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George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) was a great believer in the power of empathy to move her readers. Back when she was writing in the 19th century, empathy was generally known as ‘sympathy’.
This novel by Christopher Waking is right up there amongst my empathic favourites.
Two Girls, Fat and Thin is the story of fat Dorothy and thin Justine.
Elizabeth Taube is a chubby, unpretty teenager who falls in love with everyone- her piano teacher, the old man who takes her into the back of his store and dresses her in furs, and her smart, charismatic, beaten-down teacher, Max Stone.
Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky is the ultimate novel about pubs- the places where many of us spend our twenties, watching people come and go.
What exactly does it mean to be human? Andrew Martin, a Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, is not himself. This becomes clear when he’s found walking naked through the manicured grounds of his own college, apparently having suffered amnesia or nervous breakdown brought on by overwork.
When I first read this children’s book, I was desperate to give it to everyone I knew- first my flatmate, then my parents. In fact, I wanted to have kids so I could share it with them about ten years later (it‘s still waiting patiently on my shelf for that moment).
‘I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.’
Lily's most beloved toy is her blue kangaroo. But the adults in her life keep plying her with new toys and blue kangaroo finds himself jostling for Lily's attention.
‘Broken nose. Loose teeth. Cracked ribs. Broken finger. Black eyes.