The Best of Book Corner


By Imogen Howse, Deputy Arts Editor

Book Corner was this year's Epigram Arts regular feature - your go-to for our top literary recommendations. As a way to say goodbye to the 2019/2020 Arts Team, we've decided to compile a list of our favourites from the past few months!

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Photo Courtesy of Waterstones

Set in occupied France, Anthony Doerr's wartime novel tells the stories of Marie-Laure, a blind girl living in Paris with her father, and Werner, a German orphan whose impressive scientific knowledge attracts the attention of the Hitler Youth. Whilst both children struggle to understand their surroundings, they become linked through the power of radio, music, and a highly valuable jewel. This moving tale conveys the value of connection in a time when the outside world is unknown in both its barbarity and obscurity, and thus blindness is experienced by all.

By Phoebe Rose, Second Year English

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Photo Courtesy of Waterstones

If you're looking for an unconventional horror tale, Angela Carter's short story collection is the perfect read for a sleepless night. As she twists and distorts familiar fairy tales into stories of pure terror, she not only depicts a world of spooky and ghoulish creatures but also shines a light on our own society, alluding to issues ranging from sexism, to capitalism, to the inner conflicts that haunt us all as human beings. Whether you're searching for a classic horror story or something a little deeper, these haunting tales will suck you straight in.

By Sara Espinosa Rastoll, First Year English and Philosophy

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Photo Courtesy of Waterstones

This underrated gem of a novel was written by the brilliant Jane Austen a mere year before her death. Less famous and supposedly less ‘sparkling’ than her previous works, Persuasion has a wistful, slightly melancholy tone, which – like Anne Elliot, the book’s heroine – makes it all the more endearing. It still has the atmosphere of a typical Austenian fairy-tale, but it’s a more grown-up one - with an ending that is earned every step of the way. Give it a read with a steaming cup of tea on one of Bristol’s rainier days, and I guarantee you’ll feel cheered up in no time.

By Ellie Brown, News-Subeditor

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Photo Courtesy of Waterstones 

This is Sally Rooney’s classic tale of boy meets girl: we follow protagonists Connell and Marianne through their on-off relationship from teenage years all the way to university and beyond. However, this story far surpasses your typical coming-of-age novel. Rooney’s dialogue is so nuanced and her writing so honest that you can’t help but feel she has offered a glimpse into our own normal relationships and laid our frailties bare for all to see. This is a deeply moving yet accessible story which examines the way people try to understand each other, and themselves, through love. If you want to laugh, cry, or mostly feel understood, be sure to pick this novel as your next read.

By Saskia Arthur, Third Year English

This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay

Photo Courtesy of Waterstones

Simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking, Adam Kay's This Is Going To Hurt narrates the rewarding highs and devastating lows of life as a junior doctor. Interwoven with both amusing anecdotes and personal reflections on the current state of the NHS, Kay strikes a brilliant balance between comedy and raw emotion. As sarcastic and as disillusioned as it may be, what lies at the heart of Kay's memoir is a moving and enlightening love letter to those who might at any moment be holding our lives, or the lives of our loved ones, in their hands.

By Imogen Howse, Deputy Arts Editor

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Photo Courtesy of Waterstones

The sequel to a ground-breaking feminist classic, The Testaments continues this nightmarish story with three new points of view, presenting the fearsome Gilead in ways you never would have expected from Atwood. The novel has a really modern feel, with ideas reflective of the impact of the #MeToo era, and offers readers the answers to the questions that may have left them unsettled or confused at the end of the first book. Although the ending is quite disappointing after a long build-up of action, The Testaments is definitely still worth the read for Atwood’s gripping style.

By Emma Kaufman, First Year Classical Studies

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Photo Courtesy of Waterstones

Twenty-nine year old Eleanor Oliphant is a social misfit. She leads a simple life, from pop star crushes, to vodka-infused weekends, to ready meals for one. Her life is repetitive and ordered, but completely empty. Eleanor's loneliness takes centre stage in Gail Honeyman's debut novel, an important modern theme that doesn't often take the spotlight. Although Eleanor may not be entirely likeable at the start, she is undoubtedly hilarious as you watch her character blossom in spite of her dark past. A light-hearted and completely captivating novel from start to finish, you won't be able to help falling in love with Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.

By Livi Player, Arts Editor

Featured Image: Epigram / Imogen Howse

Thank you for a great year! Love, Livi Player, Immy Howse, Will Maddrell, and Serafina Lee x