Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest

Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest by Edward T. Welch

When I was a young child, we had one Sunday school session which focused on fear. I don’t remember the session itself, but I do remember the conversation I had with my Mum afterwards: she told me that the Sunday School teacher had taken her aside to ask if she was sure I was okay. This concern had come as a result of one exercise we did during the session in which we had to write down the things we were afraid of; my list was at least double the length of everyone else’s and I apparently said I could have kept going when the time was up. I was a fearful, anxious child. And I am a fearful, anxious adult, just a little better at concealing that fact. A friend of mine recommended Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest to me a while ago as a book I might find helpful, and I have been slowly reading through it over the past few months. I’ve taken my time, both with reading and with writing down my thoughts, because this was a book which challenged me very personally and one which I wanted to make sure I was applying well. Read more

The Woman Who Ran

The Woman Who Ran by Sam Baker

In my review of Alexander McCall Smith’s modernisation of Jane Austen’s Emma, I asked whether it was easier to watch a modern adaptation than to read a modernisation of a classic novel. I came to the conclusion that my discomfort with that novel probably had more to do with the narrative structuring of the modernisation than the genre of modernisation itself; the definitive proof of this came just over a week later as I sat down to read Sam Baker’s modernisation of Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: The Woman Who Ran. This was an intriguing modernisation that doesn’t just update the source material, it adapts it to make a novel that is solid on its own terms as well as in relation to the original novel. Read more

Nothing Much to Do (The Candle Wasters, 2014)

Nothing Much to Do (The Candle Wasters, 2014)

The first time I studied Much Ado About Nothing, I was 11 years old, in my final year of primary school, and we weren’t allowed to watch the film because it was not deemed appropriate (yet the Baz Luhrmann Romeo and Juliet was apparently fine). I studied it next when I was in Sixth Form, preparing for my A Levels, and there watched my first adaptation of it: Kenneth Branagh’s famous 1993 film. I found myself studying it once again at university, and this prompted me to seek out some more adaptations: the BBC ShakespeaRe-told 2005 television film, the Joss Whedon 2013 adaptation. I have never managed to see this play on stage (although my parents took my sister to see the Tenant and Tate 2011 production and I am unendingly jealous) but this is far and away one of my favourite Shakespeare plays and I will never tire of finding new adaptations which bring it to life. So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered, about half-way through its run, that there was a web series adaptation of this play. Nothing Much to Do lived up to all my expectations of a Much Ado About Nothing adaptation, and remains one of my favourite Shakespeare adaptations. Read more

The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before, but I really love H.G. Wells’ writing. I first read The War of the Worlds nearly two years ago, not really knowing what to expect, and I was so surprised by how well-written and gripping it was as a novel. Since then, I have read and studied a number of Wells’ short stories and have always found them to be intriguing, engaging, and extremely readable. A recent trip to a second-hand bookshop resulted in me walking away with a copy of The Invisible Man, and it was definitely a book I was excited to get into. After my struggles with On the Road, The Invisible Man was a fun and enjoyable read that still asked some big questions about humanity and morality. Read more

On the Road

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

There are some books you read quickly because they are good and you are enjoying them: that was The Long Song for me, on the first day of my holiday. Then there are some books you read quickly because you are not enjoying them and you want to move onto the next book as quickly as possible: that was On the Road for me, on the second day of my holiday. To be fair, I knew going in that there was a chance I would dislike this novel since my Mum had said several times she ‘wasn’t sure it was really a Sally book’. However, I know that this is a novel which has had a large and lasting impact on literature, so I was determined to finish. Read more