September favourites

You may have noticed some recent changes to The Fourth Month. I’m now residing at thefourthmonth.blog and pages like Food, Wellbeing and Shopping have returned to the site. In February, I wrote a blog about Changes, where I announced The Fourth Month would focus solely on the publishing industry and books. However, since I made this ‘niche’ for myself, I found myself completely uninspired. So I’ve decided to go back to my roots and The Fourth Month will be a mix and match of anything and everything once again.

In the spirit of embracing chaos, I am starting a monthly ‘favourites’ blog, which will be a list of random products from books and magazines to beauty and candles to delicious foodie treats.

Enjoy x


Breathe & Teen Breathe Magazine

I featured Issue One of Breathe Magazine in a blog last year (August 2016 Home Inspiration) when I first discovered this amazing publication. A year on and they have recently launched their sister magazine, Teen Breathe, which aims to help teens and young adults find a bit of peace and quiet in their hectic, social-media driven lives. The beautiful illustrations and peaceful content of Breathe magazines have resonated with me from day one. A year later and I’m still enjoying every issue. Not only does it look great on your coffee table but it’s bursting with ideas to improve your mental and physical wellbeing. I also think it’s pretty inexpensive as far as luxury magazines go. I recently subscribed so that I never miss an issue – I love it that much!

Get an annual subscription to Breathe for your Amazon Kindle.

If you’d like me to do a full review of the recent issues of Breathe magazine then please comment below or drop me a line at thefourthmonth@icloud.com.

Rustic bath shelf from Sainsbury’s

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Face cloths from Asda, candles from Aldi and Wax Lyrical UK, face mask and body scrub from Lush Cosmetics

I’ve been desperate for a bath shelf for AGES. I love running a hot bubble bath after a stressful day and some over-the-bath storage is the perfect addition to a soak in the tub. I picked this up in Sainsbury’s – their homeware selection is gorgeous – and I like to use it to show off my favourite bath time products: some rolled-up face cloths, Lush cosmetics and a couple of gorgeous candles. It’s like my own mini spa. There’s also room for a glass of wine (or two). If you’re on a budget, you can up-cycle an old wooden shelf for the same (if not better) effect.

Aldi Lime, Basil and Mandarin Candle

This Jo Malone dupe is getting ALL THE HYPE lately and I can see why. At £3.99, this supermarket candle will cost you 90% less than the real deal. While I’m not convinced about the ethics behind such a cheap dupe, I can confidently say that this candle smells just like the Jo Malone original and leaves a long-lasting, strong fragrance in the air. It also looks really luxurious and mimics the classic Jo Malone style beautifully. Ultimately, I will probably continue to splash out on a real Jo Malone candle once in a blue moon because you always get what you pay for but this Aldi dupe will definitely keep me going in-between – I’ve already bought three!

Mini lavender pots

I love a bargain! So I was pretty excited when I saw this set of three artificial miniature lavender plants in a cream wire basket reduced to £7 in Tesco. I skipped to the checkout and to my delight, these cuties were reduced even further – to £1.70! I couldn’t believe it. I love seeing these lavender plants perched on my kitchen windowsill every morning. I haven’t seen them in any local Tesco stores since and I can’t find them online but you can get a similar set from Melody Maison for only £8.95.

Try adding a couple of drops of real lavender essence to give some authenticity your artificial plants. Lavender oil has some wonderful healing properties which make it a great bedtime companion.

Lazy Sunday Coffee

Jamie and I recently bought a coffee grinder and French Press from IKEA so that we could enjoy freshly ground coffee in the mornings instead of instant. However, I often find fresh coffee too strong or too bitter but I was pleasantly surprised by Taylor’s of Harrogate’s ‘Lazy Sunday’ coffee. With hints of hazelnut and citrus, these coffee beans don’t claim to be “knock-your-socks-off, drag-you-awake coffee.” Instead, this is “coffee for lie-ins and Sunday papers, for lazy mornings with your feet on the sofa.” If I was a cup of coffee, this is what I would be.

