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
Rating: 3 stars
“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
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
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
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
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
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
Required reading can push us out of our comfort zone, open our eyes to new authors and genres, and create first encounters with favourites that will stick with us long after we finish the course. With that in mind, here are my recommendations of required reading books that I actually enjoyed! Continue reading 10 Required Reading Books I Actually Enjoyed!
Rating: 3.5 stars
Category: Crime fiction
Synopsis: Victor Van Allen is proud of the ordered life he has created for himself. He runs a sought-after printing press, holds a respected position in the town, and is the father of a precocious little girl.
The only taint to this perfect facade is his wife, Melinda. Their relationship is tenuously held together by Vic sleeping in a separate room and pretending to ignore her involvements with other men. Yet a new arrival in the sleepy town of Little Wesley means Vic may not be able to look the other way for much longer… Continue reading Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith: Crime Fiction With Character
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