80 Following

Allusion is not Illusion

You'll pry my books off my cold, dead body. By the time you shift them all I'll be flat and dessicated.

Currently reading

Winter's Tales
Karen Blixen, Isak Dinesen
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (Penguin Classics)
Rebecca West, Christopher Hitchens
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Susanna Clarke
Already Dead
Charlie Huston
The Rings of Saturn
W.G. Sebald, Michael Hulse
Lady Audley's Secret
Mary Elizabeth Braddon, David Skilton
Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became "People" - And How You Can Fight Back
Thom Hartmann
The City, Not Long After
Pat Murphy
You Can Sketch: A Step-by-Step Guide for Absolute Beginners
Jackie Simmonds
Lonely Werewolf Girl
Martin Millar
Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone: The Entomological Tales of Augustus T. Percival - Dene Low, Jen Corace The cover and title were so cute that it wasn't a huge shock (although it was a disappointment) to find that the prose was much too precious for my taste. However, my main complaint was that Low has no feel for Victorian society and its mores, and clearly didn't bother to do any research. Probably she's read a couple of romances set during the 19th century and "knows" that people had coming-out parties and cared about their reputations. And wore fancy dresses, of course. That's the main point of setting novels in the past, right? The clothes? The attitudes and behaviors of the characters were totally anachronistic*, especially the interactions of individuals of differing classes and genders. No way would a police constable grab by the arm and groundlessly accuse of a crime an aristocrat with an important ministerial position and powerful connections. Not that a 20-year-old would really have such a position! This careless inaccuracy is particularly disappointing in a woman who has a PhD and lists herself in her bio as "teacher."

I wish I wasn't so bothered by this sort of issue, because I did want to see Petronella save Nearly Everyone. She seemed nice enough, even though her character was a little bland. I can see the appeal of this for tween girls who are imagining themselves in Petronella's shoes, having pretty dresses and a cute crush and a staunch best friend. The mystery is not scary or intense or complex.

*I wouldn't call them exactly contemporary, either, though. They actually felt vaguely... 1950s, maybe? Actually, I could see this entire book working really well transposed to the 50s! The cutesy sort of teasing way of flirting, the gendered-but-not-so-restricted behavior, the cops hassling the teens. Petronella could wear a poodle skirt! Jack could have a hot rod! And the bug-eating uncle is already reminiscent of the cheesy 1950s sci-fi films, with their ray guns and giant insects. It could be awesome! I'm guessing from her bio that Low was at least born in the 50s and probably has a good feel for that time.