madamedeficit: (Default)
madamedeficit ([personal profile] madamedeficit) wrote2011-09-23 10:10 am


I've talked about these before, but I can never get enough of talking about them.

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1. Taming the Beast by Emily Maguire: I read this when I was just 19 and living with my first serious boyfriend. It taught me that there was a whole world of sexuality outside of what I had experienced. It helped me to understand what my desires were, and I had to spend a lot of time coming to terms with the fact that I wasn't wrong for wanting them. I'd had an interest in BDSM for as long as I could remember - I remember the boys from across the road kidnapping me and tying me up during a game of 'Batman and Robin', and liking it, but not knowing why I liked it. I remember making Ken kidnap Barbie and lock her in her pink caravan. Anyway, I'd always had this interest but it wasn't until I read Taming the Beast and watched Secretary that I learned how far this desire could extend, and began to properly seek this kind of pleasure out. My boyfriend at the time went as far as using flimsy fluffy handcuffs and spanking me, but there was still something missing. I tried repeatedly to speak to my partner about this but he clearly had no interest in taking things any further. I cheated on him several times in my search for sexual satisfaction. In the end, our sex life was almost totally dead, possibly due to his feelings of inadequacy, or as a symptom of other problems. Eventually, our relationship ended when I cheated on him again. He asked me why and I explained that I wasn't satisfied, and he said, 'I've done everything to try and satisfy you.' When I came out of this relationship, I began actively seeking a BDSM dynamic and spent the next five years getting closer to what I really wanted.

2. Smashed: Growing Up a Drunk Girl by Koren Zailckas: I stumbled across this book by accident in W.H. Smith and instantly had to purchase it. This is a well-written, non-preachy memoir of a young woman's relationship with alcohol/binge drinking, with some interesting booze facts thrown in. Koren began drinking in her early teens, and soon found herself binge drinking every weekend, as many young women do, leading to her eventually realising she had a problem and giving up drinking entirely. Her gritty memoir made me see what I was doing to my body in a way that no parent, teacher or friend had been able to. After reading Smashed, I cut down my drinking considerably and began to think about why I was drinking and how much I was drinking. I grew up with an alcoholic father and as such, considered myself doomed to have a bad relationship with alcohol for life. Zailckas' memoir made me see that it didn't have to be that way. It gave me the courage and determination necessary to escape a cycle that was slowly destroying my body, my relationships, and my self-esteem. If you don't read any other book on this list, please read this one. I am not at all exaggerating when I say that it changed my life.

3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: While the previous two books changed my personal life, this book changed my academic life. It was my very favourite teacher who suggested I read this for my Advanced Higher dissertation, and as a result, led me to hunger for Victorian literature. This novel made me fall in love with an entire time period, leading me to consistently choose Victorian options over the course of my English degree, and then choosing to study Victorian Literature at Masters level. The teacher who suggested I read it is now terminally ill, and I'm having a rough time dealing with this.

x L x