Kate Wilhelm’s Let the Fire Fall

I really liked the last Kate Wilhelm novel I read (Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang), for her tight plotting, her compelling storytelling, her inventiveness with imagining the future. But I was impatient (perhaps I shouldn’t have been: she’s an author of her times) with the annoying contrasts between the broad dystopic vision cramped into … Continue reading Kate Wilhelm’s Let the Fire Fall

Sir Arthur Quiller Couch and being Q

Today’s letter is Q in the Really Like This Book scripts catch-up, and today’s author was a struggle to find. Q is not a common initial capital letter for anglophone surnames, and whoever I chose was going to be obscure. In the end, after consultating the online Literary Encyclopaedia, I had a choice of the classical … Continue reading Sir Arthur Quiller Couch and being Q

Alex Bledsoe’s Long Black Curl

There’s something a little awkward about reading book three in an established series without having any idea of what one is getting into, like crashing a party by accident. Alex Bledsoe’s Long Black Curl is the third in a sequence of novels about the Tufa, savage fairy magic and traditional folk music in the Appalachians, … Continue reading Alex Bledsoe’s Long Black Curl

Interested onlookers at vestry rage in Barbara Pym’s A Glass of Blessings

Today’s letter in the Really Like This Book podcast scripts catch-up is P, and today’s author is Barbara Pym, a quiet and wickedly funny English comic novelist of the 1950s and the 1970s. She had a curious career, being published quite successfully during the 1950s, and then being dropped, rather brutally, after her sixth novel, … Continue reading Interested onlookers at vestry rage in Barbara Pym’s A Glass of Blessings

Framework, unfinished: Terry Pratchett’s The Shepherd’s Crown

You know that feeling of ‘damn, she got there before me’? That’s what I felt, listening to Helen Lewis on the New Statesman podcast talking about the last Terry Pratchett novel, The Shepherd’s Crown. At every point she made, I nodded, and chopped the celery a little more crossly while admiring, of course, her perspicacity in … Continue reading Framework, unfinished: Terry Pratchett’s The Shepherd’s Crown

Ayisha Malik: Sofia Khan is NOT Obliged

How can this novel go wrong? Sofia Khan is NOT Obliged is the new (I dare to say it, better) Bridget Jones. It’s intelligent, very funny, sharp, heart-breaking, witty, superbly plotted, realistic, and a feminist love story without gush. It will remind white readers who don't have Muslim friends of Bend It Like Beckham, and it is simply a joy … Continue reading Ayisha Malik: Sofia Khan is NOT Obliged

The magnificent Modesty Blaise

(Forgetfully and foolishly I seem to have written up this pod twice: here in Sept 2015, and here in January 2015. There are slight differences, but they're mostly the same. Sorry about that.) Today’s letter in the Really Like This Book's podcast scripts catch-up is O, and today’s author is the little-known cartoon strip writer, … Continue reading The magnificent Modesty Blaise

Sex in space: Naomi Mitchison’s Memoirs of a Spacewoman

For years I’d thought that I had read pretty much everything Naomi Mitchison had published. Oh how wrong I was. I rechecked, and found to my horror that Mitchison herself couldn’t remember how much she’d published, but 70 books or thereabouts would be about right. Swift detour to abebooks.co.uk to order some of the many that I’ve … Continue reading Sex in space: Naomi Mitchison’s Memoirs of a Spacewoman