My Life In Books: Selene Mortimore

Reading is a hugely integral part of my life; before I could read on my own my parents would read to me daily. When I could finally read alone I would read anything I could get my hands on, and typically when my Dad came back from business trips he would have a few books for me in his luggage and it always felt like Christmas, and when Christmas came around the main bulk would have been various different books. To say I come from a family of readers is a huge understatement; every phone or Skype call involves a lengthy discussion of what books we’re reading and a big list of recommendations on both sides. There’s something about reading that is comparable to magic – you can be transported to any land, and any time period no matter where you are. There are few things I could say I enjoy more than reading. I’m usually reading around three books at a time just because I can’t bear the thought of untouched books. To compile a list of my favourite books is near on an impossible task, but here are a few of the most important to me.

Love’s Work // Gillian Rose

I was introduced to Gillian Rose’s more academic texts by a lecturer, in particular her work on philosopher Theodor Adorno. After reading some of her work I came across Love’s Work. Love’s Work is Rose’s autobiography that was written at the time she had ovarian cancer. The autobiography is a mix of her own experiences with people, alone and of other people. There are also her own philosophies on love, religion, and life – things we have all considered. She speaks of her great loves and why they didn’t work, and more importantly her love of life. While I make this book seem your typical tragic yet uplifting personal story, it is anything but. What I love about Love’s Work is the frankness of Rose’s life and her views on love and ultimately death;there’s no sort of ‘sugar coating,’ but it’s also not melodramatic. Rose doesn’t include ‘self help,’ nor does she pity herself despite her terminal cancer. Since reading this book under a year ago, I have read it upwards of 10 times. There’s something so powerful about this book, but in a way it’s quietly powerful- there’s a quote that has always stuck with me: “You may be weaker than the whole world but you are always stronger than yourself.”

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