HAPPY GALENTINE’S DAY <3: On Fictional Female Friendship

By Michelle Nathan

Hi all! So, in honour of my third favourite holiday of the year, Galentine’s Day (Christmas and Halloween come in 1st and 2nd, in case you were wondering) I have decided to write about 5 books that depict female friendship, in all it’s glorious complexity. Galentine’s Day is celebrated on February 13th, and is an (un)official national holiday created by fictional character Leslie Knope in my favourite TV show, Parks and Recreation. To quote Leslie, it’s about “ladies celebrating ladies,” a Valentine’s Day for your platonic loved ones.

But I have to admit, I really had to rack my brain to think of even 5 books that have female friendship at the centre of the storyline, or even fictional female friendships that really stood out in my mind as being iconic. I have a list as long as my arm for the same criteria in TV and film, but I clearly need to up my reading game to include more stories that depict memorable, complex, honest, interesting female friends, as I’m sure they do exist, I’m just not looking in the right places. Anyway, let’s get to the good stuff – the books!

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LITERARY LISTOGRAPHY 1: Cities and Countries I have travelled to via literature (that I would like to visit IRL)

By Michelle Nathan

Hello friends! This month I’m writing the first post of a new series that I am embarking upon called Literary Listography, named after a book that my friend bought me for my birthday last year. This book is jam packed with countless list topics that are left blank for you to fill out, so that you can finally definitively decide who your favourite authors are, which books you think should remain better left unread and characters that you’d love to go on a date with (if only they weren’t fictional, *sigh* :P) The result? Hours of organised, literary-based fun!

The first list that I have spent many hours pondering over is ‘Cities and Countries that I have travelled to via literature.’ The below book choices have taken me across the globe without me ever having to move from my cosy reading spot, and have inspired me to hopefully travel there in real life one day. While these books may not always being the best representation of the places they are set in, they’ve opened my eyes to new cities, cultures and experiences that I wouldn’t have otherwise known existed, and encouraged me to educate myself about these real places that I first discovered through fictional stories.

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BOOK CLUB: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

Happy New Year everybody! So December’s Book Club post is a few days (ahem, a week) late, but as one bud was out of the country over the holiday period and the others were passed out on their sofas after consuming insane amounts of Christmas food, we’ll let it slide this once…! This month we took on C.S Lewis’ classic high-fantasy tale, where four children climb through a wardrobe into the magical world of Narnia, filled with witches, talking lions, thinly veiled Christian mythology and Turkish Delight. Let’s get right to it!

 

SPOILER WARNING: The following post contains major spoilers for the plot of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

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BOOK CLUB: Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding

We’re one bud down for this month’s slightly delayed book club in which we look at Helen Fielding’s third book in the Bridget Jones series Mad About the Boy. Fielding’s iconic heroine is now a single mother in her fifties and just stepping back into the dating game in the internet age.

SPOILER WARNING: The following post contains major spoilers for the plot of Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy.

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Why so glum, chum? 5(ish) books to turn that frown upside down

We all have bad days. It starts raining on the way to work on the one day you’ve left your umbrella at home. The soup you made for lunch makes a break for it, leaking out of your bag, coating all your things with a mustard coloured tint and a lovely lentil aroma for days. An orange, sour-faced, racist, misogynistic, homophobic reality TV star is elected the next President of America. You know, little things like that, which tend to build up over the course the day until all you want to do is curl up in bed with a multipack of Maltesers and a cup of tea and hope that the sun will come out tomorrow (literally and metaphorically.) It is for these categorically awful days that I have compiled the below list of books, which always cheer me up without fail, and remind me that the world can be a beautiful, funny and wonderful place. And even when it’s not, you can escape into a book for a few hours and pretend that everything’s OK (the literary version of sticking your fingers in your ears and singing loudly and incoherently.) Wilful ignorance my friends! It’s the only way forward. I’ve even split the list up into various genres, in case you’re like me and enjoy a bit of variety with your escapism. Enjoy!

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BOOK CLUB: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

For this month’s book club we decided to get into the Halloween spirit by reading Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. Regarded as one of the best 20th century ghost stories this story follows a group of paranormal investigators as they spend the summer in a supposedly haunted house with a dark past and begin to experience some seriously strange goings on.

As with last month’s book club we ended up with some wildly different opinions.

SPOILER WARNING: The following post contains major spoilers for the plot of The Haunting of Hill House.

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PLAY REVIEW: 1984

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of seeing the play 1984 which is currently on at the West End, and I thought I’d write a (not-so) lil’ review about it. What is more apt for a spooky scary October post than an adaptation of a world famous novel that looks deep into the heart of human autonomy and oppressive governments who can control your inner most thoughts, fears and desires? Let’s get cracking!

SPOILER WARNING: There are some minor spoilers for the plot of 1984 in the below as well as a major section at the end. Continue reading

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Book Buds Book Club

It’s our first Book Buds Book Club review!

Over September we read Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, a gothic-style YA novel following Jacob Portman as he searches for meaning in the bizarre, twisted fairy tales he heard from his grandfather, Abe. With the Tim Burton film adaptation in cinemas now, we figured it was time we caught up with this eerie little world and share our thoughts with you.

It’s safe to say there were a few, uh, conflicting views. Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up.

Major spoilers below the cut!

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REVIEW: The Muse by Jessie Burton

Note: I went to go and see Jessie Burton speak about The Muse at an event at Foyles, which I mention periodically in the review.

SPOILER WARNING: This review is spoiler free.

After the huge success of her debut novel The Miniaturist in 2014, expectations were high for Jessie Burton’s second novel The Muse, which triumphantly avoids the dreaded sophomore slump. After delivering a tense and rich depiction of 17th century Amsterdam in her debut, Burton is even more ambitious with The Muse, as it jumps between two different and distinct time frames; 1930’s Spain in the lead up to the civil war, and 1960’s London. Through her use of wonderfully vivid, lyrical language, truly intriguing characters and a cleverly woven mystery that will keep you guessing until the end, this fictional study of creativity, deception and identity truly paints a picture that you will never forget.

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