Shades of Milk and Honey: Book review

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal is an objectively dreadful book, which I absolutely loved. I devoured it in a single day. Admittedly, I had some really intense PhD reading material sitting on my desk the whole time, so perhaps I could chalk it up to procrastination. I am not sure that washes as an excuse, though, because I also prioritised this over binge-watching Madam Secretary and deep-cleaning my flat, both time-honoured procrastination techniques. Continue reading

Personal Canon

After Jillian wrote her “personal canon” list (the books that have most impacted her), she asked me to do one too. Here it is, Jillian; I hope you like it. You did say that you like reading people’s emotional responses to books—so here I am, emoting absolutely all over the place. (There is a spoiler in here about Tenant of Wildfell Hall, in case anyone is concerned about that). Continue reading

Summer reading plans (& life update)

It’s summer! At least, it certainly feels like it. It’s expected to climb to 26C on the south coast of the UK today, which is already about 8C more than my personal comfortable temperature. (I appreciate those of you in any country with more extreme weather will probably laugh at this). Because I spend a lot of my time on neonatal units around heated incubators and cots, I am feeling the heat particularly acutely this year. Continue reading

Fifty favourites: April 2017

Inspired by Jillian, and entirely for my own pleasure and amusement, I’ve made a list of my favourite fifty novels. The first ten are in a Strict Descending Order of Belovedness, but it gets a bit more lax after that. She did hers in January, like a sensible person, but I am doing mine in April, like a person deep into thesis procrastination. If I remember, I’ll review the list in a year or two, and see how it’s changed. I’ve been incredibly inconsistent about whether I count a series as one entry or multiple, but hey, it’s my list. I couldn’t possibly pick my favourite Swallows and Amazons book, for example—it’s always whichever one I’ve read most recently. Some of these are books I will never read again, because they are too devastating—others I pick up at least once a year. A handful of these I read as a child or young teenager, and they might actually be terrible and I am being nostalgic. Continue reading

On Mary Bennet, Hermione Granger, and two centuries of progress

I have a sneaking, uncomfortable suspicion about Pride and Prejudice; a dreadful secret, the nature of which I am about to relate. I’ve confessed before that I disliked the book the first time I read it. That is shameful enough for a book blogger. But here is the truth: perhaps the reason I could not stomach Pride and Prejudice the first time round is that I’ve known all along that I am, in form and substance, far more Mary Bennet than Elizabeth—the frump, the prig, the awkward girl in a corner with a book. It is not pleasant to read a novel in which a character I strongly resemble is constantly, viciously skewered by the narrator. Continue reading

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells

Hmmmppppphhhh. I have reached that stage of my PhD that all postgrads eventually hit: I hate it, I wish I’d taken that nice student health visitor post when I had the chance, do you know how much I’d be earning by now, 70 hours a week is too many hours to work, I’m probably going to fail anyway… If you’ve been through the process yourself, you know. You know. It’s looking likely that this is going to be the case until June at the earliest. Continue reading