Our Top Ten Posts for 2019

These are the book review posts that received the most views in 2019, and frankly I’m surprised. The home page is excluded from the count because it got more than eight times the views of the next contender, and is clearly just the casual browsing jump-off point. All these posts date from before 2019, so … Continue reading Our Top Ten Posts for 2019

When is poetry bad? Ben Lerner’s The Hatred of Poetry

As regular readers will recall, I bought this book on spec before Christmas from a wily book catalogue. Reading it - it is a long essay on why people hate poetry - is an unfolding sequence of stimulants, a nuggetty book about what poetry is and does, from the perspective of those who hate it. Lerner, … Continue reading When is poetry bad? Ben Lerner’s The Hatred of Poetry

The Faerie Queene, by Edmund Spenser

In this week's Really Like This book podcast scripts catch-up, I’m in the English Renaissance, pricking across the plain with the Red-Crosse Knight, in Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. This is the biggest and most elaborate courtly flattery ever written, and it’s not even complete. Edmund Spenser was a subject of Queen Elizabeth, the first of that … Continue reading The Faerie Queene, by Edmund Spenser

Sorrow and anger: Books I couldn’t finish or wished I hadn’t started

I don’t usually write negative reviews of books, because (1) it’s usually not fair on a writer to pillory them in public, (2) why waste the reader’s time? But sometimes writing a reasoned critical appraisal for the record can be a public service. For those searching online to find out if anyone else hated this book … Continue reading Sorrow and anger: Books I couldn’t finish or wished I hadn’t started