Showing posts from August, 2014

Rainey Royal by Dylan Landis

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I have been an irregular reader of late. Time seems steadily to slip out of my grasp. Few books hold my attention lately: Rainey Royal by Dylan Landis, which I read in two feverish sittings, tops the list right now. 

Like its gorgeous cover, the book is random pages torn out and stuck together, a collage of a life or two. It is not a novel in the strictest sense. It is a series of incidents fit together in loose chronology.

Rainey Royal by Dylan Landis is set in Greenwich Village in the 1970s. Rainey Royal lives with her father, jazz musician Howard Royal and his cult of acolytes, groupies and aspiring musicians. Her mother has left the family to live in an ashram, and under her father's neglect, Rainey fends off advances from his best friend Gordy. She stumbles through life trying to nurture her creative drive, praying to Saint Cath - the patron of temptation, staying barely out of trouble, along with her fri…

The Magic of Historical Fiction

(There may be many other reasons to love historical fiction, and seeing how it’s so incredibly popular, there must be. I've touched upon a few, so tell me if you agree or have anything to add!)
Image courtesy of Simon Howden at
It took a lot of restraint for me to only pick one Literature course at the university. The first class went on and on about historical fiction and its appeal, in the context of Shakespeare's plays. It's a topic I happen to have been wondering about for a long time now. It's been maybe a year since my obsession with fantasy gravitated completely onto historical fiction.
For the past three months, I have been obsessed (and that is still an understatement) with the Iliad, in its original form and as a retelling and reimagining. I suppose that we cannot call the Iliad strictly history; to have Pallas Athena actively and literally intervening on the side of the Greeks is naturally impossible. But that's the thing about his…

Wenlock Edge by Alice Munro

Wenlock Edge by Alice Munro is a story from the collection Too Much Happiness. This is one of those stories by Munro that you can read in the New Yorker (although the book version is slightly modified and more impactful, so do try to get your hands on the book.) I've been tackling the book fairly slowly, which is a nice idea considering the layered complexity of Munro's stories. The only story from the book I've blogged about before is Fiction, which I read over three months ago.
Wenlock Edge followed a college student, living as a tenant in the attic of an old house, and her new roommate, Nina, a young girl with a terrible past. A series of unfortunate affairs, Nina told the narrator, had led to her making an arrangement with a certain Mr. Purvis. The old gentleman had arranged for Nina to attend college like any other girl on the weekdays and the spend the weekends with him. Nina seemed sincerely grateful to the man, until the narrator noticed that she rarely wrote in h…

Negative Reviews, Stickers and Other Pet Peeves

Moving to a new city, leaving th comfeort of my home, looking forward (not) to two years of university life made me dig up this old draft about things that make me uncomfortable: my bookish pet peeves. I suppose two years will turn me into a very accommodating person, I can only hope, but you have to admit, finicky obsessions do have their personal touch.

Review / Blogging:

Negative Reviews: Of course, there are whole big complicated annoying discussions about this one. But my problem is not whether negative reviews are morally right or wrong, but simply this: do bad reviews really affect your decision to buy? Ever since I started writing this blog, I have discovered many great authors through rave reviews of their books. Five-star reviews and unending praise do play a part in convincing me to pick up a book. Negative reviews, unless I've already read the book, are kind of pointless. I've never decided to not buy a book because someone thinks it SUCKS -  It's just someone …