Caitlin Moran, author of ‘How To be A Woman’ and well-known for her three award-winning columns in the Times, compiles a hilarious selection of her pieces from the last few years in her latest book, ‘Moranthology’, accompanying each entry with a witty and nostalgic comment about her life at the time she was writing them.
I picked up ‘Moranthology’ with the intention of dipping in and out of the articles that looked most interesting, but after reading the first couple of pages I ended up finishing the entire thing. Moran’s truly unique, razor-sharp style is both warm-hearted and fierce as she gleefully tackles subjects as diverse as coffee, Cameron’s ‘Big Society’, Sherlock and taxes. Her own unusual backstory – becoming a novelist at 15 and struggling with a drug addiction – ensures that the autobiographical aspect of ‘Moranthology’ is just as fascinating as her articles.
The Bone Season
A Review by Hannah Smith
At 22, Samantha Shannon has graduated from Oxford University, signed a deal with Bloomsbury for a 7-book-long series and has now released the ambitious first instalment: ’The Bone Season’.
The story begins in 2059, in an alternative London where society is split in a bitter feud between clairvoyants (people who can explore and manipulate the aether, or spirit realm) and amaurotics (people without the power to sense the aether). Paige Mahoney is a dreamwalker – one of the rarest types of clairvoyant, with the ability to move through the aether and affect other people’s ‘dreamscapes’. Her gifts have made her a desirable find for Jaxon Hall, a ‘mime lord’ who makes a living by using clairvoyance – which is illegal – for financial gain. Under the oppressive gaze of the Scion government in London, clairvoyants live a life of constant fear and suspicion, persecuted for the abilities that they were born with. But when Paige is taken prisoner and transported to the ‘lost city’ of Oxford, she discovers that there is a far more powerful force than the government controlling everything she has ever known.
Although the first-person narrative creates some stylistic problems, such as the long paragraphs that clunkily explain the complicated plot, ‘The Bone Season’ is fast-paced, inventive and has huge potential to become a lucrative teen franchise to rival ‘Divergent’ and ‘The Hunger Games’.
A Review by Hannah
McEwan’s bestselling novel is intensely moving and atmospheric, and not only provides a breathtakingly vivid glimpse of the 1930s and ‘40s but also the active imagination of a thirteen year old girl.
Briony Tallis is precocious, naïve, isolated and almost obsessively compelled to write stories, so when, on the hottest day of summer, she witnesses several events that don’t seem to make sense, she attempts to stitch them together inside her head. Through an upstairs window, Briony sees her older sister, Cecelia, recently returned from Cambridge, take off her clothes and jump into the fountain while her childhood friend, Robbie, stands back to watch. Confused and frustrated, Briony moulds these images to her own fancies and unwittingly sets off a chain reaction that threatens to rip her family life apart.
Eats, Shoots and Leaves
A Review by Hannah
A great guide to everyday grammar usage, as well as being hilariously funny, this book is unique and vital to anyone interested in the mechanics of the English language. Truss has a gift for breezily explaining those points of punctuation that continue to baffle the majority of English speakers, including the apostrophe and the elusive semicolon. Truss’s infectious enthusiasm for the written word is clear from the start, and her exploration of the history of punctuation, as well as its modern usage, is highly entertaining. A delightful read.
Lizzie Bennet’s Diary
A Review by Frances
“Lizzie Bennet’s Diary” by Marcia Williams is an imaginary diary influenced by Jane Austen’s “ Pride and Prejudice”. Beautifully illustrated with facsimile invitations and notes as well as sketches and small cartoons, this is a wonderful introduction to to Austen’s famous love story. Really for adults or children!