Monthly Archives: March 2012

Robin Hoods or feudal lords?

Most of my acquaintances are thieves. They can afford to buy books, music, DVDs, games and apps, but they don’t. They pretend that there’s an ethical distinction between stealing a printed book from a shop and downloading a pirated e-book. They would be offended by the suggestion that they’re criminals who rob musicians, photographers, film makers, writers and software developers.

Read more

The Fabulous Miss Fisher

Has Kerry Greenwood ever been nominated for a Barbara Jefferis Award? She should be. Miss Phryne Fisher is independent, brave, confident and caring. She respects herself and other women. She knows who she is and what she wants. She also knows how to laugh. The best thing about Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is the delightful Miss Fisher herself — sassy, self-assured

Read more

Sexist by design

Two award-winning writers. Each writes a historical novel, one set in the eighteenth century, the other in the nineteenth. Both novels feature a young female prostitute in London. Both novels are frank and unsentimental about prostitution. One of the book covers features a sepia-tinted  photo of a city at night. A man could pick this book off the shelf without

Read more

The Bellwether Revivals

I underestimated The Bellwether Revivals in my previous post. Yes, I would agree with reviewers who say that Benjamin Wood’s book, with its dysfunctional and wealthy family in crisis, its love triangle, its debate about faith and scepticism, owes a debt to Brideshead Revisited. (If, as Christopher Booker claims, there are only seven basic plots available, then such debts are

Read more

A note of madness

What I’m reading now: The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood “They heard the caterwaul of sirens, and saw the dust rising underneath the ambulance wheels at the far end of the driveway, and soon the darkening garden was a wash of flashing blue lights. It only seemed real when they told the paramedics where to find the bodies.” Something about

Read more