All Posts By

Rowan Jones

18th Century Teen’s Schoolbook Doodles Discovered

By | News, Reading Habits | No Comments
Doodles, scribbles, and mini works of fine art got many of us through our teen years at school- I personally preferred drawing spiderwebs in the corners of every page- and it seems 18th century teens were not much different!

Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) discovered a young man’s doodles in his own mathematics workbook, and it gives us a fascinating insight into the mind of this erudite and creative teen. As well as laying out his mathematical formulae with precision and clarity, Richard Beale showed us his family dog, street scenes, elegant ships, and… A chicken in trousers.

Let MERL take you on a journey through time into the mind of Richard Beale- honest farm-boy, good mathematician, and excellent doodler.

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Oprah’s Book Club Recommends Michelle Obama Memoir

By | Authors, New Releases | No Comments
Oprah has made Becoming by Michelle Obama the latest edition to her book club.

Released November 2018, Michelle Obama’s memoir follows her life “from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address,” her publisher has said.

Oprah has chosen Michelle’s memoirs for her honesty and vulnerability- naming it the perfect read this year to gain an insight into what it was really like being the ‘first Black First family’.

See Oprah and Michelle chatting about the new release here, and don’t forget to order your copy of Mrs Obama’s memoirs below!

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Du Maurier’s Rebecca is coming to Netflix

By | Adaptations, News | No Comments
Daphne Du Maurier’s classic novel Rebecca is coming to Netflix soon thanks to Working Title films.

Armie Hammer and Lily James have been named as the stars of the show with both actors quite familiar with literary adaptions. Lily James has appeared in War and Peace, CinderellaThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyPride & Prejudice and Zombies and Armie Hammer in The Social Network and Call Me By Your Name.

Jane Goldman (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar ChildrenStardustThe Woman in Black) wrote the screenplay which will be directed by Ben Wheatley.

The movie will be released on Netflix in 2019- we will let you know all the details when they are released!

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Stephen King breaks his own rule and gets trolled

By | Authors, News | No Comments
Stephen King was on Twitter not long ago stating how overused the word ‘amazing’ is, and urging writers to choose a more interesting replacement.

He accused the word of being “very tired”, and asked for “something more pungent & specific, please”.

Skip a month later and King’s face soon turned red after he was caught using it in a review of Dominique Rocher’s latest zombie movie The Night Eats The World.”

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In Memory of Marvel Writer Stan Lee

By | Authors, News | No Comments

Stan Lee, writer, director, and modern comic book pioneer passed away in Los Angeles on the 12th of November 2018 aged 95.

His work with Marvel brought us iconic characters such as Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor, and Black Panther, and thanks to his innovative style of character development and storylines, he helped change the face of comic books in the 1960s onwards.

He wrote his characters with a persistent humanity, with flaws and quirks that his readers could see mirrored in themselves. When previously superheroes were depicted as unattainable perfection, Stan Lee’s stories showed powerful heroes who share daily struggles similar to our own. Stories to make any child believe that they too could be extraordinary.

Tolerance seemed to be Stan Lee’s driving force behind his stories and characters and throughout the 1960s he and his team worked at creating a more inclusive Marvel Universe. The stories became more topical, focussed on social justice and politics, while African-American characters were being brought to the fore. The first African-American character to play a serious supporting role- Robbie Robinson- was created in 1967, and Black Panther, the comic’s first Black superhero, was introduced soon after. Stan believed comic books are the perfect way to spread messages of tolerance and hope alongside a fantastic adventure with complex and meaningful characters… I cannot think of a better legacy than that.


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Margaret Atwood comes to the rescue on Twitter

By | Authors, Literature | No Comments
Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale, came to a student’s rescue on Twitter after they reached out to her for answers.

Asking via the Twitter handle ‘GavrilovMomchil’, they write:

“My crazy English teacher is making us write essays on #TheHandmaidsTale where we are supposed to answer why @MargaretAtwood put the theme of power and control in the book. We do not have telepathy with @MargaretAtwood so I guess twitter is a close second… Helpppp!!!”

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Two authors hilariously take down classic horror tropes

By | Authors, On Writing | No Comments
Horror trope classics like a masked killer, groups of teens being slaughtered, and an almost guaranteed sequel, are great fun but easily mocked for their predictiveness. Writers Sam Sykes and Chuck Wendig explored a few of those tired horror clichés in an inspired and hilarious way, and the Twitter thread is still, over a year later, entertaining all who stumble across it.

If you are one of the lucky few who have yet to see the magic unfold, here it is in all its glory.

Don’t forget to follow Sam and Chuck on Twitter to enjoy their wit firsthand.

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JK Rowling Throws Shade at Lying Press Secretary

By | News, Political | One Comment
JK Rowling defends her Queen of Twitter crown by tweeting Sarah Huckabee Sanders a quote from George Orwell’s book 1984.

On Thursday 8th November 2018 US press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted out a fake video in defence of the White House’s decision to ban CNN reporter Jim Acosta. The video shows a doctored version of what really happened at the press conference, with fakery meant to discredit Acosta, make him look more violent than he was, and make the decision to ban him less…reactionary and unpresidential.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders has shown her hand with this poor choice of ‘evidence’- the video has been so obviously doctored with the video sped up to make it seem like Acosta used more force than he actually did. The desperation of Sanders and her team is palpable, going as far as using sources from well-known alt-right and conspiracy theorists to back up her POTUS’ ever-increasingly crazy claims.

Tweet after tweet after tweet in response to the doctored video put Sanders in her place (although she has yet to delete the fake video), and our fave JK Rowling joined in with a very apt quote from the dystopian fiction 1984. 

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‘Gammon’ and ‘Vegan’ are among Collins Dictionary Words of 2018

By | Language, News | No Comments
Gammon has been named Collins dictionary’s Word of the Year 2018 along with a small list of others.

Other words of 2018 include Vegan, MeToo, and Gaslight- a real reflection of the direction 2018 has taken. Many of this year’s most used, newest, and redefined words are coming from the left side of the political spectrum. As a reaction against ingrained cultural sexism, institutional racism and xenophobia, words like gammon or whitewash have been on the rise.

Some may find the word ‘gammon’ offensive, and they are entitled to express their distaste, however the word is only truly offensive to those who the word is aimed at. The word first came about when a pattern emerged on BBC’s Question Time. It became apparent that older white men became quite pink in the face while ranting about ‘bloody foreigners’, ‘Brexit’, and the EU. It is not, despite many wannabe victims insisting it so, racist.

The full list of Collins Dictionary’s Words of the Year 2018 are below.

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