Lips Too Chilled

Lips Too Chilled (Penguin Little Black Classics) by Matsuo Bashō

This is quite a challenging review to write: not only is this the first post I have made about poetry (not sure why I’ve not mentioned it before), but it is also about a form of poetry I know very little about. In the UK, we learn briefly about haiku, perhaps in primary school, but it is not taught in much depth at all. Yet I know that Bashō has had an incredible influence on Japanese Literature, and when I saw that his work was included in the Penguin Little Black Classics series, I thought it was a good opportunity to discover more about a literary history and a poetry form of which I had limited knowledge. I found this little collection of poetry to be a fascinating and very readable insight into the haiku form, and I’m glad I took the time to read it. Read more

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My Brilliant Friend

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

I feel like I’m a bit late to the party with Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels. I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I’ve decided to more intentional about reading literature which prioritises friendship; The Little Prince was an obvious place to start, particularly since I had been meaning to read it since I was a child. However, as I was researching other literature on this subject, Ferrante’s name kept coming up again and again as one of the most recommended depictions of friendship. I bought My Brilliant Friend on an impulse, because I have very little self-restraint in bookshops, and I am so glad that I did. This was a fantastic novel that had me thoroughly engrossed from start to finish, and I have already put the rest of the series down on my wish list. Read more

The Little Prince

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

There is a copy of The Little Prince in French that has sat, unread, on the bookshelf in my childhood bedroom for years. I knew that, as a children’s book, it wouldn’t take much time or effort to read even in a different language, but I just never managed to find the motivation. However, recently I was doing some research into famous literary works on friendship, and this novella kept coming up again and again. I finally downloaded it in English and sat down one sunny day in May to read through this beautiful tale. At the bottom of my page of notes is written, in capital letters, ‘why have I not read this before?’ Maybe now I will finally get round to reading my French copy! Read more

The Time Machine

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

Alongside The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine is probably Wells’ best known novel. Although it had been sitting on my kindle for ages, it wasn’t anywhere near the top of my To Be Read list until the ferry on the way back from my holiday when I just wanted something easy to read. Part of the easiness of reading The Time Machine was that I already knew the twist from some discussion in a seminar a couple of years ago: I thought that I knew what this novel was all about. In some regards, that was true, but there was much more depth to the narrative than I had thought before I started. Read more