Rating: 3.5 stars
Category: Short stories, literary fiction
Synopsis: Christopher Isherwood, an English tutor and novelist, is rootless. Yet it is this quality of rootlessness that allows him to seamlessly drift between the high and low of Berlin society, from decadent lakeside houses to cramped attic rooms shared by entire families.
Goodbye to Berlin is a semi-autobiographical collection of episodes that portray life in 1930s Berlin. Poverty, suffering and the rise of Nazism is beginning to give a threatening edge to all of the rich possibilities of the city. Continue reading Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood: Rich Yet Unsettling Portrayal of 1930s Berlin
Rating: 5 stars
Category: Literary fiction, Dystopian
Synopsis: Lydia is one of the most feared Aunts in Gilead – but she’s about to go rogue with a secret manuscript.
Agnes and Daisy are both navigating the trials of coming-of-age – but with one raised inside and one outside Gilead, they might as well come from different planets.
These three unlikely women will be brought together to unite against the powerful Gileadean theocracy – challenging every single one of their assumptions about reality in the process. Continue reading The Testaments by Margaret Atwood: Searingly Plausible Dystopian
Rating: 5 stars
Category: Literary fiction
Synopsis: In Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo intertwines twelve lives – mostly black, British women. Their voices range from Hattie, an ancient mixed-race grandma struggling to keep her family farm and her pride along with it, to Amma, a black lesbian playwright whose radical work is showing at the National Theatre for the first time.
Through this lively spectrum of characters, Evaristo explores the nuances of identity, connection, and what it means to be proud of who you are. Continue reading Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo: Because One Voice is Never Enough
External link to Top 10 Non-Fiction Audiobooks to Keep Your Brain Active
Rating: 3 stars
When John Durbeyfield learns that he is descended from a grand ancient lineage known as the d’Urbervilles, he sends his daughter Tess to their nearest relations in the hope of claiming kin and improving his family’s prospects. As the family sinks ever-further into poverty, she is only too aware of the keen urgency of her mission.
However, Tess knows nothing of the world outside her village, or the attention she draws by nature of her youth and beauty. Her experiences at the d’Urberville house will leave her torn between preserving secrecy – and her reputation – or risking honesty with the people she loves most. Continue reading Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy: Classic Pastoral Tale with a Hint of Proto-Feminism
If you’re looking for some listening material to keep your brain in gear while stuck in lockdown, here is a list of my favourite non-fiction audiobooks!
I’ve included a varied selection of genres, from true crime to self-help, so whatever your tastes you should be able to find something that intrigues you… Continue reading Top 10 Non-Fiction Audiobooks to Keep Your Brain Active
Rating: 4 stars
Category: Historical fiction, crime, literary fiction
Alias Grace is based on the actual historical figure Grace Marks, who was convicted of murdering her employer and his housekeeper in 1843, alongside James McDermott. In this fictionalised account, it is uncertain whether she was acting under duress, out of fear for her own life, or if she was McDermott’s lover and co-conspirator.
The ambitious psychologist Dr Jordan is sent to the penitentiary to draw out the truth. However, with Grace claiming to have no memory of the incident, it will be difficult to separate the innocent, exploited young girl from the woman capable of unspeakable violence. Continue reading Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood: Character-Centric Historical Crime
External link to 20 Empowering Quotes from Female Authors to Start Your 2020
Rating: 3 stars
Category: Literary fiction
Keiko Furukura has worked in the same convenience store for eighteen years. She feels at home in the store with its comforting daily rhythms, but those around her are pushing her to move on in her career, get married, have children. Tired of their interference, Keiko decides, at last, to give “normality” a shot…with disastrous consequences. Continue reading Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata: Offbeat Celebration of Non-Conformity
The whirlwind of New Year’s resolutions and endless articles about losing weight, saving money, eating better, finding love etc. can make you feel defeated before you’ve even begun. To put you in a better mindset, who better to turn to than some of the most inspiring female authors?
From Alcott to Atwood, their words of wisdom are sure to make you feel empowered for 2020… Continue reading 20 Empowering Quotes from Female Authors to Start Your 2020
External link to Ethical Gifts for Book Lovers (That Aren’t Books!)
As part of my English Literature degree, I am making a digital project that explores the relationship between literature and digital culture. My project is Resilient Verse, a website dedicated to audio recordings of women’s poetry. Why not take a look? Continue reading Resilient Verse: Women’s Poetry Recordings
If you’re still in need of some last-minute Christmas present inspiration, this list is for you! Not only are these gifts literary-themed, but they’re ethical too, so your loved one will get an even warmer feeling when they snuggle up with a good read and some bookish paraphernalia.
From an up-cycled literary print to a charity gift or feminist tote bag, there’s something for everyone… Continue reading Ethical Gifts for Book Lovers (That Aren’t Books!)