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Review: Heat Wave by Penelope Lively

Reading this extraordinarily perceptive novel in my garden during the July heat wave, the cover gradually fading in the sunlight and the pages getting crumpled by my fingers greasy with sun cream, I was absorbed into the world of Penelope Lively’s book: one simmering with barely contained emotions and the heat of an extreme English summertime. At just under 200 pages this book is no … Continue reading Review: Heat Wave by Penelope Lively

Review: Jack by Shane Moore O’Sullivan

“The boys laughed and whispered to me that they were called the Lounge Cats, or something like that, and that they were quite famous. I replied that so was I.” (193)

The taxi driver known as Jack the Hat is undoubtedly a local celebrity in Exeter and its surrounding areas, and had been since long before the publication of this book. This quasi-mythical figure was made known to me before my first year had even started, when a fourth-year friend encouraged me to save the number of his taxi service in my phone. She told me a story of how Jack had helped her friend recover a misplaced credit card, and, in the following months, I heard more and more tales of Jack’s unprecedented kindness and heroism. Continue reading Review: Jack by Shane Moore O’Sullivan

Why is Poetry Still Relevant?

A lot of people think that poetry is a dying art form in the modern age, and although it’s true that it’s status in mainstream culture has slipped from previous times, it deserves more credit than it gets. It is often deemed inaccessible to those who don’t have enough knowledge of literature, but you don’t need to be an expert to appreciate the way poetic … Continue reading Why is Poetry Still Relevant?

In My Good Books: ‘Educated’ by Tara Westover

Whilst Educated depicts the protagonist’s liberation through education, fittingly this novel leaves the reader educated themselves. Based on a true story, Educated follows the story of Tara Westover who was born into a strict and alienating Mormon family. Set in rural Idaho, as a child Tara has no concept of the oddity of her brutal family life as she must navigate her abusive older brother and the stringent gender roles. Educated tells the tale of extreme devoutness, familial guilt and eventually self-liberation. This page-turner fundamentally preaches the necessity of independent thought and, most importantly, education. Continue reading In My Good Books: ‘Educated’ by Tara Westover

Top Spring Reads

It’s no surprise that when the sun comes out Netflix loses its appeal (or maybe throughout winter you’ve already browsed and binged all it has to offer), and everyone rushes outside to soak up some irresistible sunshine – more often than not with a book in hand. As a reader, nothing beats the sense of being totally immersed within the pages of a novel, so why not foster that feeling by reading something suited to the season? The blissful time is not too far away when compulsory course reading lists will be a long-forgotten memory and any book opened will be one of complete choice. In the meantime, get your spring-reading bucket list in order; here are some suggestions that offer particularly compelling reads at this time of year. Continue reading Top Spring Reads

In My Good Books: ‘The Heart’s Invisible Furies’ by John Boyne

The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a captivating novel which immerses the reader into the judgemental Catholic society of Ireland in the 20th century. This novel is certainly one of my top reads of 2018. It follows the life of Cyril Avery as he combats societal prejudice, the law and ostracization. Boyne’s novel is at times tear-jerking, as it explores Ireland’s dismissal and degradation of gay men, however the novel is equally comical as Boyne creates caricatures of strict Catholics and mocks the hypocrisy of politicians. Fundamentally, The Heart’s Invisible Furies captures the life of a young man as he searches for acceptance and love in the midst of societal disapproval and abuse.

Continue reading In My Good Books: ‘The Heart’s Invisible Furies’ by John Boyne