You can buy three bags of Taylors of Harrogate Lazy Sunday Medium Roast Ground Coffee for £8.65 on Amazon.

On the subject of coffee, we’re thinking about getting a proper barista coffee machine for our Christmas this year. Do you have any recommendations or know of any coffee machines we should steer clear of? Let me know in the comments or get in touch on Instagram.


What are you loving this September? The weather is cooling and it’s time to break out the hats and scarves again. Do you have any go-to products for Autumn? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram.

Tidelines Book Festival 2017

Yes, The Fourth Month blog still lives. I’m back to write about a book festival taking place in my very own hometown later this year. Forget about the Fringe! Tidelines is North Ayrshire’s only independent book festival. This year’s Tidelines festival (21-24 September) boasts Chris Brookmyre, 404 Ink, drams of whisky, banned books and prohibition cocktails amongst 18  fantastic events which will take place in 4 venues around Irvine’s Harbourside area.

Tidelines Book Festival 2017 is a book festival not just for bookish folk like me. The events range from TV drama to soul music to murder mysteries and fairy stories. A schools programme runs alongside the 18  events so there is plenty for the whole family to enjoy. This includes The McDougalls, who I can now vouch for as being wonderfully entertaining after a lively performance of Ally Bally at this year’s programme launch.

I’ve already booked tickets for Fiona Rintoul’s introduction of Whisky Island. Guests can enjoy three tasting drams as Fiona Rintoul’s new book celebrates the Isle of Islay, its people and eight legendary whisky distilleries. I’m looking forward to the book discussion but Jamie might be more excited about the whisky tasting.

I’m incredibly excited to take part in some of the events at the end of September and I think it’s a wonderful accolade that my hometown is hosting such a varied and inclusive event. Please support the festival by joining in! The full programme details are available at www.tidelinesbookfest.com. Tickets are now on sale from the Harbour Arts Centre and prices range from £5 to £8.


“Tidelines will serve you a feast of exciting authors, ready to enrich your love of reading and your passion for ideas. Get involved. Book your places. And see you there at Tidelines 2017, your very own festival of writing talent on your very own doorstep.” – Andrew O’Hagan

10 things you should know before going to University

If you are heading to University soon, this post is for you!

Starting university is both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. You might be looking forward to all the crazy new adventures you will face but at the same time, that fear of the unknown is inevitably growing. Despite whatever is coming your way, this change will be good and will shape you into becoming an even better version of yourself.

One thing to note, everyone will have a different experience at Uni and just because your friend had an amazing or even horrible time, that don’t mean you will too. Keep an open mind about what people tell you but take in all the advice you can get. However, at the end of the day, only you can get yourself prepared and ready for the journey that, no doubt, will change you forever.

To all you new students heading to Uni after Summer, I wish you all the very best in what I’d describe as a roller coaster ride to obtaining your (hons) degree. See you at the finish line! xo

Let’s breakdown 10 things you should know before going to University.

#1 Do your research before choosing a course and University

This may seem obvious, but make sure you choose the right course for you and gather up all the facts and information you can get on both the course and Universities of your choosing. Even make pro and con lists (Rory Gilmore style) of each option to see what works best for you. After all, these choices are among the biggest decisions you will make in your life so choose wisely.

Despite some Universities being more elite than others that don’t mean that they should necessarily be your first choice. Yes, it’s great to go to the best University you can possible get into but make sure you actually choose the best Uni for your course. For example, University A might be more prestigious than University B but University B might be the number one Uni for your particular course. You catch my drift?

#2 Make sure your chosen course is one you’ll enjoy – despite the career prospects

Again, I will re-instate making sure you choose the right course for you. It doesn’t matter what your parents/friends/society etc. think about the course of your choosing because at the end of the day YOU are the one doing the degree – not them!

