Posts Tagged ‘1940s’

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Now, Voyager

July 29, 2011

I’ve read it now. It’s lovely. Why do people use “women’s fiction” as a derogatory term?

I was lucky enough not to remember the movie very well when I read the book, so I came to it with only a vague idea of the plot. Not that the movie isn’t good — I went and found it streaming online as soon as I’d finished the book–but the book is better, as books often are.

Now, Voyager is the story of Charlotte Vale — a dumpy, unattractive, unhappy spinster under the thumb of a wealthy and autocratic mother — and her transformation into a well-liked and attractive woman who has a lot to offer, and knows it. First an extremely intelligent psychiatrist shows her how to change, and then a cruise ticket unwanted by its owner gives her the opportunity to do it. Add a weight-reducing illness and her sister-in-law’s cast-off (but still fashionable) wardrobe, and Charlotte has as much of a clean slate as one could realistically expect. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Top 10 Underappreciated Children’s Books, 3/3

June 4, 2011

Part 1/3

Part 2/3

These are the top three, and I’ve put them in an order, but it’s not an important order. These are some of my favorite books, and I love them too much to be able to judge which I love the most. I have no idea how I managed to write anything about them, or why I thought I could in the first place. If you asked me about any of these three books in person, I would gape like a fish and flail a little bit. This is not speculation; it is a thing I’ve done.

A note on illustrations: All three of these books have illustrations that are inextricably bound up with the experience of reading the books. These aren’t after-the-fact illustrations: Ruth Gannett’s were done by her stepmother. Russell Hoban’s were done by his wife. Jean Merrill gave Ronni Solbert a cameo in the book. So if you decide to go looking for any of these books (do!), make sure you get the original illustrations. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Top 10 Underappreciated Children’s Books 2/3

May 17, 2011

Here’s part two. You may notice that the formatting is unbelieveably horrible. I tried to fix it, but I’ve given up now.

Part 1/3

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Snobbery with Violence

October 26, 2010

I ordered Snobbery with Violence, by Colin Watson, on the recommendation of Cristiane, and on the whole I liked it, but I do have some reservations. Well, a  lot.

Snobbery with Violence is a discussion of some of the most popular authors of crime fiction between, approximately, World War I and the 1960s, when the book was written. Watson’s premise is that an era’s most popular fiction tells you the most about its reading public, and obviously that’s a thesis I can get behind. What bothered me was that most of the snobbery involved seemed to come from the author. Colin Watson may think he likes mystery novels, but my impression is that he hates them and the people that read them. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Next Post

January 17, 2010

I’ve just returned from a vacation, which should explain the lack of posts over the last couple of weeks, but right now I’m looking to excuse what I expect will be a lack of posts over the next couple of weeks. I don’t seem to be able to read anything but Nero Wolfe.

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My Father’s Dragon…

September 20, 2009

…is now available on Project Gutenberg.

Actually, it may have already been there–the “Recently Posted or Updated EBooks” feed doesn’t actually specify which is which. I think it’s new, although UPenn’s Celebration of Women Writers has had a version up for a while.

Any excuse to reread it, though, and a Gutenberg eBook is a pretty good excuse. It’s fully illustrated, and, well, completely wonderful in every way. Read it. Find a kid to read it to. Pull out your paperback copy — I have two — and smile at it, because you just can’t help it. Read the sequels. Be happy.

My Father's Dragon

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Anybody but Anne, and Murder Will In

November 20, 2008

Tuesday was my birthday, so I chose to spend the day at the library. The main branch of the New York Public Library, to be precise. The have a gigantic non-circulating collection of old books they’ve taken off the shelves because no one is interested in them anymore, but if you get an access card, you can request that they let you look at them for a while. You fill out little slips — no more than three at a time — and then, in less than half an hour, they bring your books up in a dumbwaiter, and you get to pick them up at a desk in the main reading room, which has the coolest ceiling ever. It’s probably the size of a football field, and it has all these nooks and crannies that look like they’d be really fun to climb on if the ceiling were somehow turned upside down. Which, yes, is something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about.

Anyway. I spent about five hours there and read two Carolyn Wells mysteries, Anybody but Anne (1914) and Murder Will In (1942), a title that has always interested me. Read the rest of this entry ?

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