Category Archives: British

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

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

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

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

Apologetics Updated for our Age and My Favourite Christian Book of 2019: Confronting Christianity by Rebecca McLaughlin

Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion was probably my favourite Christian book that I read in 2019. Using an engaging mix of research, anecdote and personal story, McLaughlin gives nuanced answers to some of the big … Continue reading

Posted in American, British, Christian, Christian Apologetics, Christian Non-fiction, Contemporary, General adult audience, Nonfiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Perelandra by C.S. Lewis: A Christian novel that grips thoughts, feelings and will

I found Out of the Silent Planet slow to get into but ultimately intriguing, enjoyable and thought provoking. In contrast, Perelandra, the second in C.S. Lewis’s Cosmic Trilogy, gets quickly into the action, was mesmerizing, suspenseful and thrilling by turns, … Continue reading

Posted in 20th Century, British, Fantasy, Fiction, General adult audience, Novel, Speculative Fiction, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Slow to Start but Ultimately Intriguing: C.S. Lewis begins his theological speculative fiction trilogy with Out of the Silent Planet

How would humans respond to other intelligent life if we found it on another planet? How might such life differ from us? How might we react to such differences? How might several such species coexist peacefully on a single planet? … Continue reading

Posted in 20th Century, British, Fantasy, General adult audience, Speculative Fiction, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inventor of the post box and novel-making machine: Autobiography is the self-told story of one of my favourite Victorian novelists, Anthony Trollope

Autobiography by Anthony Trollope was an easy and amusing read. It focuses on Trollope’s two careers – as post office official and author – with only brief forays into personal life, although Trollope-as-a-person comes through on every page. Part of … Continue reading

Posted in Biography/Autobiography, British, General adult audience, Nonfiction, Victorian | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment