Saturday, August 19, 2017
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By Naureen Hafiz

As winter approaches and the days slowly become shorter I can’t help but imagine myself by a fire after a long day of work and sitting down with a warm cup of tea and just enjoying a novel. So it got me thinking, what better way to start off the winter months than a list of my top 8 winter reads!

V_for_vendettaxStarting off at #8: V for Vendetta: Alan Moore & David Lloyd

Ok, so not a novel, but still, and although this isn’t the most obvious choice for a winter read I feel like graphic novels are not appreciated enough as they should be, especially a classic like this!

It’s perfect for winter because it combines the story telling of a novel with the visual feast of a movie. Perfect for getting lost in after a long day of work.

untitled#7:Dracula: Bram Stoker

Moving into the classics now, Dracula is one of the only novels I have read multiple times. It is also the only novel that really gave me a good scare!

This novel is perfect for winter because it really engulfs the reader. With thunder storms, rain, clouds and a whole lot of lightening it will really get you in the mood for winter!

untitled (2)#6: The Grapes of Wrath: John Steinbeck

Originally recommended to me by a good friend, I picked up this book and couldn’t put it down. It is an addictive read to say the least, with Steinbeck’s signature landscape forming the solid base for the whole novel.

Set in a hot, barren landscape, what better time to read this stunning novel about one man’s struggle to reclaim his life after him and his family are forced from their farm in Oklahoma. As my friend said “It’s the equivalent of a Sunday roast”

untitled (3)#5: Maps for Lost Lovers: Nadeem Aslam

This novel set in the unidentified English town of Dasht-e-Tanhai, is poetry. Each sentence elegant, raw and at the heart an honest telling of the story of two worlds merging into one.

It is perfect for winter because it moves through our own familiar cold setting, through seasons and towns, the imagery of spring and summer seeping from the pages.

untitled (4)#4: Harry Potter collection: J. K. Rowling

We all know Harry Potter. Whether we’ve seen the movies or followed the books in our earlier years, it has become a favourite to many.

It is perfect for winter because there is something very comforting and nostalgic about this collection. From the scenes in winter with the fires, warm foods and Christmas, to the scenes in the warmer months, this collection is the perfect winter read.

untitled (5)#3: Love in the Time of Cholera: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I cannot say that this 348 page novel by Marquez is simply a work of fiction. He is a craftsman with language. An artist.

It is perfect for winter because it summons all the warmth of summer, with a backdrop of mango trees, parrots and warm summer suns, this novel will drive out the cold better than any heater can!

untitled (6)#2: Anna Karenina: Leo Tolstoy:

You guys must have known that Tolstoy was going to be somewhere on this list. An epic about love and obsession and the fine line that separates the two, Tolstoy brilliantly brings to life each character in this novel, set throughout Russia.

It is perfect for winter because, unlike others on the list, instead of take you away from winter, it really sets the tone. It is a stunning epic and I highly recommend the translation with intro and notes by Rosamund Barlett. I know that the size of the book will be intimidating, but it is so easy to lose hours lost in those pages.

untitled (7)#1: A Clockwork Orange: Anthony Burgess

A clockwork orange is a cult classic set in London. The moment I finished reading the book, I wanted to go right back and start over again.

Why is it perfect for winter? Well, I’d say it’s perfect for any season, but winter in particular because it’s a relatively short rad and it is brilliant to lose a cold afternoon or two stuck between the pages of what I would say is one of my favourite novels ever.

So! Now that I have compiled my list of 8 best winter reads I do hope you check some of them out, if not all of them. Happy reading!

By James Oddy

The boxing film has had a long and varied career. From the highs of raging bull, the fighter and Rocky to, well, all the other Rocky’s, the genre is having a revival after being down for a long count.

MV5BMjA5MjA4NzE3M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODA5MzUzNjE@._V1__SX1092_SY482_Southpaw is the at the vanguard of a series of new films which will also involve a Roberto Duran biopic and a Rocky reboot, Creed, as well as a follow up to The fighter, the film which kick started this revival.

Jake Gyllenhaal stars as the ludicrously named Billy ‘the great’ Hope, a former New York orphan who has risen to untold riches via his wild, brawling style. Alongside his is his wife, Maureen, played by the luminous Rachel McAdams and his daughter, Leila played feistily by Oona Laurence.

