• News What I wish I’d known before uni
    Next month will make it seven years since I left home for the first time, moved halfway across the country and started my life as a university student. With several of our writers at b**p getting ready to set off on that very same journey,  I wanted to share some advice and some knowledge that […]
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  • Books 1984 by George Orwell
    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 […]
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  • Books The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    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 […]
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  • Books Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
    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 […]
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  • Books Go Ask Alice
    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 […]
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  • Books The Casual Vacancy by J K Rowling
    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 […]
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  • Books The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
    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 […]
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  • Books The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
    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 […]
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  • Books One Day by David Nicholls
    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, […]
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  • Books The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
    Best of: books for ages 18+ #9: ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F Scott Fitzgerald Written in 1925, ‘The Great Gatsby’ has recently had huge popular and critical success. This was not always the case though; when Fitzgerald died in 1940, he believed himself unsuccessful and bound to fade into obscurity. In 2013, it was made […]
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  • Books The Secret History by Donna Tartt
    Best of: books for ages 18+ #10: ‘The Secret History’ by Donna Tartt This book is really special. It’s very long, and dense with description, which makes it ideal for those wanting to get lost in a fictional world. It follows the antics of a group of college students studying classics under an eccentric but […]
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  • Books Best books for young adults aged 18 and over
    We’re now moving on from our previous book lists (including book suggestions for age 10-14, age 14-18, and lovers of book series) to look at what books you might like to try when you are moving away from teenage life and into adulthood. Obviously, the question of ‘which are the best books?’ depends a lot […]
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  • Books ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’
    Best of: books for ages 14-18 #1: ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ by Stephen Chbosky This 1999 coming-of-age novel featured on the New York Bestseller list and has stayed in the hearts of the many who have read it since then. Told through letters (known as ‘in epistolary form’), the novel charts the story […]
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  • Books ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
    Best of: books for ages 14-18 #2: ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee This classic is and has long been a favourite of both students and teachers alike because of its combination of easy-to-read witty prose and deep moral questions. Set in the 1930s in the American deep south, the novel is a Bildungsroman, […]
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  • Books ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time ‘
    Best of: books for ages 14-18 #3: ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’ by Mark Haddon This 2003 novel was a huge hit immediately on its publication, and won a number of prizes, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Whitbread Book Award. Narrated by 15-year-old Christopher, the book is unusual […]
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  • Books ‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole’
    Best of: books for ages 14-18 #4: ‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾’ by Sue Townsend This piece of comedy genius has delighted teenagers for many years now. Published in 1982, and blessed with a large number of sequels which take Adrian through and out of his thirties, the novel takes the form […]
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  • Books ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’
    Best of: books for ages 14-18 #5: ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ by Arthur Conan Doyle Famous with younger people today mainly because of the many adaptations, including the vastly popular BBC TV series ‘Sherlock’, the character of Sherlock Holmes, with his incredible intelligence and skills of perception, is well known. As anyone who reads […]
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  • Books ‘Catcher in the Rye’ by J D Salinger
    Best of: books for ages 14-18 #6: ‘Catcher in the Rye’ by J D Salinger This is another teenage book that has, in time, become something of a cult classic. Published in 1951, and originally intended for an adult audience, it became popular with a younger audience, perhaps because of the protagonist, Holden Cauldfield, who […]
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  • Books ‘Dear Nobody’ by Berlie Doherty
