The Tragedy of Mariam

The Tragedy of Mariam by Elizabeth Cary

This is technically a re-read for me, since I studied (and wrote an essay on) this play for my Masters degree. However, since I recently managed to find a copy for myself (I had previously borrowed it from the university library) I wanted to write a review anyway; there is so much to be said about this play and it is an important one to highlight, especially since it is generally considered the first surviving original play written by a woman in English. Overlooked for many hundreds of years, it has only been in recent years that the play has been taken seriously, with its first modern performance taking place in 1994. Read more

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Mary Barton

Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell

I don’t always have the best timing with books that I read over holidays. In the summer, I was finishing off Tess of the D’Urbervilles whilst on holiday in France; on Christmas Day, I was finishing off Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton. Granted, Mary Barton ends on a somewhat happier note than Tess of the D’Urbervilles, but it is still far from an uplifting book. Nevertheless, I am very glad that I finished off 2017 reading this novel, as it deals with some important issues and is just generally a well-structured piece of writing. Read more

Little Women (BBC, 2017)

Little Women (BBC, 2017)

I have an interesting relationship with the novels of Little Women and Good Wives, and the numerous adaptations that they have inspired: namely that, although I have enjoyed reading and watching them, my favourite novels of the series are actually Little Men and Jo’s Boys. Considering the sheer number of adaptations of the first part of the March family’s story, I am definitely of the opinion that any new adaptation really has to earn its creation. I was pleased to find that this new adaptation into a three-part television series is among the better adaptations of these novels, and actually prompted some of those in my family who hadn’t read the books to want to read them. Read more

2017 Favourites

2017 Favourites

I can hardly believe that it is time to do a 2017 Favourites post; this year has gone by so quickly. The last few months have proved difficult in terms of keeping up with my reading and my blogging, but it has been good to reflect over the books I have enjoyed over the course of the year.

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Season of Stories: Yeoman

Season of Stories: ‘Yeoman’ by Charles Yu

The second short story from the Season of Stories initiative that I want to review this year is Charles Yu’s ‘Yeoman’. One of the things I enjoyed about this year’s stories was a broader range of genre, including this science-fiction work. The comic tone and parody of certain science-fiction tropes made this one of my favourite short stories from this initiative, and I definitely want to read more of Yu’s writing. Read more

Season of Stories: Why Were They Throwing Bricks?

Season of Stories: ‘Why Were They Throwing Bricks?’ by Jenny Zhang

This term has seen a return of the Season of Stories initiative, with instalments of short stories being emailed to readers from Tuesday through to Friday. For the second year, I have found this a really enjoyable lunch-break activity in which I can walk into another world for a few minutes during the day. Last year, I tried to write quite a few short reviews for these but, having been busier than expected this term, that has not been possible this year. Instead, I will simply be taking my favourite two or three stories and writing short reviews for these. Read more

The Bear and the Nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Katherine Arden’s debut novel, The Bear and the Nightingale, is a book that I’ve seen doing the rounds and, with my current interest in fairy tales, it has been moving steadily up my To-Read list. I was finally able to sit down and read it over the past couple of weeks and I am so glad that I did; this has quickly become one of my favourite books of the year and one that I struggled to put down, even to sleep. Read more

The Lifted Veil

The Lifted Veil by George Eliot

A few weeks ago, I was browsing a second-hand bookshop and I stumbled across a copy of George Eliot’s novella The Lifted Veil for 50p; obviously that was too good an opportunity to pass up. I had very little knowledge of Eliot’s writing outside of her novels so this was a really interesting read, introducing me to a different style than I was expecting. I can’t say that I enjoyed The Lifted Veil as much as I enjoyed Middlemarch or The Mill on the Floss, but it was still an enjoyable read that has broadened my understanding of Eliot as a writer. Read more

Stardust

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Generally, I’m the sort of person who prefers to read the book before I see the film: I think that’s quite natural for anyone with an interest in adaptation. When I first saw the 2007 film of Stardust, I didn’t actually realise that it was an adaptation until a few days later when I saw a display of Neil Gaiman’s novels in my local bookshop. Having enjoyed the film, I bought the novel, which has been sat on my bookshelf, unread, ever since. However, since I am doing some research into fairy tales at present, I realised that I would be missing a trick if I didn’t read this popular contemporary fairy tale. It has been weird reading the novel of a film I know very well, but I have enjoyed noting the differences. Read more

The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

There is a section of the To-Read list in my mind which I call ‘books I really should have read already’, mostly comprised of the books which prompt people to say to me “didn’t you study literature?” The Bell Jar is definitely one of these books and it has been on my radar to read for a little while now. I actually came into the novel not really knowing what to expect but I ended up enjoying the narrative all the more for that. Although, perhaps ‘enjoy’ isn’t exactly the best description given the dark subject matter; I found it to be an engaging and well-written novel, with intriguing characters and an affecting ending. Read more