26 Recommends

Firstly, if you’re looking ahead to the new year (new you) season, and perhaps looking for something to spur on your own writing, how about The Happy Writing Book? In case you missed it, we interviewed author and 26er Elise Valmorbida about it back in September.


Anything Goes

Saw this with a friend a few weeks ago and was transported back to childhood Sunday afternoon films of Fred, Ginger, Rita, Cyd, Gene et al. Great ‘feel good’ musical that will get feet tapping and have you singing along to numbers you didn’t realise you knew.

– Irene Lofthouse


There’s nothing like watching a film on the big screen. A few hours to be truly lost, and escape from the pandemic gloom. Here are my top movie picks to watch over the Christmas period: 

West Side Story

Steven Spielburg’s adaptation of the classic musical, where a burning romance brings chaos to a divided community. What makes this different to the 1961 adaptation, is the inclusive casting and Spielburg’s attention to detail and humour amongst a Shakespearian inspired tragedy. It’s a musical spectacle, and Rachel Zegler, who plays Maria, has the voice of a divine angel. 

King Richard

The story of how tennis players Venus and Serena Williams were coached to stardom by their father Richard Williams. It’s a moving story of a dedicated father with an unshakable self-belief in his daughters. You’ll walk out with joyous tears and a fire to make a plan of your own! 

Dune

The adaptation of Frank Herbert‘s novel into a beautiful, epic sci-fi is a must-watch on the big screen. You’ll get lost in the golden deserts and Hans Zimmer’s haunting score will tingle your spine. The story isn’t all high-action, with commentary on modern day issues such as climate change and colonisation, so there’s something for everyone. 

– Sana Iqbal


I finished reading the Tibor Fischer book (The Thought Gang) and sent it to a friend with a recommendation. The poor sod might not have the time to read it, but…

Then I read Primo Levi If This Is A Man and The Truce. An Italian friend told me it was on their secondary schools reading syllabus so they discovered it as a teenager, much like one might discover The Diary of Anne Frank. It made me wonder why such books aren’t listed as required reading for young people in the UK.

Ian Leslie’s Curious has my attention at time of writing. It has very mixed reviews on Goodreads, but for me, it’s perfect pop-science, so I’ll stay with it. Who knows? I might even LEARN something.

Also a friend directed me to the London Magazine open competition for poetry. And the deadline for entries is 27 December.

– Ben Archer

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