Top 5 Inspiring Female Authors

In honour of International Women’s Day, I thought it would be appropriate to acknowledge some of the most influential female authors in history. Trust me, I would have liked this list to be longer, but there is always next year.

  1. J.K. ROWLING

    I’m sure it comes as no surprise that J.K isBritain Scotland Celebrities part of this list. The Harry Potter novels have impacted millions of lives and is considered the most successful book series of all time. The Harry Potter universe has grown to include a range of books, films, a play, a studio tour, a theme park, an interactive website and a lot more. She has worked incredibly hard to get where she is and she only continues to inspire us.

  2. HARPER LEE

    03-harper-lee-2-w750-h560-2xLee only ever wrote two books, but her huge impact on literature is clear. To Kill a Mockingbird is an incredible novel and an instant classic. She debated racial inequality and injustice in the purest way possible, through the eyes of children. Lee won a Pulitzer for the book and was in 2007 awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature.

  3. JANE AUSTEN

    Jane Austen died 200 years ago this yearjane_austen_coloured_version (if you
    find yourself in the proximity of Winchester, I recommend you attend the Jane Austen 200 exhibition this summer). Her writing has inspired women everywhere, and her discussion of women’s dependence in the pursuit of a socially and economically successful marriages is incredibly important. Her face will be on the new £10 note, which will be released this summer. It is clear she is one of the most influential female authors in history.

  4. SIGRID UNDSET

    undsetsakUndset was a Norwegian novelist who wrote a trilogy about a woman living in the middle ages. In 1928 she won the Nobel Prize for Literature for the series. She tackled issues such as women’s emancipation and other ethical issues. She was also catholic, which was highly unusual in Norway, a primarily Lutheran country, and she received a lot of criticism for her religion. This inspired her in her writing later and prompted her to participate in several debates, giving her the nickname “The Catholic Woman” and “The Mistress of Bjerkebæk.”

  5. LAURA INGALLS WILDER

    Wilder wrote the Little House on the Prairie series. My laura_ingalls_wilder_cropped_sepia2mother received these books when she was a child and when she passed them on to me, I fell in love instantly. It is such a compelling story and has remained one of my favourite children’s book series. Her writing  would inspire many authors of children’s books later. The hit TV-series, Little House on the Prairie, from the 1970s-1980s was based on her book series.

 

WHICH FEMALE AUTHORS HAVE INSPIRED YOU?

“The Engelsfors Series” By Strandberg and Elfgren

The Engelsfors series has captivated me in a way no fantasy book has done in a long time. Every once in a while I read a book that is so vivid it feels as though I am not reading, but experiencing it myself. Strandberg and Elfgren have brilliantly constructed this universe and I am so thrilled to have had the pleasure of reading this series.

tumblr_o6vrig6m0v1vty2i6o1_500

PLOT

One night, when a strange red moon fills the sky, six school girls find themselves in an abandoned theme park, drawn there by a mysterious force. A student has just been found dead. Everyone suspects suicide. Everyone – except them.

In that derelict fairground an ancient prophecy is revealed. They are The Chosen Ones, a group of witches, bound together by a power, one which could destroy them all. But they soon learn that despite their differences they need each other in order to master the forces that have been awakened within them.

High school is now a matter of life and death. Because the killing has only just begun.

 

CHARACTERS 
noje_27-01-15_haxorna-i-engelsforsThe main reason you should read this series is the characters. Each character is different and has their own well-crafted storylines that make them come to life in the most realistic fashion. The mundane issues they have as teenagers contrast their heavy world-threatening supernatural struggles. Anyone will be able to relate to someone in some way, which makes it feel as though the reader could be the one with the magical powers, and I absolutely love that.

LGBT STORYLINE
The depiction of Vanessa and Linnea’s relationship is one of my favourite plot points. The way they progressed and gradually became more and more infatuated with each other is realistically written and plays a central role in the development of both characters. I find that LGBT+ storylines in books and TV-shows normally revolve around one person’s coming-out process, usually filled with a lot of angst and sadness. This storyline focused almost exclusively on their relationship and their feelings for each other, the way heterosexual couples normally are depicted.

