It’s fairly obvious that I love clothes. This entire blog, although centering aroud that mythical genre of ‘lifestyle and culture’, is almost entirely dedicated to the outfits I’m loving, the pieces I’m coveting and my regular style quandries. However that’s all about to change, because I want this blog to focus on more than simply my clothes, and instead reflect ‘today’ a bit more.
Since earlier this week was National Poetry Day, which I celebrated over on Instagram, and today is National Bookshop Day, I figured I would start this new focus with a look at some of the books I’m currently reading. Although I adore fashion, my first love was and always will be books. I have always devoured books and I studied English Literature at undergrad. Anyone who knows me well knows that I get the same excitement surrounded by clothes as I do if someone starts a conversation about Jane Austen (Persuasion is predictably my favourite, thanks to my mum’s obsession with every TV adaptation of it). Being an eternal multi-tasker I typically have multiple books on the go at once, so I’ll run through the pages I’m currently turning.
“The War on Women (And the Brave Ones Who Fight Back)” by Sue Lloyd-Roberts
I was given this book as a birthday gift only a week ago and I am already hooked. Ideal for an aspiring journalist such as myself, this is the work of the UK’s first female video-journalist Sue Lloyd-Roberts. Each chapter explores a different story she has followed throughout her amazing career, focusing on women facing adversity. It deals with struggles faced by women from all corners of the world, from a Magdalen laundry in Dublin to a victim of sex traffiking in Bosnia, and highlights not only the incredibly dangerous career that Sue followed, but also shines a light on the horrors faced by women from all walks of life.Sadly, Sue passed away in 2015, shortly after finishing this book, and the foreword from her daughter celebrates Sue’s extraordinary life and her dedication to covering these challenging stories.
“Undying: A Love Story” by Michale Faber
I found this poetry book during a routine visit to Daunt’s, my favourite bookshop in London. If you haven’t already, get yourselves to Marylebone to explore their wooden shelves. Faber’s collection of poems centres around his wife’s battle with cancer, and the aftermath when she eventually lost this battle. The poems are frank, exposing and truly heart-wrenching, offering a raw insight into their relationship.
Faber provides an unflinchingly honest look at his relationship during this period, depicting everything from her hair loss, their sex life and even the way that their family cats reacted after she was gone. The final poem, “Lucencies (2)” is my favourite because of the reverential way in which Faber describes how his wife helped others, juxtaposed with his acceptance that she is gone – “You’re dead. I know.”
“Sanctuary” by William Faulkner
I am a die-hard Faulkner fan. I have loved his work since I discovered it through “The Sound and the Fury”, a compulsory read during my second year at university. Upon re-reading at my own leisure that summer, I realised how much I loved it. I have since gone on to devour the majority of his work, and have currently settled on “Sanctuary”. By no means easy reads, Faulkner is a fan of a long, rambling sentence and a master of the Southern Gothic genre. Think crumbling houses, families which complex relationships and slowly uncovering secrets, and generally tragic characters.
Robert Mapplethorpe: The Archive
One for your coffee table, this beautiful book showcases the work of my favourite photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe. His controversial images shocked everyone in the 1980s, as he explore male sexuality in a confronting and sensual manner. Many of his work was banned, making it all the more tantalising (obviously), and his portraits are somewhat challenging. The book explores his life and work from the aforementioned graphic portraits to his beautiful still life work using flowers and fruit, which still manage to convey the same sensuality as even his most sexually charged work.