HOW TO // Dress for a Summer Wedding

Summer weddings – a timeless tradition, a great way to celebrate the union of two people. Also, a complete and utter fashion panic. What do you wear? What will the weather be like? If you’re going abroad, how do you know what is appropriate? Never fear – TIOBA has this one covered.

This summer, my uncle is getting married in Lucca, Italy. A gorgeous walled city, Lucca boasts phenomenal weather, historic surroundings and an all-round perfect venue for the family to come together for my uncle and his wife-to-be.

So what are the questions to consider when picking out a summer wedding outfit? I think there are four key elements.

How to dress for a summer wedding header

ONE // DRESS CODE

This is the easiest qualifier for a wedding outfit. Many couples will, along with their invitations, specify a dress code so that their guests aren’t left completely lost. It could be smart casual, beach smart, formal, white tie, black tie… there are many different ‘dress codes’ and it’s even more tough for women, who have many subsections of dress code within the standard!

If your couple hasn’t specified a dress code, don’t hesitate to contact them about it – they will most likely feel flattered that you care enough to ask. You earn brownie points whilst putting your mind at rest about element number one.

TWO // WEATHER

Weather is the most changeable of the factors to consider, but is equally important when choosing an outfit. Where is the wedding going to be held? If you know it’s in a hot country like Italy, you’re going to be swayed by tea dresses and lighter materials such as silk and organza, and staying away from satins and velvets. However, if you know that the weather may be changeable, I would recommend an outfit with layers (I am wearing a silk tea dress this summer with a pashmina), in order to adjust to comfort. Keep an eye on the weather and, if there is a wide margin between the hottest and coldest possible temperatures, plan two outfits with layers. That way, you have all eventualities covered.

THREE // CULTURE

This is so important, and is something that many people forget to consider – what is the culture of the location of the wedding?

This, again, is something that has been especially important for us this summer, because Lucca is one of the oldest cities in Italy, an incredibly religious country. It has to be taken into consideration that modesty is a key value of Italian Catholicism, meaning covering up shoulders and not showing too much leg. To ensure the smooth running of the wedding for the bridal party, researching and adhering to the dress code of the local culture is essential.

Saying that, if there is no cultural restriction, or you’re going to a local wedding which doesn’t have any difference in culture, go wild! You know and are comfortable with your own culture, and can experiment within that.

FOUR // COMFORT

Finally, you have to wear something that makes you feel comfortable. There is no point in considering all of these guidelines if you don’t consider how it makes you feel to wear the outfit you’ve chosen. Are you more comfortable in a maxi dress or an elegant tuxedo suit? Are you more confident in an off the shoulder number? There are ways of working within a dress code to make sure that everyone is comfortable, it just takes time and effort to find them.

Ultimately, everyone is at the wedding to celebrate, and enjoy each other’s company. Most importantly, you’re witnessing an important and beautiful event. As long as some thought is put into an outfit, there is no reason why it can’t be one of the best days of everyone’s lives.

 

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TOP 10 // Library Study Session Essentials

Every student knows the pain of having to sit in the library for hours at a time. It can be cold, you’re stressed and there’s the temptation to leave your spot in search of food, but you’ve got too many deadlines coming up and don’t even start thinking about the exams!

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I just can’t study in my room. I’m quite possibly the best procrastinator on the planet, and as a result of that, the worst student. Instead, I load up my bag with all of my reading material, and head out to the library, or if I’m treating myself I’ll go to the local coffee shop and hook myself up.

So, thanks to my extensive experience with libraries, and the perils of procrastination and distraction, here are 10 essentials to make your study session the best it can be.

One.// All of your study materials. This one should be pretty obvious but you wouldn’t believe the amount of times I’ve forgotten half of the books I’m supposed to be reading for my essays. When you have it all on you, the stress levels you’ll be experiencing will decrease significantly. Before you start your studying, find all of the extra material you may need from around the library and bring it back to your desk. Sure, you may look like you’re building a cave from all of those politics textbooks, but it’s worth it when you don’t want to break your rhythm to find that book on the third floor!

French Revision

French Revision

Two.// Comfy clothes. I find that I work best when I’m rocking my patented hobo chic style. Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I look super classy, but when I’m spending eight or more hours in the library, a band t-shirt and jeans are the best way to go. Layers are key, because the temperature will vary over the course of the day, so I usually have a cardigan, scarf and my coat with me. My super chunky scarf also serves as a pillow when I’m taking a break!

