Archives for posts tagged ‘books’

10 things you can do instead of write, while on a writing retreat

  Browse baby name sites, because maybe you should change the names of all your characters. Put on another cardigan. Wrap yourself up in blankets. Turn the heaters up, because how can you be expected to be creative when it’s like the Arctic in here? Gradually become too hot. Unlayer; open the door to let […]

The psychological benefits of reading

Reading is good for you. Anyone who loves literature will tell you this. For me, it’s one of the only things that slows down my mind; it lulls me into a kind of dream-state where I can become so absorbed in another person’s story that I forget about my own craziness, at least temporarily. For […]

Mental illness in literature: Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

At age 18, Susanna Kaysen was sent to McLean psychiatric hospital in Massachusetts, “for a rest”. From her memory, she was admitted after only a brief, surface level discussion with a doctor, no longer than 20 minutes. Her paperwork says it was closer to two hours. In any case, it’s difficult to imagine these days […]

Review: How to be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman

How to be a Good Wife is a cold, harrowing psychological thriller that wades through the murky waters of marriage, trauma and madness. Set in a remote, unnamed Scandinavian village, this is British writer Emma Chapman’s debut novel, a suspenseful and cleverly written mystery with parallels to S.J. Watson’s bestselling Before I Go to Sleep.

Review: In One Person by John Irving

Brave and beautiful at times, In One Person is a tragicomic story of desire, longing and sexual identity. It both delights in and agonises over sexual differences and gender-bending, with a diverse cast of characters and a conflicted narrator who comes to understand that “we are formed by what we desire.” This is John Irving’s […]

Review: Beautiful Fools by R Clifton Spargo

There’s something seductive about the legacy of F Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald that makes them the perfect subjects for fiction. Beautiful and volatile, the novelist and his muse were icons of the 1920s Jazz Age, where everything seemed shimmering and decadent and reckless. But the aftermath of youth hit them hard, and their story quickly […]

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Seeping with darkness, pulsing with dread and jagged as barbed wire, Gone Girl delves deep into the trenches of a very twisted marriage. A compelling and sharp-edged psychological thriller, Gillian Flynn’s bestselling novel grapples with the manipulations, games and lies that go on in relationships, and asks the chilling question: how well can you ever […]

Review: Animal Wise by Virginia Morell

Anyone who has ever loved a pet will tell you without hesitation that animals have thoughts and feelings – but what do we really know about how they think and feel?  In Animal Wise, science journalist Virginia Morell delves into the current pool of knowledge we have about the minds of our fellow creatures, surveying […]

Review: Indiscretion by Charles Dubow

Indiscretion is a sensuous novel about desire, folly and love in all its permutations. Set against the alluring backdrops of the Hamptons, Manhattan, Rome and Paris, debut novelist Charles Dubow tells the story of the splintering of a seemingly perfect marriage. Though not exactly a literary masterpiece, this is an engaging beach read that blends […]

Review: All the Way by Marie Darrieussecq

In the small French village of Clèves – a sleepy place, where the main attractions are a seedy nightclub and a yearly carnival, and where “the whole school is obsessed by sex” – teenage Solange is navigating the anxieties of her ever-growing sexual desire. All the Way is the latest work from award-winning French author […]