Books

Review: StAnza 2020 Rating 95%

Review: StAnza 2020

I’ve put off my review of this year’s StAnza Poetry Festival because, with all the current weirdness, I figured it might be good to hear about past events during a time of festive dearth. Well, that’s my excuse, although the truth is that there is so much to say about StAnza, even though I was only there for a day.

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Review: Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth Rating 82%

Review: Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth

After the success of Animals and adapting the book to screenplay, Emma Jane Unsworth has done it again with new title, Adults, a contemporary read that incorporates mental health, trauma, loss and Instagram. Jenny is a complex character, inside she feels unloved, unemployable and emotionally unfiltered. Her long-suffering friends appear to be tired of her demands. She has more connection with her phone than any other character in this novel.

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Review: Scabby Queen by Kirstin Innes Rating 81%

Review: Scabby Queen by Kirstin Innes

Lochwinnoch-based Kirstin Innes has exceeded the anticipation surrounding her new novel, Scabby Queen, after winning Not the Booker Prize with Fishnet in 2015. Five years later, she has delivered a better novel than her protagonist, Clio Campbell, does an album in this tome.

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Review: Theresa Breslin and Bernard Ponsonby’s Creative Writing Club, Aye Write 2020 Rating 70%

Review: Theresa Breslin and Bernard Ponsonby’s Creative Writing Club, Aye Write 2020

Aye Write’s first – and sadly only – event this year took place in the Mitchell Library on Thursday, March 12th as Bernard Ponsonby introduced the work of author Theresa Breslin. Breslin’s work spans many subject matters from the historical to the ideological, seen in Remembrance and Divided City, just two of her works from 2002 and 2005 respectively.

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Review: Strange Hotel by Eimear McBride Rating 68%

Review: Strange Hotel by Eimear McBride

It is one of life’s minor misfortunes, somewhat major for the avid reader, when you pick up a book and you expect it to blow you away but it produces a slight gust at the very best. Strange Hotel was one of these books; it sounds fascinating when we read the blurb but the book itself, although discussing important and interesting topics, fails to deliver a full literary punch.

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Review: Dial M for Murder, Granite Noir 2020 Rating 93%

Review: Dial M for Murder, Granite Noir 2020

Running in line with the Granite Noir festival this is a story of love and murder, set in 1963. Tony Wendice, played by Tom Chambers, finds out his wife Margot (Sally Bretton) has been having an affair; and so plots “the perfect crime”. Written by Frederick Knott as his first play, the story is well known from Alfred Hitchcock’s movie version in 1954.

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Review: Dandelion’s Dream by Yoko Tanaka Rating 89%

Review: Dandelion’s Dream by Yoko Tanaka

Entirely pictorial, Dandelion’s Dream is a wonderful exploration of shapes, colour and nature, which sees a dandelion bloom into a dandy lion character, adding life and vibrancy to the black and white world in which he lives. Illustrated by Yoko Tanaka, there is a stunning ethereal and artistic quality to this picture book, which is suitable for three year olds and up.

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Review: Resist Edited by Ra Page Rating 85%

Review: Resist Edited by Ra Page

At a time in society where political demos and protests are rife, Comma Press’ anthology Resist is a significant historical read, considering mass strikes and resistance since the times of Boudica to the neglectful incident of the Grenfell Tower. With fictionalised accounts from Kamila Shamsie, Eley Williams, Donny O’Rourke and Lucy Caldwell among many others, there is a wonderful variety of writing that covers historical events from the Dagenham Strikes to the Radical Wars, the Tottenham Riots to the Battle of Cable Street. With historical accounts alongside each of these essays, this book thoroughly explores radical uprising spanning from 60AD.

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Review: Makar/Unmakar Edited by Calum Rodger Rating 65%

Review: Makar/Unmakar Edited by Calum Rodger

makar/unmakar is a new poetry anthology published by Tapsalteerie and edited by Calum Rodger. It is a collection that introduces the reader to twelve contemporary poets who although very different from each other have one thing in common: they are not afraid to push poetical boundaries. It is important to say here that this reviewer is not a poetry expert but rather a reader who wants to get our of their comfort zone so this review is just the personal ruminations of a keen, just-introduced-to-poetry reader.

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