A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik, Romanian folklore, and some thoughts about perfectionism

Keeping in line with my inadvertent summer theme of fantasy novels, I recently turned the last page on A Deadly Education, the first book in Naomi Novik's projected Scholomance trilogy. This has been by far my favourite Naomi Novik book—for me, neither Uprooted nor Spinning Silver lived up to their hype. But this one I … Continue reading A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik, Romanian folklore, and some thoughts about perfectionism

Rereading Old Favourites: an Interlude (with Paper Dolls)

Literary paper dolls. Has anyone had a better idea, ever? I'm a little bit late to this party, but starting in May 2019, The Paris Review writer Julia Berick partnered with illustrator Jenny Kroik to create: "what us bookworm-clotheshorse child-adults have always wanted: literary paper dolls." The first one in the series was my very … Continue reading Rereading Old Favourites: an Interlude (with Paper Dolls)

Mothers, Daughters, and Jellyfish: Hot Milk by Deborah Levy

I just finished reading Hot Milk by Deborah Levy, and I have emerged from its pages feeling sunburned. The novel is set in Almería, in southeast Spain, on the Mediterranean Sea. It's an unfriendly landscape, with blazing sun, burning sand, and harsh salt. There are sweltering plastic greenhouses, unlovely gas canisters lining the beach, and … Continue reading Mothers, Daughters, and Jellyfish: Hot Milk by Deborah Levy

Witches, Sluts, Feminists by Kristen J. Sollée (plus a bit of a rant)

Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive by Kristen J. Sollée is a book with a solid premise at its core. It explores the history of women who have been (at times literally) demonized and persecuted, and draws parallels between the medieval and puritanical witch hunts; the women who in the early 20th century fought … Continue reading Witches, Sluts, Feminists by Kristen J. Sollée (plus a bit of a rant)

Culture-Making, Dirty Dancing, and #MeToo: Waiting for a Star to Fall by Kerry Clare

Well, here I am writing another post about another brand new book, in spite of my previous assertion that is something I rarely do. But sometimes you go where the wind blows, and this October it floated me over to Waiting for a Star to Fall by Kerry Clare. I am a big fan of … Continue reading Culture-Making, Dirty Dancing, and #MeToo: Waiting for a Star to Fall by Kerry Clare

More Questions than Answers: On Engaging with Problematic Texts

Well, there is terribly exciting news in the internet land of feminism and literature: the highly entertaining, scholarly, and thought-provoking Harry Potter podcast Witch, Please is back for a reboot! Let me back up. In the past several months, J. K. Rowling has caused great harm, and dismayed many a fan—including myself—by turning up the … Continue reading More Questions than Answers: On Engaging with Problematic Texts