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Category Archives: Literature

The Fellowship of the Ring

I first read The Lord of the Rings almost 50 years ago. Subsequently I have reread it at least twice. I often have wanted to do another rereading, but as Bilbo is preparing for his birthday party, I realize that I can quote many of the next lines before I turn the page. It could […]

Two Years Before the Mast

“A Clipper at Sunset,” Edward Moran, 1829-1901. Whenever I have one of my fits of despair that writers can’t write anymore, I look for a classic to read. This led me to Richard Henry Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast. My main interest in this book was Dana’s account of sailing around the Horn from […]

Sixth Column — Robert A. Heinlein, 1941

Once again, unable to find any new (or newish) science fiction that I wanted to read, I turned to an oldie — Robert A. Heinlein’s Sixth Column, which was first published in 1941. Of course it’s dated, but part of the fun of old science fiction classics is the nostalgia. It’s recognizably Heinlein, though — […]

ᚱᚢᚾᛖᛊ : Escaping with Anglo-Saxon

With Lily. We escape together. Among the teetering stacks of books by my bed, I always keep some books for what I call fill-in reading. This is light reading for short reading sessions — for example, when I know that I’m going to fall asleep after only a page or two. One such book is […]

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World ★★★★

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World. C.A.Fletcher. Orbit, 2019. 384 pages. This incredible book has renewed my faith that people can still write superb and beautiful novels. It’s what we call a hot read. I had to keep telling myself to slow down, because the constant suspense made me want […]

A portrait I wish I had shot

Christopher Tolkien. New York Times photo by Josh Dolgin. Click for high-resolution version. I hope I am not inviting copyright trouble here. The extraordinary photo above is linked to a New York Times URL; I have not downloaded a copy of it. The photo accompanies the New York Times’ obituary for Christopher Tolkien, son of […]

His Dark Materials ★★★☆

Until the next truly smashing science fiction or fantasy series comes along, His Dark Materials will help a bit to tide us over. Some reviewers seem to think that it’s a Game of Thrones knockoff. It looks more like Harry Potter to me. Still, there are strong elements of originality. A big part of what […]

But is it good writing?

The New Republic’s excellent obituary for Gene Wolfe points out that, as Notre Dame cathedral was burning back in April, word was flying around the Internet that Gene Wolfe had died. Lots of readers saw the strangeness of the coincidence, because, near the end of The Shadow of the Torturer, the narrator Severian sees what […]

Nigel Tranter

I wish I could say that the prolific historical novelist Nigel Tranter left us with a rich and readable lode of historical novels set in Scotland. Unfortunately, I cannot say that, having just finished Sword of State. Sword of State opens in the year 1214, when the young Patrick, the 5th Earl of Dunbar, is […]

New title from Acorn Abbey Books

Denial will be released September 16 Acorn Abbey is proud to have Jonathan Rauch as the newest Acorn Abbey author. The book is Denial: My 25 Years Without a Soul. The book will be released September 16 in a paperback edition and digital editions. This actually is a new, revised edition of this book. It […]