the isolation book club

escaping quarantine through stories

Women-less Rattle Bag

I’ve done it again and left a fortnight gap between posts (they’re adding up…), but – excuses, excuses – I’ve been bound to piles of marking and, more excitingly, I’ve started a new hobby (kung fu!). Despite this busy time, I’m making my slow way through an amazing novel-in-translation (that I’ll write about in a […]

How ‘How Shostakovich Changed My Mind’ Changed My Mind

I missed blogging last week because I went to therapy (IOU one post). It was my third visit. Every time I go I feel courageous, because I’m still trying to shed off the (stupid) feeling of stigma, and I worry about sharing parts of myself with someone else. But, in truth, therapy has been amazing. […]

Seeking Togetherness: The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers

I’ve been trying to work out what Carson McCullers’ The Ballad of the Sad Café is about. I spent a while pondering over who the hero and villain were, because every character comes across as mean in their own way. But I guess that’s what makes the story realistic: humans are fallible. I’ve come to […]

Guest Post Sunday: My Thoughts on Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This week’s guest post is by Georgia Stares. Honeyman beautifully presents the inner workings of Eleanor’s misunderstood mind: we quickly learn to love Eleanor and root for her throughout the novel. Her narration of events is very matter of fact – making Eleanor, for me, a complex, almost unreadable character. It was never clear to […]

Phonies (I’m not kidding.): The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

I tried to read The Fellowship of the Ring at the start of summer, having looked forward to it for ages, but my mind wouldn’t fall into Tolkien’s world. I was looking for inspiration for ecopoetry, but my creative juices began to sputter and dry up, and suddenly I felt like an imposter. Was I […]

Guest Post Sunday: How Roleplaying Games Influenced my Writing Journey

This week’s guest post is by Andrew Roberts. I’ve often joked that one of the reasons I came to university was to play Dungeons & Dragons again. When asked if that’s how I spend my time at university, I say it’s what got me into writing in the first place. Even today, I often wonder […]

New Perspectives: Isolated Readers and Unified Writers

I’m writing today from Pembrokeshire, where I’ve spent the last few days walking the coast and taking notes. I felt a little unmotivated during July, but being in this incredible place has given me some ideas for new stories and poems. The sea is always inspiring. Over the last few weeks I’ve missed writing my […]

Death of Deadlines: A Summer Sabbatical

It’s SUMMER!!! I was travelling yesterday, so I’m posting this 12 hours after my usual deadline for posts (Wednesdays and Sundays at 7pm), but this feels like an apt moment to tell my awesome subscribers that I’m taking a month off so I can read as many books as possible without a deadline. (I’ve also […]


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