Film review: The Grinch

16th November 2018

Kudos to the genius who had the idea to release a film about a being who hates Christmas in November. That’s a finger on the zeitgeist right there. The Grinch is the latest 86-minute adaptation of a 69-page children’s book. It depicts Benedict Cumberbatch’s Grinch as he plans his dastardly scheme while Whoville prepares for Christmas. […]

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A beginners guide to… Marvel films

11th October 2018

In the eighties/nineties, Marvel comics was on the verge of bankruptcy. They were kept afloat because they had the license to produce Star Wars comics but otherwise they were literally selling filing cabinets to stay in business. So for a bit of a cash boost, Marvel sold the film rights to their most valuable characters […]

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Book Review: Persuasion

10th September 2018

4.5/5 After reading Pride and Prejudice and feeling totally disappointed, my hopes were as low as can be when I started reading Persuasion. It reads basically the same as Austen’s most famous work, but Persuasion is undoubtedly filled with more wit and humour accessible to any reader than P&P, making it much more bearable in […]

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Four worst fictional holiday destinations

3rd September 2018

I’m aware that the majority of you are just coming to the end of your holidays and packing bags for school/uni. I, however, I have completed my MA this morning and, rather than celebrate this, I felt I’d waste your time with 500 words or so. I’m looking through travel mags and airline sites to […]

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B**P REWIND: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

12th July 2018

Truman Capote’s classic novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s is brief, wistful and filled with a prominent sense of longing from both the unnamed narrator and Holly Golightly, the protagonist. Published in 1958,the novella follows a year and a half in Holly Golightly’s company – something that is rare, as precious as a diamond and as sought […]

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4 Sidekicks who are better than the hero

3rd June 2018

It’s a thankless job being a sidekick. You have to go through the same adversity the protagonist does and at the end of it, all you get is a lousy pat on the head and (in Chewbacca’s case) not even a medal. What the hell Leia? For your viewing pleasure, here’s our list of sidekicks […]

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The worst superhero roommates

20th May 2018

Many of us know the struggle of trying to organise friends into finally getting the deposit down on that flat. The search for housemates at uni is arduous and taxing. Except for council-tax, obviously. It’s understandable why some impressionable young people would decide: “you know what, screw it. I’m gonna live with a superhero”. I […]

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George RR Martin Delays GoT Book Again

27th April 2018

Author of the esteemed Game of Thrones books, George RR Martin has delayed the next book in the series to release an ‘imaginary history’, of the house of Targaryens. Martin revealed that The Winds of Winter wouldn’t be coming in 2018. The last book that was released was A Dance with Dragons, in 2011. This […]

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Tracy Beaker the Single Mother

19th March 2018

If there’s one book character who deserves a follow-up story, it’s Tracy Beaker. Written by Jacqueline Wilson, the books and TV show followed Tracy, a young girl who had been abandoned by her mother and placed into a children’s home nicknamed the Dumping Ground. Fans of the show will know that Tracy was very hard […]

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Book Review: Murder on the Orient Express

27th February 2018

Okay, I know I’m late to the party but I have finally read Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. I knew it was going to be a good read from the start as Agatha Christie is the best selling novelist of all time, having been outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. I’m in […]

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What it’s Like to be Writing a Book

21st January 2018

Writers around the world are sitting at their desks writing. Because it’s what they do. Some writers write articles, some write poetry, some write songs and some write novels. Some do all of these; some do others; some do just one. A specific type of writing which usually captures people’s attention is novel-writing. As soon […]

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Review: Murder on the Orient Express

13th November 2017

The following spoils no plot details of an 85-year-old book (who says Hollywood has no original ideas?). Agatha Christie’s steam-powered ‘whodunnit’ has been adapted more times than Piers Morgan’s job description and with Oscar-nominated actor/director Kenneth Branagh in the engine room, this latest version had all the opportunity to leave previous attempts under its wheels. […]

