It’s no secret that I own a lot of books. My tiny Ikea bookshelf is crammed, and on most shelves the books are stacked in two rows, one in front of the other. And since this week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt from The Broke and the Bookish asks which author’s books appear on our shelves the most, I thought I’d do a little bit of a bookshelf review. One bookshelf-clutter-related accident later, I gave up on trying to catalogue every book I own, and set out with bandaged finger to find the authors who stood out to me the most.
Top Ten Authors Whose Books I Own
(This episode of Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by the Society For The Prevention Of Bookshelf-Related Accidents. Remember, kids: clutter can kill. Always rearrange your bookshelves with a buddy.) Continue reading →
Tragedy, he perceived, belonged to the ancient time, to a time when there were still privacy, love, and friendship … His [mother] had sacrificed herself to a conception of loyalty that was private and unalterable. Such things, he saw, could not happen today.
(Part One, Chapter III)
Almost everybody knows that chilling phrase, ‘Big Brother is watching you’. At some uncertain age, we all inevitably grasp the significance of those words, even if we have never read the book which gave birth to it. What’s more, the phrase seems even more apt today than it was when the book was first published. Though the year 1984 has long passed us by, Orwell’s novel is still hugely relevant to its readers. Continue reading →
Oh, dear. I fear I may have bitten off more than I can chew these past few weeks, first with A Sentimental Journey and now with Castle Rackrent. Eighteenth-century literature has certainly done an excellent job of kicking my butt with these two short novels.
I originally wanted to read Castle Rackrent because I studied another of Edgeworth’s novels, Patronage, a few years ago. I enjoyed it immensely, and figured Castle Rackrent would be more of the same.
Sadly, it was not to be. Castle Rackrent is the story of a wealthy Anglo-Irish family told through the eyes of their faithful old servant, Thady. A succession of four equally unpleasant masters is what we’re presented with, complete with the story of their unhappy wives and their reckless spending of ancestral money. Continue reading →
Every week the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish prompt bloggers to compose a Top Ten list based on a weekly theme. This week’s theme is ‘Top Ten Favourite Classic Books’. Since I don’t think I’ve actually shared a list of my favourite books yet, I thought today would be as good a chance as any to share some of them with my lovely readers. :)
Well, it’s been a while since I posted a book review. But fear not! I haven’t been neglecting my reading. In fact, now that the winter break has begun, I’ve finally been able to focus on Books I Actually Want to Read, rather than constantly struggling through the tyranny of Books I Must Read For Class or Risk Failing. Meanwhile, I’ve got a backlog of reviews that I’m hoping to share with you all, starting with another travel-inspired tome.
There are several reasons why I wanted to read Laurence Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy. Not only is it a turning-point in the history of travel writing, it also makes fun of the self-obsessed and narrow-minded travel accounts of older generations, something I’m sure almost everyone enjoys, if only in small doses. Sterne’s novel was also a precursor to the approach of Romantic writers like Goethe, whose Italian JourneyI read earlier this year. Continue reading →
Regular readers may have noticed I’ve been rather silent these past few weeks. It’s been about a month since I last posted, a fact which I was amazed to discover when I logged on this morning for the first time in a long while. There is a (fairly) good explanation for this, and for my neglect of my favourite blogs and websites.
Here in the southern hemisphere it’s that most joyous time of the year: winter. Unfortunately, before we can all enjoy wrapping ourselves in blankets and sipping warm tea of a chilly afternoon, university exams loom over the immediate future. As a long-standing Arts student I don’t actually have exams, but I did have to write roughly eight thousand words’ worth of essays before the semester was over. So, naturally, the past few weeks have been spent in a kind of robotic sleep-eat-work-sleep routine, punctuated by the occasional anxiety attack (complete with paper-bag breathing exercises) and sleepless night.
Despite this routine (or perhaps because of it), I have finally made it through to the other side of the semester. Continue reading →
I’m sure that many reviews of Jo Baker’s Longbourn begin like this, but I’ll say it anyway: I don’t usually read Jane Austen sequels. Or prequels. Or indeed anything ‘inspired by’, ‘in the style of’, or ‘after’ Jane Austen. In fact, many years ago now I declared my household a ‘Jane Austen Sequel-Free Zone’, a new development my family had no trouble getting behind on account of them not really caring about Jane Austen at all (it’s tough, but with family you have to love them for all their qualities, good and bad).
The reason behind this strict ruling is simple. I admire Jane Austen. I admire her as a writer, and in particular as a comic writer of incredible skill and subtlety. Continue reading →
Warning! This review contains one potential spoiler in the very last paragraph. Please read it with your eyes closed to avoid learning what it is.
In the realm of experimental fiction, there are two kinds of books: Clever Books and Books That Are Too Clever For Their Own Good. And Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller comes very close to being a Book That Is Too Clever For Its Own Good.
I first decided I wanted to read this book when I read a quote from the novel in Umberto Eco’s The Infinity of Lists. It’s a fabulous description of a character entering a bookshop. In Calvino’s hands this simple action is transformed into a kind of military assault: Continue reading →
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly prompt at The Broke and the Bookish. This time the theme is ‘Top Ten Book Covers I’d Frame As Pieces of Art’. Now I’ll admit (a little shamefully) that I am a bit of a visual person, and I do tend to fall into the trap of judging a book by its cover. A lot. I know, it’s terrible. This week’s prompt, however, lets me indulge my shockingly bad habit, so I just couldn’t resist.
Top Ten Book Covers I’d Frame as Pieces of Art
1. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. I’m a big fan of this style, showing only slices of the image instead of the whole thing: