In which I agree with the universal acclaim for two hugely hyped books that show no signs of losing any popularity. Mary Beard, Women & Power Mary Beard is doing very nicely out of her television presenting work because (a) she’s being herself, unaffected and normal, and (b) she’s writing some well-received books about that … Continue reading Believe the hype
I was surprised by quite how much I wanted to read Philip Pullman’s next Lyra novels. Reading Northern Lights, The Amber Spyglass and The Subtle Knife when they came out twenty years ago was rather an ordeal for me, as I don’t much enjoy stories about children in danger, struggling to survive. But I devoured them, … Continue reading Philip Pullman, La Belle Sauvage
Ursula Le Guin has died, and I’m currently living in a different country to all my copies of her books. So I had recourse to my reading diaries to find out what I’d read of her work in the past ten years. Lavinia (2008) This is the only one of Le Guin’s historical fantasy … Continue reading Reading some Ursula Le Guin
Here are short reviews of books I’ve liked recently, for your consideration. Georgette Heyer, Royal Escape (1938) This is not a Regency romance, and it’s possibly the weakest of her historical reconstructions, but I liked it enough to keep reading, simply because I don’t know the history of Charles II's escape from the Battle of … Continue reading These I have quite liked
This 1958 novel crackles with foreboding. It is based on the apparently artless retelling by a teenage girl of a summer spent in France with her elder sister and their younger siblings. It seethes with barely understood sexuality, and, in the absence of any reliable and responsible adults, the dangers that Joss and her sister … Continue reading Rumer Godden, The Greengage Summer
About 18 months ago I wrote about Susan Cooper's five-novel sequence called The Dark Is Rising. If published today they would be classified as children's / YA fantasy fiction. In the 1960s and 1970s when the five individual novels first came out - my editions are the slim 1980s Puffins with tight leading and a … Continue reading Re-reading Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising
Which Loki do you prefer? The Tom Hiddleston iteration of Loki is out and about again, in Thor: Ragnarok, which I would rate at 7 out of 10. He's a lot less Loki-ish in this film than in his earlier appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I think he loses impact by being normalised. … Continue reading Which Loki?