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Thursday, 20 November 2014

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Bellezza

I have long desired to read more of Isak Dineson, she seems a woman I'd have liked quite well.

Can't believe I read Deborah Harkness, I thought Discovery of Witches truly awful, although perhaps it just went in too long in The land of Young Adult.

I have Fog Island, too, and hope to read it in January. I'm so glad Michelle sent it to me as well. We'll have to chat when we read it, though you may get to it first.

Harriet Devine

Sorry about Deborah, but glad she was only a penny. I'm extremely taken with Matthew and fond of James Bond, too, at least in certain incarnations esp. Daniel Craig. I'm afraid this must reveal something about me that perhaps should remain in hidden. Still, at least you finished it. Hooray for the SNBs, anyway.

Helen

Hello Bellezza and Harriet!

You know, much as I adore her writing and believe that she was a remarkable woman, I suspect I'd have been terrified of Isak Dinesen in real life - or at least, in her later years - and she would probably have found me dull and a bore. However, I'd love to have seen one of her 'events' in New York, when she told stories and answered questions, and I imagine she'd have been wonderful at parties too.

My copy of Fog Island Mountains isn't a review copy - after my last ill-fated brush with review copies I am avoiding them and their obligations! Although I am confident that I am going to enjoy Michelle's book, so I am pretty sure I'll write about it here. Let's definitely chat about it!

As for Discovery of Witches, well, I found I enjoyed it despite myself and despite HORRIBLE Matthew and despite some (mainly) unquestioned moral assumptions and all its other flaws. I think it could happily have lost 250 pages (and Matthew ha ha!) but I did like the premise and the ideas and the stuff about alchemy, and when I feel the urge for some fluff again I will read the next part.

Harriet, if your fondness for Matthew reveals something about you, my extreme dislike of him must reveal something very iffy about me and alpha males. I don't usually have this reaction to characters, so it intrigued me a bit. I think it's actually a tribute to Harkness's writing. So I'm grateful to you really :)

And Daniel Craig is fabulous as James Bond. Although I also rather like Roger Moore as JB - there, I've admitted it on the internets, nobody will ever speak to me again.

litlove

I snorted my peppermint tea when I read the bit about our disembowelling of spoiler-merchants. Lol! But shhh! It's a secret. ;-) I have absolutely loved what Isak Dinesen I've read and I've been meaning to read her Seven Gothic Tales since Mr L gave them to me last Christmas. You remind me in a lovely way of their presence in the TBR pile.

Helen

Heh heh, litlove, it's hardly a secret, all SNB reviewers live in a dark world of fear and twitch when they hear a knock on the door... Oh go on, read them! I'd love to read your take on them.

Michelle

Dear Helen - I am absolutely touched that you're reading Fog Island Mountains, and I do hope you enjoy it. I think one of the more nerve-wracking elements of publishing is knowing that people whose reading tastes I admire will actually read my work.

I have Thurman's autobiography of Isak Dinesan as well and hope to read it over the holidays. I am fascinated by her life, and her writing. And I will look for The Angelic Avengers - so interesting that she disowned it eventually.

Helen

Ooops, Michelle, I've misled you! Dinesen wrote the novel under a pseudonym and denied that she had written it both then and for years afterwards. It was only in 1955 that she publicly admitted to being its author. I hope you enjoy the biography, it doesn't shy away from some of Dinesen's less palatable characteristics but is overall sympathetic to her. She was an amazing person, I think.

I started Fog Island Mountains on the bus yesterday and am loving it. Nerve-wracking indeed, but I hope you are also very proud, writing and publishing a good novel are impressive achievements.

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