Posts Tagged ‘Laura Hillenbrand’

  • Twelve Books for Christmas


    Your brothers are arguing about politics. Mum is losing her mind over the turkey, and your sister, who has decided to promote herself beyond mere vegetarianism and become a vegan, is lamenting the death of the bird like it was once a fond friend. Dad is nowhere to be found, and, frankly, it’s time to follow suit and exit with what remains of your sanity. So slip on your slippers, don your robe, and pick yourself one of those silly hats with the little ball on top. If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably find yourself muttering under your breath and wishing you were the spoilt eight year old again, but that you somehow had retained the knowledge that adulthood really isn’t all it’s made out to be. You leaf through the bookshelves, remembering what it was like to be small and to listen to your Dad reading The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, or to watch The Snowman and be unaware that the feeling of total peace in those moments would never be that simple or maybe even attainable again. Every Christmas we return to our homes and tables, for better or for worse, different people.

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  • English Literature and the Battlefield

    Reading Simon Armitage’s The Not Dead (2008) was, for me, a reminder of the beauty of war poetry and prose.  Armitage spent no time working in the armed forces; however, his works cast my mind back to that of Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke, phenomenal canons of British war poetry. Sometimes, those who have faced the most traumatic, brutal and violent of experiences are gifted with a remarkable set of literary talents. We have an endless fascination with physical war; our interest and never-ending exploration of this theme is instilled in us from a young age – the horrors of WWII discussed in History lessons, its territorial ramifications rediscovered in Geography, and, in no less effect its impact on language and prose debated over in English Literature classes. This year has seen war, once again, dominate our screens, from independent film noir productions such as Ida to movie blockbusters like Fury and 4th Estate’s very own book-to-screen adaptation Unbroken due in cinemas early next year. Petitions to extend The Tower of London’s poppy memorial exhibition, featuring 888,246 poppies to represent every single English casualty of WWI is a simple but pertinent example of the impact war has in shaping collective identities.

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  • ‘Unbroken’ Trailer Release

    There are some lives that almost dwarf others, that the minor steps that they take on the way to success seem to outweigh even our greatest achievements. Louis Zamperini, without a doubt, led one of those lives. As a nineteen year old Olympian, Louis ran in the 5000 metre event at the 1936 summer games in Germany, where he met and shook hands with Adolf Hitler, who later referred to Zamperini as ‘the boy with the fast finish’. As a soldier, Louis spent two years in a prisoner of war camp, Read more…