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Review: Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

Dolly Alderton’s long-awaited debut novel is a perceptive and entertaining reflection on modern romance, female friendship and growing older. Acting almost as a fictional companion to her non-fiction memoir, Everything I Know About Love, released in 2018 to critical acclaim, Ghosts contemplates many of the themes which have earned Alderton her status as ‘the voice of the millennial generation’. Continue reading Review: Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

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Review: Beneath the Waves

As the mornings grow colder, the nights longer, and it feels like there are perpetual grey skies threatening months of rain, sometimes all you can do is put on your most threadbare pyjamas and snuggle up with a good book. However, with deadlines looming and online University being weirdly more stressful than the real thing, considering I’m attending in said pyjamas, what I really need is a slither of a good story. A short story, so to speak. Sculpting a believable and captivating world in a handful of pages is a difficult thing to get right, but fellow Exeter student Daisy Ella does just that in her first self-published story, Beneath the Waves. Continue reading Review: Beneath the Waves

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Reviews in Retrospect: All About Love by bell hooks

“Without justice there can be no love.” There’s something incredibly special about a book that is both politically powerful yet therapeutic, both critical and healing. bell hooks’ 1999 book All About Love: New Visions is one of these. Exploring the psychological and social complexities of love in the modern world, bell hooks offers “a hopeful, joyous vision of love’s transformative power.” She shares incredible critical insight about a wide range of topics: the patriarchal values that shape relationships, the harmful connotations of the ideal family, and how male-written self-help books often feed into women’s insecurities, rather than boosting their confidence. All About Love is a genuinely helpful read — one that can revolutionise your thinking about the wider world and give realistic advice about caring for yourself and others in everyday life. Continue reading Reviews in Retrospect: All About Love by bell hooks

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Reviews in Retrospect: Outlaw Culture by bell hooks

I first heard about intersectional feminist writer bell hooks in a Media Studies classroom during sixth form. We were taught that bell hooks challenges the “ideology of domination” that perpetuates misogyny, racism and classism. Our teacher also told us that hooks deliberately refused to punctuate her name with capital letters, to symbolically shed the tools of power that regulate personal identity. Before I ever read bell hooks, the idea of a writer powerful enough to escape the confines of language fascinated me. The first of hooks’ writing I read, her 1994 collection of essays and interviews Outlaw Culture, asserts that popular culture is never “apolitical”, and representation always matters. Unpretentious, piercingly insightful, and funny, Outlaw Culture is as fascinating as hooks herself. Continue reading Reviews in Retrospect: Outlaw Culture by bell hooks

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Reading Corner: Magazines

Having spent the beginning of lockdown blasting my way through novel after novel to occupy my sudden abundance of free time, I’d recently found my attention span gradually waning as the endless hours of isolation wore on. With lockdown boredom making me increasingly fidgety, the focus required to sit down and immerse myself in the depths of a book became harder to grasp. Continue reading Reading Corner: Magazines

Reviews in Retrospect: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

When I first began writing this review of Zora Neale Hurston’s 1937 masterpiece, Their Eyes Were Watching God, it was an understatement to say that I felt daunted. Many have said that the novel defined the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, and prolific writers such as Alice Walker (author of The Colour Purple) have said that, “There is no book more important […] than this one”. Nevertheless, the reason why I jumped at the opportunity to write about it, is that when I read the book, on a rainy-day during quarantine, the sense of wonder I felt for the novel’s protagonist made me want to share it with everyone. Continue reading Reviews in Retrospect: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Reading Corner: Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

Lisa Taddeo’s debut book charts the emotional and sexual lives of three women who, despite being radically different to one another in their circumstances and experiences, are bound together in ways that are difficult to pinpoint. Having heard a great deal throughout the year about how ground-breaking and excellent Three Women was, I decided to make it one of my lockdown reads. I was surprised … Continue reading Reading Corner: Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

Four Decades On, Patti Smith is Still the Godmother of Poetry and Protest

Few things match the feeling, as a fifteen-year-old girl, of hearing a woman in a classic rock song tell you: “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.” At once, you’re aware of the magnificence of living honestly and boldly. You also realise that if you’re too nervous to attempt that yourself, you can always turn up the volume, and ​live vicariously through someone who’s less afraid. Continue reading Four Decades On, Patti Smith is Still the Godmother of Poetry and Protest