Rating: 2.5 stars
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
Rating: 5 stars
Theo has just started a new job at The Grove, a psychiatric unit for violent female criminals. Top of the list of new patients he must take on is Alicia. Alicia seemed to have it all – a flourishing career as an artist and a loving husband – until the night she shot him in the head. Since that fateful night, Alicia has refused to speak a word.
Disentangling Alicia’s past and the motives for her crime is not going to be easy – especially when The Grove is hiding secrets of its own. Continue reading The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides: Stand-Out Thriller that Deserves the Hype
Rating: 3 stars
Petra Kolber began her career as a fitness instructor, but she soon began to notice the impact perfectionism was having on the women she coached. Now she runs perfection detox workshops built around her 21-step programme, which aims to support women in the journey towards embracing their flawed, imperfect, yet wonderfully unique selves.
The Perfection Detox is subtitled ‘Tame Your Inner Critic, Live Bravely, and Unleash Your Joy’ – I think we could all use some of that! Continue reading The Perfection Detox by Petra Kolber: Motivational Guide for Breaking Free from Perfectionism
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
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
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: William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe
Do you often find yourself over-stimulated when out in the world and long for the comfort of home? Are you strongly affected by other people’s moods? Do you consciously avoid violent films, TV shows or books?
If so, you may be what Elaine Aron calls an HSP (highly sensitive person). And you’re not alone – apparently, we make up 20% of the population! Her book is aimed at helping HSPs to survive in a competitive, demanding world where sensitivity is often viewed as a weakness. Continue reading The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron: Informative Yet Warm Insight into the Trait of High Sensitivity