I’ve never been one for horror films. I’m the easiest person to scare and until last year, the creepiest movie I’d watched was The Others. But scrolling through Netflix one evening, I decided to watch Carrie. After all, I’ve read the book. Yes, I still may not be a seasoned horror fan, but my enjoyment of this film definitely sparked an interest. Then someone suggested American Horror Story, a show I’d heard of and thought “yeah, like I’ll ever watch that”. Oh, how wrong I was. Read More
Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.
One of my earliest memories is of trying to draw a picture. I don’t remember what I was drawing, just that I was so frustrated because I couldn’t translate what was in my head onto the page. It was just a bunch of squiggles. That was the first time my perfectionism clashed with my creativity. Over time, perfectionism won and convinced me I wasn’t a creative person. I ended up a professional writer, yet I still believe I’m not creative. I weave words together almost every day, but I still don’t think my factual writing makes me a creative person. Big Magic made me look at things in a new light.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, I want to share some of my favourite books written by women. Looking at my bookshelves, the majority of things I read are by women so narrowing down this list was a little challenging. I also noticed my shelves were severely lacking in diversity, something I’d like to amend because I believe feminism needs to be intersectional. So, I really want to hear your recommendations.
Reading Jasper Jones with a bunch of other people on Goodreads was my first introduction to the Aussie blogging community, so in many ways it’s always held a special place in my heart. But it’s also a damn good book. Since I read the novel and was lucky enough to meet Craig Silvey in Brisbane, I’ve been waiting for this film. First, there was a stage play, but living in regional Queensland I was realistic about my chances of ever getting to see it. Even when the movie was announced and the release date drew nearer, I didn’t want to get my hopes up about being able to see this story on the big screen. Cue my extreme ALL CAPS excitement when I saw it was scheduled at our cinema. Of course, I had to bring my book blogger bestie Caitlin along for the ride.
Emma Gannon was born in 1989, the year the World Wide Web was conceived, so she’s literally grown up alongside the Internet. There’ve been late night chat room experiments, sexting from a Nokia and dubious webcam exchanges. And let’s not forget catfishing, MSN, digital friendships and #feminism. She was basically social networking way before it was a thing – and she’s even made a successful career from it.
Ctrl Alt Delete is Emma’s painfully funny and timely memoir, in which she aims to bring a little hope to anybody who has played out a significant part of their life online. Her confessions, revelations and honesty may even make you log off social media (at least for an hour).
It’s astonishing how the internet has totally transformed society in just a few decades. It’s hard to imagine life without social media and the abundance of apps most are lucky enough to have at their fingertips now. We shop online, get news online and date online. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t check Facebook at least once. Needless to say, I could absolutely relate to Emma Gannon’s debut.
“Holy shit, I look incredible!”
I don’t even know how many times I said this, or something similar, to my bestie as she showed me how our headshot session photos were turning out. I immediately put it down to her amazing photography skills (seriously, she is INCREDIBLE), the right angle, perfect lighting.
I’m 22 and still shocked when I don’t think I look disgusting in a photo. I’m even more surprised when I think I may even look a little… *whispers* hot. Can I say that?
Let’s just say it’s amazing what a few hours in front of a camera can do for your confidence.
It gets into your bones. You don’t even realise it, until you’re driving through it, watching all the things you’ve always known and leaving them behind. Young Londoners Becky, Harry and Leon are escaping the city in a fourth-hand Ford Cortina with a suitcase full of stolen money. Taking us back in time – and into the heart of London – The Bricks that Built the Houses explores a cross-section of contemporary urban life with a powerful moral microscope, giving us intimate stories of hidden lives, and showing us that good intentions don’t always lead to the right decisions. Leading us into the homes and hearts of ordinary people, their families and their communities, Kate Tempest exposes moments of beauty, disappointment, ambition and failure. Wise but never cynical, driven by empathy and ethics, The Bricks the Built the Houses questions how we live with and love one another.
Put simply, Kate Tempest is writing goals. From page one, I was in awe of her beautiful, lyrical style. The Bricks that Built the Houses weaves together the lives of several South Londoners with so much depth, it’s simply stunning. Tempest has become an acclaimed poet, but this book is evidence she is a force to be reckoned with as a novelist as well.
When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues’ wedding, all the blame falls on her – turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. Shamed online and ostracised by everyone she knows, her boss suggests an extended sabbatical – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen. Easy, right?
Wrong. Banished back to her home town of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a man who probably hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in a decade, but also suffering an excruciating regression to her teenage years as she moves back in with her widowed father and judgey, layabout sister.
When the world is asking who you are, it’s hard not to question yourself. Who’s that girl? Edie is ready to find out.
Whenever I’m feeling a little down or in a bit of a reading slump, Mhairi McFarlane is my go-to girl. Her books are the perfect contemporaries; just the right mix of drama, romance and comedy. Who’s That Girl? was brilliant and helped me through a tough time at the end of last year. I haven’t stopped recommending it since.
Since I started blogging, my book collection has exploded. I’m buying more than I ever did before, but I’m also being sent dozens of new books for review. Unfortunately I’m not as ruthless as I’d like to be when it comes to my own little library. Really, I’m rather sentimental and it takes a lot for me to let go of books.
Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.
From the bestselling author of Beautiful Broken Things comes a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout.
There are very few books I’ve related to quite as much as A Quiet Kind of Thunder. Honestly, it was as though Sara Barnard was inside my brain as she perfectly described the anxiety-driven stream of thoughts which can flood the brain, immobilising and taking control.