Servants

As a dyed-in-the-wool Tolkien fan, I have read the Silmarillion, which covers arguably the whole history of Middle-Earth. It doesn’t just tell us the First Age legend of Beren and Luthien, and the Second Age drama of Numenor’s downfall. It also contains a delightful section...

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Spoiling “Ordeal by Innocence”

(Warning: contains serious spoilers for “Ordeal by Innocence”, both the novel by Agatha Christie, and the TV adaptation scripted by Sarah Phelps.) Quite a few people who have nothing better to do than gripe on social media, like myself, have been expressing strong views about a...

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Time travel with magic by IS

My friend and cover-artist Ian Storer has previously written for this blog. He will shortly be publishing “Taken Things”, the first in a series of tales set around the so-called Unnatural History Museum, the workplace of Dr Speedwell and Polly Nightingale. I asked him to...

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The book and the book

(I have no intention of explaining how the dialogue which I now offer to the public fell into my hands.) Paperback book: Buy me! Buy me! I am handsome and traditional, and completely distinct from all my brothers and sisters. We are all beautiful individuals. Electronic book:...

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Ursula Le Guin

I think Ursula Le Guin was the first author who I noticed wrote both for children and adults. Long before JK Rowling was writing children’s fantasy, and schools of magic, there was the wonderful and prolific Diana Wynne Jones. Her first book, “Wilkins’ Tooth”, was published...

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30th November one day late

A belated Happy St Andrew’s Day to you all! St Andrew is of course the patron saint (whatever that means) of Scotland, and also of a few other places, including Russia. For most Scots, this today means a day to celebrate Scottishness, and a rather arresting...

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An unamiable trade

I’ve fairly recently finished reading William Hague’s lengthy biography (500+ pages) of William Wilberforce, the independent MP and evangelical Christian who spent twenty years campaigning in Parliament for the abolition of the slave trade. His efforts eventually led to the Slave Trade Act of 1807. This...

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A review of the Review

Weekends have their rituals, and along with church, laundry and the daytime company of my son and husband, my ritual is the Saturday Guardian. The Guardian is a daily paper, available in print and online, but the Saturday version is the fat one. The one with...

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Books in instalments, and literary structure

I thought I’d be a bit booksy today. I’ve recently been reading two novels, one 19th and one 21st century. The first was “The Eustace Diamonds” by Anthony Trollope, first published in monthly instalments in 1873. I had read it before in my teenage Trollope Period. The...

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Being grumpy about books

For family reasons, this week's post is a day early. What turns you off a book? I’m in a small book club (two members) which is very enjoyable. However, I’ve noticed that when I know I’m going to be asked for intelligent comment, my beady eye searches...

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