Women & Their Books: Madeleine Walker
8/15/2018

Women & Their Books: Madeleine Walker



It kinda sorta maybe blows my mind that it is now August and it's time for another brilliant lady to take over Women and Their Books. This month, we're keeping it local and I'm stoked she was keen to be featured. Madeleine Walker is the brainchild behind The Twenties Club, source of inspiration, laugh-out-loud funny stories, payday treats and much more. It's one of the few websites I still frequent daily to see if there's new stories to peruse and I know a lot of my girlfriends feel the same way. We can't get enough of it. Today Maddy will be sharing some insights on the books that have shaped her. Enjoy, and as always, if you want to nominate someone to be featured here let me know...


What are you currently reading?

-I Feel Bad About My Neck x Nora Ephron. I've felt guilty about not reading it earlier because I knew that I would love it. So far it has lived up to my expectations!

What is your most read book?

-I'm not sure if this is embarrassing or not, but Looking For Alaska x John Green. I've read it approximately eight times. I went through a stage where I would read it every Summer. Before that book I never enjoyed reading. I've also read Too Much & Not The Mood x Durga Chew-Bose a few times since first reading it last year, it's covered in my scribbles and underlines and notes, and I know that I will come back to it time and time again throughout my twenties. 

What is your favourite book by a female author and why?

-It's a tie between Too Much & Not The Mood x Durga Chew-Bose and Everything I Know About Love x Dolly Alderton. Durga and Dolly make me proud to be a woman. 


Is there a book you wish you had written?

-Anything by Zadie Smith, Nora Ephron, Dolly Alderton or Durga Chew-Bose. Any time a female writer talks about the female experience in all its complexities and ugly truths it viscerally affects me and lingers with me for days. That's all a writer could ever hope to achieve.

If you were going to write your own book, what would it be about?

-I actually have something that I often think about writing, but I will keep those cards close to my chest for a little longer. For now it resides in the Notes of my iPhone.

Finally, what books are currently on your wishlist?

-I need to finish Feel Free x Zadie Smith which is a collection of some of her most famous essays. I started it, but because Zadie is so intelligent and articulate it's quite dense and time-consuming and I'm not nearly intelligent enough to finish that book in a single sitting. I also want to read Can You Tolerate This? x Ashleigh Young.

Be sure to give The Twenties Club a peruse, subscribe to the newsletter and check out Madeleine's Instagram while you are there too. 

-All images c/o The Twenties Club, shot by Holly Burgess. 
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Words that Resonate
8/13/2018

Words that Resonate



Words are such a powerful thing. I know we say actions speak louder than words but how true is that really? I think words are equally, if not more powerful. Lately I have taken to underlining passages I love in my books-and adding further inscriptions along the way. I also write down page numbers to go back to and find myself writing out extracts of words, conversations or ideas that resonate in my diary more often than not. You get it-words hold lasting impacts and meaning. Today I thought I'd share some of my favourite words that I've been all "yass underline" or "girl, yass-write it down" over...

/ Why blue? People ask me this question often. I never know how to respond. We don't get to choose what or whom we love, I want to say. We just don't get to choose. / -Maggie Nelson, Bluets

/ Drink too much coffee and think of you often in a city where reality has long been forgotten. Are you afraid because I'm terrified? You remind me that it's such a wonderful thing to love. / -Florence Welch, Patricia

/ With your black pool eyes and your bitten lips the world is at your fingertips. / -Florence Welch, South London Forever

/ ...we go out anonymous into the insect air and all we are is the dust of colour, brief engineering of wings towards a glint of light on a blade of grass or a leaf in a summer dark. / -Ali Smith, How To Be Both

/ At some point, you have to set down the past. At some point, you have to accept that everyone was doing their best. At some point, you have to gather yourself up, and go onward into your life. / -Olivia Laing, The Trip to Echo Spring

/ Because it's true; more than the highlights, the bright events, it was in the small and the daily where she'd found life. / -Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies

/ I love people, I love them, I think as a stamp collector loves his collection. Every story, every conversation is raw material for me. / -Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

/ Hope was what separated me from the flat expanse of the rest of my life. It was like a line, a gateway that stopped me from being swallowed. / -Melissa Broder, The Pisces

*What words have inspired you lately?
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What I've Read In Winter
8/09/2018

What I've Read In Winter



I'm sure it surprises nobody that I read a lot. I would justify it to y'all but then I was thinking you know what, I enjoy it and it makes my heart+soul sparkly so I don't feel it needs justifying. Not that reading is a bad thing. Anyway, Winter is peak reading time. The temperatures drop and I stay indoors. Electric blanket on, pages to turn and mull over. Yes please. Today we have a little list of some of the books I've been reading during Winter. There's a heap of fiction which is unusual for me, the memoir+essay loving person that I am. On a more pleasing note, everything is written by women. #whoruntheworld am I right ladies? 

