Fictional stories have been central to human life for thousands of years. Yet, when it comes to fiction, you often hear phrases like “but it’s only fiction,” or “it ain’t real.” The implicit meaning behind such phrases is that fiction is somehow less valuable than non-fiction; that it’s far removed from the real world and … Continue reading Why Do We Need Fiction?
Since its release in 2020, Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half has been all over my social media feeds. It debuted at number one on The New York Times fiction best-seller list, was longlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction, and won the Goodreads choice award in best historical fiction. To find out if it … Continue reading Performing Race in Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half
What if memories had the power to transport enslaved people to freedom? In his debut novel, The Water Dancer, Ta-Nehisi Coates experiments with this idea of memory as a superpower. Blending historical fiction and magical realism, Coates’s novel prompts us to rethink the institution of slavery and its enduring legacies. Set largely in the antebellum South, … Continue reading Slavery and the Power of Memory in The Water Dancer
Let’s face it, reading slumps are a reader’s worst nightmare. No matter how hard you try, you can’t read. It’s just utterly frustrating. But the good news is: reading slumps don’t last forever. There are ways out of the rut. Here are some of the ways that will (hopefully) help you reignite your passion for reading: 1. Start … Continue reading 7 Ways to Get Yourself Out of a Reading Slump
The best authors of dystopian fiction don’t attempt to predict the future. They’re not prophets. What they do is that they look at existing trends in the society they live in and push them to their most radical conclusions. In other words, these authors try to think about what the future would be if things … Continue reading Dystopian Visions That Have Become Reality
In Life of Pi, Yann Martel takes us on a thought experiment: What would happen if a boy and a Bengal tiger were stuck together on a small lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? Contrary to what everyone would expect, the tiger doesn’t kill the boy. Instead, the two develop an unusual friendship … Continue reading In the Same Boat: Human-Animal Relationships in Life of Pi
I think it’s not an exaggeration to say that Angie Thomas’s YA novel The Hate U Give is among the most important books of this century. If you’ve already read this book, you certainly know what I mean. If you haven’t, make sure you do! Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, THUG tells the … Continue reading Why You Should Read The Hate U Give
The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood, 1985) Margaret Atwood is an amazingly talented writer and I could probably write an entire post on works by Atwood that’ll become future classics. But if I had to pick one, it’d be The Handmaid’s Tale. This book has everything a good classic needs: it’s compelling, beautifully written and thought-provoking. … Continue reading Books That May Become Future Classics
I guess we all have a vague notion of what a classic is. When I hear the word, I think of an excellent piece of literature that has stood the test of time. I think of Austen, Dickens, Shakespeare, Woolf, or Brontë. But what precisely makes the works of these authors to classics? What actually … Continue reading What Makes a Classic?
Have you ever wondered what Shakespeare’s characters would do if they lived in our times? Well, according to recent movie adaptations, Romeo and Juliet date amidst a gang war, Katherine is a feminist high-school student, Viola shows off her talent on the football field, Othello tries out for the basketball team, Beatrice and Benedick quarrel … Continue reading Back to the Roots: Shakespeare in Pop Culture
I guess Lord of the Flies is one of those books that people either love or hate. It’s hit-or-miss. At least that’s the impression you get when you read the reviews. Some praise the book’s profound exploration of human nature whereas others dismiss it as totally unrealistic and exaggerated. As for me, I’ve to admit … Continue reading Everything Wrong With Lord of the Flies?
What image comes to mind when you hear the word ‘migrants’? People jammed together on small boats or crawling underneath barbed wire fences? It’s no surprise that this is what immediately pops into most people’s head. Mainstream media is full of such images. And it is precisely this picture that Mohsin Hamid tries to revise … Continue reading “We Are All Migrants Through Time”: Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West
Writing a sequel to a book that’s been loved by so many readers for more than three decades is definitely a risk to take, but Margaret Atwood took the chance nevertheless. With The Testaments she published the highly-anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale just last year. As someone who’s loved the first book, my expectations … Continue reading Completing the Puzzle: Atwood’s The Testaments
One of the best things about books is that they can transport us into another world. We get to travel back in time, solve mysteries, or go on an adventure. We immerse into a story and when we close the book, we either wish we could actually live in the world we’ve just experienced or, … Continue reading Between Fact and Fiction: Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”
“The book is always better than the movie.” I guess this is a sentence most of us have read or heard at some point when it comes to book adaptations. But how do we define ‘better’? Why are books so often put on a pedestal and movies easily dismissed? Personally, whenever I hear that a … Continue reading Book vs. Movie: In Defence of Book Adaptations
“I turned on the news. The minor epidemic they’d been talking about earlier wasn’t behaving in the usual way—a local outbreak, one they could contain. Now it was an emergency. They showed a map of the world, with the hotspots lightning up in red—Brazil, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Bombay, Paris, Berlin … The news jockeys were … Continue reading Why You Should Read Science Fiction
Being stuck at home sometimes feels like being stranded on a desert island. If you come to think about it, we’re all living the lives of castaways at the moment: We rarely have contact to other humans, time is a mystery, there ain’t enough food around, and toilet paper isn’t anywhere to be found. If … Continue reading Social Distancing Tips From Robinson Crusoe
Today marks the 456th birthday of William Shakespeare and the 404th anniversary of his death–For Shakespeare was born and died, supposedly, on the same day: April 23. Either way, today is all about remembering Shakespeare’s genius. For some, it rests in his play’s timeless appeal, for others in their complex language or insightful themes. If … Continue reading Celebrating Shakespeare’s Heroines
I guess all of you follow what’s been going on in the world right now. We’re facing a crisis caused by a virus that has rushed over the world in an unprecedented speed. Most of public life has come to a halt, schools and unis are closed, hospitals are overloaded, the economy is crashing. As … Continue reading What we can learn from Margaret Atwood’s “The Year of the Flood”
Most of modern life takes place onscreen. Every day, we check our phones, watch TV, browse online, or share our day on social media. It seems like books have faded into the background. Why read in a world that has become so visual? Let me tell you! 1. Reading Makes You a Better Writer! Not … Continue reading Why You Should Read
Let’s be honest, classics don’t enjoy the best reputation. Most people consider them boring, outdated, difficult to understand. Back in high school, I wasn’t the biggest fan of classics either. I always wondered why we had to read such old books, why we couldn’t just read something more contemporary. However, the older I get, the … Continue reading My Favourite Literary Classics
Who was William Shakespeare? Most people would probably answer this question with: “a writer,” or a “dramatist.” But what do you actually know about the man William Shakespeare? For example, when did he live? Where did he grow up? Did he have a wife and children? If you don’t already know the answer to these … Continue reading Who Was William Shakespeare?
Do you remember the first time you read Shakespeare? I remember it well. It was at my German high school and we read Othello. I don’t know about you, but for me it was a rather unpleasant experience. I didn’t understand the language (made it not easier that English isn’t my first language), so I … Continue reading Who’s Afraid of Shakespeare?
157 years ago today, one of the greatest children’s stories of all time was born: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. On July 4th, 1862, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and his friend Reverend Robinson Duckworth took the three little Liddell sisters (no pun intended)—Edith, Alice and Lorina—on a rowing expedition up the Thames. According to Alice’s diary, it … Continue reading The Story Behind “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”