Three.// Snacks. I’m a terrible person when it comes to healthy eating. My idea of three meals a day is some toast and digestive biscuits with my tea, but when you’re revising for exams or writing essays it’s really important for you to eat well. Have a good breakfast, like porridge, before you leave your house, and take healthy snacks like fruit or breakfast bars to munch during the day. If a chocolate bar finds its way in there then it’s a treat! By taking food with you, you’re lessening the distraction of leaving your study area to find food, and dramatically cutting the cost by skipping the over-priced campus food.

Four.// Hot Drinks and Water. What’s your non-alcoholic poison? A herbal tea? Some strongly brewed Earl Grey? The biggest cup of coffee available to man? Whatever it is, put it in a flask and take it with you! I can’t remember the last time I didn’t bring my Starbucks tumbler onto campus with me, and luckily there are a couple of boiling water taps on campus I can use for free, so I make sure to bring some tea and coffee with me in small pots to refill over the day. Again, money saving! And don’t forget water – there’s no use in being dehydrated when you’re trying to crack on with your work.

My tidy library set up - it doesn't stay this way!

My tidy library set up – it doesn’t stay this way!

Five.// Lip Balm. Libraries are a nightmare! You go in, fresh-faced and lightly made up at 8am, and by 8pm you emerge looking like you’ve lived in a desert and never heard of skincare. I don’t know what it is about libraries, but my lips always get super chapped, and I know that my anxious habit of biting my lip doesn’t help. I always keep my Nivea lip balm in my pocket so I can moisturise if there’s even a hint of damage to my lips.

Six.// Life-Saving Things. One day I’m going to write out my university survival kit, which lives in my bag at all times. There are items you should never be in the library without, so I’m going to list them for you now. Highlighters, Post-It Notes, spare pens, a pencil and eraser, glasses (if you’re blind like me), hair ties (if your hair is unruly like mine), chocolate… hey, I don’t have a sweet tooth! Harry Potter has proven that chocolate makes everything better. It’s a rule to live by.

A collection of items I can't live without!

A collection of items I can’t live without!

Seven.// A Clear To Do List. Before you leave in the morning, or even the night before, write down everything you have to do in your study session, even the little things, which you might forget. By breaking larger tasks down into microtasks, it gives you a sense that you’re being more productive and spurs you on! I use the Google Chrome add-on, Momentum, which is really popular at the moment. It gives you a main task for the day, and the to-do list in the corner rolls over to the next day if you don’t get everything done. Life saver!

Eight.// Sanity. Does any student have any sanity left? If so, could they lend me some? On a serious note, if you’re going to study, you have to be somewhat rational about it. Nothing good ever comes from freaking out, and if you’re feeling worn down or emotionally drained then I wholly recommend taking a mental health day. Or a mental health morning, if you really can’t take an entire day off. Run a bath, drink some tea, sleep in a bit more. You’ll get so much more done afterwards, when you’ve let your body catch up with the hoops you’re jumping through. Then, pack up your stuff and head off to your study space, and GSD.

Nine.// A Great Playlist. I can’t study in silence. I can’t write in silence. The only thing I can really do in silence is read. This means I’ve got a pretty solid grasp of the inner workings of Spotify, and have stumbled across some great playlists. Find one which is good for you, probably not lyrical, and immerse yourself in the motivation of the scores. I recommend Calm Before the Storm or Deep Focus on Spotify.

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Ten.// Determination. This one is the most important. You have to be determined to get something done. You have to want to achieve something, or you’ll end up on Netflix, binging on some new TV show, or asleep. I’m speaking from personal experience. Make sure you’ve got an idea in your head of what you want to accomplish before you leave, and then do it!

Studying is so tough, especially when you’ve got all of the other commitments which come with general life. Don’t give up, and it will be so worth it.

What are your study essentials? Is there anything you can’t live without? Let me know!

Amy.

Am I Doing Too Much?

It’s a question I ask myself, and has definitely been asked of me many times.

When I tell people the full title of my degree, History and International Relations with French (and a Year Study Abroad), they balk. “Three subjects?” They cry. “How do you focus?”

The truth is, I absolutely thrive on being busy. Three subjects, especially three subjects I adore, means I’m never getting bored and I’m always pushing myself. Yes, it means my desk looks like it’s been in an unfortunate encounter with a tornado, but it’s definitely worth it.

If only my desk was this organised - or this pretty!

If only my desk was this organised – or this pretty!