Close friends of mine and I have talked openly about times when the course we were currently doing might not be for us. This not only makes it very difficult along the road to obtaining the degree but it also puts even more unwanted pressure on yourself. However, things could change and you might find it was only a part of your course that you hated (this could most definitely happen) or you might just straight up think you made a bad choice early on and it was nothing like you expected. Even if that becomes you in years to come, there is always another option: don’t worry. If it does happen it could just make things a lot harder for you. So, that’s why I highly stress that you think long and hard about what is right for you. Once you make that commitment, the end goal of obtaining that degree is still a while away.

#3 You’ll make new friends, don’t fret

One of your biggest fears about beginning Uni could be: OMG, will I even make any friends? Yes, yes, you will. I promise. Just remember, that everyone is in the same position as you so you aren’t on your own. Also, these people chose this course just like you did so straight away you will have something in common that you can bond over. Quite quickly, you will see a group of friends forming and your worries over this will vanish.

I can even personally say that some of my closest friends to date are ones that I met in Uni. These people were my saving grace and got me through some hard times where I thought I wasn’t going to make it through the academic year. They brought joy and laughter, despite the high intensity of studying for a science degree, and made the whole experience even better.

Also, having fab pals while studying means you can share notes and help each other out when you struggle. If you find someone who isn’t too keen on helping you out when you need it, they aren’t truly a real friend. In my opinion, I would never let a friend or anyone in my course struggle with course-related stuff when they needed help (and couldn’t get it from a lecturer). So, you can tell them boy/girl, BYE! You truly don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

#4 Yes, it is going to be harder than school/college/other previous education or job

I’m going to keep it very real here. You want to know if it’s going to be more difficult from what you have previously done? You’re damn right it will be! Get ready to work super hard and study your life away for the next few years.

My advice to you, is keep on top of everything from day ONE! Yes, 1st year of your course might seem really easy to you but that doesn’t mean you should slack off. Get into good habits now because once you make it through each academic year, it’s only going to get harder. You don’t want yourself just sailing through 1st year, not really bothering, and then BOOM – the workload of 2nd year hits you when you least expect it. Despite all this, YOU CAN DO IT. No matter what, you got accepted into this course for a reason so don’t doubt that you cannot do it. Work hard, and you’ll see the results you deserve.

#5 Wave goodbye to your social life

Here I am keeping it real – again! Once you move up the years, the workload increases and the modules get harder. Be ready to wave goodbye to your social life. It might suck for a while but at least once all the hard work of doing coursework and studying for exams are over, you have all the time in the world to have fun.

I’m not saying you will never see any of your friends, I’m just saying don’t expect to be able to continue to do the fun things you want to do, especially at exam time. Wouldn’t it be better in the long run to take time out your social life in order to study and pass than go out all the time and then fail? I know (from experience) what I’d rather do.

#6 Grades don’t define who you are

Okay, let’s talk grades. This is one thing many students don’t always want to talk about (me included) but I just thought it was important to say a few things on this matter. Yes, getting the best grade is always what you should aim for. However, if you end up getting a bad grade, this is not an accurate representation of who you are. Don’t let one bad grade put you off and make you feel like a failure. Simply use this as a tool to work harder next time and learn where you went wrong with it.

If you find yourself continuously doing bad in coursework and exams – go get help! Whether that’s reaching out to one of your friends, lecturers, or any other person from the Uni, they will be able to give you good advice. My Uni even has a learning development center where you can go learn new study techniques and more, which can be highly beneficial if you find yourself not doing as well as you expected.

#7 There is a chance you might fail exams

This may be a hard thing to take in but you might end up failing an exam(s) once you start attending Uni. You may also find yourself never failing, which is amazing, but I really wanted to make sure you were aware that failing is a possibility. By having the right mindset and good work ethic, you can give yourself the best chance of exceeding well and obtaining great grades.

If you do end of facing a horrible situation where you end up failing an exam or exams, don’t just give up (check back to #6). Despite doing bad in one exam, you are not a terrible student. Learn from your mistakes and work hard to ensure you improve for next time. Get help from those around you and learn new techniques and hopefully you can avoid failing again.

