Tag: England

Jul 23 2016

All Clear by Connie Willis

All Clear, which picks up right where Blackout left off and comprises the second part of an 1100-page story, would have been a brilliant book at about half or two-thirds of its 640-page length. The ending has emotional power; it resolves the main question running through the books and ties up the characters’ individual tales …

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Jul 18 2016

Blackout by Connie Willis

Reading Connie Willis is always, sentence by sentence, a delight. Her characters are sympathetic and interesting to spend time with; conflicts usually arise from misunderstandings, or from the nature of a situation. Some few people are jerks, some are hurt and acting out, but that’s just like life, isn’t it? Willis also appears to have …

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Dec 31 2014

A History of Britain Volume II: The Wars of the British 1603-1776 by Simon Schama

The first half of this book, on the English Civil War, the Commonwealth, and the early Restoration, was rather difficult to get through. The book really takes off in the final chapter, in which Schama explores the problems and contradictions of Britain’s imperial destiny. With consummate irony he describes the way in which British orators …

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Dec 08 2014

A Monarchy Transformed: Britain 1603-1714 by Mark Kishlansky

The introduction conveys the author’s enthusiasm for the study of this period, but the expectation of excitement rapidly peters out in what amounts to a rather dull narrative. Nevertheless, this was a time of tremendous change and development in British history. Aside from the Civil War, the Commonwealth, the Restoration, and the Glorious Revolution, this …

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Nov 28 2014

New Worlds, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors, 1485-1603 by Susan Brigden

A pretty good account of what has to me always seemed like the most exciting and inspiring era of English history. There was a lot more discussion of Irish history than I looked for in a book about Tudor England, and there was almost no discussion at all of the cultural achievements of the Renaissance, …

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Oct 01 2014

Shades of Milk & Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

Delight is something I probably shouldn’t inquire too deeply about, so I will simply say that Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal was a delight. I knew that Regency romances were a Thing, and I knew that not having read Jane Austen is a gap in my education, and so I am …

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Dec 22 2013

A History of Britain, Volume I: At the Edge of the World? 3000 BC – AD 1603

An extremely good source of British medieval history, with detailed information on the rebellions of Simon de Montfort and Wat Tyler that I have not been able to find in other sources. Readable and enjoyable.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2013/12/22/a-history-of-britain-volume-i-at-the-edge-of-the-world-3000-bc-ad-1603/

Jun 15 2013

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

In this memoir, which one gathers is at least semi-non-fictional, Orwell takes a voluntary excursion into poverty to see how the other half lives. He accepts most of the miseries of dire poverty with literary good humor, but all of this in the end is grist for his socialist mill. He seems genuinely indignant that …

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Mar 11 2013

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

This book is quite simply the most enthralling work of fiction that I have read in the last twenty years. The building of a cathedral in itself is not terribly interesting; what is interesting is the way in which individuals thrown upon their own resources struggle to survive in a harsh medieval world. And the …

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Sep 22 2012

A Clergyman’s Daughter by George Orwell

Most of us are familiar with Animal Farm and 1984; this story of a clergyman’s daughter living in 1930’s England is far more grim and depressing than any of Orwell’s totalitarian dystopias. Orwell the freethinker sees the Christian life as nothing but unrelieved hypocrisy, cant, and flummery, a way of making you feel like you …

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