Adrielle's cat Tia greets me at the door early Sunday morning. As she flops back to expose her belly, Adrielle jokes, "She thinks she's a dog." Cat and master lead me through the winding corridors of their character apartment, and Adrielle motions me toward bookshelves of various sizes absolutely stacked with books in a space once designated as a formal dining room. Tiny mounds of incense ash, a smattering of photography prints, small collections of glass hands, skulls and doll heads, and a miniature anatomy model can be found in and among the many texts. The last is unsurprising, given Adrielle's work as a massage therapist with Waterfront Massage. Kitted out with two cozy chairs - one for Adrielle and one for her other cat Taliesin - its clear this little library receives a lot of love. Here are a few of Adrielle's favourite books, selected from her vast collection.
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
Miller has to be one of the most gifted wordsmiths in the English language. He paints a picture of humanity that is simultaneously glorious and ugly. However flawed the perspective of man man at one moment in time, the writing itself is superb. Tropic is currently the book I pick up most for inspiration.
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
Every winter my Dad used to read this out loud to my family. He did the different voices until he was hoarse. We still quote sections back and forth and sing the songs. (He had tunes for them all.) Besides the nostalgia, I love that Tolkien helped popularize a new branch of mythology and storytelling, and the grandeur and incredible detail of his writing is astounding.
Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
This is my favourite of the Brontë sisters' work. The main character, Helen, is an incredibly strong woman, and through her Anne addresses tricky subjects such as alcoholism, spousal abuse, a woman's right to refuse her husband, and the general lack of equality between the sexes. She also exposes the messy lives of the Victorian upper class and explores how different women made their way in a world where they were nothing without husbands. Anne's writing is much more gentle and polished than her sisters', making this book a delightful read in addition to the fascinating plot.
This is the second instalment of Reading with Friends. You can read Aaron Boissonneault's recommendations here.