A Place of Greater Safety

A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel

A Place of Greater Safety is not the longest book I’ve ever read, but at 872 pages, it’s far from short. Hilary Mantel’s novel details the 1789 Revolution in France by exploring the lives of three key historical figures: Georges Jacques Danton, Camille Desmoulins, and Maximilien Robespierre. I mentioned in my post at New Year that I had actually taken a module on the French Revolution in my First Year of University but the fact that I didn’t recognise any of those names as being key figures in the Revolution clearly speaks to how much detail I retained from that module. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating period of history, and I have now been inspired to dig out my old history text book to read up some more. Read more


One Night in Winter

One Night in Winter by Simon Sebag Montefiore

It was somewhat of a surprise to me that Simon Sebag Montefiore had written a number of fiction books in addition to his non-fiction historical books. I was familiar with Montefiore’s writing from my History A Level, in which we studied Russian history and I was a geek who read books outside of the required reading, so when I spotted One Night in Winter in a charity bookshop I thought it would be some interesting holiday reading. I already knew that Montefiore was an engaging historical writer, but I was surprised by how well his writing style translates to a novel. Read more

Wailing Ghosts

Wailing Ghosts (Penguin Little Black Classics) by Pu Songling

In my post on The Old Nurse’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell, I mentioned that I felt the Penguin Little Black Classics Collection had a certain bias towards male writers. Whilst I stand by that, I do think that they have done a good job in the collection of including a range of influential texts from a variety of cultures and nationalities. One of the things I have enjoyed about this collection is that it has enabled me to read some classic short fiction and poetry from cultures that are very different to my own: as an International Student Worker, this has been particularly exciting for me, as my students love telling me all about their home country’s culture and literature. Read more

Matilda the Musical

Matilda the Musical (adapted by Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin)

My family has a Christmas tradition of going to see a play or a musical in the West End; this year, we went to go and see the musical Matilda, a stage adaptation of the Roald Dahl children’s classic. Now, along with probably every other bookworm, I loved the book of Matilda as a child: the main character is a little girl who loves books, and can move things with her eyes, so it was definitely appealing to a little girl who loved books and wished she could move things with her eyes. I also loved the 1996 film adaptation, maybe even as much as I loved the book. In our house it was on frequently, and I’m pretty sure we still have the VHS somewhere. It’s been years since I last watched the film though, so this is not a comparison of the two adaptations; these are simply some of my thoughts on the musical adaptation (which, just to be clear, I really enjoyed).

Read more