Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Catching Up: Bookish Miscellany, with a Special Note on Loins

I haven’t done a lot of focused reading in the past week or so–I blame (but very much welcomed!) my visiting parents, for diverting me with conversation. I also blame my daughter, who celebrated her 10th birthday on the weekend–an occasion involving much festivity but also, in advance, much planning, bustling, and shopping. Not that […]

Reading Around: Spinoza, Dickens, and … Ruxton?

Apparently Spinoza’s philosophical “stock” is rising: Another scientist who was passionately Spinozist (going so far as to write him a gushing poem) was Albert Einstein. In Spinoza’s conception of nature, he recognised intuitions matching his own, concerning the elusive unified field theory. Einstein also relied on Spinoza to get him out of trouble when queried […]

Weekend Miscellany: Linking About

Weekends are a pretty miscellanous time for me. I don’t usually even try to do much concentrated reading, though occasionally I surprise myself and burn through a book when circumstances conspire, for once, in my favor (or the book does not require particularly hard concentration). But in between errands and cooking and laundry and family […]

March Reading Plans

International Women’s Day seems like a fitting occasion to declare that I have had enough of the intensely masculine atmosphere of police procedurals for a while. I have now read 5 of the Martin Beck books and while I think they are very good of their kind, it is still not the kind that best […]

A Look Ahead

I’m not quite ready to do my annual year-end post as the year isn’t over and there’s more novel reading to be done! But I have been unwrapping all kinds of goodies which I will be reading and reviewing in 2011. A few years ago we decided that opening all the Christmas presents in one […]

Good Reading for All

I seem to have little to say for myself right now. I blame the end of term for the mental clutter it creates (there’s physical clutter, too, of course, but that’s more easily dealt with). Luckily, there are lots of other people writing interesting things about books. For instance, the December issue of Open Letters […]

Recent Reading: In Brief

OK, I got the review in to those taskmasters at OLM and now I can risk doing a little fresh blogging–though at this point I’m just going to play catch-up. I feel as if I’m in another of those reading slumps, which inevitably lead to blogging slumps unless I’m very disciplined: it’s not much fun […]

Kathryn Hughes on The Mill on the Floss

At the Guardian, Kathryn Hughes (author of this excellent biography of George Eliot) writes about the autobiographical resonance of The Mill on the Floss: Unusually for such an intensely autobiographical novel, The Mill on the Floss was not Eliot’s first work of fiction, but her third. Shortly before it came out she explained to a […]

From the Archives: Olivia Manning, The Fortunes of War

One of the many enticing volumes in the NYRB Classics series is Olivia Manning’s The Balkan Trilogy. I wish this nice edition had been available when I went on a quest for The Balkan Trilogy and its sequel, The Levant Trilogy, to read a couple of years ago; I had to settle for musty second-hand […]

How happy the lot of the mathematician!

From W. H. Auden’s essay “Writing”: How happy the lot of the mathematician! He is judged solely by his peers, and the standard is so high that no colleague or rival can ever win a reputation he does not deserve. No cashier writes a letter to the press complaining about the incomprehensibility of Modern Mathematics […]

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