A Secret Sisterhood

A Secret Sisterhood by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney

One of my Christmas books that I was most looking forward to diving into was A Secret Sisterhood: the hidden friendships of Austen, Brontë, Eliot and Woolf. In this book, Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney look to unpack some of the key literary friendships of famous female authors, friendships which have often been overlooked in favour of the literary friendships of famous male authors. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that this covered two topics I am very interested in, women writers and literary friendships, so this was always going to be a book that I enjoyed. However, what really made this book a favourite for me was that it wasn’t just an exploration of these particular friendships, but a statement on how friendships with other writers can inspire great writing. Read more

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Far From the Madding Crowd

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Having read Tess of the D’Urbervilles over the summer, I decided that the next Hardy novel I would go for would be Far From the Madding Crowd as I knew it would be somewhat less depressing. Having already seen one adaptation of it, I knew the general outline of the narrative, but I enjoyed seeing how it all played out in the source text. While I found Tess of the D’Urbervilles an important text, I definitely enjoyed Far From the Madding Crowd more; it is a far lighter narrative that made for easier reading. Read more

The Miniaturist (BBC, 2017)

The Miniaturist (BBC, 2017)

Over the past year, I have enjoyed reading Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist and The Muse so I was excited to realise there would be an adaptation of the former airing over Christmas. I was even more excited when I saw the cast list: Romola Garai is always great and I loved Paapa Essiedu in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet. I enjoyed watching this series over a couple of days, although there were a couple of aspects that fell a little flat for me. Read more

Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales

Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales

(Previously The Virago Book of Fairy Tales and The Second Virago Book of Fairy Tales)

Proving that she knows me very well, my housemate bought me Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales for Christmas this year. I was very excited when I opened it and read the inside cover, discovering that this was a collection of fairy tales from all over the world curated and edited by Angela Carter; this book sees my interest in fairy tales crossing over with my interest in different cultures and I have very much enjoyed exploring these tales. From familiar, to fascinating, to bizarre, to somewhat grim, these fairy tales are texts that help us understand the global tradition of oral story-telling as well as the influence that culture has even on tales from the same starting point. Read more

Mystery in White

Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon

I was recommended this book by the wonderful Ruth over at onthearmofthesofa as a perfect book to read over Christmas; I slightly missed the reading it over Christmas idea, but it did snow-hail the day I started it so that still counts. I don’t read too many detective novels, but that isn’t because I don’t enjoy them, more that I just tend to be more drawn to other genres. Mystery in White is a great example of this genre, full of interesting characters, plot twists, and unreliable explanations. I enjoyed this novel a lot and I’m glad that Ruth recommended it to me. Read more

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

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