The Glorious Heresies – Book Review

The Bailey’s Prize this year was recently won by the brilliant Naomi Alderman, with her book The Power (you can read my thoughts on that wonderful novel here). So I thought it was about time I caught up on last year’s winner, The Glorious Heresies, by Lisa McInerney. Everything about this book demands attention. The […]

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Power – Gender and Naomi Alderman’s Novel

In terms of power and control, it’s a scary time. Unity and strength seem to be giving way to individual gripes and complaints, people turned against each other to shout blame for the lives they’re not happy with. Unstable times lead to unlikely heroes. People currently in power are those that we wouldn’t have dreamed […]

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Lessons from YA Books

Having read several dystopian novels lately (see my thoughts here) I decided to try a YA version, to see how they compared. I was pleasantly surprised. While I’m incredibly wary of genre-specific snobbery, I confess I am subject to a bit of it when it comes to the YA genre. The books that I’ve read […]

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When Revenge Goes Bad…

Frank Herbert offers us an insight into the darker side of human nature in The White Plague, an apocalyptic tale of revenge. The cover of the book is very apt – murky fog, a solitary figure, a town shrouded in obscurity. Even if the weather is fine, or we are indoors, this novel revels in […]

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Hag-Seed – Book Review

A new book by Margaret Atwood! Very exciting. I went along to her talk at the Southbank Centre (proper fan moment) and heard her discuss the book, her life, and her work. She is one interesting lady. She also has good shoes (silver!). There’s something incredibly refreshing about listening to someone like her talk. Intelligent, […]

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Y: The Last Man – Book Review

I know I’m massively behind the times in reading this, but as I’m currently working on a similar narrative, several people recommended this graphic novel as a good place to look at how a gender-imbalanced dystopia played out. Interesting ideas, some lessons learned, and a few pitfalls to avoid. On a day in 2002, a […]

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We Are All Disordered

This month I started teaching AS Media Studies. What a treat. I’d forgotten the delights of delving into the signs and representations that we are bombarded with in daily life, and unpicking the institutions behind them, the messages they send us, and why. Of course, it can lead to a few rude awakenings. Poring over […]

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Be Bold

Summarising a DeLillo novel is always a tricky task. Well, it’s about football, but also about nuclear war, but then it’s about power and masculinity, about language and the way we use it and are used by it. That’s summary of End Zone. Technically, it’s a novel about a kid called Gary Harkness who goes […]

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We Need to Keep Talking About Kevin

In the book I’ve just finished reading, several rather unpleasant things happen. Arguably the first most significant even is when, about 200 pages in, a mother throws her six-year-old son across the nursery so hard he breaks his arm. Upsetting, yes, but not for the reasons you might think. Because as the arc of the […]

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Squirrelling About – The Portable Veblen

It’s not often I finish a book in which the plot is almost entirely about a relationship, and I feel that it has been time well spent. Perhaps because of the squirrels, or the light-hearted take on the evils of big pharmaceutical companies, but whatever it is, The Portable Veblen has it. I really don’t […]

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