I picked up French again at the beginning of this term because, as much as I love my degree, I need a language, and I want to spend a year abroad next year, in Paris. Whilst Sciences-Po doesn’t need fluent French speakers as it teaches in English, I do want to be able to live in Paris, not simply exist. And it’s proving to be a welcome addition to my timetable, adding 4 contact hours a week onto the measly 6 of my combined honours. I know I have less time, and I have to keep my brain functioning so it doesn’t meltdown, so I’m getting things done well in advance. As you may know, this is new, as last year I was rather a fan of the all-nighter procrastination method.

And then there’s my extra-curricular activities. I’m a member of seven different societies, I’m heavily involved with the Student’s Guild, I’m an academic representative as well as an NUS delegate. I’m writing frequently for Exepose, the student newspaper, as well as Her Campus Exeter, our chapter of the well-known American online university magazine. Oh, before I move on, I should tell you that I’m still the Press Officer for the Yacht Club at home, and am always developing the Rowing section of the website, doing the newsletter or updating the Brand Guide I made for them. And then there’s my blog.

Yes, it seems like an overwhelming amount. Really, there are times when I’m looking at my planner and I want to cry. Where is the time to go and see the amazing new films at the cinema? Oh, that’s right, I don’t have any!

This is my life now.

This is my life now.

But I wouldn’t give up what I’m doing, because I’m challenging myself and making sure I can face any challenge that’s thrown at me. When I’m out in “The Real World”, I won’t be able to choose if I want to do the extra, or if I’m overwhelmed with a variety of different work. As a future journalist I know I’m going to struggle and stress and go from having no work to too much, so by preparing myself now, with the amazing support system the university offers, I’m only taking advantage of the resources at hand.

I’m not complaining about any of this – it’s a brilliant experience, and it’s so exhilarating when I pull it off. I’ve got an interview with one of my favourite bands, The Fratellis, at 12, and I was just awarded the Young Achiever prize at the Yacht Club’s AGM.

If you have the opportunity and the time, do as much as you can. The worst that can happen is you find out where your limits lie. My limit, and biggest weakness at the moment, is my Netflix addiction. Who wants to read 140 pages of contemporary political theory when they could be watching Criminal Minds? Not me!

How do you cope with stress? Would you like to know more about how I organise myself in this maelstrom of activity? Leave a comment below.

14 Things I Learned in my First Year of University

I’m going into my second year at the University of Exeter this September, so here are a couple of things I learned when I first moved away.

14 things I learned in my first year teaser image

One.// Independence is bittersweet. When I moved into my university accommodation last year, it was the first time I had moved out of my family home for any period longer than a holiday. It was a very tearful day and I was suddenly alone on the other side of the country. But I was also finally accountable to no one but myself. Although I hated having to do my own washing and I found out I’m really terrible at turning Netflix off and going to sleep, I also loved being able to go for midnight strolls around my campus and not having to explain why I was leaving and where I was going, ever.

Two.// Your roommates can be your best friends. I’ve heard the horror stories about roommates, and I’ll admit that when I went to university I was absolutely dreading having to live with other people. I thought I’d have to suffer through a year of hiding in my room or sitting through conversations which held no interest for me. Instead, I met some of my best friends and we had a hilarious and fantastic year.

Friends at university

Three.// No degree is complete without extra-curricular activities. I was shocked when I found out just how little time was actually spent in the lecture theatre and seminar rooms. By no means does that mean that I don’t enjoy my degree; on the contrary I love it. But participation in more than just your course around the university means that your degree is more fulfilling, more wholesome, and it really does help to prepare for your career. You can tailor your degree experience to gain the most you possibly can, if you join the right clubs and do the right activities, from working closely with the administration as a tour guide or student liaison, to being president of the debate society.

Four.// Haribo and Malteasers are not a meal plan. In any respect. So I might hate food shopping and I definitely hate cooking for myself, but after trying to live off of chocolate and sweets, I came to accept that it’s not the right way to go. Whilst this might be the easy and comforting option, it leaves you feeling sluggish, unhealthy and lazy. If you’re not a huge fan of cooking, try implementing as much of a raw diet as you can.

Five.// If you can’t cook, you learn to. Or you make a friend who can. Relating to number four, this is a very important one. I’m not a huge cooking fan but at the same time I’m not completely inept. Moving away from the glory of home cooked meals means you learn to cook pretty quickly. Or, if you’re like my flatmate (who will not be named) and can’t cook pasta successfully, make friends with one of the best cooks in the flat.