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170 Years of Jane Eyre

15th October 2017

Here at b**p we love a good novel and we love to celebrate them too. Today marks 170 years since the publication of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, or, as she was known at the time, Currer Bell. In those glorious 170 years, there have been film adaptations of the novel, period dramas telling its story and plays touring the […]

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Book Review: The Karamazov Brothers

14th September 2017

Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s final novel is something to behold. Bizarrely readable – considering not only the time it was written but also the sheer length – it paints a vivid picture of the eponymous brother’s lives’. The story is bounding and broad, expanding to encompass most of the town in which the story takes place. The […]

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Wow, People are Nerds

4th September 2017

For many across the country this week will begin the new school year, whether you’re raring to go, what with your notebooks and highlighters, there will be those who would rather be doing anything else. Well, take comfort in the fact that even in fiction people still must get up at seven in the morning […]

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Book Review: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

14th June 2017

3.5/5 Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca is often described as a modern classic and, by many trusted sources of mine, described as a great novel. Naturally, hearing that this book was amazing made me excited to read it, but in the first 200 pages or so, I just didn’t get it. Things were fairly boring after […]

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Top UK Politics Books

12th June 2017

If you’re looking for a tough but rewarding read this summer, you should look no further than the politics department in most bookshops. Politics books are a little tedious for some people, but if you love finding out everything there is to know about a person or an event, you’ll thoroughly enjoy some of these […]

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World Poetry Day

21st March 2017

Today is World Poetry Day, a celebration of great literature and poets across the world. So, in honour of the day, we thought we would share with you some of our favourite poems. Daddy – Sylvia Plath – If you love poetry that you can delve right into, this poem will certainly meet your expectations. It’s a […]

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‘The Virgin Suicides’ Book Review

14th March 2017

Five sisters raised by middle class, religious parents in the American suburbs kill themselves. This is the stark, bare bones of what Jeffrey Eugenides presents you with on the first page of The Virgin Suicides. The rest of the book, in a heady stupor of hindsight and painful memory, serves to garnish the fact, to […]

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‘The Lost Daughter’ Book Review

5th March 2017

The Lost Daughter is a novel by Italian author Elena Ferrante (Days of Abandonment, My Brilliant Friend) and tells the story of a woman who sets about on a holiday to re-discover herself after her daughters have flown the nest. Ferrante writes the female inner monologue like no one else, and it is what she’s […]

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‘Cathedral’ Book Review

5th March 2017

Raymond Carver is an American short story writer whose style I admire endlessly. Carver once said: “It’s possible, in a poem or short story, to write about commonplace things and objects using commonplace but precise language, and to endow those things — a chair, a window curtain, a fork, a stone, a woman’s earring — […]

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‘Porno’ Book Review

10th January 2017

Porno is the sequel to Irvine Welsh’s gritty masterpiece Trainspotting, and (like its predecessor) switches between the first person narratives of its major characters, Mark “Rents” Renton, Simon David “Sick Boy” Williamson, Francis “Franco” Begbie, Danny “Spud” Murphy and Nikki Fuller-Smith. (The small number of narrators in Porno is dwarfed by the much larger and more varied […]

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‘The Philosopher’s Pupil’ Book Review

3rd January 2017

The Philosopher’s Pupil, by author and philosopher Iris Murdoch, was first published in 1983. It follows the affairs and arguments within the English spa town of Ennistone (‘N’s town’ – so named by the anonymous narrator, ‘N’), particularly those of the McCaffrey family. At the centre of this family is George: reviled and revered in […]

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‘When I Was Five I Killed Myself’ – Book Review

10th December 2016

When I was Five I killed Myself (published 1981) was the first novel of Howard Buten, an American living in France who is, as well as a novelist, a clown and a psychologist. The book, whilst not being very well known in his home country, is overwhelmingly popular in France, having sold over a million […]

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‘The End Of The Affair’ – Book Review

8th December 2016

The End Of The Affair by Graham Greene was initially published in 1951, and has since been adapted into two feature films of the same name. The novel examines Maurice Bendrix’s obsession with his former lover Sarah Miles and her husband Henry Miles. The story is suspected to have some base in Greene’s affair with […]

