Leiden Book Club Book 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

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

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 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