Thursday, August 11

Tag: books

Has Political Correctness Gone Too Far?
Culture & Literature, Literature

Has Political Correctness Gone Too Far?

Political correctness, by definition, is a term that is used to describe the avoidance of language, expressions or actions that can offend, marginalise or exclude targeted groups of people who are intentionally discriminated against. But how does this relate to literature? Surprisingly to some, political correctness is shaping literature as we know it.  In Royal Holloway’s English department, the content has changed considerably in the last few years. For example, student feedback over struggles with essay writing has prompted the need for the second year module ‘Writing as a Critic’. Staff changes can also lead to certain areas of specialism being given as options to students, with a significant increase in 20th and 21st Century specialists, indicating a greater focus on how mode...
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh: Twenty-Four and Tired
Culture & Literature, Literature

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh: Twenty-Four and Tired

There is something to be said about the authors who aren’t afraid to make their characters unlikeable. Often, we read fiction to fall in love with the characters, but this is not the case for Ottessa Moshfegh’s third novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation. Set in New York during 2000-2001, Moshfegh introduces her readers to a self-absorbed bitch - the novel’s unnamed narrator. Early on she describes herself as, ‘tall and thin and blonde and pretty and young.’ She is all of those things, as well as insanely privileged, living in an apartment on the Upper East Side paid for with the money she inherited from her parents. She dislikes most people, including her best friend Reva who she reminds not to call her if she was ‘under the influence,’. But there is a sadness to this protagonist’s story...
Who Really Gets to Be a Scientist? An Interview with Angela Saini
Science & Technology

Who Really Gets to Be a Scientist? An Interview with Angela Saini

Does it now take three or four minutes to race up to the moon? Is that really important? Or should science be used for what we actually need in order to pursue human development, such as finding new ways to produce crops, combat climate change, and so on? Because how realistic is it really for someone, who had to work themselves up from the very bottom, to get funding for a flying race car? Unless your name is Elon Musk, the odds are terrible and incredibly unfair. And this shouldn’t be the case. Regardless of socio-economic background, or gender, or race. Everyone can be a scientist. So what is stopping us? Last Monday, I was sitting in my maths seminar when this guy suddenly told me that women are biologically less capable of logical thinking than men. I couldn’t believe what I was h...
Books That Matter
Features

Books That Matter

In early December, I attended the Books That Matter launch party at The Book Club in Shoreditch.  I was greeted by a group of friends and helpers excitedly pointing me to a table of feminist merchandise and a raffle in aid of ‘This is Our Period’, the room buzzing with excitement about the panel which was about to start. I was then introduced to Molly Masters, the founder of Books That Matter and quite frankly – an absolute sweetheart. She told me to grab a drink and make myself comfortable in the swanky underground bar while she prepared her opening speech and questions for the panel of authors and publishers. If you haven’t heard of Books That Matter, don’t worry. They’ve only been around for four months, but their success has been astronomical. Simply put, Books That Matter is a monthl...
To Kill a Mockingbird: Necessary Discomfort
Culture & Literature, Literature

To Kill a Mockingbird: Necessary Discomfort

Set during the 1930s Great Depression in Alabama, the classic American novel tells the story of a white lawyer, Atticus Finch, who helps to defend a black man who has been falsely accused of raping a white woman. The racial theme has made To Kill a Mockingbird one of the most banned classics in America. The recent banning of the book from a public school in Mississippi is simply one in a long line of challenges the book has faced since being published in 1960. The book has been banned for various reasons including the use of language in the book such as ‘nigger’ and ‘whore’, for containing adult themes such as sexual intercourse and rape and for ‘conflicting with the values of the community’. However, the most recent reasoning for the banning of the novel certainly deserved the backlash...
Les Miserables…Today!
Culture & Literature, Theatre & Performance

Les Miserables…Today!

Les Miserables...Today!   (‘…Ι give you back to god!’)   It’s unbelievable how one book can change your life with the magical quality that only literature has. Especially when that book is also a well-known musical! Les Miserables, from the great novelist Victor Hugo, was first published in 1862, and was followed by many re-publications and big screen adaptations. In 1980, it was first presented as a musical, with the music composed by Claude-Michel Schonberg, with French and English lyrics-libretto written by Alain Boublin, Jean Marc Natel and Herbert Kretzmer respectively. Since then, this musical phenomenon was presented to over 75 million people in 42 different countries worldwide, a truly special honor for the book, which is an achievement in modern literature...
Historical Fact or Fiction?
Culture & Literature, Film & TV, Literature

Historical Fact or Fiction?

Georgia Beith discusses whether historical fiction should be more accurate. A piece of historical fiction, whether that be in the form of a book or a period drama, is one of life’s ultimate guilty pleasures. And as a student, especially a history student like myself, it’s not the most respectable thing in the world to admit that you like them. They’re riddled with anachronisms and inaccuracies that make a lot of people look down on them but that doesn’t diminish their entertainment factor. Perhaps as someone who studies the past it should bother me that Anne Boleyn probably didn’t consider sleeping with her brother in order to produce a child, or that Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ wasn’t likely to be heard at medieval jousting tournaments. But it doesn’t, though there are a number of p...
Literary Party
Lifestyle

Literary Party

We are welcoming the new library development on campus. Well to be precise, cranes and cement mixers have invaded campus since September. However it is an exciting time for campus as it expands to welcome not only more students and facilities but opens its doors to an ever-growing world of literature. Therefore, for this month’s photos we decided to give our books a bit of a party before they find their new home. Yet again the fantastic Fashion Society joined us: Grace Caro otherwise known as Jane from Twilight’s Volturi was accompanied by Hannes Riester dressed as Jacob Black and Tereza Hadrboicová staring as Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Alongside the Fashion Society we welcomed the thrilling Tolkien society and had members Graham Morell, Anna Darnena and Vikki Luff...
Sports & Socs

More than books

Starting university, as we’ve all come to know, can be overwhelming – but choosing a society to join is as exciting as it is daunting. Sadly, for a uni that boasts over 50 societies, it was sadly lacking in a society for English Literature. No more! Regardless of your area of study, English Literature is a bridge, or a door, or an interdimensional portal (metaphor) to many a time, place, society or fantasy (fact). It has brilliant opportunities for those who join; whether you enjoy writing, performing or simply reading, our goal is to organise socials and events that will introduce you to the wealth of literary culture that the world has to offer. Our committee is made of colourful characters from the Vice-President “The Hand” Daniel Trigg, who plots to overthrow the President “Genio...
Top three books of the month
Culture & Literature, Literature

Top three books of the month

With so many books being published each month, it is difficult to find the right ones. To help you, here`s my top three books to go straight to your reading list: The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins A debut psychological thriller, which will grab you from the first page! Rachel takes the same train every morning and on her way observes the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them and gives them names.Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. The Secret Wisdom of the Earth, by Christopher Scotton Another debut novel, emotional and inspiring! After witnessing the death of his younger brother, 14-year-old Kevi...