I came across this link the other day and it made me think about how women are portrayed in art and mostly in literature. I know, a wide field certainly....
What do female characters reveal about themselves and what does our reaction to them reveal about us?
Here are some recommendations that will challenge you a bit:
She Rises by Kate WorsleyI raise my hat, or rather my tiara, to this book. A debut novel and brilliant in its voice, structure, and story. This book exposed me as a total bigot, a literary one at that. I always think I've read it all, I've seen it all, I got the t-shirt. Well, this nifty little book got me by surprise. Two strands of a story, one gripping the other one dull come together with an electrifying clash that I was unable to foresee. That's quite a feat. And above all this book has the courage to move beyond the conventional end and continue with the story that made it feel so real and so relevant that I was very upset when it was over.
As another reviewer has summed it up: First there was Luke. He was just fifteen when he found himself in the wrong place at wrong time, and was press-ganged into the His Majesty's Navy. There was no way out, and he found himself sailing away on a warship. He had to learn fast, what was required of him, who he could trust. He was a the beginning of an extraordinary adventure, but he could only think of the girl he had left behind.
And then there was Louise, a young dairymaid who was presented a wonderful chance to better herself. She became a lady's maid in the household of a sea captain, and she began to search for her brother who had last been seen in the same harbour town. But she was somewhat distracted from that search by the young lady she served, who behaved in ways that were quite unexpected. As did Louise...
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Working as a lady's companion, the heroine of Rebecca has few options in life. And life does begin to look very bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. The memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper Mrs Danvers and by the presence of the sea that exudes a strange and ominous attraction for them all..
"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again" is the book's famous opening line. The image and sounds of the sea run throughout the book. "And the ashes blew towards us with the salt wind from the sea" is the last line. Go ahead, take the journey and find out what lies between this first and last sentence ;-)
The heroine of “Rebecca” has no name. She is never introduced, she remains anonymous. Have you noticed?
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
In 1843, a 16-year-old Canadian housemaid named Grace Marks was tried for the murder of her employer and his mistress. The sensationalistic trial made headlines throughout the world, and the jury delivered a guilty verdict. Yet opinion remained fiercely divided about Marks- -was she a spurned woman who had taken out her rage on two innocent victims, or was she an unwilling victim herself, caught up in a crime she was too young to understand? Such doubts persuaded the judges to commute her sentence to life imprisonment, and Marks spent the next 30 years in an assortment of jails and asylums, where she was often exhibited as a star attraction. In Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood reconstructs Marks's story in fictional form. Her portraits of 19th-century prison and asylum life are chilling in their detail. The author also introduces Dr Simon Jordan, who listens to the prisoner's tale with a mixture of sympathy and disbelief. In his effort to uncover the truth, Jordan uses the tools of the then rudimentary science of psychology. But the last word belongs to the book's narrator--Grace herself.
Saving Mr. Banks DVD
A film with Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, that tells the true story of PL Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins books, who gets invited by Walt Disney to help create the Mary Poppins movie. However, Travers has no intention of letting her beloved nanny go to Hollywood. SAVING MR. BANKS follows Walt as he has to pull out all the stops to change PL Travers’ mind and is ultimately forced to reach back into his own childhood to discover the truth about the ghosts that haunt her. Together they set Mary Poppins free to become one of the most endearing films in cinematic history. It's sweet and funny and though I found Colin Farrell as the father figure, slightly disturbing it is an enjoyable movie for some winter escapism.
All of this and much more is waiting for you at our library!
So next time you're at the Association, pick up a little treat and delight :-)