One of my more successful attempts at cooking

One of my more successful attempts at cooking

Six.// No matter how small your room is, it becomes home. My room was classed as a ‘single standard’, which meant that it was pretty tiny. I had a single bed, small wardrobe, shelves, desk and sink area. It had exposed brick and old carpets, but it became my home within a month. I decorated my noticeboard with brightly coloured wrapping paper and covered it with postcards and other sentimental nonsense, I packed my shelves with books and ornaments, and I made sure there was plenty of my belongings scattered around, in order to never feel like I was staying in a hotel room.

exeter cork board

Seven.// Black coffee is God’s gift to students. If you’re going to a morning lecture, staying up late to finish an essay or just trying to slug it through a dull part of the course, black coffee will become a staple of any student’s existence. Since I don’t really drink dairy milk, soya has been my go to, until I started to experience the unsightly mess of separated soy in my morning/afternoon/anytime coffee. This is due to the reaction of the acids in the milk to the hot coffee, and warming the soya only makes the separation worse, meaning the only thing left to do is let the coffee cool slightly. I just never have time to sit around while my coffee cools in order to put milk in it, so black it was. I do, however, put sugar or a syrup in it to vary the taste. It’s the perfect drink for any time of day, and I can guarantee that it will be one of the cheapest beverages to buy on campus.

Eight.// If you get to know your tutors, you’ll thrive. Thanks to my work on the student staff liaison committee last year, I was fortunate enough to get to know a lot of the higher ups in the History Department, and the College of Humanities, which has afforded me many opportunities I wouldn’t have been considered for otherwise. But on a simpler level, getting to know the people who teach you can really help your learning. University lecturers can be incredibly intimidating with their doctorates and their prestigious publications but they’re there to teach students who share their passions. Once you’ve struck up a relationship of any kind with your tutors and lecturers, they become more accessible to you and will often allow you to pester them more regularly than students who don’t make the effort. They start to get a feel for what you’re passionate about and can even dedicate their time to helping you pursue your goals outside of the course. I’m connected with some of mine on LinkedIn and they’ve given me endorsements as well as aided my networking for journalism, something I’m incredibly grateful for.

Nine.// The local community is amazing. When I got to Exeter, I wasn’t really concerned with integrating myself into the local community, but now that I have it’s something I recommend wholeheartedly, and I don’t mean just the campus. The town your university is based in has a vested interest in the students who learn there, because they want to keep the education and the jobs thriving locally. But more than that; they can be some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. In November, I had a bit of a meltdown about how much I was missing home, about problems I was having at university and general life, and went to watch the sunrise over the Cathedral. It was beautiful and contemplative, but what made that morning special was that I was approached by some of the wardens of the Cathedral and invited inside for morning mass and tea. They were so excited to talk to me about my university experience, and I loved being able to ask them all about their lives. I had even found a woman who had lived near my home town and taught at my secondary school decades ago. I wouldn’t describe myself as overly religious, but this small act of kindness from the elderly men and women at the Cathedral made a difficult time much more bearable.

Ten.// Missing a few lectures isn’t the end of the world. Okay, so I had it easy on this one because all of my lectures were recorded, but even so; you don’t have to go to every single lecture. Some will be things you’ve already studied before university, other lectures you can catch up on with a friend. If you’re ill, busy or even hungover, don’t beat yourself up over not attending a couple. Of course, it is dangerous to make a habit of not going to lectures, as they prepare you for seminars and your summative work.

Eleven.// You can be completely yourself at university, fearlessly. University doesn’t have the same shackles as any other form of education, from dress codes to clubs. Whether you’re a budding musical theatre star or secretly never want to change out of your pyjamas, you can do whatever you like. I, for one, didn’t change too much when I went to university; I still wear hoodies, jeans and converse far too often and I’m too happy to play the devil’s advocate in a classroom setting, but I’ve also realised that I like preppy fashion and that I’m very interested in the way universities are run. These years are the ones which allow you to discover yourself.

Twelve.// Home is a beautiful place which takes on a new meaning. The first time I visited home from university, I could have cried over my dinner. Real home cooked food! Unlimited wifi! A real sofa! The dogs! These are all things that, until that September, I had taken for granted. Now they’re all things I can’t get enough of. Of course, there’s that whole family aspect which I suppose I should mention… I’m kidding, it’s great to be able to go home and see the family, and spend time with them. You become much more aware of your family dynamics and gain a new, unique position in the family. There’s no doubt that this will always be my home, but the chance to gradually move out whilst having this safety blanket is one that should never be passed up.

