Category Archives: Book Club

The 19th-Century British Novel from Austen to Drabble

Jane Austen recommended three or four families in the Country Village as the thing to work on when planning a novel. . . . A few families in a Country Village. A few families in a small, densely populated, parochial, … Continue reading

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“My Own Way”: Sylvia Townsend Warner, Lolly Willowes

“Say you won’t leave us, Lolly.” “I’m afraid I can’t do that.” “But Lolly, what you want is absurd.” “It’s only my own way, Henry.” In many ways, Lolly Willowes is a familiar book. Like Villette or The Odd Women or The Crowded Street, … Continue reading

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Recent Reading: the Good, the Bad, and the OK

Over the past week I read three novels. Only one, Michele Roberts’s The Walworth Beauty, was for a review! The short version: it’s fine. Some things about it are very good, but overall I wasn’t that excited about it. I’m starting … Continue reading

Posted in Book Club, Book reviewing, Reading Roundup, Romance novels, Shirley Jackson | 6 Comments

“Tempest of the Headspace”: Margaret Atwood, Hag-Seed

“Also,” said Felix, “it’s on a universal theme.” What he had in mind was vengeance – that was certainly universal. He hoped she wouldn’t ask him about the theme: vengeance was so negative, was what she’d say. A bad example. … Continue reading

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“The Magic of the Island”: Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals

Gradually the magic of the island settled over us as gently and clingingly as pollen. Each day had a tranquility, a timelessness about it, so that you wished it would never end. But then the dark skin of night would … Continue reading

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An American Story: Jane Smiley, Some Luck

My book club met last night to discuss Jane Smiley’s Some Luck. We didn’t choose it with this in mind, but it ended up feeling like a good choice to talk about the night before the American election, because it is … Continue reading

Posted in Book Club, Smiley, Jane | 1 Comment

Book Club Update: Moby-Dick Contains Multitudes

My book club met last night for the first of two sessions on Moby-Dick. For this one we read only about half way through, so a lot of our discussion either began or ended with some variation on “I wonder where this … Continue reading

Posted in Book Club, Melville, Herman | 5 Comments