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. […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

‘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 […]

Read article

‘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 […]

Read article

‘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 — […]

Read article

‘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 […]

Read article

‘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 […]

Read article

‘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 […]

Read article

‘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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

‘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, […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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, […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

Book Review: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

7th March 2016

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 […]

Read article

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, […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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, […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

‘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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

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 […]

Read article

Book Review: The Beach by Alex Garland

13th September 2015

What do you get if you take two dozen listless young adults, put them on a remote Thai island with the ability to sustain themselves and give them free access to a nearby drug farm? Why, The Beach, of course. A perfect exercise in ‘why isolated breakaway societies don’t work’, Alex Garland’s 1996 debut novel […]

Read article

Review: Fear: Essential Wisdom

7th September 2015

Nobel Peace Prize nominee Thich Nhat Hanh provides just what it says on the tin: essential wisdom in Fear. As a Buddhist monk, Hanh shares meditation techniques that are simple to both understand and to practice yourself. Many of them are step-by-step meditations that include mantras – words and phrases to be repeated over and over […]

Read article

1984 by George Orwell

2nd September 2015

Best of: books for ages 18+ #1: ‘1984’ by George Orwell It’s everywhere throughout pop culture. Room 101, Big Brother, Newspeak – the concepts Orwell created have a life far beyond the pages of this short novel. Even the term Orwellian is in frequent use, meaning a state of constant surveillance. Published in 1949, Orwell’s […]

Read article

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

1st September 2015

Best of: books for ages 18+ #2: ‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak Published only ten years ago, this book has received numerous awards and remained on the New York Times Bestseller List for over 230 weeks. Set in Germany during World War Two, the story follows Liesel, a little girl being looked after by […]

Read article

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

31st August 2015

Best of: books for ages 18+ #3: ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley Written in the 1930s but set in London in year 2540, ‘Brave New World’ is another futuristic dystopia. Set in a world where humans are raised artificially in ‘hatcheries’, where they are assigned castes (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon), each caste […]

Read article

Go Ask Alice

28th August 2015

Best of: books for ages 18+ #4: ‘Go Ask Alice’ – Anonymous Published in 1971 and set between 1968 and 1970, this book caused a lot of controversy at the time of its publication simply because it was presented as a diary, and not as fiction. The diarist, whose name we never learn, is a […]

Read article

The Casual Vacancy by J K Rowling

27th August 2015

Best of: books for ages 18+ #5: ‘The Casual Vacancy’ by J K Rowling Published in 2012, this huge novel was much anticipated, mainly due to the author’s fame. Slated and praised in approximately measures by the English papers and tabloids, one thing was certain: there weren’t many comparisons to be drawn with the children’s […]

Read article

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

26th August 2015

Best of: books for ages 18+ #6: ‘The Lovely Bones’ by Alice Sebold Published in 2002, and an instant best-seller, ‘The Lovely Bones’ is a story told from a very unusual perspective. The narrator, Susie Salmon, has been raped and murdered, and looks down on her family from heaven to tell her tale. It received […]

Read article

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

25th August 2015

Best of: books for ages 18+ #7: ‘The Illustrated Man’ by Ray Bradbury This is a series of eighteen short stories, which makes it unique amongst our best books so far! The premise is simple – the illustrated man of the title is a circus performer covered in tattoos, each of which tells a story […]

Read article

One Day by David Nicholls

24th August 2015

Best of: books for ages 18+ #8: ‘One Day’ by David Nicholls Published in 2009, this novel received a great deal of success, including generally positive reviews. It’s easy to read, and long enough to get thoroughly involved in the characters’ lives. ‘One Day’ follows two characters, Em and Dex, from the night they meet, […]

Read article