fates and furies x lauren groff: What a book. An utterly rewarding novel although it did take me a while to get into it. The story of the marriage between Lotto and Mathilde who meet as struggling creatives and live a life that is rich and flawed and full. Fates and Furies is split into two; fates being the story of Lotto and Furies Mathilde's. I will admit Fates did drag a little bit for me and I found Furies a lot more satisfying. That could just be because I left it too long between readings. I did really enjoy it though and have passed it along to one of my friends to read next.

ponti x sharlene teo: This was the Lit Reads title for July. Lit Reads being Time Out's book club here in Auckland. Admittedly this is not a novel I'd usually reach for but the fact it is a story of three young women, across three different time periods and all intertwining really appealed to me. Three young women coming of age in Singapore. Teo really captures all the intricacies of young adulthood and that feverish heat+tropical environment so vividly. Yes I found some of her descriptions a bit much...ahem, tapeworm but that's really the only thing I didn't like about this. All three women are flawed and unlikeable which I love. You don't hate them per se but the fact they are more real and nuanced makes these stories that much more appealing. 


things i don't want to know x deborah levy: The first book in Levy's trilogy of autobiographical writings. This one focuses on her childhood and adolescence across South Africa and then England. The title, drawing from the idea that what we don't want to know is what we cannot write down. We can't see it in ink because it's too painful. Too permanent. A concept I could really relate to and I feel like anybody who writes or keeps a journal will find it resonates as well. You don't need to read Levy's volumes in order. The two published stand alone but I highly recommend you get ahold of them both.

bluets x maggie nelson: A reread for me, inspired by Ella and Durga's discussion of colour at the Writers Festival, more on that here. A wonderful, brilliant, passionate consideration of blue as a colour, a feeling and an overarching idea. In it Nelson writes on everything from the way she curates blue objects, to the feelings around Joni Mitchell's Blue album (well worth a listen, one of my all time favourites), how we associate colour with feelings without being explicit about it among other things. I underlined and scribbled notes all through Bluets this time. Freakin' love everything about this book.

crudo x olivia laing: I am currently reading this alongside The Lonely City, also by Laing. Crudo is her first novel and it is semi-autobiographical yet it centres around Kathy Acker as the protagonist. For those unfamiliar, Kathy Acker was an American writer. Written over seven weeks, I believe, Laing ruminates on the world as she knew it in 2017 and the way in which our collective lives are shaped now. Subsequently it hits close to home in many regards and I find myself reading it in bursts as a result but it is by no means a downer of a book. If that makes sense. Side note: I love the grotesque beauty of this cover. Too good.

the pisces x melissa broder: Ah this book. The book I 100% do not recommend you bring to an office of non-readers. "Is this like Fifty Shades!? Sophie, what are you reading?!" Lesson learnt. This novel is quite the read; mermen, mental health and a lot of romance. It's an addicting read. A NSFW read but an addicting read no less.

-What have you read recently?
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Five Things: August
8/06/2018

Five Things: August



August is here and I think an idea that's probably going to define my month is change. Speaking of change-things will be changing around these parts in due course. Let's focus on the now though shall we? This month we have a movie-musical I'm kinda obsessed with, a book I want to gift all my girlfriends, makeup and some wishlist worthy things...

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again: Specifically the soundtrack but also the movie. To know me is to know I love ABBA and musicals so I was going to be hard-pressed not to like this movie. That being said, I was concerned about the absence of Meryl. And while that did bother me a tad, no spoilers, this new story made up for it. Lily James was brilliant as young Donna-what a voice. I also found myself majorly loving the costumes, that seventies Bohemian thing though yass. Seriously though, Mamma Mia 2 is a good time. An emotionally charged time but a good time no less. Do it. 

Scattered Light: Hourglass have been on fire with their new releases. I loved their concealer, dropped a few months back and have heard equally good things about their loose powder and mascara. Today though, we have their new glitter eyeshadows. Think cream to powder and you can layer up the glitter, depending on what takes your fancy. I have the shade Reflect, a champagne hue which is versatile enough to throw on whenever. I like to layer it with other glitters; pigments and liquid shadows but it works equally as well on its own. The formula of these reminds me of the pressed glitter in Charlotte Tilbury's eyeshadow palettes. Velvety and budge-proof. Love love love. 

