September Reading

At least September was a better month for reading than August.


Nitasha Kaul, Residue: Review forthcoming, but I really did not think much of this.

Diana Wynne Jones, Charmed Life, The Lives of Christopher Chant, Conrad’s Fate, The Pinhoe Egg, Mixed Magics, The Magicians of Caprona, Witch Week: I helped organise, then attended and presented a paper at, a conference on Diana Wynne Jones. It was exhausting and I rather assumed I’d be quite happy not to think about DWJ for a good few months after. Naturally, in the week or so following, I reread all the Chrestomanci books, and out of order. All still great, but now I’m having all these thoughts about The Pinhoe Egg and it turns out I could probably think about DWJ forever.

Ava Chin, Eating Wildly: Review here. I enjoyed this.

Jared Shurin (ed), Irregularity: Review forthcoming. Mixed feelings, but there’s that Adam Roberts story and it is perfect, and there are E.J. Swift and James Smythe being pretty good at this writing thing too.

Susan Scarlett, Peter and Paul: I’m still failing to work out what this reminded me of. Weirdly moralistic, considering that Scarlett was a pseudonym of Noel Streatfeild. But I suppose that’s genre appropriate, and I did genuinely enjoy it.

E. Nesbit, The Story of The Treasure-Seekers, The Wouldbegoods: Always charmed by these, love Nesbit forever, etc. Perhaps I can make time to reread the Psammead books soon as well.

Georgette Heyer, These Old Shades, Devil’s Cub, Sylvester, Pistols for Two, The Foundling, The Corinthian, The Nonesuch, The Talisman Ring: I was exhausted and sick and retreated into Heyer. Where is the Talisman Ring caper movie we deserve?

Bernardine Evaristo, The Emperor’s Babe: I’ll have a piece on this on the blog in a day or so. The book is excellent, obviously.

Sophie Hannah, The Monogram Murders: This seems to have got some good reviews, which suggests that I am failing at reading it because I thought it was dreadful; inconsistent in voice, weak of plot, and generally poor on multiple levels.

Courtney Milan, Talk Sweetly To Me: I’ll have a piece on this on the blog soon also. It is not as perfect a thing as The Suffragette Scandal (but what could be?) but I enjoyed it anyway.

Deirdre Sullivan, Prim Improper: I bought this because the author is a) funny on twitter and b) compared to Anna Carey (who is great), and read it on a sick day and it was exactly what I needed. Just very kind and funny about adolescence and other people and rats and death.


4 Comments to “September Reading”

  1. Thoughts about Pinhoe Egg, eh?

    • It’s almost as if the prospect of an oppressed underclass being banished to a parallel world was in some way relevant to my interests!

      (Though mostly my thoughts are about family and betrayal, because that book has even more of those things, and has them even more starkly and painfully than the other Chrestomanci books)

      • It’s an esp weird, painful narrative, bc it makes this family a sham and yet retains the family structure (even enshrines it? always popping off to the Castle, etc.) and yet the book doesn’t want to have a real reckoning about things? It doesn’t want to tell me much about how these people live with this emotionally, how she deals with her father? I mean as ever, a DWJ ending feels like being hit by a van full of WTF, but this was uniquely–what, really? Idk if we’re supposed to feel Cat/Marianne is a natural dynastic next-step–there’s something about DWJ that sort of resists that, and something about the arc of these books as family saga that rather promotes it.

        • I think it works for me because I can absolutely see that playing out? I mean, in the earlier books in the series you don’t really have to spend that much time with the family members who would have killed or betrayed you, once you know that they would have–Gwendoline is in another world, the various villainous uncles are narratively disposed of, and in any case we don’t really inhabit the insides of the protagonists’ heads when they’re loving and trusting these characters; we DO see Marianne loving her dad. And maybe the fundamental discord of leaving that whole situation THERE rather than closing it off and excluding it from the narrative disturbs seeing the castle as this idealised chosen family and undercuts the possibility of Cat/Marianne?

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