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I fell in love with “Life: An Exploded Diagram” by Mal Peet (again)

I recently reread Life: An Exploded Diagram (2011), a beautiful novel by Mal Peet, and in the process came to the conclusion that it's a literary masterpiece* which I need to recommend to everyone I meet, and discuss at length with anyone who'll even pretend to listen. If I had a class to teach, I'd… Continue reading I fell in love with “Life: An Exploded Diagram” by Mal Peet (again)

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Writing Notes on Things

Writing Notes on Things no.8: Sticking googly eyes on stuff

After the seriousness of my last post, today's topic is a lighthearted one: drawing or sticking googly eyes on objects to personify them and create an empathetic response. Maybe a life of lockdowns is getting to you and you've been making your own "friends" from inanimate objects from around your home. You wouldn't be the… Continue reading Writing Notes on Things no.8: Sticking googly eyes on stuff

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Against apathy / trying not to look away / from a broken world

Great art can make us look longer at something, especially where the reality of that "something" is painful or scary, and it's all too easy to look away, stay comfortable by doing so. In this post I share some poems that call on the reader to take notice in the face of what's wrong in… Continue reading Against apathy / trying not to look away / from a broken world

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The wardrobe into Narnia and other impossible doors in fiction and film (feat. The Starless Sea, The Adjustment Bureau, and Monsters, Inc)

For the curious among us, any closed door can create a sense of mystery, as we wonder what's beyond, while many fantasy fictions suggest that a door could lead somewhere entirely unexpected. This post is about fictional doors that do impossible things: doors that connect spatially unconnected places and which don't always lead to that… Continue reading The wardrobe into Narnia and other impossible doors in fiction and film (feat. The Starless Sea, The Adjustment Bureau, and Monsters, Inc)

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2020 Favourites Part II: Books and Ballet, Fashion and Food

Part I of this year's favourites covered film and TV - the number of words devoted to just those two categories perhaps illustrates that this has been a year of screen time. This second part's not screen-free, but at least the proportion of the verbs which are synonyms for "watched" is considerably smaller. Books Surprisingly,… Continue reading 2020 Favourites Part II: Books and Ballet, Fashion and Food

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2020 Favourites Part I: TV and Film

I'll start with the obligatory 2020 "it's been a weird year" disclaimer, and then follow that by noting that the TV shows I mention are potentially Britain-centric, but a lot of them have had an international or US release and may well be available to stream elsewhere. Alright, now that's done, here are my spoiler-free… Continue reading 2020 Favourites Part I: TV and Film

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Short Stories About Job Interviews Expose Human Minds: Reviewing “We’ll Call You” by Jacob Sundberg

We'll Call You is a collection of nine stories by Jacob Sundberg (originally published in Swedish in 2018, translated into English by Duncan J. Lewis and published by Nordisk Books this month). The stories describe job interviews, with different characters and vacancies in each. In a sentence: While the novel is known as the form… Continue reading Short Stories About Job Interviews Expose Human Minds: Reviewing “We’ll Call You” by Jacob Sundberg

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Good news for readers and book lovers, Amazon-boycotters and sustainability-seekers

I'm surely not alone in being fed up with bad news, so I thought I'd amplify some recent developments which are good news for avid readers and anyone attempting to be an ethically-conscious consumer. First up, I was delighted to read earlier this month about Bookshop.org, a site allowing independent bookshops to sell online easily,… Continue reading Good news for readers and book lovers, Amazon-boycotters and sustainability-seekers

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Prose Commentary: analysing “Half the World”

Last month I shared a passage of original fiction entitled "Half the World". It's a piece I wrote for my A-Level literature coursework (albeit with a few minor edits here and there). The second part of the task was to analyse our own creative writing, explaining our inspiration and stylistic choices in detail. Since I've… Continue reading Prose Commentary: analysing “Half the World”

Writing Notes on Things

Writing Notes on Things no.7: Reflections on the “Everything is Alive” Podcast – Louis the Cola Can

Back in July, I posted about object histories - narratives (fictional or otherwise) which follow an object, making it, rather than a human character, the subject of a story. While object histories might allow us to see the world from an object's perspective, they don't generally give voice to it. This post centres on the… Continue reading Writing Notes on Things no.7: Reflections on the “Everything is Alive” Podcast – Louis the Cola Can