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Things a Bright Girl can do Blog Tour: Guest Post from Sally Nichols

Today I am so excited to be hosting a stop on the Blog Tour for Things a Bright Girl can do by Sally Nichols. It's been no secret that I loved it and I'm pretty certain it's going to be my favourite read of the year.

Over to Sally for a guest post full of books I now want to read too

The Best Books I Read While Researching Things a Bright Girl Can Do

Here’s a dirty secret – I hate research. I hate reading books that don’t have a story. I hate the way it takes over my reading-for-pleasure time, and I hate the way I can’t just give up halfway through if it’s boring-but-necessary-for-my-plot. It’s not that I’m not interested in what sort of underwear Edwardians wore or what they ate for breakfast, I just want that information downloaded straight to my brain so I don’t have to do the hard work and can go and read Harry Potter instead.
            So when I say these were the best books, I mean, these were the fun ones. The fascinating ones. The ones I’m still talking about at parties three years later. If you’re interested in Edwardian Britain, or early feminism, or any of the things I talk about in the book … just read them.

  1. A Vicarage Family Noel Streatfeild. Streatfeild’s autobiography of her Edwardian childhood and adolescence. Utterly fascinating. Streatfeild has a real eye for the sort of details modern readers want to know about, like what a nanny did when her charges were at school and how many clothes a vicar’s daughter would own. I first read this as a child, and loved it then too. A lot of Evelyn and May’s family life comes from this book.

  1. Rilla of Ingleside LM Montgomery. One of the many sequels to Anne of Green Gables, this is set in 1914, some thirty years after the first Anne book. It’s the only contemporary account of the First World War written by a Canadian woman, and it’s the story of the war as seen through the eyes of teenage Rilla, Anne’s youngest daughter.

  1. Rebel Women Evelyn Sharp. A series of humorous essays on Suffragette life, written by militant Suffragette, children’s author and journalist Evelyn Sharp. A light-hearted but heartfelt look at what it feels like to stand on a soap box in the street if you’ve never done it before, and what happens when a little girl wants to join in the street cricket game. Short and highly entertaining.

  1. Are Women People? A Book of Rhymes for Suffrage Times Alice Duer Miller. Short collection of humorous poems and satirical pieces on suffrage themes, with titles like Why We Oppose Pockets for Women. Duer Miller was very annoyed about the Patriarchy, but she also thought it was hilarious, and she wasn’t afraid to poke fun at it.

  1. Testament of Youth Vera Brittain. This is pretty much required reading if you’re writing about British women and the First World War. I found Brittain intensely annoying, so I struggled with this book at times, but her account of the lead-up-to and aftermath of the Somme in London is devastating.

  1. Round About a Pound a Week Maud Pember Reeves. Write-up of a Fabian 1911 study looking at what working-class families spent their money on, what they ate, how they lived, and how they coped in times of crisis. This was one of the best books I found for what Nell’s life would have been like, and it’s utterly riveting.

  1. Sally Heathcote: Suffragette Mary M Talbot The only secondary source on my list (all the rest are first-hand accounts or stories written by people who were actually there), this graphic novel is a well-written and enjoyable overview of the Suffragette movement.

  1. Ann Veronica HG Wells. The only book by a man on my list. This 1911 novel is the story of Ann Veronica, who wants to leave home and earn her own living as a scientist but discovers that society will not let her. The scene where she does ju-jitsu on a man who’s locked her in a cabinet particular is my particular favourite.