Justine’s Summer Reading List

This summer has been such a hot one, and I’ve honestly found it a bit difficult to stay outside for longer periods of time under the sun. So for those too hot days where I’m inside, or the cooler days where I can spend some time outside, I like to have a good book with me to pass the time! I’ve been reading a lot of new books this summer, and I would love to share some of them with you! It’s a bit of a bad habit really, buying books, but I’ve got no shame in the 20+ books my husband and I have each purchased since being in London. There are worse habits to have! I’ve also attached some links for you to buy the books in England, Canada, the US, and an Amazon link for most other countries. As Megan mentioned in her post, you can also find most of these books at your local library, or as I typically do, you may stumble upon them at a used book market! For all of you Londoner’s, check out the Southbank Book Market, which runs 7 days a week under the Southbank Bridge – most books are priced from £3-£10! Without further adieu, here is my list of the books that I am loving this summer!

The Lady of the Rivers – Philippa Gregory
For anyone who enjoys historical fiction like me, this series (this is the first book of the series) will be perfect for you! The author, Philippa Gregory has been praised among the literary community for her accuracy with historical fact, and it’s honestly so fascinating to read about heroines such as Joan of Arc in a way that brings you into their mind and their life. Imagining what the day to day life would have been like for women who are of such historical relevance is eye opening, and the fact that she only writes about strong females is a win in my books – literally! Each woman in the series is related in some way to the other women, and each book focuses on a different historically significant woman and her journey through a specific time period, mainly around very important historical events! It’s a great way to get a new perspective and really get into the shoes of some fierce females! 
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She: A History of Adventure – H. Rider Haggard
This book was so interesting from start to finish, and you are taken along with two men headed to Africa into a supposed “lost kingdom”. Once you meet “the all-powerful She” who also goes by Ayesha, as well as “she-who-must-be-obeyed” you won’t be able to put the book down! You will experience the good and bad sides of She, and explore a world run by the most powerful woman to ever exist within the world this novel comprises of. No spoilers, but every single turn is more interesting than the last, and I wouldn’t be giving you the opportunity to experience it for yourself if I spoiled any more of it! A true exploration of all things female.
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High Wages – Dorothy Whipple
This book is another older novel, written by an outstanding author who was, up until recently, out of print. I found it at Persephone Books, which I mentioned in this article, and it’s a really compelling piece about fashion in the 1700s/1800s and the independence of women. The story follows a woman who wants to make her own dress shop, and break down the barriers of ready-made fashion before it became our modern-day retail shopping. Refreshing to read, and a bit different in style than some other books of the time, which may have been part of what caused the novel to go out of print, but it is nevertheless a great read, and great for anyone who is interested in historical fashion! I highly recommend purchasing from Persephone Books, as it is always a good thing to fund a local business – especially one that is intentionally bringing back to life pieces of literature by almost-forgotten authors, and I believe that it is only for sale via their shop, and Amazon as an affiliate.
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Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2 –
THIS BOOK. Do I ever have a story about this book. Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2, is of course, a sequel. It is a book containing features on heroines from the past and present who achieved great things for humankind, and is just so inspiring. I was at a Waterstones book store in central London a few weeks ago, and this book was featured on a stand. I picked up a copy and stood next to it while perusing through it, and a little girl came running up to the stand shouting in her adorable little British accent “Mummy mummy look! Look! There’s a second one! Can we get it please please please??? I want to read more about the rebel girls! I want to know what else they did! I want to be just like them! Pleaseeee mummmmm?!” And in that moment I thought my heart was going to burst. I quietly stepped away to a different corner, because I started to cry from seeing how inspired and empowered this young girl was. To think, in the modern day we’ve now brought so many books about the inspiring women of the past, present, and future into existence, that even one little girl can be empowered to know she can do anything – that fills me with such immense joy. Girls are more than just princess stories and dresses – girls are fierce, intelligent, strong, brave, fearless, powerful, inspiring, and courageous. Girls can be anything, and girls can do anything. I love that the true stories of these amazing women can bring such a light into the eyes of a child. Even as an adult, this is a must-read book. Learning about all of the amazing women that changed the world can empower at any age, and I loved reading through this book. Definitely something that I will hold onto for years and years, and eventually pass down when I have my own children.
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A Vindication of the Rights of Woman – Mary Wollstonecraft
If you read this Fierce Female post, you know what I think about Mary Wollstonecraft. A woman so many years ahead of her time, who wrote this essay as an open cry to the learned men around her and to the women she was trying to empower, in the hopes that women would be allocated more rights than they were given, and new opportunities to be educated and enter into the workforce. The language is a bit older and stiffer than that of our modern age, but personally I found it to be so empowering with her cheeky little sarcastic sentences and digs at the people in power. It’s a definite interesting and eye open read, and I would highly recommend for any feminist who is looking to broaden their knowledge of historical feminism!
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That’s all from me! Catch you on the flip side… of the page! Happy reading!
xx