    Best of: books for ages 14-18 #8: ‘Dear Nobody’ by Berlie Doherty This story, published in 1991, won the Carnegie Medal and has been adapted for the stage. It tells the story of a couple in their final year of school, Chris and Helen, after Helen gets pregnant. The story takes the form of a […]
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  • Other Four obscure hobbies to dabble in this summer
    Photo credit The holidays are long if you don’t have anything to do. There’s only long you can spend on Youtube and social media before your brain starts to fall out, and Netflix can only get you so far. Here are four hobbies to have a go at. The worst case scenario is that you’ll […]
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  • Books ‘Boy Meets Boy’ by David Levithan
    Best of: books for ages 14-18 #9: ‘Boy Meets Boy’ by David Levithan For those who enjoy romances, this is a must-read book. In some ways typical of the genre, ‘Boy Meets Boy’ is set apart by having gay protagonists. It is also set apart from most stories featuring gay teenagers by being neither a […]
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  • Books ‘A Gathering Light’ by Jennifer Donnelly
    Best of: books for ages 14-18 #10: ‘A Gathering Light’ by Jennifer Donnelly Based partly on the true story of the death of Grace Brown, but also highly fictionalised, ‘A Gathering Light’, or ‘A Northern Light’ in the USA, where it was first published, received the 2003 Carnegie Medal. A historical novel, it documents the […]
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  • Editorials Five French phrases you didn’t learn at school
    If you’re heading to France – or any French-speaking country – this summer, the chances are you’ll be trying to see what you can remember from school. It seems unlikely, however, that the things you’ll most need to say will have been in your textbook. You probably won’t have to declare to anyone that you […]
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  • News Books for ages 14-18
    We’re compiling a few master lists of great book suggestions. Check out our other book lists, the ‘Best of’: Book Series and the ‘Best of’: Books for Kids aged 10-14. Next on our list came perhaps the trickiest of age brackets, books for ages 14-18. The amount of life experience, maturity and even literacy within […]
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  • Reviews Best Books for ages 10-14 #1: Holes by Louis Sachar (1998)
    Winner of multiple awards including the 1999 ‘Newbery Medal’, ‘Holes’ tells the story of an overweight teenage boy named Stanley Yelnats, who always finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Convicted of a crime he did not commit, Stanley finds himself sent to the foreboding Camp Green Lake, where he has to […]
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  • News Total Beginners’ Recipes
    Photo credit Five essential cooking skills to master before you leave home Whether you’re heading to uni or to your own flat, a certain ability to feed yourself will undoubtedly come in useful! Here’s our list of bare minimum skills needed to make a handful of cheap, healthy, easy meals. If you can do it […]
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  • Editorials Semicolon tattoos
    Photo credit A recent trend has emerged for tattoos of the semicolon (;). Started by the semicolon project back in 2013, the semicolon is taken as a symbol of continuing. Instead of ending a sentence, as you would with a full stop, the semi colon allows you to carry it on, usually in a different […]
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  • Reviews Best Books for ages 10-14 #2: Matilda by Roald Dahl (1988)
    Matilda tells the story of a brilliantly intelligent young girl growing up in a family that doesn’t appreciate her. Matilda struggles to make herself heard by her parents, and her teacher, Miss Honey, wants to get her access to the work she needs to fulfil her educational needs. Funny and dark, Dahl’s sense of humour […]
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  • Reviews Best Books for ages 10-14 #3: Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares (2001)
    There are thousands of books about the friendships and romances of teenage girls, so it would have been impossible not to include one on this list. It’s a very important genre, speaking to many young people about the issues that define their lives at the time of reading. Of all the books that fit into […]
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  • News Peanut Butter: Ten Ways To Use It
    Photo credit Peanut butter is AMAZING. It’s high in protein, but even higher in deliciousness. It’s vegan, so no need to worry about the ethical consideration, and filled with the nutrients we need, such as potassium, iron and magnesium. For most of us, however, the role of peanut butter never changes from that of a […]
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  • Reviews Best Books for ages 10-14 #4: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (1947)
    This book stands out from the rest of this list as it is not fiction, but in fact an autobiography. Anne Frank was a teenage girl living in a hidden attic during the Second World War. Along with her family, Anne Frank was Jewish and went into hiding from the Nazis in 1942. She was […]
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  • Reviews Best Books for ages 10-14 #5: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (2000)
    This unusual American teen novel tells the story of ‘Stargirl’, a young teenager who refuses to answer to the name she was given at birth. Stargirl doesn’t care what her peers are doing, and instead focuses on helping other people and having fun. Told from the perspective of Leo, the more ordinary boy who falls […]
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  • Editorials Strong? Vegan? Why Not?