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Best Literary Female Characters

24th November 2016

Women are as diverse and individual as books themselves, and this has been reflected (sometimes) very well by literature – in fact arguably more so than in any other medium. Anyone can write books; the same cannot be said for TV and film. Yes, there is a lot of popular fiction that isn’t as representative […]

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7 Books you Must Read Before You’re 18

18th November 2016

Books. They’re everywhere. You may love them – you may even hate them. If you subscribe to the latter, a very wise author (none other than J. K. Rowling) once said: “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book”. This list is a mixture of classics, Young Adult (YA) and fantasy to […]

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‘Teen Fiction’

10th November 2016

Over the years, ‘teen fiction’ has been changing significantly, as has the rest of teen culture. It’s a fairly new genre by book standards, and one which continues to grow at an alarming rate, which consists of (according to Goodreads) a broad selection ranging from the beautiful (The Book Thief, Markus Zusak) to the, well, […]

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Five Literary Classics For Summer/Autumn

11th August 2016

As we move through the last weeks of summer and into autumn, we also approach what is arguably the prime time of the year for reading. I have composed a list of some perfect page-turners that will have you glued to your seat, sometimes laughing and sometimes crying. The best books we read stay with […]

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The Collector – Book Review

4th August 2016

The Collector was the English author John Fowles’s 1963 debut novel which follows Frederick Clegg – an isolated young butterfly collector with limited social skills and intelligence. His one burning passion outside of his butterflies is Miranda, the young and beautiful art student who remains outside of his grasp due to his social ineptitude. However, […]

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Get Reading This Summer

10th July 2016

Every year, the Summer Reading Challenge takes place. This involves encouraging young people to read as much as possible, and be rewarded for doing so. It’s easy. All you need to do is sign up at your local library, during the summer holidays, and then you can begin. The challenge is to read six books […]

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Review: Without Conscience

1st May 2016

Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us is a book giving insight to the life of the psychopaths. Published in 1993, the book is still a universal guide to understanding and identifying the symptoms of the psychopath. Robert D. Hare is a researcher in the field of criminal psychology and specialises in […]

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Book Review: The Girl on the Train

1st May 2016

Paula Hawkins’s debut thriller novel The Girl on the Train makes a compelling weekend read for anyone interested in human nature. Published in January last year, the thriller received acclaim as soon as critics got their hands on the novel. And they were all right. Hawkins demonstrates just how talented she is in her craft as The […]

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Book review: Alone in Berlin

20th March 2016

With more than sixty years between being written and being published in English, Hans Fallada’s Alone in Berlin certainly has a story to it. This novel, set in Berlin towards the end of the Nazi era, follows the family, friends and acquaintances of a working-class couple, Otto and Anna Quangel, whose son is killed fighting […]

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Young Adult Book Awards 2016

17th March 2016

The second annual Young Adult Book Awards shortlist has been announced. The competition celebrates fiction written for teenagers and young adults in any genre. The winning book will be chosen by the judges with input from a group of teen readers. The winner will be presented with a £2,000 prize at the ceremony at Hay-on-Wye Festival […]

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Battle of the Books: Paper or Electronic?

9th March 2016

Ever since the inception of the electronic book in the latter half of the twentieth century, the debate over e-paper versus real paper has raged. Enthusiasts champion the e-reader, now probably best represented by the Amazon Kindle, as a cheap and modern way of storing and accessing thousands of books, but traditionalists say that only […]

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Book Review: Hotel Babylon

6th March 2016

Few books have managed to combine humour and real-life scandal like the first of Imogen Edwards-Jones’s bestseller Babylon novels does. The book follows the twenty-four-hour exploits of a receptionist at a five-star London hotel on a double shift, from early morning to early morning. Hour by hour, the plot takes in death, drugs and drinking, […]

