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Ride out your Crimson Wave: A Period-Proof Reading List by Dead Girls author Abigail Tarttelin


Whatever mood you are in on your period, there’s a book that can help you feel better. We’ve been speaking to ‘Dead girls’ author Abigail Tarttelin, who’s put together a period-proof reading list of what you should read for different moods on your period.

We all experience a whirlwind of moods and emotions on our period. Whether you’re feeling sad, angry, irritable or anything in-between, Abbie gives her recommendations for books to suit your mood.


Solving problems with books

“It’s true that as a writer, I’m used to solving problems with books. A quick glance at my to-be-read pile offers plenty of options for self-prescribed therapy. Uninspired? I can reach over my vintage lamp to the creative musings of ‘Just Kids’ by Patti Smith, or get my feminist fire on with neuroscience in ‘Delusions of Gender’ by Cordelia Fine.

But what about the monthly muddling of moods that comes with my period? There’s no avoiding it, PMS strikes the best of us. At that time, I know the only thing to do is be kind to myself. For me, that means finding the perfect book for my predicament. This month, I’ve handpicked the best new reads to suit every shade of period blues.



‘Asymmetry’ by Lisa Halliday (Granta)
Wistful? A bit teary? Thinking about what you’ve got and what you want in life? ‘Asymmetry’ packs a nice punch of self-belief for women, as it focuses on one: the central character. A female writer traversing her twenties, struggling to find her voice and living rather in the shadow of her famous author lover.



‘Property: A Collection’ by Lionel Shriver (The Borough Press)
Angry? Grumpy? Hate the world and wish everyone walking ahead of you on the pavement would just get out the way? There is no voice more brutal than Lionel Shriver. The author of ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ weaves a twisted tapestry of contemporary American life in this vicious, witty collection of stories.



‘Her Body & Other Parties’ by Carmen Maria Machado (Serpent’s Tail)
I certainly can’t help it. And it comes at such an unfair time. Still, there are ways. While not strictly erotica, this debut collection of short stories reads like a sensual, seductive book of fairy tales. Imagine Hans Christian Andersen as a fourth wave feminist, writing about ritual, body politics, and female sexuality.



‘Heartburn’ by Nora Ephron (Virago Classics)
Newly republished, Ephron’s 1983 novel about a pregnant woman who discovers her husband is cheating on her is semi-autobiographical at least. It’s also laugh-out-loud funny, and demonstrates the kind of strength, humour, and recipes for good food that one requires to overcome the pure evil of cramps.



‘Ponti’ by Sharlene Teo (Pan Macmillan)
For when you have ALL THE ENERGY IN THE WORLD AND YOU CAN DO ANYTHING, Sharlene Teo’s debut is richly-rendered, with a lot to offer. Set in Singapore, the novel follows Szu, Circe, and Szu’s actress-turned-medium mother, and then picks up seventeen years later to find out what happened to them.

Thanks so much to Abigail for this blog! Do you have any books you love to read on your period? Tweet us @totmorganic or leave a comment below. You can follow Abigail for more reading and writing tips on twitter @ajktarttelin and Instagram @abigailtarttelin_
(photo credit: Coralie Colmez)

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