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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.
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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
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.
Heading into my final semester of university, I wasn’t really sure what to expect except ‘a lot of work’. Two weeks later, I’m actually starting to realise what this means. It is by no means a struggle (and once it’s all over I’ll wonder what I was complaining about), but I am working on a project that means I need to be more organised and hardworking than ever.
To get through the next couple of months, a steady stream of motivation is going to be key. So I’ve shared some literary quotes that are in my own mental scrapbook of helpful phrases – because when the going gets tough, the tough get their motivational quotes out.
Read them on Bustle.
Photo: Duke University Archives
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
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