It has been an interesting week here in the Hinterland with blue skies, rain, and snow not to mention birds that think it is spring. I have been reading from Himself’s newest science fiction anthology picking stories here and there and I have also picked up a book of essays called The Collected What If?: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been edited by Roberty Cowley. These historians take a particular point in history and write about what would have happened if things were different, i.e. The Emancipation Proclamation wasn’t issued. Very interesting so far. And I watched my last Oscar movie – Beasts of the Southern Wild – it is definitely a movie that will take some time to process. Eldest is putting on some finishing touches to getting ready for his Oscar party tonight, just need to make a double batch of lasagne. It will be really fun to watch this year, the only year I have seen all the best nominated films.
Here is what caught my interest this week:
Several bloggers (Dolce Bellezza and The Boston Bibliophile among them) have reviewed books by Edward St. Aubyn. Never Mind and Bad News are the first of five in St. Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose series which is based on the author’s own life covering such themes as death, alcoholism, addiction, recovery, parenthood, the gamut of dysfunctional life. My mother read this series and raved about it. While the subject may seem depressing, I have heard the writing is excellent.
Since alternative history is well loved in our house, Mary Whipple reminds me once again of one of the pinnacles of that genre, Harry Turtledove’s Ruled Britannia where England does not defeat the Spanish Armada and is now ruled by Spain. Turtledove also has a series of novels about the Confederacy winning the civil war and enduring as a separate nation. His latest series is about an alternative WW II. Ruled Britannia is a stand alone book if you don’t want to invest the time in a long series of books.
Amélie Nothomb seems to becoming popular. Last week I mentioned Savidge Reads review of The Character of Rain and this week The Boston Bibliophile reviews Life Form, where an obese U.S. soldier stationed in Iraq writing as a fan to Amélie. The novel is narrated by Amélie. Like Hygiene and the Assassin, this novel seems to discuss fact and fiction, the nature and place of authorship, and being fat. But this time, Nothomb adds the issues of war and the damage it can inflict on individuals.