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Thirteen.// Confidence will come to you. I know a lot of people are naturally extroverted and confident, but for the rest of us it’s a hard thing to come by. Throughout secondary school I wasn’t the most sociable of students, and it’s pretty evident due to my disposition that I’m not a huge fan of most forms of interaction. But by the end of the first year, I was participating in all my extra-curricular societies and activities, speaking up in seminars and, with a fair amount of anxiety, presenting an award to one of the best lecturers at the university. Confidence will come to you; how long depends on the individual. If you feel like you need the day to hide away and read, or sleep, or ignore the world, then take it. But if you’re given opportunities, seize them with both hands. You will never regret it.

Presenting at the Teaching Awards

Presenting at the Teaching Awards

Fourteen.// I’m finally an adult. This is the scariest thing I’ve learned at university. I had finally become an adult when my parents drove off in our empty car, leaving me in Exeter. At that point I could make a mean cuppa soup or rice and cheese, and I didn’t want to make friends.

But when they came to pick me up in June, I had become close to all of my flatmates, completed my first year at university with grades I was proud of, and although I wasn’t going to win Masterchef, I at least had a more varied meal plan. (Sweet potato fries all day er’day!)

My point is, I didn’t think I’d become an adult at university. I thought it would be moving out after my degree which would propel me into adulthood but actually, just having that complete control over what I did and when I did it changed the way that I lived, worked and perceived myself.

PINTEREST THINGS LEARNED

What did you learn in your first year at university? If you’re heading off this year, what are your hopes?

 

TOP 10 // Must Reads This Summer

Whether you’re going on a trip around the world or staying at home, a good book is a summer essential! Here are 10 types of books I recommend for your holidays.

One.// A childhood classic. There is nothing better than rereading a book which you loved as a child. They hold memories and experiences you may not recall on a day to day basis, and it’s fantastic to relive that as you read the book. This is especially fantastic if you’re reading a book you haven’t picked up in a while, because you can almost feel as though you’re reading it for the first time!

Marked Cover

I’ll be reading the House of Night series by P.C and Kristen Cast, a series I loved as a young girl. I’ve already started Marked and already the events take on meanings I never saw at 12 years old when the book first came out. It feels good to go back to the days of vampire novels! I’m also preparing myself to read the rest of the series, because I when I finished the third it was only a trilogy. Now there are 12 books. And 5 novellas. It’s going to be a busy summer!

 

Two.// A Classic. Whether it’s to prep for your workload in September, because you crave classical education or just because you love the bygone years, reading classic novels is a key part of my summer.

far from the madding crowd

Thanks to the release of the film, Far from the Madding Crowd, I decided to reread this Thomas Hardy novel. I never finished it and I’m looking forward to finally being able to finish a Hardy book without tears or irrational author-based anger.

 

Three.// A Romance. What could be more uplifting than reading a hopelessly romantic story? I’m not talking about plotless erotica like Fifty Shades of Grey, but real, heart-warming romance. One of my guilty pleasures is curling up with a Mills & Boon (Harlequin) Romance book and a cup of tea and losing myself in the damaged heroes and lovelorn female protagonists.

throne of glass

This summer, though, I’ll be finishing the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, because I simply have to find out who Celaena chooses, and the plot is fascinating in itself. I finished Throne of Glass a couple of weeks ago and finally purchased books two and three just before I went on holiday. Thank goodness for my Waterstone’s points card, which meant my purchase only cost me 67 pence instead of nearly sixteen pounds!

 

Four.// Historical Fiction. This has always been a favourite genre of mine, naturally, and I’ve always included a historical novel in my summer reading list.

A Sparrow in Terezinthe key to rebecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year’s was supposed to be A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron, set in World War Two like the first in the series. It, like all of my favourite historical fiction, is based around real events, with fictional characters layered in between. It’s an astounding read which will leave you laughing, gasping and crying along with the characters. It was released in April and I just couldn’t wait for my holiday, so I read it in June. You can find my review here. Instead, I’ll be reading The Key to Rebecca by Ken Follett, another WWII novel.

