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

Antony Hope’s The Prisoner of Zenda

Antony Hope's invention* of the cardboard kingdom in The Prisoner of Zenda is the subject of this week's Really Like This Book podcast scripts catch-up. Hope was a respectable Victorian London lawyer, but he had a secret passion for the romantic and dramatic, and wrote many novels. His most famous is The Prisoner of Zenda, from … Continue reading Antony Hope’s The Prisoner of Zenda

Now posting on Vulpes Libris: Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl

I posted a keen and enthusiastic review of Hope Jahren's Lab Girl a few days ago on Vulpes Libris: do go and read it! It's about science, plants, sexism, explosions, Minnesota determination and some bloody hard work writing funding applications to keep the lab going through bipolar interruptions because her lab technician is sleeping in a camper … Continue reading Now posting on Vulpes Libris: Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl

Mark Twain’s A Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Launching into a new miniseries of podcast scripts from Why I Really Like This Book, the next few weeks will see a long and enjoyable wallow in stories about King Arthur. This will include early British history, fantasies about Merlin, and the utterly compelling theory that when the Romans pulled out of Britain, somehow the Saxon … Continue reading Mark Twain’s A Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Alex Bledsoe’s Long Black Curl

There’s something a little awkward about reading book three in an established series without having any idea of what one is getting into, like crashing a party by accident. Alex Bledsoe’s Long Black Curl is the third in a sequence of novels about the Tufa, savage fairy magic and traditional folk music in the Appalachians, … Continue reading Alex Bledsoe’s Long Black Curl