The Handmaid’s Tale – 1984 Meets Trump’s America

The release of the TV adaptation of Margret Atwood’s ’80s classic The Handmaid’s Tale earlier this year not only gave creator Bruce Miller a wave of critical acclaim but also instigated a revival of interest in Atwood’s book. More than anything, her dystopian America about an extremely conservative republic that treats women as state-controlled breeders is being seen to have fresh parallels with Trump’s America. … Continue reading The Handmaid’s Tale – 1984 Meets Trump’s America

The Silk Roads – an ambitious, fascinating but overwhelming history of Asia 

The history of the West’s rise to prominence has traditionally been told as a linear one. From the cultured Ancient Greeks to the all-powerful Roman Empire, Renaissance Europe to modern democracy – the West, history has told us, is the centre of the world. But Peter Frankopan disagrees. In his book The Silk Roads, Frankopan, an Oxford historian with a childhood obsession with maps, makes … Continue reading The Silk Roads – an ambitious, fascinating but overwhelming history of Asia 

SPQR – a concise, cut down to size history of ancient Rome

For hundreds of years, travellers have made their way to the Eternal City, being draw in to the heart of the Roman Empire to see for themselves where its history and legacy began. Our enduring love affair with Roman history has repeatedly led to it being mythologised in fiction, films, TV and drama, from Shakespeare’s history plays such as Antony and Cleopatra and Julius Caesar, … Continue reading SPQR – a concise, cut down to size history of ancient Rome

In Order To Live – a heartbreaking memoir of self-preservation and strength

At the age of thirteen, Yeonmi Park and her mother crossed the frozen river between North Korea and China in the dead of night to what they thought was freedom. What follows, is a harrowing tale of extreme suffering and self-preservation suffered by Park while still very much a child, having to forcibly grow up to deal with the dangers and impossible decisions she had to … Continue reading In Order To Live – a heartbreaking memoir of self-preservation and strength

Hygge – a pretty but impractical guide to everyday happiness

Ever since the Danish concept of hygge became popularised the last year, I have been intrigued by the various books pilled high in Waterstones on this interesting little word. Hygge is a Danish word that cannot be translated into English, but it can be understood as something like contentment or daily happiness. At first I thought it meant having some kind of epiphany every day of … Continue reading Hygge – a pretty but impractical guide to everyday happiness

Swimming Home – a story that is both familiar and unknown

Straight away, Swimming Home presents us with a story that is both familiar and unknown. We are in Nice in 1994, where two families are sharing a villa for the summer. Joe Jacobs, the elusive, famous poet, his war-correspondent wife Isabel, and their teenage daughter Nina make up one family. The couple staying with them – the overly organised Mitchell and Laura – make up … Continue reading Swimming Home – a story that is both familiar and unknown

Go Set A Watchman – an unsatisfying but thought-provoking story

“Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman, is his conscience. There is no such thing as a collective conscience” In July 2015, the long-awaited companion to Harper Lee’s iconic To Kill A Mockingbird exploded onto bookshelves, only to be met with mixed reviews by faithful Mockingbird devotees. In Go Set A Watchman, we re-meet the beloved Jean-Louise Finch (now 26 years old) as she is returning home … Continue reading Go Set A Watchman – an unsatisfying but thought-provoking story