From a personal experience of failing exams, I’ve hated myself for it. I felt embarrassed and even doubted if this was the right course for me. I then changed my attitude and worked even harder to ensure that I passed next time. I promise you: you will get through it. With the right frame of mind and support from family/friends/lecturers – you will get there in the end. Saying that, if you end up being one of those people who just want to change course, there are always options – seek help from a member of staff from your University.

#8 If you find yourself struggling, there is lots of help available on/off campus

PLEASE go get help if you find the stress of Uni taking over you. No matter what, someone will be there to help you. I understand that you might not want to talk to your parents or friends but there will be people specifically trained on and off campus to get you through it. Your University will probably have councillors that you can make appointments with to speak one-on-one to. They will give you the best advice and it might actually help ease some of your issues simply with talking it out with someone. If you can’t stand the thought of physically speaking to someone, look online as there are lots of resources which can help you there. However, I personally do think you shouldn’t suffer alone. By reaching out to at least one person, that can be a great help.

I really think that more should be done for the mental wellbeing of students. I don’t think some people truly understand the pressures we face while studying and that weight can became too heavy to carry at times. It’s time to beat the stigma and re-enforce that mental health is a real issue and no one should suffer alone. Again, I state, please go get help if you find yourself struggling to cope while at University (even if the problems arised from a non-course related issue).

#9 Try to get as much work experience as you can alongside your academic studies

You may be lucky and get to do placements that are integrated into your course. However, if you don’t, that shouldn’t stop you from going out there and trying to get work experience off your own back. Heck, if I was an employer and I saw you took initiative to go organised such things yourself, I’d be more inclined to hire you.

Not only will work experience help you make good connections in the real life world, you’ll also hands on get to see exactly what you’ll be doing in the job. This is very important as you could end up not actually liking what you’ll be doing and it might prompt you to switch careers. All in all, I think it is very important to get yourself out there and gain all the experience as you can. After all, it’s going to look amazing on your CV.

#10 Not everyone will know what they fully want to do once their education is finished

Here comes the big scary question people get asked when they are nearing the end of their degrees: What are you going to do once you graduate? Some might jump at joy at this and happy share all their hopes and dreams for the future. Others might simply have zero clue. I want you to know you could be either and none of them is wrong.

Don’t worry if you have no idea what career path to go down once you finish up Uni, you have plenty of time to figure that out. The main thing is just making it through to graduation and finally having your degree. The world is your oyster and no matter what you choose, I’m sure you’ll eventually figure it out and be in a career you truly are happy in.

Love always,

Zina (purefandom guest writer)

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram OhMyZinaa

A Publishing Postgrad Update

Happy Sunday to you all! It’s been a while since I’ve sat down and written a blog. I recently moved into a new flat with my boyfriend and it’s been hectic! However, I have cultivated the perfect writing spot in my new home: looking out of our big window and watching the world pass by with a big cup of coffee.

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A lot has happened in the past few weeks, asides from moving into our new place, and I thought I would do a little summary blog touching on a couple of the updates in my #publishingpostgrad life.


A New Chapter: The Publishing Bureau

On Friday, I went to an interview in Glasgow for an internship at The Publishing Bureau. As with all interviews, I was incredibly nervous but I felt particularly anxious because I really wanted this job. Being a home bird from the west coast of Scotland, I’ve had my sights set on securing work in Glasgow for a while but I know that opportunities are rare compared with the likes of London, or even Edinburgh. When the job was advertised, I jumped at the chance to do the work that I love in my favourite city! Better still, the role is a great combination of my publishing degree and my work at a medical education company because a lot of the projects are scientific and technical. I was, of course, delighted to be offered the position on Friday afternoon with a start at the beginning of May. I’m really looking forward to it, especially because I’ll be doing a variety of work from design and layout to editorial and writing. Wish me luck!


