The Bystander Effect by Catherine Sanderson Book Cover Image

The Bystander Effect by Catherine Sanderson: Data-Driven Moral Bravery

Rating: 2.5 stars

Category: Non-fiction

Synopsis: Most of us have heard of the bystander effect. It can be a major limitation to moral action in a variety of situations, from life-threatening emergencies to sexist comments in the workplace. But what actually is the bystander effect? How does it occur? And why is challenging it so important for communities and social justice?

In her book The Bystander Effect, Catherine Sanderson uses decades of research to answer these questions, outlining the psychological basis of the bystander effect in a way that empowers us to step up, challenge harmful behaviour, and become active ‘moral rebels’ rather than passive bystanders. Continue reading The Bystander Effect by Catherine Sanderson: Data-Driven Moral Bravery

The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith Book Cover Image

The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith: Unsettling and Subversive Crime Novel

Rating: 4 stars

Category: Crime Fiction

Synopsis:

“Did the world always mete out just deserts?”

Tom Ripley is struggling to make his way in New York City, chasing the elusive American Dream while treading the edges of illegality. When the father of an old acquaintance approaches Tom in the hope that he can persuade his son, Dickie Greenleaf, to come home from Europe and take on the family business, Tom leaps at the chance.

However, from the first, it becomes clear that Dickie has no intention of obliging his father. His life in the Italian village of Mongibello is everything Tom has ever dreamed of: wealth, status, a luxurious lifestyle. Tom will have to return empty-handed to his sordid life in New York – unless he takes measures increasingly more extreme. Continue reading The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith: Unsettling and Subversive Crime Novel

oscar wilde the picture of dorian gray book cover image

Archive Nostalgia: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

As Halloween creeps ever closer, I have dug up my spookiest book review from the archival crypt…

Dorian Gray is a beautiful, striking young man – the darling of London society. When a friend paints his uncannily lifelike portrait, Dorian is struck by a moment of vanity and fear. In terror of age and degradation, he strikes a bargain that will allow him to remain in youthful beauty forever. Only the cherished portrait will bear the marks of age, excess and sin.  Continue reading Archive Nostalgia: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene Book Cover Image

Archive Nostalgia: Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

Rating: 4 stars

Category: Thriller, Crime Fiction

Synopsis: The novel is set in 1930s Brighton, where the holiday amusements sit in stark contrast to a sinister gang underworld. Central to our view of this underworld is Pinkie, a boy of only 17 who orchestrates the killing of rival gang informer Fred.

Little does he know that Fred had befriended the uncompromisingly righteous Ada, who is determined to see justice done. As he commits increasingly violent acts to protect himself and his fragile status, Pinkie is left spiralling further into a state of amorality and despair. Continue reading Archive Nostalgia: Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

The History of Mary Prince Book Cover Image

Questioning the Canon: Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mary Prince

Questioning the Canon is a new feature in which I hope to bring to light lesser-known books about a certain issue, which can be read alongside or instead of infamous ‘classics’.

People are starting to discuss whether the authors we hold up as cultural icons – Shakespeare, Dickens, Wordsworth – should be accompanied by previously marginalised writers. Our idea of what constitutes ‘great literature’ is becoming broader. 

This can only be a good thing, as it means more diversity and social representation in what we read! Continue reading Questioning the Canon: Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mary Prince

Theatre Review: Measure for Measure (Royal Shakespeare Company)

Isabella is a woman of deep religious belief, who is soon to enter a convent where she will begin her devout life as a nun. Shortly before she embarks, Isabella is informed that her beloved brother Claudio has been arrested by Lord Angelo. His sentence is death.

Isabella meets with Lord Angelo to plead for her brother’s life and he strikes a deal: her virginity in return for a pardon. Torn between a sister’s love and her unwavering religious faith, Isabella’s struggle dramatises the public and private battles for power that have raged for centuries… Continue reading Theatre Review: Measure for Measure (Royal Shakespeare Company)