Billy’s life however unravels due to his lack of self-control in and out of the ring and he finds himself having to figuratively, and literally, pull himself off the canvas to get his life back on track via the help of Titus Wills, played by Forest Whitaker.

MV5BMjEwMDQ4ODYwNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDA5MzUzNjE@._V1__SX1092_SY482_The film is a curious one. The performances are uniformly excellent. Whitaker adds a great deal of gravitas and depth to what could easily be a walking cliché and Gyllenhaal and McAdams are surprisingly convincing as street kids made good. Laurence also excels in another role, which, if played incorrectly, could capsize the film.

Another major plus are the boxing scenes, which, whilst fairly absurd in the early going as Hope exhibits a style which would make a drunk at kicking out time blush, actually begin to resemble real boxing matches. It’s refreshing to see a sports film portray boxing styles accurately and use them as an indicator, or lack of, of its main characters personal development and flaws. The fight builds up themselves are also accurate and have an almost documentary feel, and director Antoine Fuqua adds lots of little touches which will appeal to fans of the sport.

MV5BNjU0NjMzNDE5M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzk4MzUzNjE@._V1__SX1092_SY482_There are flaws however. The film hints at dome deeper ideas and themes that are barely fleshed out. The role of Whitakers gym in the community, where it seems to be a refuge from the poverty and deprivation like so many real life gyms, is examined, but only briefly. A sub plot involving one of the kids in the gym is dismissed so briefly and without consequence as to be borderline insulting for the strata of society he’s presumably meant to represent.

Similarly, 50 Cent, convincing in his role as a promoter (probably not too big a stretch for a real life promoter) is teased as being a Don King like figure, yet that too fizzles out and is dropped before the end of the film.

The film does pack an emotional punch (sorry) and should keep boxing fans and non-fans alike entertained, mainly due to the strength of the casts work. It’s hard not to feel however that the film has missed a trick by taking some more interesting turns.



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The app works fast and effectively by using the information you already have on your phone to match you to tribes that you’re interested in.

So, for example you know when you meet a person for the first time and you instantly click because you’re so similar and you’re like “OMG where have you been all my life”…yeah, well this app pretty much does that in quite literally 3 minutes for you.

image1Personally I quite like the sound of this, and can’t wait for the launch! Being a tech head (and there’s a tribe for that), I don’t think I have ever come across an app like this…that’s because there’s actually nothing like it. 6Tribes makes it a thousand times easier to connect and hang out with people who get you and get what you’re into…and no, it’s not another Facebook & It’s not another Twitter. It’s a lot more and it gets rid of the clutter you see on every other site.

Quoting from the official website, it states that with 6Tribes you’ll be able to make all the right connections. Using a quote by Seth Godin sums up the app perfectly;

image3“For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate. And it’s something that people have wanted forever.” (Seth Godin)

In the meantime, why not become a member and get yourself on the guest list and secure super-exclusive priority access by signing up on

6Tribes is now available to download from the App Store on iPhone and iPad.


by Urban Echo reporter

I was sat in the park one afternoon, my notebook on my lap, and in my solitude I felt a deep belonging to my surroundings.

The nature, the trees, the clouds. I wrote about it in a journal entry and only a few weeks later I came across this quote by Kahlil Gibran, which perfectly epitomised what I was trying to say –

“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”

Kahlil Gibran
Kahlil Gibran

It is a short quote but its message, as I read it, is essentially that we belong to the earth, in a way that we are fully at peace with as children but as we grow the ties that keep that bond whole become severed. We begin to lose an essential part of ourselves, and if you take the time to listen, if you drown out all the other noise, you hear the earth calling.

We are busy and frantic most days, and on the days that we are not, we just want to stay in bed and rest. The cycle clogs our brains, and it’s difficult to get out of that cycle.

I’m sure you have all had days where your mind has felt so congested and you just wanted to rest. I felt this way for a long time, trying to think of ways to unclog my head and feel at peace.

Up until I took the time to get away from the noise and bustle of everyday life, until I got away from the noise of cars and buses, the television, the mobile phones, I had a hard time feeling any sort of bliss.

Then one day I left the house, left my mobile phone at home and found a place to sit where there was no outside noise and I finally felt my brain unwind.

Gibran was right, sometimes you need to let your hair down, take off your shoes and get back to nature, to take a break from how hectic life can get.

Stay safe, dear urbanites.