Scarlett’s Summer Reading List

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if I don’t want to feel sad, I have to read. All the anti-depressants, therapy, ice cream or yoga in the world will never help me not to feel bad as much as a good book or audiobook will.

So for the interest of other slightly sad readers, this is what I’ve been reading and listening to this summer – please leave a comment with your book recommendations ESPECIALLY books that cheer you up when you’re sad.

  1. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. There are only so many times you can pretend during an English class that you’ve read Madame Bovary before you should probably just actually sit down and read Madame Bovary. Flaubert has been my ‘intellectual’ challenge for the summer but to my delight it hasn’t turned out to be anywhere near as challenging as was previously expected. The new translation by Lydia Davis is brilliant and I ended up loving this book more than I could possibly have imagined. If this is on your list of ‘books to one day read’ I would definitely recommend pushing it up and getting lost for a while in 19th C France – it’s kind of a beautiful place to be.
  2. The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler. It was hard to pick which Anne Tyler book to put on this list as I’ve read 3 in the last two weeks and find myself completely and utterly obsessed. Last summer I made it my mission to power through the works of Philip Roth and Jonathan Franzen and while I’m always going to be fans of theirs, there’s something so touching, feminine and beautiful in Anne Tyler’s writing that’s almost impossible to find anywhere else. I appreciate that I’m so late to the party on this one that the party’s over and we’ve begun cleaning up – but I’ve just started my fourth book by Tyler this month, and there’s no way I’m looking back.
  3. The Gossip Girl Novels by Cecily von Zeigesar. Whenever I’m asked how I truly became passionate about reading I always feel the need to claim was Gatsby or Austen or something that makes me sound smart and educated – but the truth is the books that made me love reading were the Gossip Girl books and I feel no shame. The Gossip Girl books are the Custard Creams of the trashy, teen fiction world. Yes, they aren’t great for you, no, they’re not exactly the best quality, but – they are leauges above their competitors and actually kind of miraculous. I’ve been re-reading some of them this summer when I’ve felt like Flaubert was getting a bit too Flaubert-y and despite my trepidations I think they might have brought me more pure joy than anything else on this list. they’re very well written, full of amazing, hilarious fashion and pop culture references and the characters are actually incredibly real and believably in their own ridiculous way.
  4. How to be Both by Ali Smith. My dad bought me this book at the beginning of the summer purely based on the fact that he liked the picture on the cover (he’s rather superficial). I too was taken in by the cover but once I started it I couldn’t stop and finished it in about 2 days. If you liked A Visit From the Goon Squad (one of my all time favourites) I would definitely give this a go. It’s beautifully constructed, very witty and masterfully written.
  5. The Woman Who Stole my Life by Marian Keyes. In my opinion, Marian Keyes is a genius, a complete, and utter, genius. And I’m pretty sure if her books didn’t have pink covers or where about ‘women’s issues’ they would be studied in universities, although that might be a topic for a whole other blog post. To keep things short, The Woman Who Stole my Life is a masterpiece. It’s a hilarious, beautiful, moving, and incredibly brilliant book and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone including my cat, and he doesn’t even like fiction.

Anna

Hi, I’m Anna Kitty and this is me crying.

I’m someone who has suffered from panic attacks and anxiety for years and at the beginning of last summer things started to get really bad. I spent the majority of my time watching re-runs of friends, stalking Kim Kardashian’s instagram account and trying to avoid anything that meant leaving the house. However over the past year, after a very low point, things have slowly started to get easier. After spending months  wearing only pyjamas and lying on the sofa I realised that I was actually going to have to turn off the TV and leave the house, in doing so I discovered that by wearing whatever I wanted and not choosing my clothes in order to fit in with everyone else, something I used to find myself doing a lot, I was able to have some control about how I felt, and leaving the house could become something creative and not as scary.

My mum is a strong believer in feeling better and recovering from the inside out, however i’ve come to realise that a good pair of jeans and some mascara can go a long way when I’m feeling a bit shit. As my anxiety has started to reduce, my personal style has become less about trying to feel safe and more a form of self expression, and I guess this blog will help me to document how strongly my mood effects how I dress and how what i’m wearing can alter my mood.

Going outside has now become a regular activity in my life, therefore everyday brings opportunity for a different outfit and the process of getting dressed is definitely a highlight in my day. Being able to chose how the world see’s me through the clothes I decide to wear, whether that be wellies and dungarees or high heels and a mini dress, is something I enjoy. In addition, the satisfaction of being able to put on my pyjamas at the end of the day is heightened by having been outside wearing real clothes, there is a feeling that the more eccentric my outfit for that day the more I deserve to lie on the sofa, stalking Kim Kardashian’s instagram and eating almond butter out of the jar.

Scarlett

Hi, I’m Scarlett Curtis, I’m 20, and I’ve been blogging, writing and journalism-ing since I was 14, you may know me from my blogs Teen Granny or ScarlettCurtis.com, or you may not know me at all, in which case – Hello, would you like a cupcake?

If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written before, you may know that starting a fashion (ish) blog isn’t exactly in my comfort zone. For a very long time clothes and fashion were pretty much the last thing in the world that I could even think about.

I spent a lot of my teens in a lot of physical pain followed by a lot of mental pain. For 3 years I had such a bad back that I couldn’t wear anything except hugely baggy jumpers that wouldn’t touch my skin and once I got physically better, my struggles with anxiety and depression meant that I rarely got out of my pyjamas. Fashion and ‘cool clothes’ were a portion of this world, much like dungeons and dragons or the stock market, that I assumed I would never be a part of.

I wanted to start this blog because over the last year, as my anxiety and depression has begun to shift, I started to realise that caring about what I wore meant more than just which navy blue GAP jumper I put on in the morning. That the clothes that I armed myself with every morning before setting off into the big (and let’s face it, often pretty scary) world could make me feel confident, or clever, or even potentially cool.

I started to realise that all the women around me who I assumed just came out of the womb knowing exactly what to wear, were also making big decisions about what they wore and that those decisions, even if only in the smallest way, were effecting how they felt as they lived their lives.

My life was so odd for so long, odder than the second season of True Detective. And I feel it’s my mission now to try and figure out what beautiful, wonderful, scary things compile this ‘normal’ world I had come to think of as so odd and distant and alien for so long.

When I was 14 I decided to start calling myself Teen Granny, and being a Teen Granny helped so much in making my necessarily quiet, secluded life seem less horrible and less lonely than it was. But as I’ve grown up, it’s sometimes felt hard to let go of the labels I used to define myself for so long. No longer the sick girl, the girl who never goes out, the girl who cries all the time or the girl who loves knitting more than most people love Channing Tatum’s abs – I found myself a bit lost at who I was. Unable to quite comprehend that I could be the happy girl, the girl who likes clothes, the girl who only cries when she’s sad things happen and not just all day, everyday for seemingly no reason. I want to use this blog to try and step out of my comfort zone just a little bit and start to look into those parts of life I felt so removed from for so long.

I still don’t know that much about fashion, but I am starting to realise there’s a connection between how I feel on the inside and the face I show to the world on the outside, and this little piece of the internet is a place for me and my far more stylish cousin, to explore that idea a little bit further.