Throughout the reading my mind often reflected back to Colleen McCullough’s collection. She remodelled Gaius Julius Caesar to her own interpretation and I sensed the same thing happening with Robert Fabbri’s Titus Flavivus Vespasianus. In this book he wastes little time in dispatching friend or foe (including his brutalised wife) into the next world with his trusty gladius. I can understand why this is a bestselling series with an ever-growing audience.
Geoff Nelder is one of those writers who seems to be able to work across multiple genres seamlessly. There’s always an element of action, a hint of steamy romance, and his trademark twist. In his latest novel, Xaghra’s Revenge, the twist is a mixture of history, science, horror and fantasy. The research that underlies this novel is obviously impeccable. The narrative is built on the true story of Turkish pirate Rais Dragut, a brutal and deranged man who, in 1551, captured the entire population of Gozo, one of the Maltese islands, and sold whoever survived the terrible journey into slavery in Northern Africa.
M. Jonathan Lee mesmerizingly develops each story with baby steps that allow the release of tension, which is not necessarily predicated on a joyous turn of events. Sometimes tragedy must happen for this change of perspective, of new awareness and conscience. Mother Nature carries us along in its snowy arms, but it’s human love, wrapping around our fingers, that happily delivers us.
There are plenty of yoga guides out there, and a very confusing set of different yoga styles and philosophies, but Nicola Jane Hobbs’ presents a particularly compelling approach that transcends style and focuses on practical application. For one thing, she’s seriously charismatic, demonstrating each pose with grace and clarity, and very openly using her own personal story of anorexia, OCD, depression and anxiety in order to provide real empathy and connection. For another, she’s not just another charismatic young ‘influencer’. Hobbs has serious qualifications in Yoga, Psychology, and Nutrition, and has clocked up many hours of experience which are put to good use in this very readable book.
While familiarity with and reverence for Plath’s work enhances the poems of Fig Tree in Winter, this collection is strong enough to stand on its own. Each poem is accessible and beautiful. The words and ideas are clear. The themes are relatable, and the thoughts which get explored are deep. Graue’s collection truly compliments Plath’s legacy.
The observations are visceral, coming from within a strong sense of the body. Thinness and its relationship to illness is a continual theme, though very different to the analytical approach of Small Acts of Disappearance. In Domestic Interior the perceptions are simultaneously more delicate and more intense, drawing the reader directly into the deepest heart of pain. The body and its relationship to food informs nearly every perception.
The lives of forgotten, marginalized persons – among them, people of other ethnicities to our own, and women – are in desperate need of recuperation. Many of those lives are fascinating, enlightening and inspiring, but if we seek deliberately to make them inspiring from our own positions of power and privilege, then we do them a grave disservice and perpetuate the historical imbalances that marginalized them in the first place.
I would have to say that Silver’s a romantic as well. In his Author’s Notes he comments that he named his Russian beauty after the blond beauty in the movie Doctor Zhivago. He even has a romantic triangle ending in tragedy, but not as you’d expect. One night I couldn’t sleep for wondering how the book would play out and I named all the characters, using most of the alphabet. There’s four ‘n’ names, though! Will you enjoy The Bookworm? I think so. Very much.
This novel is more than just another a period piece of fiction. Crowhurst has written an evocative experience: a time-machine back to three and a half centuries ago into a world so unlike the present day that it actually become entangled and is essentially involved in generating our present heritage. This is set in a time before those childhood nursery rhymes were yet to be constructed as political satire and when the Dutch were the current adversary. Mix up the wrong potion and you could be accused of witchcraft.
Anatomy of a Scandal reads like a story ripped from today’s headlines: a prominent man is accused of sexual harassment. I couldn’t put the book down—I actually felt edgy when I wasn’t reading it, almost like the story was an addiction.