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Browsing: Books

The winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2012 has been announced, and Hilary Mantel has done it again. Awarded the prize for her novel Wolf Hall in 2009, Mantel has now achieved the top spot for her novel Bring Up the Bodies. The book is a sequel to the previous Man Booker Prize winning novel, and follows the life and times of Thomas Cromwell, living in the court of Henry VIII. It is a thrilling Historical novel that follows relationships within the Monarchy, adding a fictional flourish to events of the past. Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies…

To me there are three types of readers. There’s the book lovers who will read every book ever because reading is everything. Then there’s the forced to read readers who have to read things for classes. And then there’s me; I’ll only read something if I have a prior vested interest in the book or topic of the book. The only things I’ve read in the last few years have been novelisations of video games. So when I heard that Perks was being made into a movie starring both Logan Lerman and Emma Watson I thought I’d give it a…

Scare Yourself: Read a Book This Halloween! Fancy being anti-social, staying in and avoiding the nightlife this Halloween, but still want to get involved with the spirit (no pun intended) of things? Well here’s a little bit of advice for you – what better way to scare yourself this than with a good, old fashioned and grisly horror book?  Yes, the age-old watching-a-scary-film-until-you-shriek-yourself-silly idea is all well and good, but it does all the work for you. Reading a horror story allows you, as the reader, to scare yourself as much as you want, or as little as you want.…

I am well aware that, as a university student, finances are tough. With many popular books costing anywhere from £8 to £15, it is unrealistic to fund a consistent supply of literature. In fact, it is difficult at times to fund the purchase of literature for your respected studies, let alone for leisure. Therefore, I decided that a good idea to promote reading would be to champion great literature which can also be purchased cheaply. The book I shall be promoting is The Liar by Stephen Fry. As a well known public figure, comedic actor and presenter, his role as…

All Hallow’s Read is a recent Halloween tradition invented by best-selling author Neil Gaiman in 2010. The premise is simple: give someone a scary book for Halloween. It’s a great way to get people reading and to share your favourite horror stories (or give away that book that gave you nightmares). It’s also a brilliant way to celebrate Halloween. Now this could just be me and my excessive horror film collection, but show me a scary film and you will not get much of a reaction out of me, other than an appreciation of gore. Give me a scary book…

As a literary genre, Gothic fiction is often classified as combining elements of horror and romance, as well as other features including melodrama and parody. Popular in the late 18th-early 19th century, many critics agree that it originated with the release of Horace Walpole’s 1764 novel “The Castle of Otranto”. Featuring the character Manfred, a lord of a castle, and the inexplicable death of his son Conrad before his wedding, it inspired Clara Reeve’s “The Old English Baron”, and set the tone for many canonised works that followed it. Anne Radcliffe is often credited with developing the “explained supernatural” element…

I am well aware that, as a university student, finances are tough. With many popular books costing anywhere from £8 to £15, it is unrealistic to fund a consistent supply of literature. In fact, it is difficult at times to fund the purchase of literature for your respected studies, let alone for leisure. Therefore, I decided that a good idea would be to promote reading would be to champion great literature which can also be purchased cheaply. The book I shall be promoting is The Liar by Stephen Fry. As a well known public figure, comedic actor and presenter, his…

We at Seren have been saving some summer treats for you, dear readers. We have a ridiculously easy competition to give away the following books: 1. Environmentalism begins at home! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: An easy household guide 2. For those of you who have come to the end of your loans: How To Save The Planet On A Student Budget 3. For the seasonal chef! The Good Table: Adventures in and around my kitchen 4. For the environmental philosopher. On Extinction: How We Came Became Estranged from Nature So the question is: Seren is printed on 100% recycled paper, true…

Anthony Horowitz in ‘The House of Silk’ gives us a brand new Sherlock Holmes adventure that attempts to be true to the Conan Doyle originals. We return once more to Victorian London, following Holmes and Watson as they investigate theft, murder and the mysterious House of Silk. Along the way we meet many familiar characters such as Inspector Lestrade and Mycroft Holmes. Somehow I’ve managed to get this far in life without ever actually reading a Sherlock Holmes story. Despite this I feel very familiar with the characters from being a big fan of the TV series ‘Sherlock’, BBC’s retake…

Dead Reckoning is Charlaine Harris’ 11th book in the Sookie Stackhouse series; the series which lends itself to the basis of the American TV show, True Blood. Although linked by character’s names, the TV show and book series have very little in common; if you didn’t like the TV show, but still want to add a bit of supernatural fantasy to your life, this is a really good series to peruse. Previous reviews have not been favourable to Dead Reckoning; the plot is slower and calmer than we’ve been used to in the last five or so books, and this…

If you head over to the travel section you’ll find an article on my recent trip to Palestine. In the week I spent there, I was also reading a book by Simon Sebag Montefiore called Jerusalem: A Biography. This particularly weighty tome coloured all of my experiences during my time there and has changed my entire outlook on the situation. The book explores the full seven thousand years of history of the city and each chapter looks at the particular dynasty or regime that controlled the area at different times. This way of telling the story of Jerusalem allows Montefiore…

Why do children love horror so much? We shouldn’t really be surprised that they do though; think about the fairy tales they are brought up on. Dark tales of death and destruction all spun in a way that makes them seem palatable for young ears but actually aren’t, yet they love them. Maybe this is why Goosebumps, by the American author R.L. Stine, has already started to become exceedingly popular. The first two books to be released in the series have gone down a storm with young readers everywhere, and the next book is being eagerly awaited. Stine’s style for…

We can’t really talk about the 90’s without mentioning the classic book from the decade: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone;  the one that started it all, way back in 1997. I remember being read this by my Year 4 teacher; near the end of every day she would sit us all down and read us a bit from this wonderful book she’d bought. We were all enthralled or, at least, I was. When we got to the end of term she hadn’t finished reading it to us and, with the long summer holiday stretching before me, I HAD to…

Elsewhere in this paper there is an article about the ineffable growth of eBook readers such as the Kindle. Over the last year these devices have gone from expensive toys to affordable tools available for the majority of people; with the release of even cheaper models there is sure to be increased sales for those buying them for Christmas presents. I have to be honest with you here: I do not like the concept of eBooks; the idea offends my bookwormish sensibilities. This is a very traditionalistic point of view but, when it comes to books, I’ve always been snobby.…

Marley was dead: to begin with. What other opening line conjures up that ebullient festive feeling that comes from the eerie mid-winter tale that is A Christmas Carol? Possibly the most well-known and retold Christmas story of all time, second only to the Nativity, Dickens’ short work is the perfect little read for the crisp nights leading up to the 25th. Have any of you actually ever read it though? The reason everyone knows the story so well is because the adaptations of it have been so prolific and, unlike other books, faithful. After all, who doesn’t know and love A Muppet’s…

There are some people, Ben Aaronovitch claims in his new book Moon Over Soho, who are born Londoners, even if they only visit for the first time in their old age. There are others who are born in London who never quite get it, and dream of escape. I fall into the first category. Despite being born within the gravity of the great city that is London, I am absolutely and incontrovertibly a Londoner at heart. There’s little about the city I don’t love, and as Aaronovitch says, “Every Londoner has their manor – a collection of bits of the…