07/03/23 • News & Happenings

Blog for IWD2023: Books by or about Inspiring Women

Brought to you by our Book Keepers' Club!

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Members of the Book Keepers Club at a recent meeting in the Lighthouse Library

Happy International Women’s Day! It might be just one day in the calendar, but at Lighthouse we’ve been celebrating all week. We kicked things off on Monday with a panel talk on women in leadership delivered by inspirational women from Lighthouse and Cartoon Saloon. We’ve also been showing animated shorts directed by women in our crew room at lunchtime, two of which are directed by two of our own Lighthouse Keepers! Find links to Medusa by Josephine Cart-Tanneur and Method by Polly Holland at the end of this article.

Last week, our studio book club, The Book Keepers’ Club, met to discuss books by or about inspirational women. Some of the books sounded so good we thought it would be a shame to keep them to ourselves. So, if you’re looking for your next page-turner, read on for inspiration!

Sacrifice by SJ Bolton 

Tora, an obstetrician outsider who moves to a remote community on the Shetland Isles, discovers a body in the peat bog at her new home. Tora becomes obsessed with discovering what happened, despite warnings from the locals and even her husband, who grew up in the area. Setting plays a huge part in the building of tension. With Tora and her husband living in an isolated part of the already remote island, the feeling of being an outsider in a community of locals does nothing to ease Tora’s growing concerns.  

Sacrifice is the debut novel by Sharon J Bolton. If you’re after an atmospheric thriller, look no further.  

Check it out on Goodreads here! 


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 

First published in 1818, Frankenstein is one of those stories that have stood the test of time, spawning countless retellings and adaptations for stage and screen. Despite that, popular perceptions of the book are not always accurate – although green ‘Frankenstein’ masks are sold every Hallowe’en, Frankenstein was not the name of the monster, but the scientist who created it. 

One memorable adaptation from recent years is the dual performance from Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller, who took it in turns to play Victor Frankenstein and his creation on alternate nights at the National Theatre.

Here’s a clip of the pair in action, with Johnny Lee Miller in the title role – that’s the scientist, not his monster, for anyone who wasn’t listening!


A General Theory of Oblivion by Jose Eduardo Agualusa  

Said to be based on the true story of Ludovica Fernandes Mano, A General Theory of Oblivion follows the story of a Portuguese woman, Ludo, who barricades herself into her apartment on the eve of Angolan independence. Inside the walls of her own fortress, she is aware of the distant rumblings of a city that seems less familiar by the day. She survives by catching and eating pigeons and growing vegetables on her terrace. This continues for thirty years.  

Ludo’s decision to cut herself off from the outside world may seem strange, but Ludo is agoraphobic, and she is unfamiliar with the new world unfolding outside her door. She is described by the author as “a good person with the wrong ideas”, which come through in the diary entries that intersperse the third-person narrative.  

Read more on Goodreads.  


A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini 

The follow-up to 2003’s The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns may not be as well-known as its predecessor but is no less impactful.  

After a family tragedy strikes, 15-year-old Mariam is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed, a man 30 years her senior. When their reasonably amicable relationship disintegrates gradually over the years, due in part to the fact the pair are yet to produce a son, Rasheed takes a younger wife, their neighbour, 15-year-old Laila. The women begin to bond over their shared experiences, lived out against the backdrop of Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Their love for each other leads to drastic actions and devastating consequences.  

Read more about it here 


The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson – Illustration by Nick Sharratt

The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson 

Jacqueline Wilson is a name many of us will recognise. Although primarily aimed at kids and teenagers, her books revolve around very adult themes, such as divorce, addiction and mental health problems.  

The Illustrated Mum is no different. Dolphin and Star live with their mother Marigold, who is covered in tattoos. While Dolphin loves her mums’ tattoos, Star finds them – and her mother – pretty embarrassing. After a romantic reunion with Star’s father doesn’t go to plan, Marigold – who has bipolar disorder – experiences a breakdown. It’s down to Dolphin to look after her mum – but who’s going to look after her?  

We love Jacqueline Wilson for never shying away from the real-life challenges faced by young people growing up.  

Read more about The Illustrated Mum here.  


The Little White Horse – Elizabeth Goudge 

Keeping in the vein of children’s novels that can be enjoyed by the whole family, the next book on our list is The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. Written in 1946, The Little White Horse is set over 100 years previously, in 1842. It tells the tale of Maria Merryweather, who is sent from her London townhouse home to live in a dilapidated old manor house with her cousin after her father dies. Maria soon discovers there is a mystery surrounding the founding of her new home, Moonacre Manor, and a certain type of energy about the place.  

If that sounds like the kind of mystery you could get wrapped up in and you’d like to hear more, there’s some more info on Goodreads here.  


Agatha Christie Novels 

It’s hard to highlight one Agatha Christie novel above the rest. After all, she created whole suites of adventures for two of her leading heroes, Miss Marple and Hercules Poirot, and throughout her career wrote 66 detective novels and 14 collections of short stories. Even if you’ve never read one of Christie’s books, you have no doubt encountered her work via the stage or screen.  

Although Agatha Christie died in 1976, her Poirot creation lives on and faces new adventures through the works of mystery-writer, Sophie Hannah.  


So, what do you think of the recommendations from our Book Keepers’ Club? Keep your eyes peeled for more recommended reading over the coming months!

While you’re here, check out these two animated shorts created by two Lighthouse Keepers:

Medusa by Joséphine Cart-Tanneur


Method by Polly Holland

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