Category Archives: funny

Eva Ibbotson, “Magic Flutes”

From time to time, I like a meringue, and when that’s what you want, there’s no substitute for its insubstantial sweetness. But given the choice, I will always opt for floating island instead. You’ve had it, I hope? It’s more … Continue reading

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Hilary Mantel, “Fludd”

Well, we knew Hilary Mantel to be brilliant, right? The research, the sweep and scope and humanity of Wolf Hall bring English history to life and makes Thomas Cromwell a fascinating character. But here’s my news for today: Mantel is … Continue reading

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Rose Macaulay, “The Towers of Trebizond”

Some books are just really insistent. I’ve owned three copies of The Towers of Trebizond. The first was my mother’s; she was much given to quoting the famous opening line: “Take my camel, dear,” said my aunt Dot, as she … Continue reading

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Nigel Slater, “Toast”

Like Pig and Pepper, Toast was a surprise present, shoved through the mail slot with a bulb catalog and a flyer from Time Warner. And like Pig and Pepper, a total hit: I love reading about food. I’m not a … Continue reading

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David Footman, “Pig and Pepper”

Pig and Pepper entered my life as a lovely surprise. A Faithful Reader who has become an actual in-person friend dug it up for me. Here’s how: she remembered reading, in an article from The Guardian, a roundup of great … Continue reading

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Barbara Trapido, “Brother of the More Famous Jack”

What if I Capture the Castle were adapted and updated, set in the 1970s and ’80s? What if the narrator, Katherine Browne, were another bookish and naive heroine whose horizons were broadened by a confusing tribe that included several fascinating … Continue reading

Posted in anglophilia, contemporary fiction, funny | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Stella Gibbons, “Cold Comfort Farm”

I have never lived in a dwelling without a copy of Stella Gibbons‘ Cold Comfort Farm. It’s basic equipment, like a tea kettle. You re-read it periodically to experience, once again, the brisk pleasures of Our Heroine Flora Poste’s effect on … Continue reading

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Alan Bennett, “Smut”

I’ll admit I got a little kick out of sitting on the subway reading a book called Smut. But the cover, with its pattern of tea-cups, its genteel blue background and upright type, goes far to undercut the title. And, … Continue reading

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P. G. Wodehouse, “My Man Jeeves”

I’ll admit I was a little desperate after finishing Emile Zola’s La Débâcle. I needed entertainment — no, I needed jollity! Hence, Wodehouse. Now, I’m pretty new to his work and gosh, there’s a lot of it. Worse, I was … Continue reading

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Fred Vargas, “Debout les morts”/”The Three Evangelists”

I don’t have the temperament of a completist. Not for me the obscure early works, the unfinished manuscripts, the lesser-known short stories of the eminent novelist. But I find myself making an exception for Fred Vargas because she is just … Continue reading

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