A bit late for the festive season I know, but before I head back to university and scatter my books across the UK I thought I’d give a little haul of the books I got for Christmas. I was really lucky to get all the books I asked for and a load I didn’t and I’m already stuck into devouring this collection.
A selection of the books come from my mum’s recent discovery and love for Virago press. She insisted a couple of months ago that I watched the BBC documentary about the publishing house. I watched it and messaged her throughout saying ‘hey I have all these books,’ and ‘that’s in my dissertation, and so is that, and so is that…’ etc. I then looked at my bookshelf and realised that Virago’s little apple logo was scattered across the majority of my books. I don’t know how I’d never made the connection that all these wonderful women writers shared the world’s coolest publishing house. So Father Christmas this year filled my stocking with four lovely Virago books, and my sister added another to the pile:
Frenchman’s Creek – Daphne du Maurier – I love Rebecca so I’m excited for more du Maurier.
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl – Carrie Brownstein – This was on my list after Emma Watson recommended it.
My Ántonia – Willa Carter – I haven’t the foggiest about it but time will tell!
The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters – I love Sarah Waters, Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith are excellent so I’m looking forward to this.
Fifty Shades of Feminism – edited by Susie Orbach, Rachel Holmes, Lisa Appignanesi – I know nothing about this book but it certainly sounds like my cup of tea (thank you Sally!)
It’s not Virago but my mum wanted me to finally read Germaine Greer‘s The Female Enuch so that found it’s way into my stocking, super stoked to read this at last.
Broadening my horizons
My old friend (she’s actually younger than me) Mads and I have a habit of buying each other books and because we have such different taste this means I often get to try something new. Really looking forward to these two:
The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden – Jonas Jonasson
The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
To physically broaden my horizons my aunt bought me the Lonely Planet South America on a Shoestring guide to help me plan for a post-graduation adventure… EEK!
Goodbye, Colombus – Philip Roth – My first read of 2017! I finished this last week and really enjoyed it. As with most books I read, I wanted it so I could understand a reference in Lena Dunham’s GIRLS… and now I do.
The next three I wanted to read after I found a Guardian article about the best contemporary women’s writers:
Beloved – Toni Morrison
White Teeth – Zadie Smith
Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (I have heard nothing but praise for Adichie and this book).
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov – My current read. I wanted to read this to see if I just like Tolstoy or if Russian literature is my thing, though after listening to three dissertation presentations about it I think I’m in for a twisted time…
The Cossacks and Other Stories – Leo Tolstoy – No justification needed, though apparently it was a nightmare to track down… sorry Gran!
Himself – Jess Kidd – Honestly, I wanted this so I could scope out a literary agent who has now rejected me… I’m sure it’s wonderful nonetheless! Not bitter at all…
I thought this had been my first Christmas where I hadn’t received a cookbook… until I got a package from the US from Melanie (also known as queen of the world and best gift giver ever). In the run up to the Gilmore Girls revival I came across Kristi Carlson‘s Eat Like a Gilmore recipe book in the weird world that is Gilmore Instagram. I even tried to get my hands on a copy but at that point it wasn’t shipping to the UK. I’m so excited to gain several stone from this book. It’s fabulous because it’s sorted into each cooking character’s kitchen so now I can really pretend I’m having a Luke’s breakfast. I promise I do have a firm grip on reality… sometimes.
Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick
Big thank you to Sally for getting me this. I read Scrappy Little Nobody in three days and it was a perfect book for some light revision relief. Last month I though the reason I loved Lauren Graham’s autobiography so much was because I worship her. And while I do, of course, worship Anna Kendrick, I wasn’t sure what to expect from her as a writer. Now however, I think I just have a thing for actresses’ autobiographies. Kendrick, like Graham, writes how she speaks which makings reading it fun, but also is just a total hoot and bizarre human.
Not only do I seem to be really enthralled by the will-she-won’t-she have a big break chapters (spoiler: she does) and her experience as a child actress, but Kendrick has some really interesting ideas and musings about fame, work ethics, relationships and the monumental task of being a woman. Her chapter on award shows had me laughing out loud (very different from LOL-ing).
While at times it does mimic how she speaks a little too much so that it becomes a bit of a confusing (but still funny) stream of consciousness, I think that’s an important thing to have in an autobiography. It gets a scrappy little 4 out 5 from me.
Following Carrie Fisher’s death and Graham’s praise of her books in Talking as Fast as I can I think those will the actress autobiographies I hit up next.
Some favourite snippets:
On being nice but saying no to a drink or a date: “if you don’t, someone might strip you of an adjective you’ve been convinced has value, and label you as something else”.
On commitment: “I can’t imagine what would drive a person to get out of bed in the morning if you knew you’d never have that drunk new-crush feeling again or ever dance on a table, or get so drunk you try to fight a stranger”. (Spoiler: she feels differently in a few pages time).
On something I’m certain she took from my own brain: “I wish people could tell the difference between the ‘leave me alone’ vibe I give off all the time by accident and my actual ‘leave me alone’ vibe”.
I’d also like to blame Anna Kendrick for my use of ‘super stoked’ earlier, that was all her influence.