Leiden Book Club Book & Film 5 – The Harp in the South


  I feel as though I begin every review I write by claiming scepticism upon the receiving the initial assignment. Maybe I’m pompous, maybe I’m just careful, but almost everything I have thrown into my lap is met with reluctance. This reaction was no different upon purchasing Book Club’s latest: The Harp in the South by Ruth Park. The Harp in the South, first published in 1948, is a gritty exploration of life in Sydney’s then-slum Surry Hills, set during the Great Depression for added appeal. The novel focuses most of its attention on the struggles of the Darcy family… Continue Reading

Leiden Book Club Book & Film 4 – The Taming of the Shrew


  The works of William Shakespeare occupy a special place in the literary world: the larger-than-life characters; the tragic and/or comedic tales of love, power and death; and the countless speeches (‘friends, Romans, countrymen…’, ‘what light through yonder window…’, ‘out damned spot…’ etcetera, etcetera); all these things and more have been pounded into the collective consciousness so thoroughly that damn near anyone can cite something from at least one of his works. And yet, despite the ubiquity, one of the most enduringly popular Shakespearian plays (as far as my limited research can attest) is one of the least quotable —… Continue Reading

Leiden Book Club Book & Film 3 – Watership Down


  I love kid’s stories, hell, we all do. Kid’s stories are the first stories, they lay the foundations for how we think about all stories afterwards and, more important still, they inform our approach to life itself; the stories we hear as children raise us just as much as our parents and our community do. The greatest kid’s stories resonate not just with the child but with the adult as well (…most of us, anyway), satisfying both our awe of the big wide world, and our terror of it. It is thus with great pleasure that I return to… Continue Reading

Leiden Book Club Book & Film 2 – Fight Club


  It’s a been a long time since I last read Chuck Palahniuk’s debut novel Fight Club. I was around fourteen–fifteen when I first picked it up, a result of having become enamoured with its much more famous film adaptation (more on that later). I remember, back then, being struck by the blunt beauty of the prose, wrapped around a tight and thrilling narrative. It wasn’t long after that I chronologically consumed the entirety of Palahniuk’s catalogue, which at that point ended with Haunted. Throughout this consumption I became more and more dissatisfied, seeing less insight, less poetry and more… Continue Reading

Leiden Recaps: Bachelor in Paradise Australia Finale


  It feels like only yesterday that I was cursing myself for agreeing to view every episode of the Bachelor in Paradise. And now that we have reached the grand finale, I can safely say my initial reluctance was entirely justified; but, nevertheless, here we are at the finish line. And what a race it’s been: hearts have been broken, friendships crumbled into dust, cheese scoffed down by the wheel and all for this moment. Get ready for the epic finale that is episode sixteen. We open with the gruesome visage of Osher breaking down the mechanics of the finale:… Continue Reading

Leiden Recaps: The Bachelor in Paradise Episode Fifteen


  This is it, ladies and gentlemen, or very nearly almost it: the penultimate Bachelor in Paradise. So down some stay alert capsules and strap yourselves in for the semi-thrilling semi-conclusion that is episode fifteen. Fair warning on this one: the vast majority of it is flashbacks so you’re probably better off re-reading the old recaps instead. We open with Jarrod and Keira moseying down towards the sea shore. What looks like ritual suicide is revealed to be the final date: a ride on a yacht full of champagne and cheese. They reflect on the tumultuous series of events that… Continue Reading

Leiden Recaps: Bachelor in Paradise Australia Episode Fourteen


  Who better to review the orgiastic display that is the Bachelor in Paradise Australia than someone who has never watched a single episode of the Bachelor or Bachelorette. Here to recap all the subtle intricacies of finding ‘true love’ on reality television is Leiden’s copy editor Jesse Petrie.   Today we make Bachelor history, ladies and gentlemen, by bearing witness to what is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the dullest episode of Paradise thus far: episode fourteen. And while some of its more unbearable moments may have more to do with my unfortunate sobriety than anything else, you… Continue Reading

Leiden Recaps: Bachelor in Paradise Australia Episode Thirteen


  Who better to review the orgiastic display that is the Bachelor in Paradise Australia than someone who has never watched a single episode of the Bachelor or Bachelorette. Here to recap all the subtle intricacies of finding ‘true love’ on reality television is Leiden’s copy editor Jesse Petrie.   We’re on the home stretch, ladies and gentlemen. A little bird (Osher) has told me that this is the final week of Paradise. But don’t go popping your champagne just yet, we still have to trudge our way through the few remaining episodes of this sad charade. And on that… Continue Reading