Wednesday, February 21Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Tag: literature

6 Cosy Books to Curl Up with this Winter
Culture & Literature, Literature

6 Cosy Books to Curl Up with this Winter

Sure, the Christmas break normally brings with it a whole host of terrifying deadlines, but as the weather gets colder and the nights draw in, might we all be tempted escape the uni work and curl up with a steaming mug of tea (or, more realistically, a quadruple-espresso) and a damn good book? Here are six to get you started:  Burial Rites by Hannah Kent  Set against the stark backdrop of 19th century Iceland, Burial Rites is definitely a novel fit for winter. The book tells the story of Agnes Magnusdottir, the last person to be sentenced to death in Iceland. Tried and condemned for murder, Agnes is held in the house of a local family to await her execution, but as the months drag on and Agnes grows closer to the family, the truth about what really happened starts to be re...
American War Review: Did Omar El Akkad Predict the Covid 19 Pandemic?
Culture & Literature, Literature

American War Review: Did Omar El Akkad Predict the Covid 19 Pandemic?

“This isn’t a story about war. It’s about ruin.” (American War, chapter 1) Omar Akkad’s 2017 American War is classified as a war science fiction novel. But is it science fiction? The international bestseller and winner of the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize is made up of fragments from real life events. From the first American Civil War, the Guantanamo Bay detention camps, to the more recent Afghanistan conflict in which Akkad was a journalist himself, readers are bombarded with the suffering of others.  The metafiction – set between 2075 and 2095 – follows the story of 6-year-old Sarat Chestnut after her father is killed in a homicide bombing. Taken to camp Patience with her siblings and mother, Sarat’s childhood is lived in a state of limbo: not dead, not alive, purely surviving t...
Beautiful World, Where Are You? review: Rooney’s best book yet?
Literature

Beautiful World, Where Are You? review: Rooney’s best book yet?

Whether you read a hundred books a year or struggle finishing just one, you’ve probably heard of Sally Rooney, or at least her second novel Normal People. In the four years since the release of her 2017 debut, Conversations with Friends, Rooney has made herself a household name, and her third novel is acutely aware of it. Beautiful World, Where Are You? follows university friends Alice and Eileen, both on the cusp of turning thirty and both navigating romances that form the basis of the novel’s plot. Famous author, Alice, has moved back to Ireland after the pressures of celebrity life in New York proved too much to handle. Despite their less-than-perfect Tinder date, she invites local warehouse worker, Felix, to join her on a work-trip to Rome. Eileen lives in Dublin, flitting betwe...
Diversity in YA Literature
Culture & Literature, Literature

Diversity in YA Literature

As a genre that has arguably only been a marketed category within in its own right during the last century, YA literature has rapidly progressed to the forefront of diversity discussions. Diversity feels particularly important with regards to the YA community because naturally, they are the next in line to push for intersectional representation. In terms of mainstream publishers, such as Macmillan, Penguin Random House and HarperCollins, statistics show that the numbers of LGBTQ+ YA novels have been increasing rapidly since 2014; Malinda Lo gathered that in 2015, 54 LGBTQ+ novels were published by aforementioned publishers, and in 2016, figures rose to 79. Although recent years show a positive rise in YA novels about sexuality, there seems to be a lack of literature being published s...
The Line of Beauty
Culture & Literature, Literature

The Line of Beauty

On 3 February, National Trust’s Sutton House played host to the ‘Late Night Library Club’, a theatrical adaptation of Alan Hollinghurst’s ‘The Line of Beauty’, marking the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality. The event featured a diverse programme, headlining Alan Hollinghurst in conversation with Jonathan Kemp. Hollinghurst is an award-winning gay novelist, with ‘The Line of Beauty’ winning the Man Booker Prize in 2004. The event started with drinks in the courtyard before you ascended to the first floor. Immediately you were greeted by characters of the novel dressed in the 80’s ‘Tory Glam’ style. On your right, character ‘Leo’ encouraged you enter and explore your creativity by colouring in a print of Margaret Thatcher. You can imagine the array of...
The Nobel Writer
Culture & Literature, Literature

The Nobel Writer

This month, the University of East Anglia welcomed previous student Kazuo Ishiguro, the most recent winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, as the seventh winner to talk at UEA. Since receiving his Masters degree in Creative Writing at UEA, Ishiguro has received four Man Booker Prize nominations and won the award in 1989 for his novel ‘The Remains of the Day’. His 2005 novel, ‘Never Let Me Go’, was named by “The Times” as the best novel of 2005 and this year the Swedish Academy awarded him the Nobel Prize in Literature. They described him as a writer ‘who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world’. In conversation with Professor Christopher Bigsby, Ishiguro admitted his shock at receiving the Nobel award. He cla...
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...
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...
Culture & Literature, Literature

Five books you should read in 2015

Fantasy novels, YA literature, adventure stories, horrors, unexpected comebacks and exciting debuts- make sure you are prepared with a new shelf for 2015! Here are five books you should not miss: 1. J.K.Rowling's - Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination Potterheads- rejoice- our queen still has a lot to tell us! In April 14 her Harvard Commencement Speech from 2009 is coming out as an illustrated book. In it, Rowling discusses the power of imagination and the benefit of failure in her usual fun and inspirational way… and she definitely knows a thing or two about failing and imagination! Moreover- all the proceeds of the book will go to charity- 90% to the Lumos charity and 10% as financial aid for Harvard`s students! Getting advice from Rowling ...
Opinion

The New Faces of Feminism

The 19th century saw the creation of the Seven Sisters colleges in the Unites States that provided higher education for women, Emmeline Pankhurst led the way for female suffrage in the early 20th century, Patti Smith rocked the 70s in her boyfriend jeans and leather jacket, the 80s were all about Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’, girl power exploded into every home from London to Los Angeles as the Spice Girls enjoyed unrivalled fame in the 90s and the 2010’s are all about the rise of intelligent, funny and proactive women. The Times columnist and author Catlin Moran, screenwriter Lena Dunham and Rookie Mag founder Tavi Gevinson’s have all topped worldwide bestseller lists with their recent feminist literary releases. 'The Mindy Project', '30 Rock' and 'Parks and Recreation' (all written and c...