The Descent of Man, by Grayson Perry

Filled with irony, cynicism and more than a touch of humour, The Descent of Man is a very enjoyable yet thought-provoking read on a subject that continues to have a major influence on society as we know it today. Masculinity.

From the bravado of sport and competition, to the strangled nature of male emotions, The Descent of Man takes the reader on a journey covering all aspects of the modern man. Reflecting on his own experiences, Perry lends a poignant observation on masculinity in today’s world, exploring it’s history and the predominantly damaging nature it has upon how half the population think and act.

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A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini

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A truly heartbreaking tale, A Thousand Splendid Suns bears the terrible plight for many women in Afghanistan. In equal mastery to his first bestselling novel The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini once more immerses his readers in the world of his homeland. His deep knowledge of the country opens its customs and ways for all to see, as well as its violent history.

The political backdrop of the latter twentieth century is lent a new light in this novel, as Mariam and Laila, amongst millions of others, witness the tragic plight of Afghanistan during these years. The distant, factual atrocities known by many in the west are brought to life by Hosseini in terrifying ways, as the true horrors caused by the numerous wars Afghanistan has faced in modern history are displayed through the eyes of those living through them. But throughout the tragedies of the country at large, Hosseini lends an ever more powerful message – that for many women in Afghanistan, there simply is no peace in life.

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