I like big books and I cannot lie.

So, it's quite gray and windy outside by now. And I already miss summer like fuck! My favourite thing this summer was - like every year - lying around somewhere, with a cold drink within reach and my nose in a good book. And I read some spectacular ones this year. Here are a few that I recommend especially warmly:

Caitlin Moran - How to build a girl

“I wish I was Bill Murray. I hope everything I’ve read about evolution is wrong, and I eventually evolve into him. It’s one of only three plans I have.” 

Caitlin Moran is the author of my personal feminist bible "How to be a woman", but this new book of hers is strictly fictional. The novel follows the life of 14-year-old Johanna, who lives with her huge family in a crappy little house and tries to make it as a rock'n'roll writer. She also really, really wants to be a groupie - but in a feminist way. It's hilarious and very sweet and even made me cry a little in the end. Perfect book to read when you're ill and lie in bed and force your roomie to make you pumpkin soup.

Eleanor Roosevelt  - You learn by living

“Meeting smaller emergencies and learning to deal with them had given me the confidence to deal with this larger emergency. So, little by little, I found out how to do things. After each catastrophe you don’t worry so much the next time, and each time you emerge stronger from your victory.” 

I kinda did the "Let's read everything by strong ladies" thing this summer. This one was probably the most "American" thing I have ever read, but I have to say, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Eleanor Roosevelt was a pretty kick-ass politician, diplomat, activist, first lady and mother to a ton of children, she also might or might not have been secretly bisexual and she is just generally awesome and wise and infinitely cool. This book is a collection of wisdom nuggets. Not a crazy pageturner, but you can finish a chapter each night in bed and it will leave you with a feeling like you just got a little smarter.

Susan Jane Gilman - Undress me in the temple of heaven

“Everything became a metaphor, a talisman, a sign that I was still actually connected to people—that I wasn’t so completely on my own.” 

I speedread this book this summer, because it was JUST. SO. EXCITING. and I couldn't put it down. It's the true story of how author Susan Jane Gilman, after graduating college in the early 90s, went to China with a college friend. The country was just on the cusp of opening up for tourists and they arrive, completely lost, naive and overwhelmed by the whole thing. They get bullied by the Chinese authorities, get food poisoning and meet strange people who sometimes help them and sometimes turn out to be dangerous. And then, completely alone in a fairly dangerous country, Susans friend Claire starts losing her mind...

Martha Stout - The sociopath next door

“If, instead, you find yourself often pitying someone who consistently hurts you or other people, and who actively campaigns for your sympathy, the chances are close to 100 percent that you are dealing with a sociopath.” 

It's extremely rare that you stumble across a book that actually changes the way you look at the world. I had it happen to me maybe five times in my entire life. This is one of these times. Martha Stout is an expert on psychopaths - people who can't feel remorse, shame or compassion and she makes it really easy to identify sociopaths in your daily life. I read it on holiday and every 10 minutes I sat up and read a few lines out loud to my girls. The book also made me make a few decisions about which people to actually keep or cut out of my life. And - for a sciency book - it is impossibly exciting and easy to read. Buy it, read it, thank me later!

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