Book review: How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

“How to Build a Girl” is, as the title suggests, a semi-autobiographical account of a girl’s teenage years of self discovery or invention. The close similarity of the title to Moran’s earlier, non-fictional book, “How to be a Woman” has led some readers to see this book as a sequel of sorts, which is entirelyContinue reading “Book review: How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran”

Book review: The Book of Dave by Will Self

“The Book of Dave” has been on my “should get round to reading at some point” list for some time now, having read the blurb and been curious about where the author would take the idea. Having said that, the scenario of this novel is startlingly unoriginal. The world has suffered a catastrophe, and theContinue reading “Book review: The Book of Dave by Will Self”

Book review: Hitler, A Study in Tyranny, by Alan Bullock

This is probably the definitive Hitler biography, against which all others are judged. It was originally published in 1952, seven short years after the end of the Second World War, and despite some subsequent updating; it inevitably shows its age. Since 1952 we have learnt a lot more about the history of the Third Reich,Continue reading “Book review: Hitler, A Study in Tyranny, by Alan Bullock”

Book review: The Professor by Charlotte Bronte (2)

Written in 1846, although not published during her lifetime, The Professor is a largely autobiographical account of Charlotte’s two years teaching in Belgium. Her attempt to narrate the story through a male character is at best a mixed success. There is, as with Villette, a degree of wish fulfillment, as the romance is successfully concludedContinue reading “Book review: The Professor by Charlotte Bronte (2)”

Supplementary: The Professor by Charlotte Bronte – inadvertent smuttiness?

Here’s a fun game for anyone finding 19th century romantic literature just a little too slow – “spot the subconscious sexual metaphor”. These novels invariably put young men and women in the prime of their lives in close proximity, and despite every attempt to restrain their sexual impulses, it just can’t help bursting through. Usually natureContinue reading “Supplementary: The Professor by Charlotte Bronte – inadvertent smuttiness?”