Bookish Discussions

Autumn TBR

Hi friends!

It’s finally starting to feel like Autumn and I’m so ready. The crisp mornings, the darkening days, the smell of spiced apple and cosy reading corners.

What better way to celebrate the new season by setting myself an Autumn reading list? The books I’ve chosen fit with the dark and cosy aesthetics of Autumn. From non-fiction to modern classics, witchy reads to sadism, I’ve got the lot. Let’s take a closer look at my Autumn picks:


THE MARQUIS DE SADE’S JUSTINE

This is the oldest book on my TBR and probably the darkest.EDE93769-21D1-4E3F-B56F-C8A855026CB6-1DEC5EE0-8B94-435B-986A-BCEC5641ED7B

Orphaned and penniless at 12, the beautiful and devout Justine embarks upon her remarkable odyssey. Her steadfast faith and naive trust in everyone she meets destine her from the outset for sexual exploitation and martyrdom.

If you didn’t know, or couldn’t guess, this is where the word “sadism” comes from. The Marquis de Sade has a very… unusual style of writing, examining the tattoo corners of civilisation. I recently read another French translated classic early this year, The Nun by Denis Diderot, which was disturbing but an interesting read. I hope this one is, too. Understandably, it’s going to be an uncomfortable experience, but I’ve heard great things about this one.


ALLEN RAINE’S A WELSH WITCH

I recently came across Honno Classics, a small publishing house that has a series dedicated to Welsh Women’s Classics. I visited their website out of curiosity. As soon as I saw A Welsh Witch, I knew I had to buy a few.

I’m a sucker for witchy books.

This one just misses the mark for a Victorian classic, being published in 1902, but it’s still fresh from the period. I assume it has a lot of tropes and characteristics of this time. I’ve never read about a Welsh witch before – an English and a Scottish one, yes, but not a Welsh one. It has a long-winded blurb, but here is a lovely little summary that tells you anything but the plot:

A Welsh Witch parallels a superstitious fishing village and an early industrial community with its harsh working conditions, and explores the ways in which human resilience and empathy can make a “romance of rough places.”

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Bookish Discussions

Historical Fiction Recommendations

We all know I’m a lover of historical fiction. If I’m not reading a Victorian classic, I’m reading a book set in the Victorian period.

I thought I’d talk through some of my favourite historical fictions – I’m trying to branch these out a little and not repeat myself (but, of course, I would 100% recommend The Familiars and The King’s Witch).


The Conviction of Cora Burns

I read this one recently and absolutely loved it. 415b1d93-10d8-492f-8cb3-1785edafce11-5760f2bf-f2dd-49d2-9c87-dc962a783a43

Birmingham, 1880s. Born in a goal and grew up in a workhouse, Cora has always struggled to control the violence inside her. Where can Cora’s life possibly take her when she released from her prison?

I really loved this. A brilliant book which looks at insanity and psychology from a Victorian perspective. Is insanity hereditary? or is it a reaction to our surroundings? Nature vs. nurture? Mix this with photography, and how multiple likeness can show a similar trait in criminals, you’ve got a fantastic book that examines social and cultural issues of a Victorian industrial city.


The Confessions of Frannie Langton

A servant and former slave is accused of murdering her employer and his wife in this gripping and intense read that moves from a Jamaican sugar plantation to the streets of Georgian London.

Confessions was such a compelling read. Sara Collins really knows how to write a story. I think what makes this one so unique is the slave narrative. It was interesting to examine how being a slave affected the psyche of someone their whole life – it raises question of guilt and revenge and justice. It was a sensitive and emotional story of a working-class black woman in Georgian England.

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Bookish Discussions

Favourite Books of the Year So Far:

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I know, I’m late to the party, but I wanted to get this up.

Before July started, I had read 51 books. I’m on track to read roughly 110 this year, which is my new goal, but let’s focus on the first half of the year.

I had some good reading months, and some naff ones, but I’ve managed to whittle down 51 books to five *really* great onesMost of them, if not all of them actually, are historical. We’ve one non-fiction, and then the rest are historical fiction, mainly set in the Victorian period.


The Binding by Bridget Collins

I find it hard to believe this is Collins’ debut novel. It was complex, emotional and original.

Reminiscent of the 19th century, people can visit book binders to rid themselves of painful or treacherous memories. Once bound, their memories lose the power to haunt them. Emmett Farmer, our protagonist, is sent to be a binder’s apprentice. His curiosity is peaked when he is forbidden to enter the room in which the books are stored, and by the arrival of the lordly Lucian Darnay, with whom he senses a connection with.

The Binding had such an innotivate storyline, taking something we are familiar with and turning it on its head. Who would have thought that books could possibly be someone’s unwanted memories? It’s immersive and beautifully written, with an unexpected romance and an excellent set of characters. A must read!

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