Friday 6 March 2015

This Women's History Month I'll be reading...

Not only is it Women's History Month but Sunday, 8th March is also my birthday, okay, no, not the point, it's International Women's Day, but I am a woman and it is honestly also my birthday.

Now I'm making the effort to get back into reading more so I've decided that this month I'm dedicating solely to female authors and books about women I'd like to know more about. I don't read anywhere near as much as I did when I was working in libraries, the will is there, the overflowing bookshelf is still overflowing but I don't get the hour lunch I did when I worked in a library and that makes a big difference. This month I'll make the effort to take my book to work for lunchtime and to read for 30 minutes before bed each night.

So what's on my reading list? A wide mixture, short story collections, biographies of Hollywood stars, books I've read before and those I've been meaning to read forever.

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

I've already started reading this anthology, it inspired me to start this list. A dark, sensual, feminist retelling of classic fairy tales. I've never read any Angela Carter before but have watched, and loved, the film The Company of Wolves which is based on a story in this collection.

black water by Joyce Carol Oates
Now I'm not new to Joyce Carol Oates, I read the novella Rape: A Love Story when it was first published in 2003, I loved it and immediately set about to amass a small collection of her work, which I did, I just haven't read any of them. I can tell I tried with this as I have my name written inside the cover meaning I took it in hospital with me when I had my surgery, or my other procedure, I can't remember which! I know I didn't read it but this will be a nice way to get back into Joyce Carol Oates with another novella.

Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill
This is a well thumbed, well loved collection of short stories that I'm ready to give another read through, having only just finished reading it again a couple of years back and possibly the last before I have to pick up another copy. A collection of rather arousing short stories including Secretary, the basis of the film Secretary. 

Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin
Another collection of erotically charged short stories, this time from Anaïs Nin, Posthumously published in 1977, the anthology was originally written in the 1940s for a private client making them all the more exciting. This book has sat on my shelf for many years in pristine condition, time to dedicate some time to reading it.

Don't Look Now and Other Stories by Daphne du Maurier
Now I know everyone raves about Daphne du Maurier's novel Rebecca and it is fantastic, I do love it but I even more I love the short story Don't Look Now, I do love the other stories in this collection too. However, I was a fan of the film Don't Look Now, boy is Donald Sutherland attractive, besides the point completely but I had to get that out there. I suppose it gives me a reason to love the film more, the short story is just that much better. I remember my first time reading this collection was a library loan so this copy is pristine and new just waiting to be broken in.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

We've had fantasy, and now we have some sci-fi. I feel ashamed to say that I've never read a single Margaret Atwood story, The Handmaid's Tale, arguably one of her most popular novels this dystopian tale has been on my to-read list for some time. I only made the true effort when I finally picked up a copy last summer.

Self-Portrait by Gene Tierney
I love Gene Tierney, I love her eyebrows, I love her acting. She features in three of my favourite films, British Noir, Night and the City (1950) and in earlier films Heaven Can Wait (1943) and Leave Her to Heaven (1945), she plays characters that are wildly different from one another in Leave Her to Heaven she truly shines. This led me to want to find out more about her, the fact that she had an auto-biography giving a true insight to her life was more exciting than reading second-hand accounts of online but it's still been sat on my bookshelf for a while.

Lulu in Hollywood by Louise Brooks

My mini obsession with Louise Brooks started after viewing Diary of a Lost Girl (1929). Predominantly a start of silent films, I've never seen a single one of her talkies which is why I'm looking forward to reading her auto-biography, originally published in 1982, quite some time after the silent era and quite an age from when she retired from film in 1935, Rather than a heavy tome this auto-biography is full of tales, gossip and photos, the perfect mix.

Living My Life Volume 1 & 2 by Emma Goldman

Now if I manage to get through all the other books listed it's finally time I read the memoir of Emma Goldman. The things she fought for, her strength, her beliefs, her fire, it's inspiring and fascinating. There is just so much to know about her so it's not hard to believe her memoir comes in at just under a thousand pages. First, I need to find where I've put volume 1, I knew I wouldn't read them both in one go and as I'm swimming in books and piles of dvds I can actually manage to lose a 500 page book. So in Women's History Month, and coming up to International Women's Day this memoir is a fitting way to end the list.

This might not be the most varied list but it's a start, Once I'm through these I can look forward to planning my reads for April, I think a theme needs to be found for that too! Suggestions welcome. 


  1. Happy birthday for Sunday! Great list of books

    1. Thanks Mark. I'm looking forward to working my way through these, I hate the fact that I never seem to have time, I need to give myself an electronic break every now and then and read more.