The amazing Lauren over at Lauren and the Books has created Femmuary, a celebration of all things women taking place during the month of February. The idea is to celebrate amazing women and their achievements by reading books, watching TV and listening to music that is by, about or empowering of women. I think it’s a fantastic idea and am really keen to use the month as an opportunity to finally get to some of the amazing women’s literature I have on The Shelf.
I kicked off the month with Misfit City: Volume One, a graphic novel that combines the mystery solving elements of Scooby Doo with cult classic The Goonies and that I read in one great gulp yesterday. With an all female cast, it’s a rip-roaring adventure about female friendship and pirate treasure. With colourful illustration and a pacy narrative – as well as some cracking female characters, this was a really great start to the month.
I’m also currently reading The Dry by Jane Harper. As one of the most successful crime novels of last year, I can’t believe that it’s taken me this long to actually get around to reading it. Set in the midst of Australia’s worst drought in over a century, the novel sees policeman Aaron Falk reluctantly returning to his hometown of Kiewarra to investigate the brutal murder of the Hadler family. Harper’s second Falk novel, Force of Nature, is out during February (and already on hold at the library) so Femmuary seems like the perfect opportunity to read her acclaimed first book before that lands. I’m less than 50 pages in at the moment but it’s definitely got that page-turning quality.
For the remainder of the month I don’t exactly have a firm TBR in place but I do have some ideas around what I’d maybe like to read. It’s been a while since I read a classic of any description so I’d definitely like to get a classic novel by a woman in there somewhere. At the moment there are four stand-out choices from my shelves that I really do want to read: Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West.
Sackville-West is a completely new author to me, as is Mary Shelley. I’ve read Jane Eyre (loved it) and Wuthering Heights (loathed it) but other than those The Brontë canon remains uncharted reading territory for me. I’m particularly keen to read some of Anne’s work next because I also have Samantha Ellis’ acclaimed biography of her, Take Courage, to read. Virginia Woolf is an author I read at university – I studied To The Lighthouse in the first year of my undergrad degree course and subsequently read her seminal essay A Room of One’s Own – however her other novels remain unexplored for me. As Mrs Dalloway is arguably the most well known, it seems like a good place to reacquaint myself with Woolf’s measured, reflective writing.
On a non-fiction front, I’ve had Lucy Worsley’s Jane Austen at Home on the shelves for far too long now. A biography of one of our most celebrated female authors by one of our most celebrated female historians? Sounds like a Femmuary read if ever there was one!
It also wouldn’t be a celebration of female authors for me without a Margaret Atwood novel in there. Alias Grace has been unread on my shelf for far too long. As there’s now the Netflix adaptation on my ‘To Watch’ list as well, this really is a novel I want to get on and read.
Remaining with contemporary literature, there’s also a few more recent releases I’m keen to choose from this month. Leïla Slimani’s Lullaby, which explores the increasingly complex relationship between a working mother and her seemingly perfect live-in nanny, has been getting a lot of buzz since it was released in January, including a fascinating interview with the author in The Guardian’s Review this weekend. I’m also keen to dip into Carman Maria Machado’s much-praised short story collection Her Body & Other Parties which arrived from the library last week.
So those are my Femmuary reading plans. Short of a lottery win that will allow me to give up work and spend the next three weeks reading, there isn’t a cat in hell’s chance I’ll get to all of the above mentioned titles – and there’s a change I may change whim completely and read another female-centred book instead of one of those mentioned above – but this is a loose reading plan for the month and there’s plenty in there that I’m excited about. I’ll let you know how I get on at the end of the month.
If you’re planning to join in with Femmuary do let me know and drop me a link to your posts/videos in the comments below. You can check out Lauren’s channel throughout the month for lots of videos about Femmuary and can also follow the #femmuary on Twitter for links to other bloggers and BookTube people taking part.
Whatever you’re reading I hope you have a fantastic month and, until next time…
Happy Reading! x