Dogged mid-West endurance: Willa Cather’s The Song of the Lark

This time in the Really Like This Book's podcast script catch-up, I’ve gone west, to Willa Cather’s beautiful novel The Song of the Lark from 1915. If ever there was an advertisement for idyllic American settings, this novel is it. The descriptions evoke desert life near the Mexican border, clean and tidy Scandinavian-immigrant town life in … Continue reading Dogged mid-West endurance: Willa Cather’s The Song of the Lark

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Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind

Anne Charnock must have been SO ANNOYED when Ali Smith’s prize-winning, multiply lauded novel How to be both hit the bookshelves in 2014. This is because her own novel, Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind, published on 1 December, shares the same central, unusual conceit, of a medieval Italian artist who has to struggle against … Continue reading Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind

Lindsey Davis, Ancient Rome and Marcus Didius Falco

In 1990 I bought a book to read on the way home on the train, and when I got there I wasn’t in London, but in Londinium, for such was the power of Lindsey Davis’s first Falco novel, The Silver Pigs. I read her novels addictively for years. My favourite is not one of the 20 … Continue reading Lindsey Davis, Ancient Rome and Marcus Didius Falco

National Gallery: the film of the art history lecture

I just sat through three hours of Frederick Wiseman's documentary National Gallery (2014), a film about the British national gallery of art in London's Trafalgar Square that needs a damn good editing, marvellous though it is. Stupidly, I did not think to check how long it would be before paying for the ticket. Some way into the … Continue reading National Gallery: the film of the art history lecture