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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The Odd Women | A Remarkably Feminist Victorian Story

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I think I love George Gissing.

I mean, I’ve only read two of his books, but he is magnificent.

One of my favourite Victorian authors of all-time. No doubt.

So, The Odd Women. Opposing the “New Woman” fiction of the era, Gissing satirises the image and portrays unmarried women as “odd” for not wanting to marry. Set in grimy London, these odd women range from the idealistic, financially self-sufficient Mary Barfoot to the Madden sisters, who struggle to subsist in low paying jobs and little chance for joy. Is marriage the be-all and end-all for Victorian women?

It is a powerful story of women fighting against their so-called “duty”: marriage.

Gissing wrote such emotive passages on the plight of marriage, especially seen through Monica Madden, who sadly gives into this ideal and lives a very unhappy life. Gissing suggests that marriage isn’t always the best option for women in the Victorian period. Yes, it might have secured them financially and advanced their social position, but it poses a threat to their health and happiness.

It was Monica’s story that was the most distressing to read. Viewed as the prettiest of six sisters, Monica’s duty is to marry. Growing up, however, she finds the Odd Women movement enticing. A life of liberty – with freedom to move as and when she pleases, to work for a living, to make her own choices? Heaven.

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Revisiting the Brontës: Jane Eyre

‘Do you think I am an automaton? A machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think me wrong!’


635F70C3-6EBB-47AB-8D69-892F1DA750EFI made it my goal this year to reread (and annotate) all the Brontë novels. It’s safe to say that won’t be happening. I’ve only managed two so far, leaving me with five. It’s doable, but I don’t want to dedicate the rest of the reading year to it, so I’ll carry it onto next year instead.

One of the challenges for this year’s #Victober was to re-read a Victorian classic, so, naturally, I chose Jane EyreIt’s my favourite book of all time. My comfort book. The one I can return to time and time again, never growing bored, and always taking away something new from it. It’s my third time rereading it. I somehow loved it even more this time round.

As usual, the remaining chapters is what makes the book so special to me. It might seem weird to say, but I feel privileged to have witnessed Jane’s journey through life. Charlotte told the story in a way that allowed me to build a relationship with our protagonist. I felt what she felt; I craved what she craved; and I was desolate when she was desolate. It probably has something to do with the type of character Jane is: she’s ordinary. Just like any other. She isn’t a distant, middle-class character; she is very much present in the real world.

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