Everything Dolly Alderton Knows About Love: This is really one of those books I think everyone should just read for themselves and discover its brilliance in their own way. That'd make this the shortest paragraph ever so here's what I said on Instagram: "I wasn't sure what to expect from this book and it wasn't really until I started listening to Dolly's podcast that accompanies the book, as well as The High Low show that I really was like okay, I need to read this right now. Abandon all the other books. Which I gladly did. My god what a book. Brilliant, moving. Such a wonderful look at relationships, women and friendship in all its forms. I cried. I laughed loudly. I wanted to rip out pages and wallpaper my walls with them...I couldn't have read this book at a better time and really encourage you all to do so."

Iconic Notebooks: Everyone's favourite tome, frankie have this trio of snazzy, fangirl notebooks. Susan Sarandon, Molly Ringwald, Debbie Harry. Perfect for jotting down equally as iconic prose and of course they're beautiful to look at. 

Things I Want But Don't Need #1: Ah the quickfire round of treat yo'self goodness. Firstly, Peony & Blush Suede Body+Hand Wash from Jo Malone London. I know this would go down a treat in my bathroom but I'd want to hide it away and save it for myself. The struggle is real slash #sophiedoesnotsharefancythings. Next up, the Golden Hour ring x my favourites, Zoe and Morgan. I already have one of their rings from a recent sale they did and I wear it to death so I know this would be well loved. Last but by no means least, one for when I win the lottery; this bag. Never not thinking about it. Plus my cardholder needs a friend, yes cardholders have feelings. Okay moving along...
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Women & Their Books: Sandrine Vaillancourt
7/29/2018

Women & Their Books: Sandrine Vaillancourt



What better way to round out the month than with bookish banter and another inspiring, brilliant lady showcasing her books? This month we have one of my blog-friends, all the way over in Montreal, the lovely Sandrine chatting about her books. Sandrine writes on a wide range of topics, from books to fashion and she also vlogs+has a killer Instagram. She's one of the people responsible for introducing me to what is easily one of my alltime favourite memoirs, Dolly Alderton's. Fun fact, she even met Dolly whilst she was in London recently. We have similar tastes when it comes to books so I may be a litle more biased than usually but Sandrine's recommended some great reads so I hope you enjoy her lil' interview...


-What are you currently reading?

I just started reading Nora Ephron's collection of essays called Crazy Salad & Scribble Scribble, which were originally published as columns for Esquire magazine in the 1970s. It's very different from her other books I've read, which felt more personal, so I'm still trying to figure out if I like this one or not. She is hilarious and extremely gifted with a talent for writing but unfortunately these essays feel a bit outdated.

-What is your most read book?

Funnily enough I rarely reread books, unless it's a coffee table book because I can go back to certain sections without reading the whole thing again. For example I love Pernille Teisbaek's Dress Scandinavian (above). Her style is perfection and I love the way her passion for fashion translates into words, so I sometimes go back to chapters I've loved or have forgotten. The same goes for Alexa Chung's It or A Paris Dream by Jeanne Damas. 


-What is your favourite book written by a woman? 

Dolly Alderton's Everything I Know About Love. This memoir completely changed the way I see nonfiction pieces and literary representations of women. Although her life and the challenges she has to go through are completely different from my own experiences,  this book made me feel a wide range of emotions. It's probably the only book I would ever want to read again and again, and I'd recommend it to every woman in their twenties.

-What was your favourite book or series of books as a child?

When I was young, I mostly read French-Canadian books like Le journal d'Aurelie Laflamme (Aurelie Laflamme's Diary) but unfortunately I was not a big reader. I started getting more into chick-lit when I was around twelve. Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series were my favourite. 


-Is there any book you wish you had written?

Dolly's book is one of them and The Rules Do Not Apply x Ariel Levy is another one. Nonfiction is such a fascinating genre and authors need to have such a curiosity, attention for detail and an awareness of the people around them to deliver something so personal to a wider audience. Levy's memoir is certainly modern and I loved reading about her experience of writing for The New Yorker

-Finally, what books are on your wishlist at the moment?

There are so many! I've just ordered Promising Young Women x Caroline O'Donoghue which was recommended by Dolly Alderton. I'm also looking forward to reading Why Social Media Is Ruining Our Lives x journalist Katherine Ormerod-someone I coincidentally love to follow on social media. Her book is coming out in October so I'll have time to read a few books before then. Finally, something a bit different from what I usually read, She Must Be Mad a collection of poems x Charly Cox. 

/ / Thanks so much to Sandrine for being a part of my Women+Their Books series for July! Next month we are bringing things back to my side of the world and I'm excited to share that with you as well as some other fabulous women I have lined up in the coming months. If there's anyone you think I should feature in this series, sing out. 

*All images c/o Sandrine's blog. 





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