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Book Review: Girl Online

3rd March 2016

Zoe Elizabeth Sugg (known as Zoella on YouTube) is a beauty and entertainment vlogger (video blogger), and entertains millions of fans every day. She is so successful that she’s had two books published, and has her own make-up brand which she released earlier this year. Her books are amazing. The series is about a girl […]

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Classic Review: Pride and Prejudice

1st March 2016

Jane Austen opens one of literature’s most well-known novels with the declaration that ‘it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife’. This sentence is both one of the most celebrated in the English language and a summary of Pride and Prejudice‘s plot […]

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Why We Read

28th February 2016

Reading is an activity that millions of people around the world take part in for pure pleasure. So, for the self-confessed bookworms among us, we’ve made a list of all the reasons we love books so much. 1. To get #Grammared It’s definitely not unusual to smell books. Especially books in the library. It’s our fix, […]

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Obituary: Harper Lee

19th February 2016

Nelle Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird, has died at the age of 89. Released in 1960, her novel about racial inequality in the deep South has sold over 40 million copies and has been translated into more than forty languages. To Kill A Mockingbird catapulted Ms Lee into literary stardom and even […]

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Book Review: The Wasp Factory

19th February 2016

There is no doubt that Iain Banks’s ‘The Wasp Factory’ is one of the most controversial novels of our time, following the unconventional life of Frank, an isolated 16-year old who appears to be suffering from some form of psychological disorder. On simply reading the blurb, it becomes clear from the offset that the themes […]

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Book Review: One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

19th February 2016

Few novels have ever delved as deeply into the treatment of mental health issues as Ken Kesey did in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Narrated by the half-Native American Chief Bromden, whom everyone presumes is deaf and mute, this psychotropic novel takes place in a psychiatric institution somewhere in Oregon. Most of the hospital is […]

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Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time

16th February 2016

One of my favourite books of all time is Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. The book follows Christopher Boone, a fifteen year old boy with the psychological disorder Asperger’s Syndrome, as he tries to work out who killed Wellington, his next door neighbour’s dog. However, as Chris starts […]

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Book Review: The Help

4th January 2016

Set in the early 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi, Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 debut novel The Help is one of the funniest, most sincere and most effortless works of recent years. The Help closely follows the stories of three women: Minny Jackson, Aibileen Clark and Skeeter Phelan. At a time where racism was still prominent, Stockett primarily focuses on the […]

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Book Review: My Name’s Not Friday

26th November 2015

My Name’s Not Friday (by Jon Walter) is an absolutely charming read, which truly captures the black struggle during the American Civil War. When Samuel, a young orphan, is forced into the slave trade, his life turns upside down. He endures harsh labour, cruel punishment and even a close encounter with death, yet he does […]

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Sven Hassel: A Retrospect

24th October 2015

Sven Hassel, who died aged 95 in 2012, was one of Britain’s biggest-selling war authors, penning fourteen novels which sold over 53 million copies worldwide, 15 million of which were in the UK alone. Hassel’s novels tell a story of a number of soldiers (the author, who served as a Danish auxiliary in the Wehrmacht, being […]

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‘Sleeping Beauty’? ‘Roger Red Hat’? Try ‘The Hangover’ Instead

14th October 2015

First of all we saw adult colouring books, and now story books for adults have hit the market. Written by some of the minds behind BBC TV sitcom ‘Miranda’, the Ladybird books will tell humorous tales with adult themes, such as mid life crises and hangovers, but will keep the childish structure and layout. In […]

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Dame Jacqueline Wilson’s Play Meets Newcastle

9th October 2015

Dame Jacqueline Wilson has a reputation for writing about challenging issues; divorce, mental health and adoption are just some of many themes that she has written about. The beauty of her work, too, is that these topics are all from the perspectives of children. The 69-year-old writer and the city of Newcastle have always had […]

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Book Review: A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

28th September 2015

It is often said that there is no pursuit more noble than that of imparting knowledge to others. If this is so, Bill Bryson should certainly be in line for a peerage of some sort, principally for his sterling work in producing A Short History of Nearly Everything. This august tome, which earned Bryson the […]

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