Epic Poems You’ve Never Read: Beowulf’s Anglo-Saxon heroics

It's the start of university teaching again in the UK, so this miniseries of Really Like This Book podcast script catch-ups indulges my passion for teaching epic poetry. If English literature is a forest, epic poems are the big knobbly roots that stick up out of the ground and get in the way. They’ve been there for … Continue reading Epic Poems You’ve Never Read: Beowulf’s Anglo-Saxon heroics

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Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising

In the last of the Really Like This Book podcast script catch-ups about King Arthur, I’m reading a very old favourite, the series of fantasy novels by Susan Cooper called The Dark is Rising. There are five, and the earliest one - Over Sea Under Stone - is most definitely a children’s mystery quest. Simon, Jane … Continue reading Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising

Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave

We've reached the point in this recap of Really Like This Book podcast scripts about King Arthur when we really have to talk about Mary Stewart. She died in 2014, which came as a shock to me. I had been living in the same time as one of my favourite authors, and never had the gumption to write her … Continue reading Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave

Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Lantern-Bearers

This novel of King Arthur from the Really Like This Books podcast scripts catch-up is Rosemary Sutcliff's The Lantern-Bearers. It begins as one of her Romans in Britain novels, the books for which she is best known, a sequence that traces different periods of Roman rule in Britain, linked by the transmitted family heirloom of a glass … Continue reading Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Lantern-Bearers

T H White’s The Once and Future King

In this Really Like This Book podcast script catch-up from the King Arthur mini-series, I’m going to pause briefly to remind you that Sir Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur is the main source for modern retellings of the stories about King Arthur. The best twentieth-century retelling, in my considered opinion, is the tetralogy by T H White called The Once … Continue reading T H White’s The Once and Future King

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

Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant

I didn’t come to The Buried Giant by the standard Ishiguro route, since I’ve not read much of his work. All the descriptions I had read before The Buried Giant arrived in my Christmas stocking agreed that it was an odd and peculiar novel from this modern British novelist because it involved giants and knights and other … Continue reading Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant