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Review: A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down may be one of his less well-known novels, but for me it is his best. It combines all of the essential qualities of Hornby’s work: the dark comedy of About A Boy, the subtle humour of How To Be Good, and the characteristic literary style seen in his first novel, High Fidelity. I was left thinking about this book a long time after I had finished the last page, so much so that it even inspired one of my undergraduate creative writing pieces (but maybe don’t tell that to my tutors). Continue reading Review: A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

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

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: Discworld Books by Terry Pratchett

In writing this I tried to narrow down Terry Pratchett’s novels to a particular book, or even a particular strand of books. Whilst the current political climate drew me towards the Watch novels (in particular Night Watch), each time I thought I had distilled the series down to my favourite book, I remembered another brilliant part of a different book. That, I think, is the joy of the Discworld books – they are broad enough to suit all occasions. Continue reading Reading Corner: Discworld Books by Terry Pratchett

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

Reading Corner: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

We all have those books that have sat on our shelves for the longest time, telling ourselves that “I just don’t have time to read it” or “I wouldn’t be able to give it all my attention.” However, now that most of us are facing a lot of time indoors, there is the perfect excuse to finally get to those books that we’ve been putting off. Continue reading Reading Corner: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

My Culture Comforts: Normal People by Sally Rooney

It’s hardly surprising, as a third year English student, that my main comfort at home is our family bookcase. My current favourite, which I’ve been rereading over the past week is Sally Rooney’s Normal People, published in August of 2018. Rooney’s debut novel Conversations with Friends is also worth a read! Normal People is centred around the lives of two teenagers – Marianne and Connell, very much in love, whose ‘will they/won’t they’ conundrum becomes the tie which echoes throughout the novel, and is something that readers can’t help but become emotionally attached to. What’s more, the novel’s main themes of love and loss, endurance through hardship, personal growth and self-discovery are so prevalent, especially in our current climate. Watch out for the television adaptation of the novel which is said to be coming out soon! Continue reading My Culture Comforts: Normal People by Sally Rooney