Leiden Book Club Book 9 – Persuasion


  Jane Austen has never been a particularly large blip on my literary radar. My mother has been a voracious fan since long before I was part of the world; and after I did become a part of it she would often put forward the Austen catalogue as a recommendation to me. I would smile and nod, acknowledging that no bookshelf is complete without a few Austens present, but never quite getting around to taking the plunge. This changed with Emma, which I only picked up in order to impress my future de-facto wife (also Emma). And while I found… Continue Reading

Leiden Book Club Book Book 8 – Swing Time


  Swing Time, a novel by Zadie Smith, is an onion. There is layer upon layer upon layer; the more you dig, the more you will find to ponder and discuss. It’s likely you may shed a tear or two while reading, or at the very least, feel the odd tug on your heart strings. It’s not an easy book to review because, frankly, a lengthy essay would be more fitting (and for the hardcore literature nerds, much more satisfying). Swing Time is a best friend bildungsroman within which lies an acute social commentary about race, class and gender; an… Continue Reading

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