9 Things for Literature Lovers to do in London

Read the whole thing on Bustle.

Passing, glimpsing, everything seems accidentally but miraculously sprinkled with beauty, as if the tide of trade which deposits its burden so punctually and prosaically upon the shores of Oxford Street had this night cast up nothing but treasure.

Virginia Woolf’s wanders through London inspired me last week as I took in the capital, stalking the streets in search of sights a little bit off the beaten track. I went in search of spaces and places linked to literature, and this list covers the handful I managed to get around. If, like me, you love books probably a little too much and maybe sort of irrationally obsess over the people who write them, you might want to take note before your next visit.

Chalcot Square, Sylvia Plath's old stomping ground.

Chalcot Square, Sylvia Plath’s old stomping ground.

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17 Must-Read Commencement Speech Quotes

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Read the whole thing on Bustle.

It’s spring, and graduation looms for many – myself included. To celebrate this/ help process this reality, I gathered wisdom from 17 writers’ commencement speeches to see what they had to say about life after university. Of everything I read, this from Toni Morrison resonated most:

“I know that happiness has been the real, if covert, target of your labors here, your choices of companions, of the profession that you will enter. You deserve it and I want you to gain it, everybody should. But if that’s all you have on your mind, then you do have my sympathy, and if these are indeed the best years of your life, you do have my condolences because there is nothing, believe me, more satisfying, more gratifying than true adulthood. The adulthood that is the span of life before you. The process of becoming one is not inevitable. Its achievement is a difficult beauty, an intensely hard won glory, which commercial forces and cultural vapidity should not be permitted to deprive you of.”

Despite all the changes on the horizon, it’s a process I look forward to.

Photo: Lincoln Memorial University

11 Scottish Books To Read For Tartan Day

Read my latest piece on Bustle here!

Today will be known to many as Easter Monday. But the date, April 6th, is home to another celebration: Tartan Day, which marks the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320. It’s commemorated in Arbroath here in Scotland with loads of themed events, and has also sparked a huge parade in New York City that brings together Scots Americans in celebration of their heritage.

I’m immensely proud of my own Scottish identity, but like I say in this piece, there is no one standard experience of a country, or one way to live a nationality. Even a small country like Scotland has space for more than 5 million different life stories to play out in the hills, by the sea, in the country and the city. These 11 Scottish books exemplify that. 

11 Books on Inspiring Women To Motivate You

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I don’t know about you, but January’s a slow month for me. The weather here gets so cold that it feels like an effort to do anything that requires going outdoors. To tackle my winter blues, I got to reading, mostly because it’s a cosy indoor activity, and came up with this list to pull me out of my midwinter fuzz:

11 Books on Inspiring Women To Motivate You

The women on this list have done some pretty cool things, and you might well recognize some of them. I need all the energy I can muster to push through my last semester of university, so I’m taking a few leaves from these books to get me mentally prepared. If you’re feeling the same way right now, I hope one of these titles appeals to you, too!

Photo: Ian Aberle/Flickr

14 Things Only People Who Have Spent Countless Hours Working in a Bookstore Understand

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I’ve just started writing for Bustle’s books section. Naturally, my first post is all about the joys of working in a bookstore, as I have done ever since I started working at the age of 15.

Check out the list here, and have a look around while you’re there. There’s loads of amazing book recommendations to be found, and news, entertainment, lifestyle, and fashion & beauty verticals, too – what more could you ask for?

Photo: Anthro136k Spring 2011/ Flickr

On (a) Spectrum

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In March this year, I joined Spectrum, a podcast that looks at the various surrounding gender equality.

I came on board just in time to join their episode on intersectionality, and looked at class. It impacts so much that Jo (who worked on the segment with me) and I found plenty to talk about. To me, St Andrews feels very different to other universities across the UK, but we’re not immune to ‘lad culture’. I wanted to find out just what that is, and what it means to St Andrews students – what do they think it means? Have they experienced it?

Being a history student, I was also curious about how class and gender feed into historical representation – or lack thereof. While historians themselves have worked hard to pick apart the complexities of the past, there’s still very much a stereotype of ‘the Victorian woman’, a domesticated ideal. Scottish history and its diversity is also skimmed over in a wider British narrative. I spoke to my great aunt, whose mother’s experiences as a herring gutter challenge both of these narratives.

Fast forward to October, and our team has grown! We lost two of our members who were studying abroad here, so recruited some newbies to put together our episode on Birth. Kara and I were interested in how birth and motherhood has been represented throughout history. We spoke to art historians, a film scholar and the producer of Downton Abbey to trace how people have tackled anxieties surrounding childbirth and parenting.

You can listen to all of Spectrum’s episodes on our Spreaker page.

And if you’re interested, like our Facebook page to stay posted on the next episode – Love & Sex.