Showing posts from January, 2023

A January Riffle of Reviews

I've been having a good reading month!  Here are some of the more notable books I read in January.  I've also joined a daily chapter of Les Miserables , which I'm really liking so far, and I'm reading Letters From Russia , the record of a Frenchman's 1839 tour.  It's fascinating, and also nearly 700 pages long, so it will take me a while.  The Wife of the Gods , by Kwei Quartey -- the first in a series, or at least a pair, of detective stories from Ghana.  Darko Dawson is a CID man in Accra, and he's called to his mother's ancestral village (now a town) to investigate the murder of a young medical student.  As Darko wends his way through a maze of local politics, traditional beliefs, and family history, he is also wrestling with some of his own demons.  It's a good, solid mystery with great characters and lots of cultural detail, so I really enjoyed it. The plot hinges on adinkra cloth, which this cloth is not North to Paradise , by Ousman Umar -- t

Spin #32 Title: The Female Quixote

 The Female Quixote, by Charlotte Lennox What a fun read this was!  If you're looking for an 18th century novel that isn't too long or difficult, this is a good choice.  It's still long -- but nowhere near the size of Tom Jones, or Pamela, or Clarissa.  Published in 1750, it's just one of the many titles written by Charlotte Lennox, who was well-respected by the other major novelists of her day. This story is a satirical farce; like the original Quixote, Arabella has read too many romances and believes them to be history, with interesting results.  The books she has read would have been quite familiar to readers, and they aren't at all familiar to us, which puts us at a bit of a disadvantage.  I found the web project Arabella's Romances to be helpful in this regard. Arabella is a lovely and intelligent girl, but her father is a recluse and has brought her up on an isolated country estate, with no other relatives or friends to show her the world.  He gave her f

Hipployte's Island

 Hippolyte's Island, by Barbara Hodgson This came across the donation table and I was intrigued by all the maps and diagrams and whatnot inside.  The copy is in like-new condition, so I didn't know that it was published in 2001.  It's not very much like a Griffin and Sabine book, but I do think it's a similar aesthetic. Hippolyte Webb is a bohemian sort of travel writer; kinetic, distracted, continually bouncing around.  Looking for a new adventure, he decides to look for the Auroras -- a small group of islands east of the Falklands, or at least so have a few explorers said.  Others haven't seen anything but open ocean, and so while some maps used to have the Auroras marked, modern maps do not.  Hippolyte figures he'll learn to sail, travel to the Falklands, find a boat, and sail out to seek for these islands.  He gets an old school buddy -- now a publisher -- to give him an advance, and off he goes. The first half of the novel is Hippolyte's journey, and th