Monthly Archives: January 2011

Jane Haddam, “Glass Houses”

After all my highbrow Virago reading last week I’m faintly embarrassed at returning to murder mysteries, but there you have it. Sometimes all i want from a book is escape, and over the years Jane Haddam’s series mysteries have provided … Continue reading

Posted in mystery | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Enid Bagnold, “The Loved and Envied”

I’ll get the trivia out of the way first: Enid Bagnold’s great-grand-daughter is Samantha Cameron, wife of David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Also, the film of National Velvet (based on a book by Bagnold) appeared in 1944, … Continue reading

Posted in anglophilia, classic | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

Elizabeth Taylor, “Palladian”

“Cassandra, with all her novel-reading, could be sure of experiencing the proper emotions, standing in her bedroom for the last time…” This is the first line of Elizabeth Taylor’s Palladian, and it certainly got my attention. Another novel about a … Continue reading

Posted in anglophilia, classic | Tagged , | 13 Comments

Antonia White, “Frost in May”

I was rather horrified when I first read this book, oh, a long time ago. So when Rachel of Book Snob and Carolyn of A Few of My Favourite Books proposed the delightful Virago Reading Week, Frost in May was the first … Continue reading

Posted in classic | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Eleanor Brown, “The Weird Sisters”

I fought against The Weird Sisters. After reading Janet Maslin’s review in the New York Times, I thought, “That’s one I’ll skip.” Then a friend gave me a copy, saying, “I thought this might be interesting for you, being one … Continue reading

Posted in contemporary fiction | Tagged | 15 Comments

Gene Kerrigan, “The Midnight Choir”

What should I have deduced from the fact that The Midnight Choir’s title comes from a Leonard Cohen song? That it would be hip? Sad? Dark? Here’s the quotation: “Like a drunk in a midnight choir/I have tried in my … Continue reading

Posted in mystery | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Frans Bengtsson, “The Long Ships”

Well! I just spent a week reading a 500-page novel about Vikings and I adored every moment of it. Last fall when I was doing the New York Review Books challenge, I was intrigued by the cover of The Long … Continue reading

Posted in historical fiction | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Carol Wallace, “Leaving Van Gogh”

No, I’m not actually going to review my own book! But I’ve made a page for it — see the tab above, far right. It doesn’t come out until April but we are starting to build an online profile for … Continue reading

Posted in art history, contemporary fiction, literary fiction | Tagged | 12 Comments

Joseph Roth, “The Radetzky March”

In a scene about three-quarters of the way through The Radetzky March , Joseph Roth shows us the old Emperor Franz Joseph reviewing troops in an eastern portion of the empire. The Emperor loves his troops, loves the noise, the pageantry, … Continue reading

Posted in German, literary fiction | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Are You a Virago?

I finally looked the word up. I thought I knew that it meant an outspoken, hot-tempered woman — a shrew, in fact. My dictionary (Webster’s Third International: old school) offered “termagant” as a synonym. Don’t you love the word “termagant?” … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments