Pride and Prejudice (Illyria, 2017)

Pride and Prejudice (Illyria, 2017)

During a recent visit to London with some friends, we discovered that the touring outdoor theatre company Illyria would be performing Pride and Prejudice in the grounds of Westminster Abbey whilst we were there. Illyria had brought this adaptation to our city earlier in the year, but we hadn’t been able to make it then; I’m so glad we were able to see it in London. It was a wonderful evening: a beautiful setting (and good weather) for a very funny adaptation of Austen’s novel. Read more

Hamlet: Globe to Globe

Hamlet: Globe to Globe by Dominic Dromgoole

As I was plotting what to buy with my birthday book vouchers, I happened across Hamlet: Globe to Globe and almost immediately knew that this would make up part of my book haul. The idea of taking Hamlet to every country in the world was one that fascinated and intrigued me, particularly as I immediately started thinking of ways in which the different themes present in the play could be emphasised in different countries to contextualise the narrative. (When I described the premise to a friend, he commented that it seemed like a perfect match of two of my big interests: literature and cross-cultural commentary.) There have been many non-fiction books I have read this year which have surprised me in how much I have enjoyed them, and this was definitely one of them: a fascinating exploration of the global impact of theatre and the multitude of themes weaved through Shakespeare’s writing. Read more

Milk and Honey

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

A few months ago, I started to follow Rupi Kaur on Instagram after hearing lots of good things about her writing. I enjoyed reading her posts but wanted to get a better overview of what her writing would be like in print so I was pleased when I was given a copy of Milk and Honey for my birthday earlier this year. Having read it now, I can understand why there was so much hype about it: it is definitely unique as a collection of poetry, tackling issues that feel very real and personal to Kaur. However, I see it less as a ground-breaking collection and more as the promise of great potential: I look forward to seeing how Kaur has grown as a writer when her next book is released later this year. Read more

The Story of the Lost Child

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

Almost exactly a year since I first picked up My Brilliant Friend, I started reading the final installment of Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels: The Story of the Lost Child. If you have been reading my reviews of the series, you will know that I have been completely engrossed by the world and characters Ferrante has created. At times, I have struggled to articulate the effect that these novels have on me: although they depict a world very different from the world I grew up in, something within the narrative had a deep resonance with me that I have experienced with few other novels, let alone an entire series. This final installment, in particular, became a narrative that I carried round with me even when I wasn’t reading the book; it was a wonderful, absorbing conclusion to a series that I will hold close to my heart. Read more

The Better Strangers (The Borrowers That Lend, 2016)

The Better Strangers (The Borrowers That Lend, 2016)

Last year, I reviewed A Document of Madness, a web series adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. During the release of A Document of Madness, The Borrowers That Lend were also filming a sequel: The Better Strangers, adapted from As You Like It, which was released over the course of the past several months. Having enjoyed A Document of Madness, and As You Like It being a new addition to my favourite Shakespeare plays, I was naturally very excited to step back into the world of Wittenberg College and see how The Borrowers That Lend were able to grow from their first project. This proved to be a fun series that provided a little bright spot in my day whenever a new episode was released. Read more

Loop of Jade

Loop of Jade by Sarah Howe

I was browsing a bookshop, looking to spend some birthday vouchers, when I stumbled across Sarah Howe’s collection of poetry: Loop of Jade. I had a vague memory of hearing good things about this collection, and the collection itself immediately appealed to me with its focus on cross-cultural concerns and cultural identity. I was intrigued to see how Howe’s personal exploration of her Hong Kong roots would play out in her poetry; I was pleasantly surprised by the ease with which Howe invites the reader to join her on the journey. It was definitely a journey I enjoyed and learnt much from. Read more

Favourite ‘Loyal Best Friend’ Characters

Favourite ‘Loyal Best Friend’ Characters

Last week I made a post about one of the categories some of my favourite characters fall into: the ‘troubled’ characters with hearts of gold. This week, I’m taking a look at another group of favourite characters: the ‘loyal best friend’ characters. In my head, this group is called the ‘Samwise Gamgee’ characters. Looking down these two lists now, I can easily see a difference: here, you can find many of the books I loved as a child or teenager; in the former list, you can find a selection of the books I have enjoyed from my time at university onwards. Make of that what you will. So here are five of my favourite ‘Samwise Gamgee’ characters. Read more

Shakespeare Republic (Shakespeare Republic, 2015-2017)

Shakespeare Republic Series (Shakespeare Republic, 2015-2017)

The Shakespeare Republic Series is a different sort of Literary-Inspired Web Series to the ones I have previously reviewed here on this blog, but it is one that I have very much enjoyed watching throughout Seasons One and Two. I will admit that the draw of the series for me initially was seeing the involvement of Alan Fletcher, who played Karl Kennedy in Neighbours, but I quickly grew to love this passion project from the group of Australia-based actors who simply want to celebrate Shakespeare. Whilst one of the most obvious advantages of web series is the opportunities it affords to amateur and upcoming creatives, Shakespeare Republic shows another perspective: it also gives professionals the opportunity to explore things they are passionate about in a different media. Read more

Favourite ‘Troubled’ Characters

Favourite ‘Troubled’ Characters

One of the categories in my Literary Listography is ‘Favourite Troubled Characters’. Writing down a few names for this reminded me of the fact that my favourite characters often fall into two distinct categories: the ‘troubled’ characters with hearts of gold (or, as I refer to them, disaster children) and the loyal, best friend characters (or, the Samwise Gamgee characters). I thought it would be fun to make a couple of posts detailing five of my favourites from each category. Read more

Take Courage: Anne Brontë and the Art of Life

Take Courage: Anne Brontë and the Art of Life by Samantha Ellis

It sometimes feels as though Anne Brontë is one of the great mysteries of English Literature: not as well-known as her sisters, she is often on the periphery (or entirely absent) from discussions about the Brontës. Whilst I have to say that I prefer the writing of Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre and Villette are by far my favourite Brontë novels), I’ve always been more drawn to Anne as a person. Her passion and faith shine through both Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, marking her as someone with deep principles willing to write works that fly in the face of social convention to raise awareness of issues close to her heart. I was eager, therefore, to read Samantha Ellis’ book all about Anne and her view of the world. Read more