Category Archives: General adult audience

The most enjoyable ‘collected letters’ I’ve ever read: 84, Charing Cross Road (and the Duchess of Bloomsbury street)

From 1950 to 1970, an American scriptwriter, Helene Hanff, embarked on self-education by book with the aid of some British secondhand booksellers. 84, Charing Cross Road is a collection of the letters which passed primarily between Hanff and the shop’s … Continue reading

Posted in 20th Century, American, British, Diary, General adult audience, Letters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Would you like world-ending pink topping with that? Lost is a Good Book is a generous second helping of Thursday Next from Jasper Fforde

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde is the second book in the Thursday Next series. Despite a sudden celebrity for saving Jane Eyre and improving the ending, not every one is happy with what Thursday has done. A … Continue reading

Posted in British, Contemporary, Fantasy, Fiction, General adult audience, Novel, Speculative Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A powerful book about growing up and making sense of the world that I first read while I was growing up: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I first read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in year 10 and it was the first really decent book I got to read for high school english (the junior syllabus really wasn’t inspiring – in year 8 we had … Continue reading

Posted in 20th Century, 20th Century Literature, American, Classic, Coming of Age/Rites of Passage, Fiction, General adult audience, Novel, Uncategorized, YA Classic, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wit and wordplay, parody and playfulness, allusion and appropriation: Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair is to classic literature what Hitchhiker’s Guide is to sci-fi and fantasy

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde is set in an alternate England, where home-cloned dodos are common house pets and the public’s passion for literature occasionally erupts in street violence. Thursday Next is a literary detective, part of a specialised … Continue reading

Posted in British, Comedy, Contemporary, Crime fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, General adult audience, Novel, Speculative Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mansfield Park: A mature but, for us, challenging novel by Jane Austen

Of all Jane Austen’s heroines, Fanny Price of Mansfield Park is surely the least appealing, the most ‘foreign’ to our age. Unlike Emma’s assertiveness and Lizzy’s humour, Fanny’s combination of self-effacement and moral conviction are at odds with modern core … Continue reading

Posted in 18th Century, British, Classic, Fiction, General adult audience, Novel, Novel of Manners, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bucketlists and marriages of convenience: The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery uses a bunch of tropes before they were popular

The Blue Castle was L.M. Montgomery’s only book written for adults and my favourite of her non-Anne books. Really the only difference between it and her young adult novels is that the heroine is 29 and unmarried teen pregnancy is … Continue reading

Posted in 20th Century, 20th Century Light Fiction, Canadian, Fiction, General adult audience, Light Fiction, Novel, Romance, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A nuanced exploration of family dynamics, moral identity and cross-cultural perceptions: Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster

The basic storyline of E.M. Forster’s Where Angels Fear to Tread revolves around the child of a mixed marriage and the various characters’ feelings, motives and actions regarding it. Yet this storyline is the vehicle for exploring the struggle between … Continue reading

Posted in 20th Century, 20th Century Literature, British, Classic, Family Drama, Fiction, General adult audience, Novel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sydney Opera House and the murder and narrative of Helga’s Web by Jon Cleary: Equally impressively constructed!

Helga’s Web is the second book in the Scobie Malone series (it stands alone but has key characters in common with The High Commissioner). During the building of the Sydney Opera House, a woman’s body is found in one of … Continue reading

Posted in 20th Century, Australian, Crime fiction, General adult audience, Novel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Multifaceted Australian crime fiction: The High Commissioner by Jon Cleary

The High Commissioner by Jon Cleary is the first in the Scobie Malone series. Malone, a police detective, is sent to London to bring back the Australian High Commissioner for the decade-old murder of his wife. Malone finds himself in … Continue reading

Posted in 20th Century, 20th Century Light Fiction, Australian, Crime fiction, Fiction, General adult audience, Novel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poverty and money, men and women, limited-options and Victorian-era spinsterhood: The Odd Women is a thought-provoking, character-driven novel that explores what happens when women lack opportunities for independence

The Odd Women by George Gissing is a late Victorian novel that explores the personal and social implications of a surplus of spinsters. It follows the struggles, fortunes and (limited) choices of the three Madden sisters, whose father’s sudden death … Continue reading

Posted in 18th Century, British, Classic, Fiction, General adult audience, Novel, Realism, Social Novel, Victorian | Tagged , | Leave a comment