Category Archives: essays

Women and Power by Mary Beard

I am a great admirer of Mary Beard, I love how she is so willing to take on the Twitter trolls with humour and aplomb. I’ve seen her present tv programmes on the BBC and she’s engaging, generous and interesting. … Continue reading

Posted in equality, essays, gender, non-fiction, philosophy, politics | 4 Comments

Notes From No Man’s Land by Eula Biss

“Our willingness to believe the news is, in many cases, not entirely innocent.” In my weaker moments, those moments when I have desired nothing so much as the comforting thud of an enveloped book arriving through my letterbox, I have … Continue reading

Posted in essays, non-fiction, race | 5 Comments

The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison

I hadn’t planned to read this book. I have a friend who sent me a copy and as I’m trying to keep on top of any ‘new’ books I acquire (not adding to the TBR list) and as the gift … Continue reading

Posted in essays, non-fiction | 4 Comments

Upstream by Mary Oliver

“And this is what I learned: that the world’s otherness is antidote to confusion, that standing within this otherness – the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books – can re-dignify the … Continue reading

Posted in essays, nature, non-fiction, poetry | 12 Comments

Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole

There are moments in reading which elevate the experience beyond mere enjoyment to something more. I find in such moments a suspension, a feeling as though I am levitating above a great, vast plain of possibility and I know that … Continue reading

Posted in Art, essays, politics, travel, writers | 2 Comments

Absence of Mind by Marilynne Robinson

I’ve probably mentioned now and again how much I admire Marilynne Robinson. She’s not a prolific writer, but she’s a brilliant one. Famous for her books centred around the fictional town of Gilead: Home, Gilead and Lila, as well as … Continue reading

Posted in essays, neurology, non-fiction, psychology, religion, science | 5 Comments

Letters to Poseidon by Cees Nooteboom (translated by Laura Watkinson)

A collection of very odd symptoms sent me off to the GP on Thursday, and I came back with a diagnosis of shingles, an instruction to rest along with some anti-virals with a dosage strong enough to sink a whale. … Continue reading

Posted in comfort books, death, essays, memoir, philosophy | 9 Comments