YA?
What I enjoyed about this book (or maybe I shouldn’t have enjoyed it) were the graphic descriptions. Descriptions of sex, drug use, and violence are part of what makes the book feel more appropriate for older age groups. Sometimes I don’t enjoy reading books about people younger than me. If I’m feeling nostalgic it can be pretty pretty great, but most ofmap_engelsfors__c_karl_johnsson the time it makes me feel slightly sad that something extraordinary never happened to me. It’s kind of like the feeling you get when you find out a popular actress or footballer is actually younger than you and they are having all this success while you’re sat eating Doritos in bed. Anyway, the sex, drugs and violence descriptions make it feel like the series is for a more mature audience as well, which I quite enjoyed.

The book is fantastically written and a delightful page-turner. If you like fantasy then this book is definitely for you. 

HAVE YOU  READ THIS BOOK SERIES?
tumblr_nq1bf9hkur1uq1wtvo1_500

 

Pretty Poetry #2

12c58514ef06f159a34a7364913fc379

 

I found this on Tumblr a few years ago and it really stuck with me. I’ve had this on a note on my wall for ages and it’s a post-it note my Mac’s desktop as well. There is something ineffably beautiful about it. It makes me feel grand and small, significant and insignificant at the same time. I searched for a long time to find the writer, I even posted a question about it on Quora, but no one seemed to be able to tell me who wrote it.

Eventually, I contacted the person who posted it on Tumblr to ask if they knew where it was from. It turned out she was the one who wrote it! I was ecstatic to get in touch with her and finally express my admiration. Usually, I like the anonymity, not knowing who created something. Whenever I find new music, I avoid pictures of the singers, because if I know what they look like it takes away some of the magic. You paint an image in your head and knowing the backstory devalues your picture sometimes. This was an exception. I needed to know where this was from. This is the most magical poem I have ever read, and every time I read it, it’s like reading it for the first time.

Reading Across Borders

f0492898d0b7658a39ac9348f555f11e936b5068_2880x1620I recently watched Ann Morgan’s TED talk; “My Year Reading a Book From Every Country in the World.” Go watch it if you haven’t already (link here). I am a lot like she was when it comes to reading. For the most part I read books from the US and UK. Reading a book from Norway, my own country, is what I would call changing things up. Right now, I am reading a series from Sweden and I think that is really going outside my normal circle, which is a ridiculous thought. I want to read books from other countries and I want to read more books from Norway. I want to be able to say I read a wide range of books, and I want it to mean I do more than just read mainstream books from different genres. If any of you know any books from other countries and cultures that you enjoy please comment, because I want to broaden my horizon.

reading-the-worldAnn Morgan’s search also further demonstrates the power of the Internet and social media. Imagine how hard this would have been two decades earlier. People support projects like these and make an effort because they want to. It is so fun to see people from all over the world communicate and make things happen. I was watching a TV show last night about a girl who travelled across the world, her flights were pre-booked, but she relied on other people to give her food and shelter. She used her social media channels to get in touch with people who were able to help. There was someone everywhere, wanting to help, wanting to show her their life. It is fascinating to see what people do because they can. The power of word of mouth astounds me as well, and both these projects have really shown its global scope.

Ann’s project has really motivated me to diversify my reading habits and I know a lot of people say that a book’s significance is lost in translation, but that is not always true. As a teenager I would read quite a few books in Norwegian as well and English and while it is different, the meaning, or the intent of the author, is certainly not always lost.

Based on this, do you have any books to recommend me?finger-passes-along-book-spines-library-animated-gif

“Two Sisters” By Åsne Seierstad

Hi there!

Åsne Seierstad is a Norwegian author and seierstad20c385sne20c20sturlason1journalist. She is especially known for her work on life in war-territories. She has written a few other books, one becoming a bestseller, depicting life during the war in Kabul. Her most recent book “To Søstre,” meaning ‘Two Sisters’ was published in October 2016 and has already won the Brage-award.

to-sc3b8stre-hoyThe book revolves around two sisters who decided to join ISIS in Syria. The topic is very relevant considering the events of today and gives insight into the world of Norwegian-Somalians. Seierstad has interviewed, researched and pried to get the information needed to produce this book. The parents of the two girls who travelled have bravely told their stories in the hopes that other parents and friends will be able to see the signs of radicalisation, which they did not see until it was too late. The book revolves mostly around the father of the girls, who goes to Syria to find them, but the oldest brother Ismal also plays a central role in telling the story. The girls themselves did not respond to the requests Seierstad sent, but stories from friends, family and teachers gave Seierstad a valid foundation to make assumptions about their lives.

