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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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Review: I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Charlie Kaufman is a filmmaker whose work I have always admired; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of my favourite films of all time (so much so that I wrote a whole essay on it in first year!). To this day, I remain astounded by the ambition and complexity of his directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York. Having declared my love for Kaufman films, … Continue reading Review: I’m Thinking of Ending Things

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Reviews in Retrospect: If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

None of James Baldwin’s books express passion, tenderness and grief as well as If Beale Street Could Talk (1974). After I read Baldwin’s Another Country (1962) during lockdown, I made it my mission to read every one of his novels, his writing completely struck me. Of-course his novels remain extremely relevant to the present day, they focus on questions surrounding sexuality, race, and religion which art and literature continues to confront. However, it was the soul and passion in his writing which had me consuming one book after another. Continue reading Reviews in Retrospect: If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

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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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Defiant, Self-Aware, Accessible Feminism: Why you should read Florence Given’s ‘Women Don’t Owe You Pretty’

Florence Given’s book Women Don’t Owe You Pretty (2020) has been The Sunday Times bestseller for ten weeks in a row now, and it’s no surprise why. Continue reading Defiant, Self-Aware, Accessible Feminism: Why you should read Florence Given’s ‘Women Don’t Owe You Pretty’

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Reading Corner: Wilt by Tom Sharpe

Wilt (1976) by Tom Sharpe is probably the funniest book I have ever read. And I’m talking laugh out loud funny. As an English student with months and months of lockdown stretching ahead of me, I probably should have made a list of every great Victorian novel and slowly made my way through them with a sense of dignified purpose and achievement. Obviously, this was not the case and, as my Netflix history will prove, I have spent very little of this holiday actually reading. However, once I picked up Wilt, I forgot all about a fourth binge of the entirety of Community (shocking, I know) and was hooked. Continue reading Reading Corner: Wilt by Tom Sharpe

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Single Review: ‘Labyrinth’ by A Blaze of Feather

I wasn’t familiar with Cornish band A Blaze of Feather until my interview with band member Mickey Smith, but I’m glad I’ve made this discovery. It’s refreshing. The new album LABYRINTH is strong as a whole, but for me the highlight is the titular track ‘Labyrinth’. This single is likely to be popular with a lot of fans of indie music. Smith’s vocals are unique – calming but with a sense of power. The guitar is catchy and works especially well with the chorus. The instrumentation as a whole is extremely effective. Continue reading Single Review: ‘Labyrinth’ by A Blaze of Feather

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Politics on Screen: Sitting in Limbo

At the start of June BBC One aired Sitting in Limbo, a factual drama about the consequences of the Windrush scandal of 2018. Despite the programme flying largely under the radar, nearly two months after I watched this important piece of television, I still reflect on it and the way it made me feel. Continue reading Politics on Screen: Sitting in Limbo

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Review: I May Destroy You

Michaela Coel’s masterpiece deserves your attention.
Social media has been ablaze with rave reviews of Michaela Coel’s latest work for weeks. From the moment the first episode aired in early June, my Twitter feed was awash with people declaring it a masterpiece, and its creator ‘the new Phoebe Waller-Bridge’. My interest was piqued. Still, I was hesitant as I hit play, not quite sure whether the show would live up to my expectations. Fast-forward a couple of weeks and you’d find me lying on my floor, trying my best to contemplate what I’d just seen in the show’s finale. Subversive is too soft a word for the twisted, confusing, uncomfortable, incredible half hour I’d just experienced. I was fully ready to declare I May Destroy You a work of genius. Continue reading Review: I May Destroy You

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Review: Mrs America

When I first learned about Phyllis Schlafly and her battle against the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) during my history lessons at school, I couldn’t even begin to comprehend why somebody would be in opposition to the legal affirmation of their own rights. Mrs America (BBC 2/FX on Hulu) offered me a more in-depth insight into the historical narrative of the motivations behind her activism. This … Continue reading Review: Mrs America