Women in Translation Month: “What You Can See from Here,” by Mariana Leky

Mariana Leky’s lovely novel, What You Can See from Here, translated from German by Tess Lewis, is one of the most charming books of the summer. After reading half of my free e-book copy, I rushed to the bookstore and purchased the book. Sometimes I need to see the physical pages, and especially if I want to pass it on to someone else. I also love the colorful jacket design, which depicts pink trees blooming with white flowers and a pink ocapi against a pink and purple background.

You can read the rest of my review at my new blog, Thornfield Hall Redux. The link is:


On the Shelves of a Small-Town Bookstore

I have posted a new entry at Thornfield Hall Redux, “On the Shelves of a Small-Town Bookstore.” 

Here is the link:  https://thornfieldhallredux.blogspot.com/2021/08/on-shelves-of-small-town-bookstore.html 

Here is an excerpt:

“Oh, thank God!  They’re not censoring books here.”  

”Wasn’t this banned?” my friend Janet asked.

 “As good as,” I said.      

While browsing in a small-town bookstore, we were astonished to find Blake Bailey’s controversial biography of Philip Roth, which was withdrawn by its publisher, W. W. Norton, after Blake was accused of sexual harassment and abuse. Mind you, he was accused, but neither tried nor convicted. That is the way the system works nowadays.  Blake, whom Roth had chosen as his biographer, was fortunate to find a new publisher in Skyhorse.  In a statement about their acquisition of the book, Skyhorse quoted the Authors Guild….

The Eclectic Work of Joanna Russ: Feminist Science Fiction & Literary Criticism

Read my new post at Thornfield Hall Redux.

Joanna Russ (1937-2011), a literary critic and English professor at the University of Washington, is best known for her feminist science fiction novel, The Female Man (1975). I recently discovered her charming first novel, Picnic on Paradise (1968), included in the Library of America volume, American Science Fiction: Four Classics (1968-1969), and also write here about her book of literary criticism, How to Suppress Women’s Writing.

Here is the link:


Virtue and Villainy in “Little Dorrit”: Little Dorrit vs. Miss Wade

  Little Dorrit is far from my favorite novel by Dickens, but that is its  charm and novelty. I do not know it by heart, and that makes it seem almost new.  Indeed, I am afraid of getting jaded if I reread my favorite Dickens books too often.  I never want to lose the ability to laugh at the adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, or Mr. Micawber’s financial advice: “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.” 

You can read the rest of this post on Little Dorrit at:


Charlotte Armstrong’s “A Dram of Poison”

Charlotte Armstrong, often called the Queen of Suspense, is my latest literary discovery.  Her plots are shatterproof, her characters ordinary yet memorable, and her fast-paced prose seems effortless.  Armstrong’s books often have a hint of California noir, and two of them have been made into movies, The Unsuspected (1945) and Mischief (1950).

What I didn’t know is that she could be so funny. I loved  A Dram of Poison, a gentle comedy of suspense.

You can read the rest of this post at:


Science Fiction Ads for the Literati

There is a new post at Thornfield Hall Redux, “Science Fiction for the Literati.”

“I love skimming ads in old science fiction books.  Commercialism may corrupt us, but I also am an avid reader of book ads in The New York Review of Books.  Still, SF paperbacks have the most amusing ads.  Smack in the middle of a back page that urged me, “Buy them at your local bookstore or use coupon on next page for ordering,” I found the title of a hitherto unfamiliar book, The Elephant and the Kangaroo by T. H. White. ”

Read the rest at