In 1928 Virginia Woolf held a series of lectures on women and fiction. These lectures were published as an essay collection in 1929, entitled A Room of One’s Own. In it Woolf discusses what is meant by women and literature. Is it female characters in books? Is it women writers? Is it books about women? She explores, through various fictional female characters, the advantages and (mainly) disadvantages women have had when it comes to literature, with regard to lack of education, lack of status, lack of right to participate in public life, politics and to travel, but perhaps most importantly: The lack of a room of their own, somewhere to withdraw from daily chores and quietly contemplate their writing.
The essays are beautifully written, clever, interesting and still current today many places in the world.
I truly recommend this to everyone who has an interest in literature and history, or really anyone who simply enjoys reading. Because, let’s face it: Virginia Woolf was effing awesome!
The following day, no one died.
In an unnamed country on the first day of the new year, people stop dying. Death is on strike. Soon, the residents begin to suffer. For several months undertakers face bankruptcy, the church is forced to reinvent its doctrine, and local “maphia” (not the traditional mafia, mind you) smuggle those on the brink of death over the border where they can expire naturally.
Eventually, death (not Death with a capital letter) returns, but she has changed her policy somewhat – her victims are now warned of her approach via violet letters delivered a week before they are destined to die. But what can death do when a letter is unexpectedly returned?
Portuguese Nobel Prize winner José Saramago’s (1922-2010) Death at Intervals (As Intermitências da Morte, 2005), is funny, philosophical and very entertaining. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good read!
It was the night before Hogswatch
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring…
Christmas is soon upon us, my dearies, and what better way to get that Christmas-spirit than to read about how other cultures celebrate this time of year! How, for instance, do they celebrate midwinter in, let’s say, Ankh Morpork? Want me to tell you? It is not that different from our own festivities. They celebrate Hogswatch, when the fat man gives out presents to children who have not been naughty. But have you heard the story about that one fatal Hogswatch night when Death had to take on the role as Hogfather in order to ensure that the sun would rise again? It is a very good story. And you can read all about it in Terry Pratchett’s amazingly wonderful novel Hogfather (1997).
Or you can enjoy the equally amazingly wonderful film version, also cleverly named Hogfather, from 2006. It is, and I don’t say this lightly, as good as the novel.
Whichever you prefer, this is a must-read/ must-see!
So snuggle up and enjoy!
“Locke Lamora’s rule of thumb was this: a good confidence game took three weeks to plan, three weeks to rehearse, and three seconds to win or lose the victim’s trust forever. This time around, he planned to spend those three seconds getting strangled.”
The Lies of Locke Lamora (2006) is a brilliant fantasy book written by Scott Lynch (1978). It’s the first in a series of seven, where the five last have yet to be published. I don’t know anything about the rest of the series, but I do know that this one is definetly worth reading.
“The Thorn of Camorr is said to be an unbeatable swordsman, a master thief, a friend to the poor, a ghost that walks through walls. Slightly built and barely competent with a sword, Locke Lamora is, much to his annoyance, the fabled Thorn. And while Locke does indeed steal from the rich (who else would be worth stealing from?), the poor never see a penny. All of Locke’s gains are strictly for himself and his tight-knit band of thieves: The Gentlemen Bastards.”
Set in Camorr, which is like a medieval Venice, the young Gentlemen Bastards carry out one crazy scheme after another. They are well-trained and the cunning used to plan their exploits reminds me of the brilliant Edmond Dantes. Do read it, it will entertain you, and make you want to be a criminal. I’d do just about anything to join the Gentlemen Bastards myself.
I have been watching a lot of QI lately and am falling deeper and deeper in love with that wonderful man Stephen Fry. He is truly a work of genius. But not only is he interesting on TV, he is also very interesting in writing, and this is why you should all read The Fry Chronicles (as well as all his other books of course).
The Fry Chronicles is an autobiography in two volumes. The first describes his childhood years and the second is about his time at university and his first years working for the BBC.
The books are very interesting and wonderfully written, and you will find yourself wanting to be his best friend (and possible regretting not making more of your own years at university).
I truly recommend spending some time with the Fry.
And here is a bonus video for you, expressing what many women surely must feel:
It began as a mistake.
Post Office (1971) was Charles Bukowski’s first novel, and it is said to be autobiographical about the author’s later years. It’s about Henry Chinaski, a middle aged guy who works in the post office, a work he finds incredible boring and degrading – but he survives through booze, women and an amazing cynical view of the world.
It’s a short novel, and quite an easy read. It can be a bit disgusting at times, but there’s also some truly beautiful little moments. And brutally honest, without making excuses for itself. See for youself.
Nineteen seventy-four was a bad time to go crazy.
Not long ago I read Rescuing Patty Hearst (2004), an interesting memoir written by Virginia Holman (1967 – ) about growing up with a schizophrenic mother in the seventies.
“In 1975, one year after Patty Hearst and her captors robbed Hibernia National Bank, a second kidnapping took place far from the glare of the headlines. Virginia Holman’s mother, in the thrall of psychosis, spirited her two daughters to a cottage on the Virginia Peninsula, painted the windows black, and set up the house as a MASH unit for a secret war. A war that never came. The family — captive to her mother’s schizophrenia and a legal system that refused to intervene — remained there for more than three years.”
Of course, the story Holman tells is absolutely tragic, but due to her sly sarcasm it doesn’t become too painful or tiresome to read. It is quite short, and will probably teach you something about mental illnesses, and since we all know that learning is fun, especially on the weekends, why don’t you get to it?
Enjoy your reading,