Book review: ‘Clarissa’, by Samuel Richardson, 1748, volumes 3 & 4

Back to ‘Clarissa’.  At the end of book 2, Clarissa has taken the bold, if not foolhardy step of running away from her family home with the blaggard Lovelace. While it looks to the rest of the world as if this was an elopement, the actual events were more confused – Clarissa intended to tellContinue reading “Book review: ‘Clarissa’, by Samuel Richardson, 1748, volumes 3 & 4”

Comment: Different types of reading

When presented with a list of “must read before you die/turn 50/graduate” novels, the instinctive response is to run down the list saying “read/not read/read” etc. In other words we treat the question of whether we have read a novel as a binary yes/no matter. But if you think about it for a moment, that’sContinue reading “Comment: Different types of reading”

Book review: Clarissa, by Samuel Richardson, 1748 – Volume 2

Volume 2 of ‘Clarissa’ is extraordinarily like volume 1 – Clarissa’s family send various people to try to persuade her to comply with their wishes, she in reply explains her adamantine opposition to Mr Solmes. Lovelace, the libertine suitor who her family have rejected, lurks in the background, waiting for his opportunity. Every word isContinue reading “Book review: Clarissa, by Samuel Richardson, 1748 – Volume 2”

Book review: Clarissa Harlowe, or the history of a young lady, by Samuel Richardson, 1748

Further subtitled “Comprehending the most Important Concerns of Private Life. And particularly shewing, The Distresses that may attend the Misconduct Both of Parents and Children, In Relation to Marriage“. The good news is that I have finally finished volume one of ‘Clarissa’. The bad news – for me – is that I have another eightContinue reading “Book review: Clarissa Harlowe, or the history of a young lady, by Samuel Richardson, 1748”

Book review: The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan, 1678

Subtitled ‘From This World to That Which Is to Come; Delivered under the Similitude of a Dream’. This is the third time I have recently tried to read ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ – each time previously I gave up simply due to lack of interest. Bunyan’s style is said to be straightforward, but I found the insistentContinue reading “Book review: The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan, 1678”

Book review: The Fifth Child, by Doris Lessing, 1988

This disturbing novella by Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing was very different from what I expected it to be. The cover of the Paladin paperback edition is illustrated by what I immediately recognised as an enchanting picture of an impish young child by Mervyn Peake. As well as being one of my all-time favourite authors (andContinue reading “Book review: The Fifth Child, by Doris Lessing, 1988”

Book review: The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939-45 by Nicholas Stargardt, 2015

I don’t think we can ever understand too much about how the Second World War and the Holocaust happened – nor can we ever reach a complete understanding of these events. The approach Stargardt uses in this masterly, sweeping portrait of the German nation during the war is to describe events through the diaries andContinue reading “Book review: The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939-45 by Nicholas Stargardt, 2015”

Book review: The Beginning of Spring, by Penelope Fitzgerald, 1988

‘The Beginning of Spring’ tells the story of the Reid family. Living in Moscow, (although originally from Salford and Norbury), the Reid’s are Frank, a printer, his wife Nellie, and their three lively children. The novel opens with Nellie’s apparently sudden decision to leave her husband and travel back to England. This breakup provides aContinue reading “Book review: The Beginning of Spring, by Penelope Fitzgerald, 1988”

Book review: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, by Jon Ronson, 2015

This book tells the salutory stories of people who were publicly shamed – and then pilloried, sacked, disgraced and hounded to severe depression and worse – for posting inappropriate comments and pictures on social media. In most cases the online response was massively disproportionate compared to the original offence. Ronson goes on to discuss publicContinue reading “Book review: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, by Jon Ronson, 2015”

Book review: The Green Man, by Kingsley Amis, 1969

Kingsley Amis spent his whole career not writing a successful follow up to his great first novel,  ‘Lucky Jim’. I loved ‘Lucky Jim’ when I first read it several decades ago, and while the passage of years has eroded that affection somewhat, at the time it lead me to read as much Amis as IContinue reading “Book review: The Green Man, by Kingsley Amis, 1969”