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 Book Club Book & Film 1 – Breakfast at Tiffany’s


  What can one say about Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote’s miniature opus? The novella, despite its slender spine, has an awesome weight to it, carrying the great mass of reverence that has been heaped upon it since its first publication in 1958. And while the film adaptation does tend to soak up the bulk of this acclaim the judgement of time is still clear: here lies one of America’s finest novel(la)s. So, what’s the deal? Breakfast at Tiffany’s is the tale — told through the first-person eyes of mononymous narrator Fred — of Holly Golightly, a young, beautiful and… Continue Reading

April 2018 -2


Fashion Business of Fashion Can ‘Sick-Cute’ Fashion Break Japan’s Silence on Suicide? Kati Chitrakorn, 3/4/18 ‘With garments spelling ‘I Want to Die’ and accessories like syringes and bandages, a dark offshoot of the oppressively cute ‘kawaii’ culture is addressing the hush-hush topic of depression and mental illness in Japan. ‘ Read More   Career The New Yorker What Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” Can Teach the Modern Worker Jessica Weisberg, 2/4/18 ‘Dale Carnegie treated the employee-employer relationship as a sacred, symbiotic bond. In today’s economy, work is structured more like a string of one-night stands.’ Read… Continue Reading

Leiden Book (and film!) Club 2018


  This year we are bringing all the joy of book club and combining it with all the audio visual pleasure of film club. We have carefully curated a list of great reads that have also inspired a film adaptation. Here’s how it works: Leiden Book (and film!) Club is for anyone and everyone. Each month we will read a fab book and then we will talk about how fab (or not) it is. For those interested in comparing and contrasting you can also watch the film inspired by each book on the list. If reading isn’t your thang, curl… Continue Reading

Leiden Book Club Book 10 – Norwegian Wood


  Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood is a behemoth. First published in 1987, it was written by Murakami as a challenge to himself: try to write a good book in a style you don’t like and see how it goes. Clearly it worked out in his favour, though, as the novel flung Murakami from relative obscurity into superstardom of such a degree that he apparently had to flee the country to escape it all. This is, to quote everyone who has told me about it, ‘the one book everyone in Japan has read’. Which makes it the perfect novel to round… Continue Reading

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