Youth travelling to Syria to join ISIS has stagnated luckily, but a lot of youths have become88766074_88766073radicalised still, which to many is a hard thing to imagine. Seierstad has done her best to tell us how it happened and how different views on religion developed and unfolded in one family. The girls grew up in Norway, one of the most Western countries in the world. The state is widely secularised and inclusion of all religions is what we aim for. I am a white, middle-class full-Norwegian female who grew up in the most Norwegian street you can find. I rarely see this side of my own country, which has taught me a lot about Norway as well as what is happening in Syria.

The story is true, which makes it so much more emotional and incredible. Everyone should read this book. It is terribly important today. Seierstad tells the truth in a captivating yet simple way that fills knowledge gaps I know I have been needing to fill. Seeing what is happening in Aleppo right now it is clear things need to change. Everyone needs to understand what is happening. This book will help you.

My Year in Books – 2016

This year, I read 64 books. On Goodreads I set 21 books as my target for the year. Safe to say I had that under control. The following is a summary of my reading this year:

screen-shot-2016-12-24-at-13-20-10

screen-shot-2016-12-24-at-13-20-20

Screen Shot 2016-12-24 at 14.56.45.png

 

And finally, in 2016, I started a book blog with one of my best friends.
I have learned so much this year. I am incredibly proud to say I have read all these books and I can’t wait to discuss them with you people in the future!

 HERE’S TO A BOOK-FILLED 2017!

Insight into Publishing – A Hachette Event

wp-1480273622706.jpg

On the 16th of November, I went to London to attend Hachette’s Inside Story event. For those of you who don’t know, Hachette is a major publishing company, one of the famous Big Five, and they own imprints such as Little Brown and Orion.

Hachette is a company where I would love to work. I have a sheet of paper above my bed saying “HACHETTE” to remind myself that is where I would like to be one day. The books they  publish are of outstanding quality and as soon as I saw they were hosting this event I knew I had to apply.

The day is designed to give a broad introduction to the various processes and departments within publishing. Throughout the course of the day we were split into groups and created a book ourselves, which we pitched to a mock author and agent. Lunch was provided and they offered to take a look at our CV as well. It was also possible to grab a drink on the roof with various staff during the evening. The experience was very rewarding and has given me a lot to think about when it comes to pursuing a marketing career.

We were visited by people who held various roles in publishing both within and outside the company. Literary Agents, contract directors, editors, design, production, rights and licensing, sales, marketing and publicity were among the different categories. I will be discussing two of the areas below as those were among the most interesting to me.

LITERARY AGENT:
The literary agent was Sheila Crowley who works for Curtis Brown and is the agent of famous authors such as Jojo Moyes. She is one of those people who you know is undeniably good at what they do and you could listen to for hours. Crowley stated that she viewed her role as a constant in an author’s life, to support and help them no matter what the problem might be, authors are after all what makes the business.

Most of the authors and books she takes on are through recommendations, but there are portals where authors can send in their scripts too.

She was also carefull to say that there is no one right answer to a success, books surprise and those who are most successful in the end might not be the one with the most promising premise.

 

MARKETING:
As someone who studies marketing and is aiming for a job within that field I was the most excited about this bit. I always say I want to work on promoting things I am passionate about, and what am I more passionate about than books? Not much.

Bethan Ferguson who is the Marketing Director at Quercus came to talk to us about marketing. She stated that a marketer in the publishing is involved in every aspect of the process and it is necessary to be in contact and have conversation with everyone.

What is key when publishing a book is knowing EXACTLY where it belongs in the market. There can be no doubt as any marketing activity stems from this.

The marketing activities and promotion strategies are changing from traditional billboards to a more online presence. In other words, social media and digital marketing is where it’s at. Digital and social media advertising is an advantage because it is happening in real time and therefore it is possible to do tweaks to see exactly what works and not.

 

IS THIS FOR YOU?wp-1480273612203.jpg

If you’re interested in seeing if publishing is for you, I recommend you apply to the next event hosted by Hachette, because they are very good at organising it and they showed they really care about the future of publishing. The industry is wildly competitive and this day really put things in perspective for me, personally.

It does not matter what you study, all you need is a fresh mind and a passion for books.

 

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE DAY DO NOT HESITATE TO DROP A COMMENT

Pretty Poetry #1

There are so many pieces of poetry out there I really love. I’ve decided to start a series where I post some of my favourite poetry monthly, starting with this poem by Jakub Beralski. This poem is incredibly beautiful to me and I have read it countless times. Please peruse as you please:

My hourglass used to be filled with sand,
but then there was a leak,
and slowly, surely, my time ran out.

I filled my hourglass with water,
but then the time flowed by in the blink of an eye.