Video Marketing: Linen Press Books

I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m currently doing a remote placement with Linen Press Books, the only indie women’s press in the UK. I have been loving every minute and the best thing about this job is working with such talented women across the world. Lately, we’ve been working on a campaign for Avril Joy’s book Sometimes A River Songwhich is a finalist for the People’s Book Prize. I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone and suggested we create ‘Author Confession’ videos similar to those that I edited for Scottish Book Trust (like this video with Sarah J Maas). With the help of my lovely filmmaker boyfriend, I edited together 9 videos for Avril and I’m over the moon with the end result. View them here.

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The Final Countdown

The next two weeks mark the end of my second trimester studying MSc Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University. They mark the end of classes, my job at Perceptive Med Ed and my time living in Edinburgh. I have loved living and studying in the capital city and have met some wonderful and talented individuals, who I hope I’ll be friends with for life. The next few weeks will be chaotic with deadlines – finishing my Burns poetry book and working on other bits of coursework – as well as starting my new internship. I am excited to move into the next phase of my career but I’ll be sad to see the end of this particular chapter. Plus, I still have that ominous dissertation to write!


Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for more updates on my #publishingpostgrad life.

March Reading Round Up

This will be another short round up as I simply haven’t had time to read as much as I would have liked. I’m mostly proud that I’ve only fallen one book behind in my GoodReads challenge. In March, I read Girls Will Be Girls and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and I’ve made a good dent in All The Bright Places. Read on to find out what I thought…

Girls Will Be Girls: Dressing Up, Playing Parts and Daring to Act Differently

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I finished this book at the beginning of March. It’s an autobiographical look at gender in modern-day society. I mentioned it in International Women’s Day: Books By Fierce Females because I think it is a fantastic insight into how we perceive and perform gender on an every day basis; from hair removal to the pronouns we use and the assumptions we make about people based on gender. I felt enlightened after reading it and found myself questioning the little things in life. Why is it women ‘do’ housework and men ‘help’? And why oh why does our hair matter so much? O’Toole makes sociological theory very accessible and I loved the combination of humour and light heartedness with a very heavy subject. I 100% recommend this to everyone!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Finally got around the reading the fourth book in the Harry Potter series. I liked it but not as much as I liked Prisoner of Azkaban. I think because I have watched the films and have endured the hype around these books for so many years, I find it difficult to enjoy them in their own right. I just can’t make myself love them as much as I know I should. Having said that, they do provide a great escape after a long, hard day. But seriously, the biggest takeaway from Goblet of Fire is…

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Did Not Finish… Yet

I’ve been listening to Sarah Knight’s The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving A F*** on Audible and I’m not sure how I feel about it. It’s motivational and there have been some great takeaways. Knight makes you come up with a f*** budget in which you organise the time and energy you spend on certain things in life and how you could put your f*** bucks to better use. It’s making me realise how much energy I put into things that really don’t matter i.e why should I care what people think of me if I don’t want to go out and party every other weekend? But, ultimately, I’m finding it a bit repetitive. It’s more of a series of examples of things you should and shouldn’t give a f*** about and Sarah Knight swearing a lot. I am going to finish it but, like I said, I’m not sure how I feel.

Coming Up

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I’m currently reading All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. It’s been in my TBR pile since last summer but for some reason there were always other books to read beforehand. I’m about 200 pages in and I love it. It’s just the kind of fun YA respite I needed to get out of another reading slump. If you haven’t heard about it (i.e you’ve been living under a rock), it’s contemporary fiction folllowing two young adults who are struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. It deals with harrowing subjects like domestic abuse, death and depression without overburderning the reader. It’s going to be a film in 2018, I’m looking forward to that, and it won the Goodreads Choice Award for Young Adult fiction in 2015. Plus Theodore Finch is such a cute lead character. I like his weirdness and the way he makes up different personas for himself; it reminds me of my own boyfriend.

