied on a whim, despite having two young children and a comfortable life in Kent. The resulting adventure was shaped by Iceland’s economic collapse, which halved the value of her salary, by the eruption of Eyjafjallaj√∂kull and by a collection of new friends, including a poet who saw the only bombs fall on Iceland in 1943, a woman who speaks to elves and a chef who guided Sarah’s family around the intricacies of Icelandic cuisine. Moss explored hillsides of boiling mud and volcanic craters and learned to drive like an Icelander on the unsurfaced roads that link remote farms and fishing villages in the far north. She watched the northern lights and the comings and goings of migratory birds, and as the weeks and months went by, she and her family learned new ways to live.

I’ve been a bit fascinated by Iceland, which has become more pronounced since reading Burial Rites nearly a year ago now. I saw this book being mentioned around the blogosphere, and grabbed it when it was on sale on Kindle. I’ve never moved overseas, though it looked like I would for a while, and that was daunting enough. I can’t imagine doing it with kids in tow, and to such an alien landscape such as Iceland.

I understand the anxiety that Sarah felt about the move, and the new beginning, as well as the unfamiliarity of it all, and I appreciate her sharing it with us- it made me feel a bit like I was having a conversation with a friend. I too become anxious in new places.

I feel a bit like her anxiety was to the book’s detriment, which is unfortunate. As a reader, and as someone who hasn’t been to Northern Europe, I wanted her to tell me how the whale meat tasted (there was quite a long lead up to her trying whale meat, which fell flat at the last second) and what it’s like to eat burnt sheep head.  I wanted her to really describe Reykjavik’s main street and talk more about the wildlife. She wasn’t exactly willing to go out of her culinary comfort zone though, which really disappointed me, especially when she specifically talks about these foods.

I suppose I’ll eat anything though… I’ve never had much time for fussy eaters!

I also felt like her anxiety about situations and meeting people, while perfectly understandable, was almost a disabling quality. We’d get a build up to her doing something new, but it wouldn’t happen. She’d relate a second hand story from a friend instead of trying it herself. So much of the “action” of the story was the family going about their daily lives (as families tend to do!) but not going much further than the sea wall. By the three quarter mark, I was bored silly. Her disbelief in the fairies and elves made me feel a bit bad for the women she spoke to, as they were helping her with her book and she borderline makes fun of them (particularly the first lady). I understand the feeling of thinking someone odd, but she just seemed totally unwilling to suspend disbelief.

However, the final quarter kind of picked up. I enjoyed the section on Icelandic knitting,
and their trip around the island, but it was too little, too late to save the book. I would have liked her to try knitting in the Icelandic fashion, to see whether it is easier than British knitting or not. She kind of lined that section up and never kicked off, so to speak.

I’m going to give this a 3.5 star mark, because I did finish it, so
it can’t be too bad, and because Sarah is actually aware of her anxiety and her inability to relax about life. She admits it readily throughout the book, and in some ways it made her more relatable to me, but in other ways it made me feel like she was blocking my understanding of Icelandic life. I grabbed this as the first book I read after my thesis, and it did kind of help me ease into reading. I wish she’d included a reading list in the back of the book, so I could read more Icelandic literature!

I also think that Sarah Moss’ living in Reykjavik for a year helped a book a lot, as it felt more settled, and not like an extended Lonely Planet introduction. For someone with perhaps more patience and understanding of being a mother than I do, and perhaps with less of a specific idea of what they want to know, this book would be perfect. It’s not awful by any stretch of the imagination, and Moss has done a good job on most aspects of the book.

Does anyone know of any to recommend to me? (I have The Fish Can Sing by Halldór Laxness already)

3.5 Stars.

Epic Birthday/Graduation/Thesis Completion Book Haul

As many of you know, I just finished my honours thesis. Over the last month or so, I have been stockpiling books to celebrate this trifecta of events (though really, turning 24 and graduating from a degree I finished almost a year ago is a bit superfluous)

I got some second hand, but mostly treated myself to lovely new books. Not all have appeared… I’m going to get a big talking to by my mum about the number of parcels turning up, but hey, the postman needs a job! I’m helping the economy!

I bought myself hardcovers of two of my favourite classics, The Picture of Dorian Gray and Wuthering Heights, which I have been wanting to get for ages. I also slipped in some Forster, namely A Room with a View and Howard’s End, as I’ve somehow missed reading him before now.

