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
M C Bolitho, A Victorian Lady in the Himalayas, edited by Jean Burnett Jean Burnett is part of Writers Unchained, a collective of writers from Bristol, and has published novels with Little, Brown about the adventures of Lydia Bennett. She has edited the diary of Maria Bolitho, a Victorian Englishwoman who travelled across the Himalayas … Continue reading Enjoyed, with caveats
There is no book being reviewed this week because I am moving house. All my books are in boxes, waiting to be delivered (tomorrow!) from a depot somewhere near Corsham, to our new house just outside Bath, in the west of England. I am so tired from garden wrangling, tradesman supervision, long-distance driving, listening to … Continue reading hang on
I haven’t seen Arrival, but I wanted to read the book because the story as told to me by someone who had seen the film interested me greatly. I spotted the book in the bookshop because of the Amy-Adams-in-a-spacesuit cover, and was surprised to see that a whole film had been based on a short … Continue reading Ted Chiang’s polymathic story bombs
Some years ago I wrote a scholarly chapter on how clothes were used as social indicators in the fiction of P G Wodehouse and Dornford Yates. This was for Middlebrow Wodehouse (ed. Ann Rea), and was a thoroughly enjoyable chapter to research. Costume history is one of my favourite branches of history, and I've been … Continue reading Bertie Wodehouse’s socks and spats
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
I've wielded the hatchet over at Vulpes Libris, on a biography of William Wilberforce. Great subject, awful execution.