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Next on my reading list is THE MAKING OF HER by Susan Nott-Bower published by Linen Press – the indie press I’m currently interning for. I was captured by this cover which I just adore. Seriously, it’s so striking and enigmatic. The novel looks at the vulnerabilties of older women in a society which values youth over wisdom and beauty over experience.

A truly intelligent, incisive page-turner with so much to say about women’s lives – a sharp, satisfying treat of a read!
— Kate Harrison, author of The Secret Shopper novels


International Women’s Day: Books By Fierce Females

Happy International Women’s Day!

While I think we should be shouting the praises of our favourite women every day, today is the perfect chance to celebrate fierce females from across the world and in different communities. I’m very proud to work and study alongside some wonderful ladies and I’m also over the moon to be working for the UK’s only independent women’s press, Linen Press. They publish books written by diverse women about a wide range of topics; please check them out.

Honestly, I mostly only read books by women. It’s never been an active decision but I love reading female voices and I studied gender issues a lot in my undergraduate degree so my bookshelves are filled with more or less exclusively female authors. However, for the sake of International Women’s Day, and because my dear friend Eilidh requested this blog a while ago, I’m going to do a top ten of some of my personal favourite books by women.


1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

I am starting to impress myself with my ability to include this book in every reading list I have ever written – see My Top 5 Books of 2016The Liebster Award and Classic Bibliophile Literary Designs for more about my love for this book. Jane Eyre is my all-time favourite book. It follows Jane on a journey of self-discovery. She falls in love but refuses to sacrifices her sense of self for a man. It was completely innovative and ambitious at the time and Brontë managed to create one of the most badass women in literary history.

2. Girls Will Be Girls by Emer O’Toole

This is a bit sneaky because I haven’t actually finished it yet. However, I’m confident that it will continue to be awesome so I’m going to recommend it anyway. It was chosen as the Napier Literary Society ‘Book of the Month’ for International Women’s Day and I recommend it to everyone. It’s a non-fiction book looking at the way we perform gender and O’Toole tackles everything from underarm hair to pronouns. I think this should be handed out to every new student at University because it provides a very clear overview of gender.

3. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Another one of my all-time favouritesThe Miniaturist tells the story of a young woman living in 17th-century Amsterdam with her new wealthy husband. Deep secrets are revealed and nothing is as it seems as Burton explores modern-day issues of gender and sexuality in an otherworldly and magical setting. I get really annoyed when people haven’t read this book because it is SO GOOD. Read it now!

4. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

The Bloody Chamber is a collection of postmodernist fairytale retellings and it is awesome. It’s dark, sexy and sinister and you will never look at the Disney princesses in the same way again once you’ve read it. Carter plays with gender and sexuality and flips classic fairy tales on their head. There are a few Beauty and the Beast retellings in there which is quite relevant considering the impending release of the new B&TB movie.

5. Minaret by Leila Aboulela

I happened upon this book during my final year at Glasgow Uni when I was studying postcolonial literature and it is a hidden treasure. This novel tells the story of Najwa, a Muslim woman living a life of luxury in Sudan until a coup forces Najwa and her family into political exile in London. This book was a real eye-opener for me and I loved that it doesn’t play into the stereotype of Muslim woman as victim. Najwa’s faith is her strength and it’s really beautiful.

6. How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran

This was the book that made me realise I was a feminist. I read it when I was about eighteen years old when I was just discovering who I was as a young woman. In this memoir, Moran makes you laugh, makes you angry and makes you proud to be a woman. I really recommend it to any young woman leaving school and figuring out where they stand in the big bad world. Moran will sort you out.

7. Expecting: The Inner Life of Pregnancy by Chitra Ramaswamy

When I first found out that I had to read a book about pregnancy for the SYP Saltire Awards I was a bit anxious. What did I know about pregnancy? What did I want to know about pregnancy? But fear not! This book is an utterly charming yet raw memoir about Ramaswamy’s experience of pregnancy, same-sex parenthood and life as a minority. She is incredibly intelligent and has a penchant for “name-dropping” some of the best literature in history.

8. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

My most recent read, Big Magicis inspirational not just because it was written by a very cool lady. It talks all about the anxieties we feel as creative people and how we can learn to overcome them. I wrote a bit more about it in my February Reading Round Up so check that out if you’re interested. I listened to it on audiobook and I’d recommend this format because Elizabeth Gilbert really sells her own stories.

9. Sula by Toni Morrison

All hail Queen Toni. Sula is a novel about two friends growing up in the Bottom, a mostly black neighbourhood in Ohio. Morrison has a huge talent for exploring female friendships and Sula is no exception. The eponymous character, Sula, is a disruptive and dangerous force who challenges gender and moral expectations while her friend, Nel, is an incredibly resilient woman determined to rewrite her own story.

10. Malina by Ingeborg Bachmann

I wrote my dissertation partly on this book. It is relatively unknown in the UK but I’m determined to get more people reading it. Ingeborg Bachmann is the Austrian equivalent of Sylvia Plath – although she is incredibly unique and I probably shouldn’t reduce her to a comparison like that. Malina is a crazy, topsy-turvy novel about an unnamed female writer and her relationship with two different men. Trigger warning: features very upsetting scenes including sexual and violent abuse by the narrator’s father.


There are so many books written by women that I absolutely love but alas I have Uni deadlines and cannot spend my life writing them all down. Comment below with your favourites.

Let’s chat about awesome women on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

February Reading Round Up

This February Reading Round Up blog will be short and sweet because I only managed to read a grand total of ONE book in February (Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert on audiobook). My Read More, Worry Less philosophy has taken a back seat to University and work because I’m making a book and a magazine. I’m one book behind schedule in my GoodReads challenge but I’m confident I’ll catch up in March.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Big Magic

Luckily, the one book that I did read was amazing. Big Magic was recommended to me by fellow MSc Publishing student and booktuber, Kellie Jones. I was a huge fan of Eat, Pray, Love so I was excited to listen to this and I wasn’t disappointed. Big Magic is all about creative living and Gilbert shares tales from different points in her life and career as a writer. It is incredibly inspirational and I recommend it to any fellow creatives: writers, painters, filmmakers alike. It’s funny, emotional and completely relatable if you’ve ever made something. Gilbert tapped into a lot of my own anxieties as a creative person.

How do I financially support myself until I make it? Gilbert says: make it work and don’t expect your creativity to support you. Get a shitty job and create in your spare time. Stop putting pressure on your creative work to pay your bills.

What if it’s not good enough? Gilbert says ‘Who cares?’ I loved, loved, loved Gilbert’s attitude towards high art versus low art. As someone who loves reading and writing romantic fiction but also studied English Literature at a prestigious University, I am torn between passion and self-criticism. Gilbert says: done is better than good. I’m going to carry this philosophy around with me. It’s time to stop worrying about whether my next book will win literary awards and just enjoy the creative process. I love writing love stories and I’m going to stop apologising for that.

Overall: I’d give this audiobook a big whopping 5 STARS.

Did Not Finish

Part of the reason I didn’t finish many books in February is because I kept starting books and giving up on them.

  • I was reading The Argonauts for Napier Lit Soc but I really didn’t enjoy how verbose it is. I can appreciate its value and I wanted to love it but I couldn’t relax into it.
  • As for The Falconer, I will come back to it. I like the premise and I was enjoying it at first. I’m just really struggling with YA fantasy in general right now.
  • I picked up Start With Why at work because I really like Sinek’s motivational speeches on YouTube but this book was repetitive and geared towards business rather than general self-help.

Currently Reading

Coming up in March… I’m reading The Goblet of Fire for the FIRST TIME and cherishing it. I may not be a Potterhead but it’s undeniably a brilliant story. I’m also finishing up Girls Will Be Girls for Napier Lit Soc and I’m obsessed with it. It has reignited a spark in the same way that reading How To Be A Woman did back in the day.


As always remember to tweet me and check out my #bookstagram.