Lydia Atkins

The worst characters in fiction

Name your least favourite character in any popular book series and they’re unlikely to also be the ‘worst’ character in the canon. As readers, we tend to reserve our dislike for characters we don’t identify with or who simply make choices we wouldn’t make. Meanwhile, conventionally bad characters can even...
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Posted Apr. 7, 2019

Unconventional places to read

On an unforgivingly hot day in July 2016, I sat on the central reservation barrier on the A20, five miles outside Dover, and read almost all of Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee. Heightened security checks at the border had led to standstill traffic. The car hadn’t moved in...
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Posted Mar. 16, 2019

There are no wrong impressions of a book

Is it possible to have a ‘wrong’ impression of a book? Does it matter if my interpretation is different to that which the author intended? What happens if I don’t like a book universally hailed as a ‘classic’? These are the sorts of unhelpful questions readers tend to ask themselves....
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Posted Mar. 13, 2019