Autumn at Last: Virginia Woolf’s The Years & Peter S. Beagle’s Summerlong

It has been a warm green autumn.  The leaves are finally changing, or at least some of them are. These days I try to grab the beauty of the moment. I try not to think much about the future. The climate has changed so quickly.  We’ve known about climate change since–when?–the ’50s? Still greener than […]

Virginia Woolf

I used to be in the modernist camp of Virginia Woolf groupies.  What changed my mind?  The snobbery. I am still a fan. I adore The Years (which I wrote about here), To the Lighthouse and Between the Acts.   But a recent rereading of some of W’s early work reminded me of her unsubtle early “classism.”  Is anyone […]

Colm Toibin’s “House of Names” & Other Retold Myths

I did not quite love Colm Toibin’s House of Names, though it is a gorgeous retelling of Aeschylus’s Oresteia, with nods to Sophocles’s Electra and Euripides’s Orestes.  It is brilliant in its way, and often poetic.  It is  part Greek tragedy (the best part), part well-plotted Mary Renault.  Although I loved The Master, Toibin’s historical […]

Classical-Themed Pop Fiction for Book Snobs

Are you a book snob?  I used to be.  My knapsack burgeoned with books: Lewis and Short’s Latin dictionary, the Allen and Greenough Latin grammar, Cicero’s Pro Caelio, Camoens’ The Lusiads (a Portuguese epic),  and, just in case I felt like committing suicide, Thomas Hardy’s histrionic Jude the Obscure. But in my secret life–my leisure, I […]