I filled it with concrete:
at first I liked having time at a standstill,
but that got old pretty quick.

I once left it empty,
but air flows even faster than water.

I filled it with dirt:
sometimes time would flow,
but sometimes it got stuck and I’d have to shake it loose.

I’ve put many things in my hourglass,
but I can’t seem to get time to flow just right.

– Jakub Beralski

 

Books That Everyone Should Read At Least Once – a Goodreads list

This is a list on Goodreads, link to it is here .

As of lately, I have been getting into classic novels and enjoying the different thoughts they provoke, which is why I wanted to have a look at the books included in this specific list. I have read 26 of the 100 books, while 17 are currently on my to-read list.

I love this list because I find that it includes a lot of the books featured on any list of the same nature and therefore I find it quite accurate.

I thought I would look at the top 5 and see how I feel about where they are placed:

TOP 5 ARE:

  1. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
    This book is one of my favourites and I absolutely agree that it is a book everyone should read. The issues it deals with are very important and Lee’s writing style is utterly captivating.
  2. HARRY POTTER
    HP is my favourite book series of all time without question. The series has been vital in my development as a reader and means so much to me as a person. The sheer vastness of the Harry Potter universe, along with the dedicated fan base proves the success of the series and shows it belongs in the top of this list.
  3. 1984
    I have not gotten around to reading 1984 yet, but of course I plan on doing so quite soon. This summer, I read Animal Farm and it blew me away, so I am quite excited to read more from Orwell.
  4. PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
    I read this over the summer too, but sadly, I was not a fan. While the book was ahead of its time, I feel it is not that relevant today and did not really capture my interest. I found the plot to be uninspiring and uneventful. Then again, my friend loves everything about it. I suppose this one just isn’t for me.
  5. ANNE FRANK’S DIARY
    This book should be read because of all that it represents. The reality of this story is so vital in modern history and should be read in an attempt to understand what it was like for a child in that time.

It is important to remember, and I tell myself this all the time, do not get too caught up on the lists. There have been times where I avoid books not on this list for the sheer reason that they are not on the list. Books should be purely qualitative, not quantitative. Do not let your need for completion or need to tick off a box overshadow your love for books. I worry about that all the time, because I have been prone to let it happen in the past. While I sometimes use this specific list to find new books, I am careful to also search for unknown ones, because I know for a fact they can entice me just as much as the most classic classic.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS LIST? WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?

“Happiness is Easy” By Edney Silvestre

WHY DID I WANT TO READ THIS BOOK?

I randomly found this book at a £1 sale in Waterstones. Simply put, I chose it because it was thin, about an advertising director, and Brazilian(Fact of the day:Mariana, the other half of this blog, is half Brazilian). I was drawn to the story and I found myself wanting to read more about the Brazilian society.

PLOT(from the book cover)

Olavo Bettencourt is an important man, a man of spin. With Brazil adjusting to the new idea of democracy, his PR firm holds the balance of power in its hands. Which has also made Olavo very rich, if not very popular.

Loathed by his trophy wife and admired in a web of political corruption that spreads from Sao Paolo to Switzerland, Israel and New York, Olavo is an obvious target for extortion. And what better leverage can there be but the kidnapping of his only son.

Except that child, on his way home from school in Olavo’s armour-plated car, deep into his colouring book as the gang closes in…

He’s not Olavo’s son.

IS HAPPINESS EASY?

I have mixed emotions about this book. I experienced it as pretty average to be honest with you. The story is interesting and keeps you on your feet, but I can tell it’s a book I’ll quickly forget once I’m done with it.

Ohappiness-is-easy-cover-e1404243528290ne storyline felt unnecessary as it didn’t truly cross paths with what was clearly considered the ‘main story.’ The way I see it, this specific storyline served as a backstory to further demonstrate one important point: Brazil is an difficult country for a poor person to live in and corruption is everywhere. Which, indeed, is quite an interesting storyline, but takes valuable pages away from the what I considered the ‘main’ plot.

The book criticises corruption and the Brazilian system and does so in an good way, but as a non-Brazilian I felt lost at times, especially when it was dealing with elections. However, I feel I have gained an insight into what Brazil is like, from an insider’s perspective, which makes it worth the read.
Mara was the character I was most intrigued by. She lived an unfulfilling life, while still having access to the things that supposedly make you happy. She goes through a change in this book that I quite enjoyed reading.

 

HAVE YOU READ ANY INTERESTING BOOKS FROM BRAZIL?