    Photo credit Getting fit. It’s something most of us are meaning to do, and not many of us actually get round to. I don’t mean thin; we’re all fed up of having ‘drop a dress size in two weeks!’ shoved in our faces on a daily basis. I’m talking about taking control of our bodies, […]
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  • Reviews Books for ages 10-14 #6: ‘Skellig’ by David Almond
    There’s a lot of debate over whether this multi-award winning novel is a children’s book, or simply a book suitable for children. The protagonist, Michael, is a young boy who has just moved to a new house. His parents, preoccupied with the serious health problems of his new baby sister, leave him to his own […]
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  • Reviews Best Books for ages 10-14 #7: ‘The Hobbit’ by J R R Tolkien
    ‘The Hobbit’, prequel to the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy – which also featured in our ‘Best of’ book series list! – is loved world-over by children and adults alike. It’s an adventure novel, telling the story of Bilbo Baggins, an unsuspecting hobbit (a race of very short people living in Middle-earth) who unwittingly ends […]
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  • Reviews Books for ages 10-14 #8: ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott
    This book may seem like something of an anomaly. Written in 1868 when her publisher requested she write something popular for girls, Alcott originally resisted, but eventually accepted the idea, writing this semi-autobiographical account of her life growing up with three sisters. Achieving immediate commercial and popular success, the story has endured, and has since […]
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  • Reviews Best Books for ages 10-14 #9: ‘Goodnight Mr Tom’ by Michelle Magorian (1981)
    Often chosen as a book to study in early-secondary level English, ‘Goodnight Mr Tom’ is the story of Willie Beech, an evacuee who finds himself living with a crusty old man in a country village. The tale of city meets country, and of a shy, mistreated little boy meeting someone set in his ways, is […]
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  • Reviews Books for 10-14 #10: ‘Flour Babies’ by Anne Fine
    Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Children’s Literature, this short novel tells the story of Simon Martin and his class 4C as they prepare for the school science fair. As a class of underachievers, they are given the science project least likely to go wrong: nurturing ‘flour babies’, sacks of flour that they must take […]
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  • Reviews Books for kids aged 10-14
    Photo credit We hope you enjoyed our ‘Best of’ Book Series list! Next up, we’ve got a list designed to please! The crossover from children’s books to teen books is a hard one, so we’ve tried to pick a wide range designed to suit all tastes. From the historical to the autobiographical and from adventure […]
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  • Editorials Best Writing Tool: Pen or computer?
    Photo credit Writers need computers. In today’s world, no publisher or editor would ever consider a handwritten manuscript. Why is it, then, that many writers still resist the digitalisation of the writing process? Graham Greene famously said “two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does.” Admittedly, […]
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  • News Baby Beavers!
    Photo credit For the first time in centuries, a beaver wild in the UK has given birth to live young. The beavers, living in the ironically named River Otter in Devon, were reintroduced by an unknown party. Hunted to extinction in England in the 12th Century, the distinctive-looking mammals were discovered in the river in […]
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  • Reviews Best Book Series #1: The ‘His Dark Materials’ Trilogy by Philip Pullman
    At the very top of our list, what could we choose but His Dark Materials? These three classics tell the story of Lyra, a girl living in a place very like Oxford, but with one big difference – it’s in another world. Lyra gets caught up in the dark and philosophical world of the adults […]
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  • Reviews Dursley-Potter Feud Explained
    Photo credit On Pottermore (J K Rowling’s Harry Potter companion website) this week, an explanation of the deep animosity between the Dursleys and the Potters has been published. The backstory tells of a restaurant visit for both couples – Harry’s parents, Lily and James Potter, and his aunt and uncle, Petunia and Vernon Dursley. The […]
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  • Reviews Best Book Series #2: The Harry Potter series by J K Rowling
    It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of the teenage wizard and the seven increasingly lengthy stories that featured him. Published between 1997 and 2007, the books were the defining pieces of literature for a whole generation of young people. The stories, which tell of Harry, an orphan who grows up without knowing he has […]
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  • Reviews Best Book Series #3: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    Katniss Everdeen lives in a post-apocalyptic version of the USA, where inhabitants’ movements are restricted to the districts in which they were born. Condemned to a life of hard work, Katniss works hard to feed her family. However, when her name is pulled from a hat, she is chosen as a participant in the hunger […]
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  • Reviews Best Book Series #4: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
    Described as ‘Die Hard, with fairies’, the Artemis Fowl series is an incredible mix of James Bond style gadgets, violence, crime and humour. Artemis is a twelve-year-old genius determined to earn lots of money and become a super-villain. After he captures a fairy to hold for ransom, he engages in an increasingly dangerous battle of […]
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  • Reviews Best Book Series #5: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
    Whilst for some this might seem like a fairly controversial choice, the incredible popularity that the Twilight saga (both films and books) has had over the past decade meant that it had to feature somewhere on our list! Protagonist Bella moves to a new city, where she falls in love with a gorgeous yet mysterious […]
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  • Reviews Best Book Series #6: A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
    This series of thirteen novels for older children or young teens follows the lives of three orphans, Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire, from the moment they become orphans. Written in a mock-gothic style, the novels are full of wit and darkness. The narrator, Lemony Snicket, plays an important role in the stories, talking to the […]
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