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

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