Book Reviews

Rise of the Political Technologists: "Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible" by Peter Pomerantsev

James Snell | Posted 23.03.2015 | UK Politics
James Snell

For the critiques of this transparent media manipulation alone, Pomerantsev's book is a vital resource. And it is more than that; he creates a powerfully written, endlessly evocative and terribly recognisable description of the state of Russia today.

'ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror' - Review

Tam Hussein | Posted 23.03.2015 | UK Politics
Tam Hussein

It is a rich and nuanced piece touching on all the points that the arrival of ISIS has raised in Syria and Iraq. Typos aside, this is an important contribution to the emerging literature on ISIS and will surely be on any academic reading list for years to come.

Write Harder, Better, Faster, (Not) Longer - with Uri Bram

Mark Brewer | Posted 05.02.2015 | UK Entertainment
Mark Brewer

So, please, indulge me as I hitherto invent a new genre of literary criticism and thrust it upon your unwitting and uninterested eyes. I call it a "pre-review review". I hear your teeth grind as you call me a "wally" and slap the back of your own neck in the hope you'll hit that "off-button" sweet-spot. Why not simply call it a "preview", like a sensible person?

Book Review: 'Oliver Twist for Kids'

Alix Long | Posted 26.03.2015 | UK Universities & Education
Alix Long

Overall, 'Oliver Twist for Kids' was another resounding success for Playing with Plays, and it fulfilled its purpose of creating plays from 'tricky' classics that were enjoyable and accessible for kids to perform, allowing them to enjoy the literature that adults are often guilty of thinking too advanced for them.

#ReviewWomen2015: It's Time to Take Commercial Fiction Seriously

Hannah Beckerman | Posted 27.03.2015 | UK
Hannah Beckerman

Every time you review a book by a female writer - whatever the genre - whether on social media, on your blog, in your local or national newspaper, use the #ReviewWomen2015 hashtag. Let's make this the year fiction by women gets reviewed more than ever before.

The Joy of Accents and Potatoes

Annie Martirosyan | Posted 21.02.2015 | UK Entertainment
Annie Martirosyan

You Say Potato is yet another successful collaborative book by David Crystal and Ben Crystal. The title derives from Let's Call the Whole Thing Off sung by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the film Shall We Dance. (Already got the tune in your head?)

Top Four Books For an Adventurer's Christmas Stocking

Alastair Macartney | Posted 14.02.2015 | UK Lifestyle
Alastair Macartney

This Christmas, the adventurers amongst us will be gazing out of the snow splattered windows, plotting. If we're not currently on an adventure then we know that Christmas is the time for rest and relaxation. This rejuvenation is key as we plot, in our own special way, to take over the world with our hair-brained adventures.

Harry Potter: The Creature Vault (Review)

Alice Charles | Posted 07.02.2015 | UK Entertainment
Alice Charles

Fans of the books and films will remember that JK Rowling's world of wizardry is populated with a host of magical and frightening creatures, from elves, pixies and familiars to trolls, giants and werewolves, and everything in between.

Festive Book Review: 'A Christmas Carol for Kids'

Alix Long | Posted 31.01.2015 | UK Entertainment
Alix Long

Kelso's 'A Christmas Carol for Kids' gives children a very important gift; more important than anything they would receive this Christmas. This play familiarizes children and introduces them to a world of first-class literature at their fingertips, and still provides them with an important message, even though it's not in it's original format.

Give Us Back Our Heroes: How the Digital Era Brought Us Too Close to Our Stars

Matthew Phillips | Posted 28.12.2014 | UK Entertainment
Matthew Phillips

In an age when social media reigns supreme and our celebrities are subjected to having their nude, private photographs gleefully circulated online without their permission, it is important to be reminded that, once upon a time, some public figures were beyond the public's grasp. This separation allowed space for stories to emerge and idols to be born.

Move Over Calendar Girls, Its Time for the Adventures of Fifi

Catherine Graham | Posted 25.11.2014 | UK Entertainment
Catherine Graham

Fantasies From The the Kitchen Sink is a story about the adventures of an ex-stripper called Fifi who makes a fortune writing her memoirs, and then moves to the genteel village of Dorking. She takes a cardboard cut out of Jean Luc Picard with her, and under his dictation she goes about causing chaos at the women's institute.

Book Review: Chimene Suleyman, 'Outside Looking On'

Musa Okwonga | Posted 15.11.2014 | UK Entertainment
Musa Okwonga

Chimene Suleyman, a London-born poet, journalist and essayist of Turkish heritage, has produced Outside Looking On, a debut collection of poems for Influx Press; a very fine piece of work which, given its timing, captures London at a pivotal moment in its history.

