Unlike the changing of the seasons from summer to autumn, and the slow shift of the leaves to yellow and brown, my obsession with Donna Tartt’s The Secret History stays evergreen. For the main protagonist, Richard, an outcast and classicist at Hampden College, obsession is his fatal flaw, reflecting the main theme of the novel.
There have been few books that I have read and re-read with every passing year and Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha consistently makes the list. As the world changes around me, so does my interpretation of the book each time I come across it – yet it remains a literary masterpiece, sliding back the doors to tea houses, their ceremonies and most importantly to the life of geisha.
When you ask a child why he enjoys reading, he will most likely look to his Harry Potter and young adult dystopian literature filled bookshelves, and tell you that it’s because reading takes him to another world. On some level, this is the foundational reason we all appreciate fiction. It’s escapist. It’s foreign, interesting, controversial, romantic. And we’re naturally destined to enjoy it because it grows out of the Neverlands and Narnias of our childhood.
Now that the madness of Freshers’ Week has faded, we begin dusting off our textbooks and shuffling back to the library. Before you dive into those lecture notes however, there’s something else we think you should read: St Andrews: Through Students’ Eyes.
Southern Californian locals tend to fulfil their stereotypes. We do spend a great deal of time at the beach; we do generally like to shop; and yes, we do drive our cars very badly and very fast. In fact, Southern Californians are renowned for driving everywhere, probably because we are always on the look-out for activities that will at least somewhat separate us from our stereotypes.