Leiden Book Club Book 7 – The Wonder


  An English nurse — seemingly cold, discerning and aloof on first impression — is brought to a small Irish village to observe the ‘miracle’ of an eleven-year-old girl who has fasted for months and believes herself to be living off manna from heaven. It is Lib Wright’s job to keep watch over this young girl to prove whether she is a miracle or a fraud, but like any other good book, her mission is not as easy as it would appear. The Wonder is an exploration of faith, fasting and morality, and is based on the many cases of… Continue Reading

Leiden Book Club Book 6 – Quiet


  To say that Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking changed my life is not an understatement. When I first read Quiet, I was a public servant in a role that required working long hours, extensive travel, and being switched on around stakeholders all the time. Not just in the office or boardroom either, but over lunch, at the airport, at networking drinks – in other words, I was constantly depleted of energy and felt on the verge of burnout. My poor husband commented at the time, ’I see you coming home later and… Continue Reading

Leiden Book Club Book 5 – Lolita


  There is something strangely uncomfortable about recommending a book about the sexual relationship between a middle-aged man and his twelve-year-old stepdaughter. Yet I find myself doing exactly that. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov, is not a comfortable book. The content is certainly uncomfortable. At least, for me, it was – I mean, Humbert Humbert is a middle-aged sexual pervert and a murderer and Dolores seems quite happy to receive his sexual attentions. However, it was not the content that I found to be most unsettling; rather, it was the subtle manner that Nabokov was able to elicit sympathy from me… Continue Reading

Leiden Book Club Book 4 – A Life in Frocks


  Kelly Doust’s memoir, A Life in Frocks, is not a book meant for the depths of a book club discussion; in fact, it’s not a book I would normally be inclined to read. And despite being a contributor for an online fashion magazine, I am not particularly fashion-minded myself (since taking long leave from my day job to open 6th Position, I have taken to getting around 24/7 in my no-name brand activewear – with pride). You’re probably wondering, given the circumstances, how on earth did A Life in Frocks get onto the Leiden Book Club list? Well for one,… Continue Reading

Leiden Book Club Book 3 – The Course of Love


  The Course of Love by Alain de Botton is not your typical man-meets-woman romance novel. Man does meet woman. And woman does fall in love with man. But then, we get to find out what happens when ‘happily ever after’ rolls around. How often have you watched or read a romance film or novel where man and woman finally get together after some prerequisite trials and, as they disappear off into the sunset, wondered, ‘What will happen to them?’ Take, for example, Beauty & the Beast, Pride and Prejudice, and Groundhog Day. Our leading men and women are besotted,… Continue Reading

Leiden Book Club Book 2 – The Fountainhead


  Towards the end of 2016, while exploring different books for Leiden’s Book Club reading list, it quickly became apparent to me that a true Leiden reading list should reflect the literary taste of our contributors. And so, At Leiden’s Christmas party, speaking to other contributors about their favourite books, browsing our editor’s bookshelves in between conversations to gather courage for the next (as any introvert would, of course): that is how The Fountainhead came to be on our Book Club reading list; a novel much loved by fellow contributor, Miriam Walsh. I had not previously heard of Ayn Rand… Continue Reading

Leiden Book Club Book 1- Great Expectations


  Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, has been on my ‘classics to-read list’ for quite some time. It is a bildungsroman that depicts the psychological, emotional and moral growth of the narrator and protagonist, Philip Pirrip, nicknamed Pip. Be warned, this is a classic on the more voluminous side – and much more so than this writer expected (that is, I nearly missed the deadline for turning in this review). As an adolescent, I had read Oliver Twist and thoroughly enjoyed it for its satirical humour. I had expected to experience a similar enjoyment with Great Expectations; yet, I find… Continue Reading

Leiden Book Club


  You know we like to write but did you we like to read? Just like our old friend C.S Lewis, you can’t find a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit us. Which is why we are starting a book club, the Leiden Book Club to be exact. Here’s how it works: Leiden Book Club is for everyone. Each month we will read a fab book and then we will talk about how fab (or not) it is. Then at the end of each month we will post an article and some talking points… Continue Reading