Archive for February, 2018

Well, no matter what the rest of the reading year brings, I’ll always have had this January!

A very decent selection of interesting books, this month, and I managed to write up posts on all of them, too.

Here they are, all my January 2018 books, arranged very best to less so on my personal-reading-pleasure scale-of-ten.

10 ~ Saint Jack by Paul Theroux ~ 1973. Theroux’s portrait of an ex-American pimp in Singapore re-examining his life-to-date hit all the right buttons. Sardonic but never vicious – an occasional undertone in later works – Theroux’s unlikely (and possibly unreliable) narrator speaks from the heart. Darkish, with lashings of sly humour.

9.5 ~ Greensleeves by Eloise Jarvis McGraw ~ 1968. A beautifully balanced bildungsroman, as the daughter of celebrities seeks anonymity and recreates herself with unexpected consequences. Contains a mystery and something of a love story.

9 ~ The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen ~ 1935. A Henry Jamesian micro-saga of love, denial, betrayal and many secrets.

9 ~ The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart ~ 1971.  Magic flowers and a very clever cat add much excitement to Mary’s dreaded summer-away-from-home.  A grand book to share with a child, and any fan of Mary Stewart’s adult-aimed thrillers will be gently entertained.

9 ~ The Foolish Gentlewoman by Margery Sharp ~ 1948. What happens when a wealthy, well-intentioned, but simplistic-minded widow takes a sermon’s message literally.

8.5 ~ The Little Girls by Elizabeth Bowen ~ 1964. An intricately twisted tale of schoolgirl friends reconvening four decades onward, much concerned with time capsules, and what is chosen to be saved.

8 ~ The Camomile by Catherine Carswell ~ 1922. A young writer follows the call of her muse, to the bafflement of her family and fiancé.

8 ~ Twelve Girls in the Garden by Shane Martin ~ 1957. Artists-in-crime are investigated by an elderly archeologist turned tenacious sleuth.

8 ~ No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod ~ 1999. From Scotland to Cape Breton: an extended family cherishes its roots and returns again and again to the symbolic places from whence they came.

8 ~ The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham ~ 1957.  A peaceful English village is chosen to nurture a clutch of alien offspring in a science fiction ode to noble Brits staying true to their tradition while in danger of losing it all.

7.5 ~ Tamarac by Margaret Hutchison ~ 1957. A straightforward and familiar sort of story: young woman meets adversity head on, and mostly prevails. Autobiographically set in the British Columbia Kootenay region.

7.5 ~ Old Herbaceous by Reginald Arkell ~ 1950. A deeply nostalgic look back at the life of a manor house gardener, from Victoria’s time and onward.

7.5 ~ Robinson by Muriel Spark ~ 1958. A plane crash, an isolated volcanic island, high tensions, religion, and a trail of blood. (But it’s really quite a lot about being Catholic.)

7 ~ Out of the Deeps a.k.a. The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham ~ 1953. Aliens from a gas giant planet infiltrate Earth’s ocean’s with predictably disastrous repercussions.

7 ~ The Owl Service by Alan Garner ~ 1967. Three teenagers in Wales are caught up in a come-to-life tragic legend regarding a woman made of flowers and her alternate form.

7 ~ The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin ~ 1972. Perfect wives are made in Stepford… A feminist horror story with a chillingly un-human conclusion.

6.5 ~ The Moorchild by Eloise Jarvis McGraw ~ 1996. A changeling tale featuring a hybrid human-faerie child and her personal struggle with self-determination and the growing of a moral conscience.

6 ~ Trouble With Lichen by John Wyndham ~ 1960. A rare lichen, a brilliant scientist, a secret scheme to bring womankind to her full potential. John Wyndham spins an intriguing tale sadly bereft of some basic logic.

6 ~ The Victorian Album by Evelyn Berckman ~ 1973. Awakening and mimicking a tragic past; a contemporary gothic tale with a supernatural twist.

5 ~ Mother by Kathleen Norris ~ 1911. A young woman from a large, poor family is whisked away to a dream job and a life of luxury, but she eventually sees the light and returns to kneel at the feet of saintly Mother.

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