An Improbable Life by Trevor McDonald Book Cover Image

An Improbable Life by Trevor McDonald: Astonishing Journalist’s Memoir

Rating: 3.5 stars

Category: Non-fiction, Autobiography, Memoir

Synopsis: Sir Trevor McDonald’s career as a journalist began at Radio Trinidad in his home country, where he tried his hand at everything from reading the news to commentating on water polo! When he moved to London to take a job at the BBC World Service, he had no idea that he was soon to become one of the top journalists of his day.

Working for ITN and Channel 4, his reporting work has taken him from a South Africa stricken by Apartheid to Barack Obama’s inauguration in Washington, and he has interviewed people as diverse as death row inmates and the dictator Saddam Hussein. Continue reading An Improbable Life by Trevor McDonald: Astonishing Journalist’s Memoir

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Book Cover Image

Questioning the Canon: Race and Greek Mythology Retellings

Much of Ancient Greek culture, including its mythology, was derived from Ancient Egypt and other Afroasiatic civilisations, but this rich tapestry of influences has subsequently been whitewashed.

With this context in mind, I thought I would highlight 3 books by black women writers who reclaim Greek mythology and use it to illustrate the harrowing experiences of enslavement and racism. Continue reading Questioning the Canon: Race and Greek Mythology Retellings

Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe: Classic Breaking Eighteenth-Century Moulds

Rating: 3 stars
Category: Classics
Synopsis:

“I am giving an account of what was, not of what ought or ought not to be.”

If she’s to get on in the world, Moll Flanders must rely only on her own wit, toughness and experience. And, as one misfortune after another is thrown her way, that’s precisely what she intends to do… Continue reading Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe: Classic Breaking Eighteenth-Century Moulds

Its Not About the Burqa Mariam Khan Book Cover Image

Most Important Lessons from It’s Not About the Burqa

I recently finished listening to the audiobook of It’s Not About the Burqa, a collection of essays by British Muslim women that is edited by Mariam Khan. A traditional, analytical review felt as though it would somehow detract from the invaluable messages that are at the core of this book. With that in mind, I am instead going to list the 5 most important lessons that I took away from reading It’s Not About the Burqa. Continue reading Most Important Lessons from It’s Not About the Burqa

the-shock-of-the-fall-by-nathan-filer-book-cover-image

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer: Achingly Poignant Mental Illness Portrayal

Rating: 4.5 stars

Category: Literary fiction

Synopsis: The Shock of the Fall begins with nine-year-old Matthew experiencing a tragedy which he cannot tell us about. It’s just too painful. For the rest of the story, we follow him through the years of childhood, adolescence and into his first grimy flat and minimum-wage job.

All the while, Matthew’s grasp of reality fragments as he struggles to come to terms with what happened that fateful night on the coast. Continue reading The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer: Achingly Poignant Mental Illness Portrayal

The Last Man by Mary Shelley Book Cover Image

The Last Man by Mary Shelley: Bleakly Imaginative Dystopian

Rating: 2.5 stars

Category: Classics, Dystopian

Synopsis: In an England of the future, Lionel Verney is a poor shepherd boy when he is befriended by Adrian, Earl of Windsor and Raymond, a favoured candidate for the Lord Protectorship – the pinnacle of political achievement.

Lionel is soon moving in the same circles as the most powerful, wealthy and intellectual men in the world. Yet this Romantic paradise of virtue and conversation is under threat when a plague begins to decimate the world’s population, and Lionel is helpless to protect all that he has come to treasure of life’s riches. Continue reading The Last Man by Mary Shelley: Bleakly Imaginative Dystopian

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo Book Cover Image

Most Important Lessons from White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

I recently finished listening to the audiobook of White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. A traditional, analytical review felt as though it would somehow detract from the invaluable messages that are at the core of DiAngelo’s work. With that in mind, I am instead going to list the 5 most important lessons that I took away from reading White Fragility. Continue reading Most Important Lessons from White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes Book Cover Image

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes: Rich and Ambitious Retelling

Rating: 4.5 stars

Category: Literary fiction, retellings

Synopsis: “Sing, Muse, he said, and I have sung … I have sung of the women, the women in the shadows. I have sung of the forgotten, the ignored, the untold.”

The names of the Trojan war heroes echo down the centuries – Achilles, Odysseus, Agamemnon – while the women drawn into its devastation remain a footnote in all these songs and stories.

In A Thousand Ships, Natalie Haynes attempts to imagine, not one, but many voices for these women. From the most powerful goddess to the lowliest priest girl that serves her, each is irrevocably changed by the men’s war, each has a story. And that story deserves to be told. Continue reading A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes: Rich and Ambitious Retelling