Category Archives: Fiction

Comforting her father and organising the wellbeing of the town of Carlingford – whether they want it or not: Miss Marjoribanks by Margaret Oliphant is a gently ironic novel of the Victorian era

Miss Marjoribanks is probably the best known work by Margaret Oliphant. An enjoyable choice for anyone who enjoys slightly tongue-in-cheek Victorian novels of manners. Continue reading

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My Favourite Thursday Next Novel: The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde

The Well of Lost Plots in the third installment of the speculative, absurdist Thursday Next Series by Jasper Fforde… Continue reading

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Small Steps by Louis Sachar: An engaging, amusing and compassionate sequel to Holes

The sequel to Sachar’s Holes is as hilarious, enjoyable carefully-woven and heart-warming as the original. Continue reading

Posted in 11 years and up, 13 years and up, 20th Century, 20th Century YA, Adventure, American, Coming of Age/Rites of Passage, Drama, Fiction, Novel, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A children’s series that ages with its audience: Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill captures 10 year old life well

Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill is the third in Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy series. The girls are now 10 years old and the largely standalone chapters of the first two books smoothly transition into larger story arcs … Continue reading

Posted in 10 years and up, 20th Century Children's, 7 years and up, American, Children's, Children's Classic, Children's Classics, Coming of Age/Rites of Passage, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Novel, Uncategorized | 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

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Deadly lizards, delinquent boys, a sinister warden and a whole lot of HOLES feature in Louis Sachar’s acclaimed YA novel

When Stanley Yelnats gets caught holding a celebrity’s stolen sneakers which have just fallen on him out of the sky, he knows that it’s because of the family curse acquired by his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. Stanley is sent to Camp Green Lake, … Continue reading

Posted in 10 years and up, 20th Century, 20th Century YA, Adventure, American, Coming of Age/Rites of Passage, Family Drama, Fiction, Light Fiction, Novel, YA Classic, Young Adult | 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

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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

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