 

Five.// Biography. What list would be complete without a biography? Real life experiences wrapped in satire are impossible to ignore, and I love to get stuck into at least one biography during the summer.

yes please

This year I chose Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, as it has fantastic reviews. I find Poehler impossibly funny and know that her memoir will be biting and hilarious with a fair amount of wisdom thrown in. It’s going to be one of the best books of the summer, in my opinion! I don’t read enough biographical works so this is the perfect opportunity to read more than one – before the end of summer I would like to read Tina Fey’s Bossypants too.

 

Six.// Female Author. On reading lists it’s always good to have goals, and one of the most popular ones is female authors. My lists typically do have female authors as seen above, but to recognise the importance of women is a huge positive for me. It could be fiction, non-fiction, anything in the world, just as long as it adds some measure of equality to your reading list!

primates of park avenue

I chose Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin for this genre. It’s a memoir about life on the Upper East Side and a commentary on… other women! Martin explores the lives of the wives of Park Avenue and the way that they are expected to live, especially as mothers. I’ve been told it’s a great read, informative, compassionate and more than slightly hilarious.

 

Seven.// Non Fiction. Although biographies are non-fiction, I think it’s really important to include this broader genre in the list. Non-fiction books are a staple in our lives – whether it’s textbooks for education or recipe books, and including them on this list is natural. You could read a self-improvement book like Arianna Huffington’s Thrive, or a travel guide such as Lonely Planet’s The World’s Great Wonders. You might want to finally read the Kate Spade Things We Love coffee table book you bought or indulge in a new recipe from the Great British Bake Off’s Big Book of Baking. Who knows? This genre is so wide and varied that you can read whatever takes your fancy.

forever chic

I chose to read Forever Chic by Tish Jett, a guide to style and fashion from France. It describes the way that French women over 40 still manage to remain utterly fabulous, from their self-image to the way they cultivate their wardrobe. It’s going to be a fascinating study in Parisian life from the viewpoint of Jett, a woman who moved to France and picked up their ways in the manner that I hope to very soon.

 

Eight.// An Adaptation. Every year, dozens of books are turned into films, blockbuster or indie. They, of course, feature slight changes to the original plot or characters, as we know all too well with Harry Potter (Peeves! Winky!), and everyone has something to say about an adaptation. I, being first and foremost a bookworm, aim to read the book before watching any adaptation, TV or film, but sometimes I don’t. For example, I watched Cloud Atlas a few months ago and read the book afterwards, because the plot was incredibly complex. I think it’s important to read the book beforehand so that you get to interpret the book the way that your brain works, and visualise the characters in your own way, before the interpretations and visualisations of the production team stamp all over it. Sometimes I wish I could go back to my own visualisations of Rose and Dimitri in Vampire Academy before the film came out, because they didn’t match at all.

Still Alice

I’m going to be reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I’m sure you’ve seen the trailer, and possibly the film, which came out last year. It’s about a university lecturer, Alice, who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and the way that she, her husband and her family, all learn to deal with the illness. The trailer for the film moved me to tears and I think the book will leave me sobbing, but it seems like such an emotional story and such a true one that I can’t give it a miss. I’m both looking forward to reading it and dreading the emotional torment I know I’ll suffer at the hands of this novel.

 

Nine.// Foreign. Whether it’s translated or in its original language, it’s one of life’s biggest building blocks to read a book which has been written from a different cultural perspective. The way the characters are created, the settings, the emphasis and plotlines are all different, depending on the nationality of the author. I’ve always liked to read books which aren’t from England or the USA, such as The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengiste or the non-fiction Wild Swans by Jung Chang. I’m especially fond of reading French books, like Francoise Bourdin’s Une Nouvelle Vie, because I (clearly) love France, and always try to improve my French.

La Guerre du Feu

That’s why my ‘foreign’ book is La Guerre du Feu by J.H. Rosny aîné. It’s about the struggle of prehistoric man’s ‘Quest for Fire’, an adventure of three Ulam tribesmen to find fire when theirs is lost in a fight, as they were unable to create fire, only maintain it. I’ve always loved prehistoric novels, such as Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear series, so I’m looking forward to reading this. I’ll have my French dictionary next to me for any words I don’t understand!

 

Ten.// New. It’s all well and good reading the above, but sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and try something new. This final must-read is something that was released this year.

The Infernal

I’ll be reading The Infernal by Mark Doten, a dark satire written on the causes and impact of the War on Terror. It was only released in February, but already it has made waves in the US due to its critical nature of the WoT, it’s political prose and compelling plot. I think this could be a difficult read but a fantastic one.

 

What do you recommend to read for the summer? Is there a genre or type of book I’ve missed? Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned? Have a great summer!

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