This week has been dominated by work in the front yard – digging, digging, and more digging. It has been so much work that all I have managed to do this week is work on the yard and die on the couch – no writing, no reading other than book blogs. Thank goodness for book blogs as I have lived vicariously this week. And alas, I have had to turn in Half Blood Blues half read as it was due. I have put myself back on the list so that I can finish it.
Here is what caught my interest this week:
Leeswammes reviews Genus by Jonathan Trigell, a literary fiction dystopian novel set in England. The premise of the novel is the end of self-improvement due to genetic selection and imporvement. Now I have long said that when they completely map out the genetic code they will have found the “backing up” gene – a gene I lack (my friends have often laughed at my attempts to back up and they frequently offer to take over the wheel so we can get into the parking spot.) So a novel based on the idea of being able to choose the exact child you want from looks, to mental ability, to other traits is very intriguing. In Genus, Trigell creates two societies living side-by-side the Improved and the Unimproved – an underclass relegated to a ghetto. Needless to say there is tension, dissatisfaction, and a murder.
I may have mentioned before that my mother is a big fan of the Sitwells. She has a Sitwell section on her bookshelves. I grew up hearing the names Edith, Osbert, and Sacheverell. I was nicely surprised when researching author I had never heard of that she was a contemporary and friend of the Sitwells as well as Oscar Wilde. Fleur Fisher beautifully reviews Ada Leverson’s novel, The Limit, first published in 1911, a comedy of manners complete with a love triangle. When I see this about a book, it is hard to resist:
Every character is beautifully drawn and acutely absorbed, by an author who knows exactly when to display with, when to draw out pathos, when to shine a clear light, and does all of those things so very, very well.
This one may be hard to find (I would try through inter-library loan) but it is available for free on electronic readers.
Sylvia Townsend Warner was an English novelist and poet whose first novel, L0lly Willowes was published in 1926 and reviewed by Caroline of Beauty is a Sleeping Cat. Lolly is a 28 year old spinster when her father dies leaving her dependent on her brothers. Although she was left a small legacy, it is unseemly for her to live on her own. After 20 years of being the maiden aunt in her brother’s house she says enough is enough and goes to live in a small village on her own and eventually undergoes what may seem like a startling transformation but one that seems very fitting considering Lolly’s personality and passions.
Finally, I am writing this watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. A special shout out to England for being such gracious hosts and hosting a wonderful Olympics. It has been added fun to read the British book bloggers during this time and getting their impressions of the games. Dove Grey Reader has put together a wonderful list of books set in London – perfect for those of you who want more of this great city.