Emma

Thumbs up for Essays on Russian Novelists by William Lyon Phelps. Literary criticism.

After I finish this *grrr* book I’m writing, my reward is going to be delving into Russian literature. (If you’re shocked that I consider this a reward—hi, I’m Emma! We clearly haven’t met.) It seemed like a good idea to do a little preparatory reading around the subject so I could know firstly, what to read, and secondly, what works are supposed to be satire, because it can sometimes be hard to judge that without context.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Flaneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London by Lauren Elkin. Sociology/Memoir.

A mishmash that works surprisingly well together: the history of women who walk in cities (flaneuses, to match the male term flaneurs); biography of some female writers like Jean Rhys, George Sand, and Martha Gellhorn; academic discussions on the social meaning of the suburb; the history of Paris; the plot of an art film; fragments of memoir from the author, which serve to keep it from being too academic.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Benjamin the True by Claudia Paley. Children’s fantasy.

Benjamin discovers a witch, Ellenwan, in a cellar in his otherwise ordinary town. She teaches him witchcraft. There aren’t many books that really make you believe in magic while you’re reading them. This is one of them.

“I am not leaving you behind because I think you are afraid, or because there is nothing for you to do.

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Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley and Me, Elizabeth by E. L. Konigsburg. Children’s.

Hmm. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy reading it, it just seemed a bit pointless at the end. There are better books about magic, about imagination, about friendship, about school in the 1960’s, and there are better books by E. L.… >> Read more