'Prozac Nation': 20 Years On

Victoria Sadler | Posted 09.11.2014 | UK Entertainment
Victoria Sadler

In September 1994 Elizabeth Wurtzel's first book Prozac Nation was published and a new era of confessional-style memoir was born. Further than that, Elizabeth's frank and unsympathetic portrayal of her battles with depression was revolutionary in a way that now, even 20 years later, we're still getting used to...

Raw and Unforgettable Magic: Taiye Selasi's Ghana Must Go

Marie Southard Ospina | Posted 30.08.2014 | UK
Marie Southard Ospina

As someone who grew up stretched between Third and First Worlds, in a broken family with seven siblings scattered across the globe (each facing their own demons), there was a lot in this book that resonated with me on an intrinsic level -- things difficult for anyone to read, because of the unfiltered, unedited truth behind them.

Meatspace by Nikesh Shukla - Learning to Dwell in the Possible

Kester Brewin | Posted 09.08.2014 | UK Entertainment
Kester Brewin

This multiplicity of possibilities requires a modern version of a rather more ancient magic: the splitting of the self to transcend the grim mundanity of having to 'be' in a particular place at any one time.

Lost for Words by Edward St Aubyn: Book Review

Hannah Beckerman | Posted 28.06.2014 | UK Entertainment
Hannah Beckerman

It would be a mistake to assume that Lost for Words is simply a novel about book prizes. It's a novel about literature: about how we appraise it, what we value in it and who we choose to guide us in what we read.

The Vagenda, Book Review

Victoria Sadler | Posted 27.06.2014 | UK Entertainment
Victoria Sadler

The new Vagenda book has put me in a real quandary. I dislike feminists having a go at each other rather than working together but, in all honesty, I cannot recommend this book. It's narrow in scope, outdated in its subject matter and patronising at best, offensive at worst.

The Man Who Wrote Henry VIII's Court

Amy Licence | Posted 17.06.2014 | UK Entertainment
Amy Licence

Now, historian Lauren Mackay has looked afresh at Chapuys' letters, returning to his actual words, to decipher exactly what he did have to say. And what he didn't. What emerges in this new book about the Tudor court is a complex diplomatic picture of a lively and clever man who defies the stereotypes perpetuated in some history books to shine as he takes centre stage.

Rhino Hunt by Nick Higgins - Book Review

Robert Bradley | Posted 30.05.2014 | UK Entertainment
Robert Bradley

Rhino Hunt is an honest look at the relationships held between modern middle aged men. Just as the success of the Inbetweeners movie is largely down to its realistic take on teenage life, Rhino Hunt exposes many truths of what it means to be a middle aged man, especially the ones blessed with that innate ability to act like a child, and get away with it.

Latent Hazard by Piers Venmore-Rowland - Book Review

Robert Bradley | Posted 12.05.2014 | UK Entertainment
Robert Bradley

I have always wanted to be in an action thriller. Such fleeting fantasies tend to find me when travelling. Every woman under the age of forty has and no doubt continues to fanaticise about staring in their own music video.

Book Review: Tabish Khair, How to Fight Islamist Terror From the Missionary Position

Claire Chambers | Posted 23.04.2014 | UK Universities & Education
Claire Chambers

This is a fast-paced, hilarious novel that nonetheless has sufficient depth to withstand several re-readings. If there's any justice, it's going to be as big a hit in Euro-America as it has been in Khair's home country of India.

Book Review: Tamarind Mem

Sumeet Grover | Posted 15.04.2014 | UK Entertainment
Sumeet Grover

Tamarind Mem, a Canadian bestseller novel from 1997, written by Indian-born is an infectious and unforgettable story of an extensively engaged childhood, family, identity, culture and its inherent oppression of women, narrated through genius storytelling.

Poetry Review: The Nordic Light

Sumeet Grover | Posted 11.04.2014 | UK Entertainment
Sumeet Grover

The Nordic Light is a collection of poetry accompanied by photography, a seldom used combination, but a very impactful and much needed one. All of the poems in this book are contributions from historic or prominent Norwegian poets, with the exception of one Danish and one Finnish poet.

Cat Out of Hell by Lynne Truss - Book Review

Robert Bradley | Posted 28.03.2014 | UK Entertainment
Robert Bradley

Firstly, I must state that I am not the biggest fan of cats; an animal that is so fleetingly your pet, only ever belongs to your family exclusively on it's own terms. Unlike dogs, cats have always appeared to have an air of beguiling independence and a haze of evil surrounding them.

The Tell-Tale Heart by Jill Dawson - Book Review

Robert Bradley | Posted 23.03.2014 | UK Entertainment
Robert Bradley

At the hospital bedside of Patrick, a 50-year-old professor of American studies, drinker and womaniser, our narrator begins to detail the transformative days that follow shortly after his heart transplant.