Mental Health Awareness Month is hosted by Leah @ Uncorked Thoughts and Ula @ Blog of Erised. It is a way to spread awareness on the issues that are often overlooked, not to mention sporting a very bad reputation. The month of June will be dedicated to reading and reviewing/discussing books that discuss Mental Health. You can sign up to participate in the event in either Leah or Ula’s blogs.
I’m happy to share with you all today a guest post written by Anish Majumdar, the author of the novel The Isolation Door (review). His book is a powerful look at the effects mental illness has both on the individual and the family.
My Mother’s Lesson
by Anish Majumdar
When I was 6 years old, my mother and I traveled from Montreal to her hometown of Srivila, a tiny village bordering Kolkata, India. While the reason for the trip was ostensibly so I could connect with her side of the family, the fact that we left immediately after a huge fight with my father smacked of one of her trademark emotional power plays. After a few weeks of shopping for saris and jewelry in the plush, air-conditioned havens along Park Street, she returned to her previous work as an elementary school teacher. I was largely left to my own devices in this new country, and often accompanied her to class. Sitting in the back of high-ceilinged rooms with slowly whirring fans overhead, I witnessed an entirely new side of her: quick-witted, withering when a student failed to live up to expectations, and possessed of a deep love for English literature. When my father arrived months later to win back his family (hint: copious gifts to my mother were involved), she once more laid her profession aside to raise me and follow the hundred unwritten rules of a wife in a conservative Bengali family. Only one element of that fiery teacher remained: every afternoon, once my schoolwork was done, I was to carry out a writing assignment for her eyes only.
The other day I posted up my review of Kate Mosse’s Citadel (review) as well as details for the book giveaway contest that I’m currently hosting as part of the book tour. Today I’m happy to share with you all a guest post written by the author herself about the region in which her Languedoc trilogy is set in, Carcassonne.
A LOVE LETTER TO CARCASSONNE
More than 25 years ago, we bought a tiny house in the shadow of the medieval city walls of Carcassonne, in the Languedoc region of southern France. I’d never heard of the place before, let alone been there, but the second I stepped off the train, I felt I belonged. As if I’d come home. Over the years, living there for part of the year and bringing up our (now grown up!) children, I became obsessed with the history of the region, often bloody and brutal, the mystical and inspiring landscape. I started to dream of a series of novels – all of them stand-alones in terms of story and adventure, but linked by a sense of place. The Languedoc Trilogy – Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel – is the result. Each novel is a love letters to the place I think of as my second home, a way of celebrating the distinctive and unique character of the region. It’s also a way of putting certain periods of history – the lost and forgotten women’s stories from history in particular – on the page.
Yesterday I posted up my review for Will Bashor’s Marie Antoinette’s Head: The Royal Hairdresser, The Queen, And The Revolution (review) as well as details for the book giveaway contest that I’m currently hosting as part of the book tour. Today I’m happy to share with you all a guest post written by the author himself on the subject of Marie Antoinette and her famous hairstyles.
MARIE ANTOINETTE’S INCREDIBLE COIFFURES
Marie Antoinette has remained atop the popular cultural landscape for centuries for the daring in style and fashion that she brought to 18th century France. For the better part of the queen’s reign, one man was entrusted with the sole responsibility of ensuring that her coiffure was at its most ostentatious best. Who was this minister of fashion who wielded such tremendous influence over the queen’s affairs?
Marie Antoinette’s Head: The Royal Hairdresser, The Queen, and the Revolution (Lyons Press) charts the rise of Leonard Autie from humble origins as a country barber in the south of France to the inventor of the pouf and premier hairdresser to Queen Marie-Antoinette. By unearthing a variety of sources from the 18th and 19th centuries, including memoirs, court documents, and archived periodicals, author Will Bashor tells Leonard’s mostly unknown story, chronicling Leonard’s story, the role he played in the life of his most famous client, and the chaotic and history-making world in which he rose to prominence.