It’s National Book Lovers Day – here’s a roundup of my all-time favourite reads!
Girl, Interrupted is the memoir of a young woman relating her experiences in a psychiatric hospital during the 1960s, having been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.
This book had a huge impact on me when I first read it, way back before I myself was even diagnosed with BPD. I recently re-read it and realised how much better than the film it is. Although the film itself is largely great, Susanna’s character (Winona Ryder) doesn’t appear to show any borderline symptoms. However, I could relate to Angelina Jolie’s character – a sociopath – far more. I prefer to think that this was a case of bad scripting/acting/casting than my being a sociopath.
A sociopathic female schoolteacher has an insatiable desire for pubescent boys and grooms 14 year old Jack before embarking on an affair, whilst continuing to endure sex with her husband.
The novel was inspired by Debra Lafave, a 24-year-old American teacher who was arrested for an affair with her 14-year-old student, but escaped a custodial sentence when her defence attorney successfully argued that she was ‘too pretty for prison’.
This book was controversial on its release due its taboo theme of child sexual abuse by women and unapologetically explicit language – and it’s just as uncomfortable to read the second time around.
Tampa highlights the double standards we have for males and females in positions of responsibility. Rather than women being considered romantics, the book encourages readers to see the predatory nature they are equally as capable of.
In March 2016, ABC optioned the novel with a view to shooting a three part series in October 2016 with an all star cast including Sofia Vergara in the leading role, who is the perfect sexpot.
The father of four children dies and soon after, so does their mother. In order to avoid being taken into foster care, the children hide their mother’s death by encasing her corpse in cement in the cellar.
Jack (15) and Julie (17) take over the roles of “mother” and “father” of the house, which is gradually deteriorating into squalor, and enter into a sexual relationship.
Young Slovenian Veronika appears to have everything going for her. After seeing an article in a magazine which wittily asks ‘Where is Slovenia?’, she decides to write a letter to the press justifying her suicide in the hopes they’ll believe she has killed herself because people don’t even know where Slovenia is. She wakes up in Vilette, a mental institution where she is told she has days to live.
One of my favourite bands, Billy Talent, released a song based on this book.
If you’re going to read the story, DO NOT research it any further – the final twist had me reeling.
I’m With the Band is a memoir by former groupie Pamela Des Barres, a staple of the late 60s and early 70s Los Angeles social scene. Despite bedding her way from rock star to rock star, this story has so much heart. From being Frank Zappa’s nanny to fears about her marriage to British glam rocker Michael Des Barres, Pamela is like a dizzy, lovable fairy who flies from bar to bar and continent to continent collecting memories. I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel Take Another Little Piece of my Heart: A Groupie Grows Up.
Nine year old Bruno and his family have been sent to Auschwitz. One day he meets an SS guard’s son of the same age. The boys look so alike they swap clothes, keen to experience a day on opposite sides of the fence which ends in tragedy.
This is such an important book which I think should be compulsory reading to school children. The language is accessible enough for all ages to enjoy, and yet the story is so moving it had me as a grown adult – and my therapist! – in floods of tears.
Sex addict Victor Mancini drops out of medical school to find work and afford the care that his mother is receiving in her nursing home. He resorts to being a con man, visiting restaurants to purposely make himself choke mid-meal and luring a “good Samaritan” into saving his life. He keeps a detailed list of everyone who saves him and sends them frequent letters about fictional bills he is unable to pay.
Palahniuk is the dark comic I could only dream of being. If you’re short on time and convinced nothing can shock you, his short story Guts – originally published in Playboy magazine in 2004 – is responsible for 73 instances of fainting at his book readings.
What’s your favourite book? Let me know in the comment section!