Amongst all the academic gibberish, you will find some words of wisdom

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The mark of a great essay is that its conclusion is life-altering. A slight exaggeration, but very true. A good essay utilizes its conclusion as its last chance to reassure its reader, a great essay concludes with its reader convinced.

In academia, reading terrible essays and writing even worse ones is part of your daily routine. I wish I could say that you become used to the monotonous droning writing, to the pretentious use of every convoluted word in the dictionary, to the ridiculously lengthy and rambling sentence structure. You don’t.

But you strike gold now and then.

In the…


Somewhere along the way, we forget that we are

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I recently read Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappe’s On Palestine. A thoroughly enlightening and thought-provoking read. Definitely one of my favourite books of the year so far. As a collection of informal interviews, the book feels as if you are sitting alongside these great contemporary academics and activists as they discuss the complexities of Palestine while listening to their favourite music; Chomsky has good taste.

While they cover numerous issues about Palestine, it is the exploration of activism at the start of the book that I keep reflecting on. ‘How did…


Happiness is not a destination

If there is one thing that we all are collectively are searching for the answer to, it is how to be happy now.

Most people know that happiness doesn’t exist in external things; we know that a certain salary or a bigger house will only fulfil us temporarily. We know it is not anyone’s job to makes us happy, that we cannot simply rely on the people around us to constantly make us happy. And we know that the happy future we dream about daily can only exist if we start to work on it today.

We know all this…


How to start reading more effectively

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Reading effectively is not easy.

For most of us reading effectively and efficiently is an extremely time-consuming task that leaves us overwhelmed and demotivated.

We reread the same densely worded passage and end up skimming through pages trying to catch onto the right information.

But this never works and we never manage to retain any information.

Whether is it reading for class, self-learning, or leisure, we pick each book with the intension of gaining something valuable but we don’t always walk away with it.

As readers, we have to question just how effectively are we reading?

Here are 3 simple…


Decolonising The Self One Radical Book At A Time

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Our bookshelves are a good reflection of who we are as individuals.

Each book we read transforms us in subtle yet radical ways. Leaving a small imprint on us, our thinking and perceptions of the world shift and grow with reach read. It’s like finding something new in a familiar picture, something you cannot unsee. Or like adding a new lens to your perspective glasses. Whether you agree with this new perspective or not, it inevitably becomes a part of you.

Without a doubt, books help us to evolve.

Think of the last five books you read and you’ll see…


So Many Books, So Little Time

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We all wish that we finished more books.

When I hear people say they wish they read more, I believe what they actually mean is that they wish they finished more books.

But doesn’t reading more and finishing more books mean the same thing? No, and that’s our problem.

Most of us love to read and read on a somewhat daily basis, yet we find that at the end of each month we have hardly completed a book. We spend hours per week reading but still are not able to get through more books.

We might be reading but that…


‘My silence had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.’

Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals, Penguin Modern Classics
Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals, Penguin Modern Classics
Image courtesy of Penguin Classics

In The Cancer Journals, self-described ‘black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,’ Audre Lorde recounts her transformative battle with breast cancer. Weaving between intimately vulnerable journal entries and critical essays, Lorde’s memoir radically defies both socially enforced and self-imposed silences of breast cancer. For Lorde, the journey of survival and self-acceptance is ‘a war against the tyrannies of silence.’

From biopsy to mastectomy, Lorde takes the reader through her most personal and terrifying life experience where death became a formidable and foreseeable future. Initially diagnosed with a benign lump, she shortly after faces the reality of having her right breast removed in…


Graphic novels are the windows to the world

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Graphic novels are the forgotten treasures of the literary world. Not many people gravitate towards them. Most consider it a minor literary form. And pretty much everyone who thinks this says it without ever having read one. Stories and ideas expressed in a comic strip format are just as compelling and moving as any other form of literature.

During university, I decided to take a class on global graphic narratives having no prior knowledge or even interest in them. I guess, the ‘global’ part intrigued me since I wanted my degree to encompass as much political, historical and cultural literature…


‘The arts are not the poor relation of the economic world. On the contrary, they are at the very source of its vitality.’

More than any other discipline, literature is too often criticised as a minor field of study. Dismissed as the outcast, whimsical child of the disciplines, overshadowed by its illustrious scientific and technological siblings, the need and significance of literature is disregarded by many. However, despite its criticisms literature endures as a substantial study that continues to elucidate our understanding of the human experience.

In his pivotal essay, What Has Literature Got To Do With It?, Chinua Achebe argues that literature plays an integral and fundamental role in the process of modernisation. Literature not only gives us a second handle on…

Shaheen Sultana

Passionate about Literature: Stories create people create stories

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