I posted a double review of Frank O'Connor's autobiographies over on Vulpes Libris: An Only Child, and My Father's Son. I learned a lot about Irish history, Irish literature, Irish convents and army pensions.
I found these four short novels with a squeal of triumph in an Aberdeen second-hand bookshop, and bought them for £3. That’s right: the four books that are one of Garner’s greatest creative accomplishments, in a pristine box set, for barely more than they cost the original buyer in the late 1970s. I could barely … Continue reading Alan Garner’s The Stone Book Quartet
This time in the Really Like This Book podcast scripts catch-up I’m in the fourteenth century, immersed in a muddy Norfolk field at the medieval nunnery of Oby. The Corner That Held Them (1948) is a most peculiar and very readable novel by Sylvia Townsend Warner, author of the immortal Lolly Willowes. The Corner That Held Them is … Continue reading Sylvia Townsend Warner: The Corner That Held Them
I wrote something heartfelt about the process of marking a poetry exam, over on Vulpes Libris.
Lady Baltimore, by Owen Wister, is an extraordinary novel. It wasn’t written as a historical novel, but it certainly is one now: a 1905 depiction of the American South at the turn of the twentieth century, on how life would have been so much better if the South hadn’t lost the Civil War. I had to … Continue reading Fantasies of the undefeated South: Owen Wister’s Lady Baltimore
I loved the film. I died for the costumes. I was delighted with the actors, the cinematography, the sound, the script. Janelle Monae killed it playing an engineer in NASA's obligatory high heels, though she did not convince me as a mother or wife. Taraji P Henson was stupendous as Katherine Goble, then Johnson, and nearly … Continue reading Now posting on Vulpes Libris: Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures
This time, in the Really Like This Book podcast scripts catch-up, I’m in Ancient Rome, rereading Naomi Mitchison’s excellent novel about very early Christians in the reign of the Emperor Nero, The Blood of the Martyrs, from 1939. You can probably guess the ending already from the clues in the title, but, trust me: it may be … Continue reading Naomi Mitchison’s The Blood of the Martyrs