The Good Books 2021

Here are the books that I enjoyed most in 2021. You can read about those I liked best in 2020 here. Biography/memoir/autobiography/history The Element of Lavishness, Letters between Sylvia Townsend Warner and William Maxwell was a Christmas present from 2020 that got shunted into the waiting room while I read her letters to and from … Continue reading The Good Books 2021

Air Hostess Ann, by Pamela Hawken

Possibly the first edition dustjacket? Did you know that in the early 1950s, airplanes were called air liners? Passengers who were embarking ascended the steps to the plane, were met at the door by the smiling Senior Hostess, who announced their name to those passengers already sitting inside. Like it was a cocktail party. The … Continue reading Air Hostess Ann, by Pamela Hawken

Liz Williams, Comet Weather

Comet Weather scooped me up and ran away with me. I was up two nights in a row reading it until I was too tired, or I'd reached the end. It's a meaty read, not a slithering skinny thing, but a proper novel, filled with delight and tension and fascinating things. I thoroughly enjoyed it, … Continue reading Liz Williams, Comet Weather

William Golding, The Double Tongue

For two years I've been writing a novel which involves some Greek mythological figures (my agent [still a new enough relationship for it to feel quite unreal] is going to send me final revision notes next week). Naturally I have been avoiding reading new fiction about Greek mythology, because I don't want to inadvertently poach, … Continue reading William Golding, The Double Tongue

From merely annoying to utter tosh

After a long break, I express my annoyance at more books that should have been better. Part of the irregular Duds series (all links at the end). David Abulafia, The Boundless Sea Yes, it won the Wolfson History Prize. Yes, the author is a professional academic, a professor at the University of Cambridge, and a … Continue reading From merely annoying to utter tosh