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I bought some books from Persephone, which was super exciting, as I finally got the gorgeous matching bookmarks! I also got Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski second hand, for a rather good price, which is always nice! I’m particularly excited about Lady Rose and Mrs. Memmary and Greenery Street, which both sound so perfect for the mood I’m in.image

My friend Narelle wrote a section of her honours thesis on The Three Miss Kings, and since I really want to have further intelligent conversations with her, and I love colonial literature and wish there were more of it, I thought it best I grab it to read. I began reading Women of the Left Bank for my own thesis, only meaning to read what I needed, but I got too enthralled and had to keep going! I am thoroughly enjoying it, but my library wanted their copy back and I wanted one to keep, so grabbed it on sale (it’s ridiculously expensive to buy new!) It’s taking me a while, as it’s rather dense (being an academic text) but it is worth the time and energy.

Kirsty wrote a fantastic review of Stonerand I am now going to admit that I always thought it was *about* stoners, and so had avoided it… Nothing could top Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, so why bother? I now see I was wrong, and another classmate said she cried every ten pages, so I know I’m in for a treat.image

Kirsty also recommended The Fish Can Sing, and I’m interested to get into more Nordic literature. One of my best friends is Swedish, and though we don’t often have the same taste in literature, her stories of her life at home makes me want to go there every time! Since reading Burial Rites I’ve been interested in Iceland, so this was a no brainer. I’m also reading Names for the Sea by Sarah Moss at the moment, which I think will be a good introduction to modern Iceland, and will come in handy as background knowledge.

How cute is this vintage cover of Flush? While I love Persephones, I couldn’t justify the price for such a little book, and now I’m even happier since this is so adorable.

Women of the Left Bank got me interested in Natalie Barney, so I’m hoping this biography Wild Girls will be good, even though there is a bad review worthy of my Bad Reviews post for it. I’m more than willing to ignore it though, because while everyone likes debauchery, I think the poster forgot that the real world isn’t Hollywood!!

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I also grabbed some books from Dymocks and Kinokuniya after a job interview in the city the other week, which was a bit exciting, (no news on the job yet though…)

  • a floppy hardcover of Jane Eyre (I believe they’re called Wordcloud classics editions) which is super silky and cute, way nicer than the depressing covers that inevitably get released… I don’t even understand that, because Wuthering Heights always has nice, pretty covers, when it is infinitely more depressing than Jane Eyre. Why is this?!
  • Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (and on the subject of covers… whoa! Damn!)
  • The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall (another Left Bank inspired purchase)
  • The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
  • The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (Left Bank inspired)
  • Answered Prayers by Truman Capote (my gay boyfriend)
  • Nightwood by Djuna Barnes (and again!)
  • Ariel by Sylvia Plath
  • A Want of Kindness by Joanne Limberg (unashamed cover buy. I know nothing about it, other than it’s set in Queen Anne’s Court)
  • The World Before Us by Aislynn Hunter
  • The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë by Daphne Du Maurier
  • On Human Bondage by V Somerset Maugham
  • Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters (currently reading Affinity and loving it!)
  • Gigi by Colette
  • Rush Oh! by Shirley Barrett
  • Little Women by Louisa M. Alcott (I realised that the copy I owned was abridged, which may be why I loathed it as a child. We shall see.)

Then for my manthing, I’ve been especially generous since it’s his birthday soon, plus he too graduated and finished his thesis, and just because I like giving him books… and he’s not complaining (yet):

  • Crash by J.G. Ballard (I read one page and I’ve seen enough. No thanks!)
  • Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pyncheon
  • The World Jones Made by Phillip K. Dick (he’s a Dick scholar. The jokes will never get old.)
  • A Penguin clothbound edition of Moby Dick by Hermann Melville (hey look, more Dick! We intend to read it together)
  • A beautiful Folio Society edition of The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick (so much Dick!)

Oh man, nobody let me get any more books for a while. At least now that my thesis is finished, I can start reading for fun again!! We spent a gorgeous afternoon together yesterday, out in the backyard, me reading Names for the Sea and Harry reading Steppenwolf, and revelling in the fact that we didn’t need to write or edit or stress! I haven’t read a book properly like that since Orkney back in July, and it feels amazing. Even then, I was writing both my thesis and assignments, so it was not unadulterated reading joy.

Have you read any of the books I’ve got?

Any idea on how to read a thousand books at once? Coz I want to read them ALL RIGHT NOW.