Category Archives: Books and Reading

Curious Incident Followup

I test-drove The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time with my ninth graders.  We read and discussed the book in a single week.  For my largely special-ed classes, this was a fast, fast read.  Because of the language, the … Continue reading

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Posted in Books and Reading, literary criticism, YA | Leave a comment

In Praise of Fanny Price

I have been doing one of my semi-regular Jane Austen re-reads. Every time I find new things: This time I was chagrinned to realize the extent to which certain film versions had overwritten Miss Austen’s original text in my mind–not … Continue reading

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Posted in Books and Reading, Characters, regency, Writers on Writing | Tagged , | 22 Comments

Heroes, Protagonists, and the Beau Ideal

Not long ago I got into a discussion about John M. Ford, who I find always worth rereading. The particular book that sparked things off is The Dragon Waiting, about which I commented that I found the main character to be … Continue reading

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Posted in Books and Reading, fantasy, historical novels, History | Tagged , , , , , | 26 Comments

Wading Into Controversy

The school where I teach is adding some new books to the curriculum.  Yay!  I’ve been agitating for some changes to English 9 and English 12 because all the books and plays we read are by white men.  No minority … Continue reading

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Posted in Books and Reading, Education, literary criticism | 3 Comments

TOO LIKE THE LIGHTNING, and the Enchantment of Narrative Digression

                    I was recently rereading Maria Edgeworth’s two famous Irish novels, Castle Rackrent,  and The Absentee. Castle Rackrent was her first novel, and her shortest—and some consider it her best. The … Continue reading

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Posted in Books and Reading, science fiction, Writers on Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Epic Fantasy and Robert Jackson Bennett’s The Divine Cities

                  A string of fantastic (see what I did there?)  books got me thinking about how much fantasy has evolved since I first started combing library shelves for it more than fifty … Continue reading

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Posted in Books and Reading, fantasy | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Alma’s Bookshelf: “Secrets of Jin-shei”

Weave and spin, weave and spin… (When is China not China? or, What is this thing called fantasy, really?)   I spend half my life living in dreams, in alternate realities. That might sound bizarre to some, even verging on … Continue reading

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Posted in Books and Reading, fantasy, feminism, Genres, Historical fantasy, historical novels, Writers on Writing | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Spreading Branches of Romance

“It is only a novel… or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of … Continue reading

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Posted in Book View Cafe publications, Books and Reading, romance | Tagged , , , , | 26 Comments

The Language of (folding) Fans

The idea of using fans as a semaphore system is instant story fodder for a lot of us. As a young writer I gleefully grabbed that idea and ran with it, but it wasn’t until decades later, when I wrote more … Continue reading

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Posted in Books and Reading, Culture, History | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Alma’s Bookshelf: Empress

When it comes to European history, most Western readers know only the high points, know some of the names even if they can’t exactly nail down the place and the time. They know Rome, and the realms of ancient Greece; … Continue reading

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Posted in Book View Cafe, Book View Cafe publications, Books and Reading, fantasy, Genres, History, New Releases, Worldbuilding | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments