Seven Minute Workout Review

Seven Minute Workout Review

At the start of September I decided to try a seven minute workout once a day and tracked my progress over the month. Here’s my honest review of the routine and the apps I used to develop the exercise habit. What is the Seven Minute Workout? The Seven Minute Workout was popularised by a 2013 article in the New York Times written by Gretchen Reynolds. The article drew on a study published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health &…

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Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

I can’t remember when or why I first picked up my copy of Watchmen other than it being some time before the 2009 film adaptation. I don’t say that to make myself out to be a more worthy fan of the book, it’s simply my only point of reference. Watchmen seems to be a novel that, once read, can never again be separate from your life. Though I know I didn’t, I feel like I grew up with the characters…

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For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway is one of a small class of writers, along with names like Dickens, Austen, and Proust, who can simultaneously terrify and excite a reader. Perhaps most like Jane Austen, we’re often judged not by which of their books we’ve read but whether we’ve read something by them. It’s the mark of a truly great author that one can’t choose a single piece of work, like we might with a Fitzgerald or Salinger. For me, Hemingway has always been…

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is without doubt the most important book I’ve ever read. The act of reading this novel has unquestionably changed who I am. To understand what I mean, I need to take you back many years to 1997. In June, Bloomsbury publish Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In September, I start Secondary School. There’s a huge buzz around the book but it feels too young for me and I never get round to reading…

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The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

Much like my introduction to Tintin, I was first passed a copy of The Big Sleep by a favourite teacher. This time is was well into Secondary School, either GCSE or A Level years and it was my English teacher, Mr Dawson. Beyond my family, he was most responsible for both my love of reading and long-standing dream of writing my own stories. Following a class reading of The Adventure of the Speckled Band, which I’d read before and was…

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The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

It’s almost impossible having now read The Little Prince, but I seem to remember a time before I knew about it. I certainly only read it for the first time recently, but the image of the cover seems to have been with me since before my memories begin. Like many books, I picked this copy up for next to nothing at a book fair. I’d promised myself one novel from my long list and, despite finding several options, I returned…

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Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence

Lady Chatterley’s Lover was the first novel on my list that came with a stigma attached. I, like many others, had only heard of it in relation to its sexual content and the obscenity trial of the 1960s. Thanks to this, I had low expectations of the story as I imagined that being famous for including a few choice words meant there was little else of merit in the writing. The book was also the first that I found no…

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The Blue Lotus by Herge

The Blue Lotus by Herge

Tintin has long played a part in my life, through the large comic-style albums I owned as a child, to the reissued collection I’m halfway through today. In between there’s been the old cartoon series of films and the 2011 motion capture experiment from Steven Spielberg. What grounds my love of Tintin is my own adventure creating a comic in primary school. Called The Giggle, I wrote and drew about half an issue each week with two friends. After collecting…

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights is a novel so well-known that its name is often enough to evoke a sense of gothic nostalgia in readers. It’s a book that carries a certain weight, a sense of heaviness and density even before it’s read for the first time. So it was when I read the novel in school, I came to it prejudiced. We had posters on the classroom walls of film adaptations of famous books and the Wuthering Heights one seemed…

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Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan

Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan

As with The Lost Honour of Katherina Blum, Bonjour Tristesse and Francoise Sagan were unknown to me before I began my reading challenge. Similarly to Heinrich Boll’s novel, discovering another non-English novel has been a delight and feels well overdue. Since writing out my list of books I’d like to read, the title of this novel has stuck in my mind, despite never seeing it before. The superficial link in my limited memory is to La Tristesse Durera, a track…

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