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Reading Corner: Daddy by Emma Cline

I’ve found that there is a curse amongst English students. We have chosen to study an activity one usually conducts for pleasure and as a result, too often the joy of reading is drained from us. Just as I am falling into a novel which has sat patiently on my to read pile, I spot The Odyssey or Othello glaring at me, and the guilt of neglecting the reading list for my module pulls the book from my grasp. Continue reading Reading Corner: Daddy by Emma Cline

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Boobs and Books: How Women Often get Told They Can Only Have One or the Other

When Emily Ratajkowski’s interview with French Marie Claire in 2018 went viral this year, I don’t expect many women were all that surprised by its contents. The writer Thomas Chatterton Williams was shocked to learn that the now 29-year-old model and actress was writing a series of essays about the modelling industry and commodification, because apparently you can’t have boobs AND brains in the twenty-first century. Ratajkowski is sadly not the only victim of the sexist trope, that conventionally attractive women are not intelligent, and any signs of intelligence are merely a ploy to seem even more attractive to men. Time and time again, famously beautiful women are mocked for having an interest in politics, literature or anything other than material items. But this issue doesn’t end with just the famous ladies out there, it trickles down even more potently to all levels of society. Continue reading Boobs and Books: How Women Often get Told They Can Only Have One or the Other

How to Capture an Individual in Words: The Benefits and Limitations of Life-Writing

Life-writing, that is biographies and autobiographies, are not a recent phenomenon. However, now more than ever these works of literature dominate the bestsellers list with the writing of Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, and more selling millions of copies. But what makes these books so appealing to a modern audience? Is it the mere explosion of ‘celebrity’ admiration or is there something more complex than this at hand? Continue reading How to Capture an Individual in Words: The Benefits and Limitations of Life-Writing

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

Pride Culture Comforts: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Girl, Woman, Other has already seen immense amounts of success for Bernardine Evaristo as the winner of The Booker Prize 2019 and the first female writer of colour to top the UK fiction paperback chart. As people work towards diversifying and decolonising their bookshelves, this seems to be a frequent favourite to start that journey. An aspect that I haven’t seen addressed as much though … Continue reading Pride Culture Comforts: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Books to Pre-Order in Lockdown

For many of us, reading has become a source of hope, providing a space for both refuge and clarity to help us navigate our present climate. As well as having new texts to look forward to, pre-ordering books also offers an opportunity to support authors and publishers alike during the uncertainty of lockdown. Dynamic, ambitious and uplifting, these are some of the most exciting and important titles to look out for in 2020! Continue reading Books to Pre-Order in Lockdown

Pride Culture Comforts: A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston by Robyn Crawford

My friend Sophie gave me A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston as a gift so that I could further indulge in my love for Whitney Houston. It’s the memoir of Robyn Crawford, Whitney’s childhood friend, business partner, and lover. Their sexual relationship only lasted a short while while they were young adults, but they remained an intimate part of each other’s lives … Continue reading Pride Culture Comforts: A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston by Robyn Crawford

Reading Corner: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Recently, I read, and loved, Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. It’s uplifting, heartbreaking and downright genius. Eleanor Oliphant’s mind is complex and contradictory: simultaneously full of confusion and certainty, denial and acceptance, darkness and light. She evolves as the novel progresses, and it’s encouraging to see a character with such a distorted view of both life and of herself change in a positive way and confront her past and her fears. Continue reading Reading Corner: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Reading Corner: Bitter Lemons by Lawrence Durrell

One benefit to lockdown (for me especially as I am alone in my student house still) is having time to read undistracted meaning I can enjoy reading more leisurely. It is especially useful for starting books that are written almost like filigree lace and take time to unpick. Lawrence Durrell’s work is perfect for this – I can think of few other writers that cause me to check a dictionary in delight at seeing words new to me. His close focus on style requires the reader to self-indulgently luxuriate their way through his books – and now stuck inside we can. In this way, something like the Alexandria Quartet could keep me occupied for most of lockdown in blissful escapism, yet it lacks the pertinence of Bitter Lemons. Continue reading Reading Corner: Bitter Lemons by Lawrence Durrell