Poems as refuge: In The Pink by The Raving Beauties (1983)

‘Poetry has become divorced from our lives. We no longer feel part of the great oral and written tradition of myths and legends in which so many things were once protected and preserved. Nothing protects us, our minds, bodies and spirits are freely raped in the age of atomic suicide. The eternal truths of language…

Kurt Cobain: 25 years on

It’s hard to believe that it was twenty five years ago that I ran out of my parents’ bedroom crying melodramatically that ‘Kurt Cobain’s dead!!!’ after emergency tele-communications from a school friend on a Spring Sunday morning (oh for the days pre-internet/mobile phones, when such shattering news could be delivered so personally).  At 13, my tribute…

Armistice 2018: Beyond the Glass by Antonia White (1954)

Set in the twenties and the last in the ‘Frost in May’ series, Antonia White’s semi-autobiographical account of a young woman’s descent into madness after an intense love affair with a soldier too swiftly follows a failed marriage includes the following haunting scene appropriate for this poignant Sunday. During High Mass, requiem is being sung…

Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

I began reading Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe with low expectations. Can a woman who voluntarily renames herself Fannie Flagg be trusted to write a great work of literature? Can a book which inspires a film starring Chris O’Donnell be anything other than pure schmaltz? I won’t fannie about (sorry). Yes, Fried…

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2018!

Following our posts to celebrate International Women’s Day in 2016 and 2017, we’re back again for #IWD2018 with a bounty of books to explore woman’s place in the world. Set in Rosenau, an isolated alpine farming community in Austria, Homestead by Rosina Lippi begins with a mysterious love letter – its intended recipient potentially being…

Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles (1943)

To inspire us this New Year’s Day, the very surreal tale of two genteel women who go off the rails in spectacular fashion. New Year’s Eve carries high expectations. On those rare occasions when one does not struggle home on a crowded night bus thinking ‘why the hot damn did I not stay in with…

Moll: The Life & Times of Moll Flanders by Sian Rees

In The Life & Times of Moll Flanders, Sian Rees retraces the story of one of fiction’s most infamous, intriguing and oft-misrepresented heroines to reveal how thin the line between fiction and reality can really be. It’s 20 years (eek) since I read Moll Flanders during the summer holiday between GCSEs and A-levels. It has…

The Anatomist by Federico Andahazi (translated by Alberto Manguel)

The Anatomist is based on the story of the 16th century Italian scientist, Mateo Colombo,  who discovered the role of the ‘Amor Veneris’ – the clitoris – in female pleasure. Yes, I am talking about ladybits in this week’s post, having decided to throw caution to the Bromley winds and go Marginally Kinky. Perhaps some of…

Mother: Portraits by 40 Great Artists by Juliet Heslewood

This week’s Random Book of the Week is a quick post as I shortly have to make the trek from Sarf to Norf London in order to worship at the altar of The Woman Who Gave Me Life. Yes folks, it’s Mothering Sunday, that day of the year when Clintons et al make a lot…

Votes For Women and other plays, edited and introduced by Susan Croft

Continuing our International Women’s Week theme, an anthology of rare early 20th century plays written by female dramatists about the struggle for female suffrage. Susan Croft’s anthology includes seven ‘suffrage plays’, including the comparatively well-known Votes for Women (Elizabeth Robins) and How the Vote Was Won (Cicely Hamilton and Christopher St. John), and other rarer…