[Ad – review/giveaway. I was sent a gift set for review purposes and an additional box to give away. All thoughts are my own.]
Happy World Book Day!
I got to thinking recently about favourite books and how so many bookworms struggle to pick one single title. It’s easy (ish) to pick a favourite genre or writer (feminist non-fiction and Jodi Picoult for me), and perhaps one from a particular year (my fave new release of last year was The Displaced). And there are books which are must-reads, the ones you recommend to anyone and everyone (recent releases for me include Home Fire and The Hate U Give, plus more obvious classics, such as To Kill a Mockingbird). But I think a true favourite is one which you want to re-read on a regular basis. One that’s familiar but which you appreciate on a different level each time. For me, that book is The Bell Jar.
I’ve teamed up with one of my favourite bookish brands, Literary Emporium, not only to celebrate my favourite book, but also to offer you lovely readers the chance to win a gift set, complete with book, t-shirt and pin badge.
I first read The Bell Jar in the run-up to my GCSEs. I was in that angsty teenage girl phase, listening to Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill and looking for books which spoke to me. The film 10 Things I Hate About You had been released a few years previously and I’d started to really identify with Kat, downloading songs from the soundtrack and looking up the bands she mentions. In one scene she’s sat reading The Bell Jar, so Sylvia Plath popped up on my radar. When her poem Mirror appeared in our GCSE English anthology, I made a conscious effort to find more of her work and I was hooked.
I re-read The Bell Jar every few years and I get something different from it at different stages of my life.
The most memorable part for me, and most readers, is the second half, which details Esther’s suicide attempt and subsequent treatment. For years, that was my takeaway from the book. When I re-read it earlier this week there was an element which resonated more clearly with me, something which I hadn’t paid much attention to when reading it before:
“The trouble was, I hated the idea of serving men in any way.”
I really identified with Esther’s independence and feminist tendencies, her desire to write what she wanted and not to serve anyone else’s ideas and expectations. This book is more than 50 years old but so much of its themes still feel contemporary.
How beautiful is this hardback edition from Faber & Faber? I have an old, battered paperback which has seen me through the last 15 years (was I really 16 that long ago?!) and this was a very welcome upgrade.
I love the quotes Rio has singled out for her Plath products. The quote on her enamel pin badge is from the poem The Jailer and it is such a fantastic example of her unique way with words.
The quote on her Bell Jar tee is one of the most memorable from the novel. It appears first when she’s suicidal:
“I thought I would swim out until I was too tired to swim back. As I padded on, my heartbeat boomed like a dull motor in my ears.
I am I am I am.”
And again right at the end of the book as she reaches the pinnacle of her recovery:
“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart.
I am, I am, I am.”
I love wearing my heart on my sleeve/my passions on my clothing and Literary Emporium’s tees and sweaters are some of my favourite pieces in my wardrobe. The fit is great for bigger girls and super soft and comfy. I wear a large/UK 16 and the length is great and not too fitted. No prizes for guessing what I’m wearing for today’s celebrations!
Want to win your very own gift set? Just check out the terms and conditions below and click on the link to enter.
Terms and conditions
One winner will receive a Sylvia Plath gift box from Literary Emporium. This giveaway will close at midnight on Wednesday 13 March and a winner will be chosen at random. The winner will be contacted directly and given a week to respond. If there is no response, a new winner will be selected. UK entries only.
What is your favourite/most re-read book?