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Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell has been sitting on my bookshelf, in all its hardcover glory, since 2004, when it was first released. I bought it without having read any extracts, on the strength of its reviews alone (as well as Neil Gaiman’s flattering blurb). I did not, however, have the physical strength to hold up this 800-page doorstop long enough to read it and not concuss myself, so it’s languished and collected dust, ever since. Until, of course, I decided to download the Kindle sample and read a few lines, and was annoyed that I hadn’t gotten around to reading it sooner in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on February 13, 2011 in Author: Susanna Clarke, Fantasy, Literature

 

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Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

I was perusing Amazon one day (actually I was looking for The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise, and wondering whether it was worth buying) when I came across the Kindle edition of Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons’ hilarious and quotable satire of old fashioned (and angst-ridden) British rural novels.

I don’t know how I managed to miss reading this novel all these years (or even the multiple films based on it), but I am now lusting after the talented Ms. Gibbon’s woefully out-of-print backlist. Publishers, if you’re one of my five readers, for the love of all that is good and holy–put them back in print. Electronic, dead tree book, smoke signal–it doesn’t matter. Good books want to be read. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2011 in Author: Stella Gibbons, Literature

 

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The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

Michel Faber’s elegant postmodern Victorian novel The Crimson Petal and the White is absolutely the best thing I’ve read all year. I’ve been struggling to find others that fulfill the void ever since, and haven’t come close yet. I originally picked up the book when I heard that Gillian Anderson was set to play Mrs. Castaway in the upcoming BBC miniseries adaptation. As a major X-Files fan, I wanted to see how Agent Scully could make the leap from a prim skeptic to a 19th century brothel madam, so I picked up the Kindle version. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2010 in Author: Michel Faber, Literature

 

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The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

I’ve been sitting on my review of The Book of Lost Things for a while now, mulling over it, searching for something else like it, and generally stewing. There are many modern novels that reinvent fairy tales for their own purpose, but The Book of Lost Things does it particularly well.

In 1939, when England is at war with Germany, a young boy named David loses his mother. He clings to her memory like a worn blanket, and clutches at the stories they shared together, stories that “come alive in the telling.” Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2010 in Adventure, Author: John Connolly, Fantasy, Literature

 

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I really wanted to love Wuthering Heights. On the surface, it has everything you’d want in a Victorian Gothic novel: swirling melodrama, broody anti-heroes (and anti-heroines), family secrets, betrayal, death, etc. But I couldn’t get past how truly unlikeable everyone was, from the smug narrator to Cathy and Heathcliff. Everyone in this book needs therapy and medication. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2010 in Author: Emily Bronte, Literature

 

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