"When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age I was assured that great age would calm my fever and now that … Continue reading Review: Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck
I am no stranger to homesickness. I've spent close to half my life moving town and country with a regularity that's truly baffling when you consider how little I enjoy change. Until I turned 16, I had always lived in the same town - Basingstoke: the butt of many jokes about England's quietly unattractive (and … Continue reading Bibliotherapy For Homesickness: Fiction Recommendations For Tough Times
"Just as the painter Rubens amused himself with being the ambassador to the court of St. James's - a sufficient career in itself for most busy men - so Mrs. Lucas amused herself, in the intervals of her pursuit of art for art's sake, with being not only an ambassador but a monarch. Riseholme might … Continue reading Review: Mapp and Lucia by E.F. Benson
The question of what makes a classic a classic is one that has occupied literary theorists and literature lovers for centuries. From Homer's The Iliad to the entire back-catalogue of Charles Dickens, none of us will escape encounters with the 'classics' of literary canon and the weighty prestige that this label carries. I am a self-proclaimed lover … Continue reading What Makes A Classic A Classic?
"These were the hidden violences. Day-long deaths that snuffed out our small and limited futures. Since we grew up around London towers, struggle was a standard echo in our speech, in thought, in action. But it was only after the release of that one video, clipped from a phone of a witness, that everyone else … Continue reading Review: In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne
It has been an excellent couple of years for dystopian fiction. The closer we feel to the brink of humanistic and political catastrophe, the more we turn to fictional dystopias, as though to torment ourselves with the preponderance of warnings to stay alert to the erosion - however gradual - of the freedoms that we … Continue reading Monday Musing: Why We Love Dystopian Fiction In A World Of ‘Alternative Facts’
Of all the challenges that we face as individuals, grief is perhaps the most universal. There are few - if any - people able to get through life without experiencing loss, making grief an inevitability for all of us. I am lucky to have reached 30 without losing any of the people close to me … Continue reading Bibliotherapy For Grief: Fiction Recommendations For Tough Times
There are many contemporary online trends - particularly those that have to do with social media - that cast a problematic light on the way that consumers interact with the work that they're consuming. Social media has brought us closer than ever before to the people from whom art emerges - musicians, authors, and other … Continue reading Monday Musing: Should Authors Be Exempt From ‘Cancel Culture’?
"He knew my work - where it was, what I did there, the hours, the days and the twenty-past-eight bus I caught every morning when it wasn't being hijacked to get me into town to it. Also he made the pronouncement that I never caught this bus home. This was true. Every weekday, rain or … Continue reading Review: Milkman by Anna Burns
When I'm not reading or writing about reading, I'm usually to be found scouring the internet for free resources so that I can learn more about reading. Breezing past the fact that I somehow still got a person to marry me, I refuse to accept that this isn't exactly how it was intended that I … Continue reading The 5 Best TED Talks About Books and Reading