The Canterbury Tales – drunkenness, fart jokes and arse-kissing

The Canterbury Tales was written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the late 14th century. It’s 24 very different short stories held together by the idea that a group of pilgrims are travelling together from London to Canterbury and decide to have a story-telling competition. It’s worth reading for a lot of reasons (and there are plentyContinue reading “The Canterbury Tales – drunkenness, fart jokes and arse-kissing”

What Robinson Crusoe Did Before The Shipwreck

You may have guessed this if you’ve been following me for any length of time, but I read a lot. As well as stuff I pick up because it looks interesting, I’ve also got a ‘100 books you should have read’ list that I’m very slowly working my way through when I’m not distracted byContinue reading “What Robinson Crusoe Did Before The Shipwreck”

Watching TV

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke is a science fiction novel published in 1953. It is about aliens coming to Earth and taking over in a completely non-violent way. Basically, they see what an utter mess we’re making of everything – all the war, bigotry, cruelty to animals, and so forth – and they stepContinue reading “Watching TV”

Young vs Old

A couple of months ago I discussed Tolstoy short stories and how people of different generations discussed each other. Seeing as Wilkie Collins was alive and writing around the same time as Tolstoy (and they both had great beards), I thought I’d return to the subject through his eyes. The Woman in White was firstContinue reading “Young vs Old”

The future… as seen from the early 1980s

Let’s talk about graphic novels for a change. If you’ve been following me for any length of time you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I read a lot across all sorts of genres. I’m currently reading Portrait of a Mutant written by Alan Grant. The graphic novel was published in 2002, a reprintContinue reading “The future… as seen from the early 1980s”

The Lord of the Limited Colour Palette

A couple of months ago, I was talking about Odd Colours in the Odyssey, about how Ancient Greek didn’t have a word for ‘blue’ (which I think is pretty interesting, go take a look if you missed it). In the comments, calmgrove got me interested in another related topic – the use of colour descriptionsContinue reading “The Lord of the Limited Colour Palette”

Purple Facial Hair

The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope is weighty tome, getting on for 1000 pages, but is mostly an easy read – lots of characters living their lives, all interesting folk and many of whom are deeply morally ambiguous, against a backdrop of political satire and a biting response to the recent financial scandals.Continue reading “Purple Facial Hair”

A Thinking Horse

Anton Chekhov was a Russian writer who lived in the late 19th/early 20th century. He was a pretty good playwright but I’d say his short-stories are his best work. I’m not alone is thinking that either; even Wikipedia says he’s ‘considered to be among the greatest writers of short fiction in history’ (although it doesn’tContinue reading “A Thinking Horse”

The Best Linen And Cambric For Her Underclothing

Middlemarch by George Eliot (or rather by Mary Ann Evans writing under that pseudonym) was published in 1871/2 and is about the lives of characters in a fictional English Midlands town. There’s a lot of focus on marriage, family, courtship, hypocrisy and disgrace, and it’s generally considered her best work, but today I’m just goingContinue reading “The Best Linen And Cambric For Her Underclothing”

Victorian Gammon

I know that I’ve written about Dickens a few times now – my first ever post was about the dinosaur at the start of Bleak House – but, well, posts about his work pretty much write themselves. I’ve talked specifically about Nicholas Nickleby before, and I still maintain that the bit about The United MetropolitanContinue reading “Victorian Gammon”

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