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
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
I finally finished this immensely thick paperback last night, after six nights of reading. I’m not a slow reader, but the time I took to get through this novel - volume two in The Book of Dust trilogy - was down to its interminability. It is 719 pages long, and concludes nothing in itself, setting … Continue reading Philip Pullman, The Secret Commonwealth
Bea Howe was Sylvia Townsend Warner's oldest friend. They met in the 1920s when Bea was 19 and Sylvia was in her middle twenties, and Sylvia spent her 84th birthday having a nice quiet day with Bea, shortly before Sylvia died in 1978. When they met is important, because Sylvia would soon publish her much … Continue reading Bea Howe, A Fairy Leapt Upon My Knee
I’ve had a run of bad luck with books recently, a long string of flingings on the floor, duds that drove me again and again to (for example) Terry Pratchett and Barbara Pym to remind myself of what good writing was like. Here are some of the failures, the Xth in an occasional series. Cixin … Continue reading A run of bad reading luck
Another in my popular series of mini reviews in which I grumble about books on a scale from furious bitterness to indifference. You can read more of these, and find links to others, here. Today I clear out the books on the meh end. Susan Schwartz, Byzantium's Crown I enjoyed the premise for this fantasy … Continue reading To the recycling!
I can't remember how this truly excellent fantasy novel found its way into our house. We know it was at EasterCon this year, but while my husband claims the credit for buying it, I'm not sure. Maybe I looked at it so often in the Books on the Hill bookstall that I merely think that … Continue reading Katherine Addison, The Goblin Emperor
HERE BE SPOILERS. Avengers: Endgame is not a film you can talk about in detail without spoiling it for those who haven't seen it, so please don't read on if you get upset by spoilers. I MEAN IT. I don't yet know if I liked the whole film or not. I was very bored in … Continue reading Avengers: Endgame.
For a change, here are three books I've read recently that I liked a lot. They are all satisfying, well-crafted reads, and I'm going to keep them all, but I don't have vast amounts to say about them other than 'they're good'. Mary Stewart, Thornyhold Mary Stewart writes about magic so convincingly that there must … Continue reading Three good books
The Mere Wife, by Maria Dahvana Headley I didn’t finish this. I got to the bit where the character in the Hrothgar role got killed, and the character in the Beowulf role is in a car with the character in the Wealtheow role, considering kissing her. I did not want to read on because the … Continue reading My gifts to the Oxfam bookshop