Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tuesday's bits and pieces

The Austin Chronicle has a very detailed article on Anya Seton's oeuvre, particularly in reference to the Chicago Review Press reissues. Unlike the article's author, I like the covers; the pre-Raphaelite image on the cover of Avalon isn't exactly historically accurate, but it's preferable to the very plain cover on the 1960s paperback I own. Romance fans be warned, this piece isn't very complimentary of the genre.

Now that the embargo of Charles Frazier's Thirteen Moons has elapsed (as of today) you'll be seeing reviews everywhere. Including the New York Times (Michiko Kakutani), Christian Science Monitor (Erik Spanberg), USA Today (Jocelyn McClurg). I won't be doing a full review here, but it brought me out of a 2-month reading slump, and I honestly thought it was brilliant. We've discussed the power of humor in historical fiction here before, and the narrator, Will Cooper, utters a line around p.50-something that made me laugh out loud. I highly recommend it, despite the fact that the love story, imho, isn't as poignant as it could have been. Oh, and avoid the Entertainment Weekly review at all costs if you plan to read the book, as it contains a horrible spoiler.

A Q&A with Emma Darwin, author of The Mathematics of Love, which is out in the UK now; it'll be published next January in the US. From an Australian TV news show.

From the Yorkshire Post: Barbara Taylor Bradford relocates the usual Wars of the Roses suspects to Edwardian times in the first novel in her Ravenscar Dynasty saga. Anyone read this, or plan to?

Finally, a lengthy interview with Barry Unsworth on The Ruby in Her Navel, from Scotland on Sunday.

I did finish the historical fantasy novel I mentioned on the 27th, by the way, and the review's been written. Now I'm reading Fay Sampson's The Land of Angels. Hope to post a review sometime later this week, assuming I finish it quickly.


  1. You know, I still haven't read or seen Cold Mountain, but this one definitely sounds good!

  2. One of these days I should read Cold Mountain (or see the movie) - I already know the basic plotline.

    Thirteen Moons is slow-going, and isn't strong on plot early on, but I admit I enjoyed the first part of the novel the most.

  3. Anonymous2:10 PM

    I would recommend COLD MOUNTAIN to you, although it's beautifully written imho, it isn't easy going, either; in fact, I ended up reading it twice (for a book discussion) and on the second reading I liked it much better. The movie is quite lovingly filmed and although I'm not a Kidman or Law fan, they gave decent performances, and the film for the most part followed the book. Charles Frazier actually consulted on the film and gave his stamp of approval.
    Book or movie, either one is worth the time investment.
    I imagine I'll read Thirteen Moons as well.

  4. Thanks for that link to the article on Seton, who has been top-of-mind for me lately.

    I included the lurid Devil Water cover on my blog posting of Aug. 31. It really is an atrocious relic of that era of paperback covers!

  5. Margaret - that Devil Water cover is just horrible! It looks like it should be sold at an occult bookstore.

    Mike - it took me well over a week to read Thirteen Moons, and I was reading every evening, plus on the weekend. Beautifully written, but slow. I'd started Cold Mountain a while back but didn't get past the first few pages - the Civil War isn't a favorite era of mine. It doesn't help that someone I used to work with spoiled the story for me, but I guess the plot isn't a huge secret anymore.