November 30, 2015 § Leave a comment
Some of you may have seen the hashtag #readwomen around the internet, specifically on instagram, twitter and tumblr. The aim of this has been to promote reading female authors in an industry that is often dominated by male authors. In light of this, I would like to share some of my favourite female authored books. I hope that endeavouring to read more female authors in the month of December will only lead to more wonderful discoveries.
1. How Many Miles to Babylon? by Jennifer Johnston
I discovered this book because it was designated on my leaving cert course. It was possibly one of the best thing about the course. The book follows Alec, a well-off Irish youth, and his friendship with Jerry; a working-class Irish stable-boy during World War I. Written beautifully, the book manages to balance issues of war and Alec and Jerry’s class divisions to tell a poignant story. I have seen invested in many Jennifer Johnston books and, though this remains my favourite by far, Johnston is a wonderful writer.
2. The Hybrid Chronicles by Kat Zhang
I was wary of this trilogy at the beginning but it proved to be an excellent read that I was intrigued by throughout all three books. Zhang tells the story of a world where everyone is born with two souls. However, as time passes one soul fades away while the other dominates. In this world, Zhang’s main characters, Eva and Addie are two souls in the same body: a hybrid. The story follows Eva and Addie’s journey in this world that refuses to accept or understand them. Zhang’s writing only improves with each book and the characters became ones that I could both relate to and really cared for. If you’re going to read a YA dystopian series, this would be the one I would recommend!
3. The Blood Chamber and Other Short Stories by Angela Carter
This book was on the reading list for my Reading Gender and Sexuality class in the 3rd year of my undergraduate and man, was I glad it was! Angela Carter’s feminist re-tellings of classic European fairytales is something that everybody should read. Not only are each of the stories interesting and challenging, but Carter’s writing is sensual and beautiful throughout.
4. Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat
If you know me in real life, you probably know about my love for Edwidge Danticat. Well, this book was the one that started it all. In this collection of short stories, Danticat manages to poignantly tell the stories of many Haitian people and their struggles. Danticat’s writing is breathtaking and beautiful. It’s one of those books that I honestly couldn’t put down until I had read it all the way through and it holds a treasured spot in my bookshelf.
5. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
I will end this list with a book that I only finished quite recently and enjoyed immensely. Rebecca follows the story of a young girl who marries Max de Winter; a man she considered far beyond her means, only to arrive at his estate, Manderley, and feel haunted by his late wife, Rebecca. There were many things that I loved about this book but what I probably loved most about it was the main character herself. Her youth, her naivety, her feeling of being out of place and intense desire to please those at Manderley; everything about it was written quite brilliantly. I felt her to be both relatable and enjoyable to read about. The plot, too, was interesting throughout and du Maurier’s writing was fantastic throughout. This book has been considered a classic for a long time, and after having read it, I can certainly see why!
November 30, 2015 § 2 Comments
After many writing slumps and days spent feeling genuinely quite awful about how my writing was going, I did eventually end up getting to the finish line. The great thing about working on a collection of short stories for NaNo this year, is that I could actually finish up in 50,000 words, instead of getting to the 50k mark and thinking, “well, gosh, another 50k – maybe more – and I might finally be finished this book!” It was nice to have a sense of finality with this project.
Today is the last day of November and to everybody who has already hit the 50k mark, well done! You guys deserve a pat on the back and probably a good long sleep. To everybody who is still striving for that 50k, you can totally do it! And to everybody who has struggled their way through and knows they aren’t going to get to the 50k mark by midnight tonight, a well done to you too! NaNoWriMo has always been about writing and to write even a thousand words that you wouldn’t have otherwise, is an achievement!
Hope NaNo went well for you guys and here’s to another good NaNo next year!
November 15, 2015 § Leave a comment
So my week two NaNoWriMo hasn’t been going exactly as I had hoped it would. While I was flying on my wordcount during the first week, getting almost 2k with no problems every day, and often much more than that, my week two has been going much, much slower. I’ve had days where I’ve just found it completely impossible to write – not even because of time constraints, but rather because of a complete disconnect from my work and a total lack of motivation. Anyway, it’s not all bad news. I took a day’s worth of break from writing and delved into some reading instead (finished Slaughterhouse 5 and started on Kafka on the Shore) and that – thankfully – got the job done. Though I’m still not going quite as fast as I was during the first week of NaNo, I’m still a little ahead on word count and making steady progress. How has week two been going for you guys? Hopefully no similar writing slumps!
November 8, 2015 § Leave a comment
Hey everyone! Hope you’re all doing well, especially all of you who have tasked yourself with NaNoWriMo this year. My week one got off to an interesting start, with me completely pansting the challenge this year. Honestly, every year since I started tackling NaNo, I’ve had at least a vague plan/outline in my head. This year, I didn’t even know what genre I wanted to do. I had too many ideas, and none of them developed enough to really make it onto the page. In the end, once midnight rolled around on the first day of November, I decided to do something I’d never really done for NaNo, and that is to not write a novel at all. Instead, I’m working on a collection of short stories that fall into… generally the same-ish genre. The first week has been going pretty successfully for me. I’ve been ahead of the word count almost every day. I did obtain a little finger injury though two days ago, which has made typing a tad difficult and so my wordcount has suffered. But I’m hoping I’ll be back to high word counts again in a few day’s time.
How is NaNo going for all of you?
October 23, 2015 § Leave a comment
You were leftover coffee brewing on my lips,
everything afterwards was so damned bittersweet.
I remember a time I was pastel dresses and pink lipsticks
’til you came along with your dark eyes, sharp tongue.
I was tumbling words and stumbling heart,
Bright eyes and wandering gaze.
Now I’m just simmer summer heat.
September 17, 2015 § Leave a comment
When we emerged to the surface finally, there was a stillness in the night. I shivered from the cold and Mira held me close to her body. In that moment, I could so easily imagine this – our lives drawn together forever – blissfully living in the ocean. I didn’t fear it anymore – not when it was home to the person I loved the most in the world. Not when she trusted it with such intensity. I couldn’t fear it anymore. I still wasn’t comfortable with it but there was certainly no fear instilled in me anymore. But I suppose bliss ends as quickly as it begins – perhaps to balance out the universe, although I don’t believe in things like that anymore. Maybe I did back then, when I was young and in love and naïve. I am still in love, but simply have an entirely different perspective of the world – a perspective that is always changing and never settling.
That night, Mira and I were happy – we were peaceful. I felt at peace. I felt more loved and more comfortable than I had in my entire life. But it was taken away as soon as it had come. We turned back to the shore for me to go home and for Mira to see me off. But as soon as I gingerly stepped onto the sand – before I could even turn back to Mira, before either of us could utter a goodbye – they came out of nowhere. Everything was a blur. Nothing made sense. There were voices and blackness and I tried to fight off whatever – whoever – it was that was touching my hands, dragging me away. I could feel the sand against my legs, against my feet. It hurt to be screaming against it and I screamed but there was a hand over my mouth. I couldn’t scream. There was a scream trapped inside my body and there was darkness everywhere.