Words and Picture by Joshua Cialis
Another month has passed and we now enter December. Everyone is darting around looking for presents for loved ones and colleagues. Well if you haven’t yet bought all your presents maybe our review of November’s books will help you:
Palm trees and rain
by Natasha Dubalia (Movement Publishing)
Dubalia’s journey through the seasons and emotions takes us through thought, poetry, prose and hidden dance. As Dubalia tells us in her synopsis:
‘the thing about emotions
is that they are unforeseeable
precisely like the seasons’
Palm trees and rain, although not technically perfectly literary poetry, is a complete and passionate exploration of the poet’s mind, an exploration of personal emotion, and it is these slight-imperfections that make the book quite so pure. The merging of the senses and emotion brings the reader closer to love, closer to what we’ve ‘never tasted before’.
Natasha Dubalia’s book is one that is deeply personal but with the ability to share, it’s simple poetry which although a seasoned poetry reader may find it difficult not shout ‘show don’t tell’; those new to poetry will love its simplicity and pureness.
Reviewed by Joshua Cialis
By Andy Weir (Crown Publishing Group)
Jazz Bashara is a young Arab woman, living in the first city on the Moon, Artemis. She sees her chance to commit to perfect crime to fund her debts – but her crime throws her into something unexpected: a plot to take control of Artemis itself.
By the author of The Martian, there were high expectations in place when it came to reading this novel. However, something seems to fall short in this book. The character, a young Arab female (which is excellent representation), seems to lack something. It appears much like Weir is struggling to put himself in the perspective of a female, and transplants his own awkward sense of humour (which worked so well in The Martian) onto her – and it fails. It is still worth a read to make your opinion about it, but I am overall slightly disappointed.
Reviewed by Jade Wolf
‘Who Built the Moon?’
by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (Sour Mash)
Maybe it was a matter of time that, as the band name suggests, Noel felt the need to escape the two-dimensionality of Britpop and his brother, and fly off into a whole new realm of musical genre: ‘sonically advanced, electronic, space Jazz future man with shiny little booties on’, in his own words. However, it would be in Noels interests, when embarking on future endeavours, for him and his birds to stay firmly bound to earth, as it seems they cannot cope outside atmospheric confines.
Maybe with a tinge of irony, ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ is my favourite record on the album: a well-blended soul-pysch track that is able to convey the same message in 4 false-hope, children’s rollercoaster stanzas and 2 voices, with the ending refrain ‘the day will never come…’ haunting in conjunction with the ritualistic chanting of the female voice carrying us until the bitter end.
However, it’s where the praise must end. ‘Holy Mountain’ is a rattle full of cliché that fails to capture anyone ‘under [his] spell’; ‘She Taught Me How to Fly’ is painfully simplistic in both musical and lyrical composition, you wish that she taught him how to write like he used to; ‘Keep On Reaching’ is a sub-conscious reminder of what Noel should not be striving for, and when he asks ‘can you keep a secret?’, unfortunately this time Noel, you need to be told, this album is not full of ‘sunshine and flowers’. Instead, he needs to ‘dig [back] out [his] soul’ and craft songs we all know he’s capable of.
Reviewed by Reece David Merrifield
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance
By Ruth Emmie Lang (St. Martin’s Press)
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance tells the story of a boy called Weylyn Grey; it is told from the perspectives of people around him. Weylyn is not like other people for he was orphaned, raised by wolves and owns a horned pig named Merlin. Weylyn’s abilities are amazing but, they are also a risk to himself and Mary, the woman he loves.
This is Ruth Emmie Lang’s first novel and it is a wonderful debut. It is fairy-talesque with quirky characters and the exploration of nature. The narrative style of Weylyn’s life being told through other people’s perspectives adds a mysterious quality to his character as the reliability and interpretation of his personality may not be accurate. The story also explores the nature of human relationships particularly through Weylyn’s desire to help others. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance fabulously displays themes of magic and nature to create an enchanting story.
Reviewed by Holly Royle