The Lyre with silver cords, the Swan uppoised
On gleaming wings, the Dolphin gliding on
With glistening scales, and that poetic steed,
With beamy mane, whose hoof struck out from earth
The fount of Hippocrene
~ from The Constellations by William Cullen Bryant
Image from The Celestial Atlas of Flamsteed (1795), available via the Public Domain Review
We’ve tracked our way halfway around the sun. The days are already getting shorter, rather than longer. Soon we will be throwing on sweaters and drinking hot cocoa. Here are some of my favorite books from this year, so far.
*Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl
This is an utterly delightful social study on umbrellas — what they have meant throughout history, how we use them today, and what they signify in literature. My review.
It’s part Treasure Island, part Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a dash of Huckleberry Finn — but Sugar Money is something entirely its own. My review and interview with the author.
The stories in the collection range from police procedurals to inheritance scandals to locked-room puzzles. A reader will visit the outback of Australia, the English countryside, the American Midwest, and Victorian-era Vienna. While some are predictably serious, a few are unexpectedly cheeky. My review.
Two hundred years ago, a young woman — barely more than a teenager — wrote a daring novel that questioned the limits of science and discovery, and challenged notions of agency, self, family and moral obligation. Her character created a monster, but she fabricated something much more complicated. My review.
While some scenes are certainly unsettling and it is very atmospheric, this is not a scary horror novel. It is instead a mysterious, Gothic story that unwinds slowly through diaries, memories, and theories. There are no ghouls jumping off the page. The fear lies in the unknown and for the (un)reliability of sanity. My review.
McNamara spent countless hours over several years trying to solve the case — or help law enforcement find new leads — of the East Area Rapist / Original Night Stalker. She eventually dubbed “EAR-ONS” the “Golden State Killer.” Weeks after the book was released, he was caught. My review.
Madeline Miller reimagines the story of Circe from her point-of-view and makes a fascinating adventure of it. Miller has written more than a novel; she has drawn a psychological sketch of a previously minor character in the mythological panoply. My review.
Arthur Conan Doyle, best known for his Sherlock Holmes stories, was an endlessly fascinating person. He trained as a doctor, was a medical officer on Arctic and African voyages, covered the Boer War, brought downhill skiing to Switzerland, investigated spiritualism and fairies, and was friends with Bram Stoker, Harry Houdini, and R.L. Stevenson. He also cleared the names of two wrongfully convicted men. My review.
I only finished this one last night, and it doesn’t come out until September but it was so, so good. I will review closer to the publication date. A description from the publisher: Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita is one of the most beloved and notorious novels of all time. And yet very few of its readers know that the subject of the novel was inspired by a real-life case: the 1948 abduction of eleven-year-old Sally Horner.
No review yet, as I am still working my way through their delightful biography. I highly recommend it. Description from the publisher: Although Lear belongs solidly to the age of Darwin and Dickens—he gave Queen Victoria drawing lessons, and his many friends included Tennyson and the Pre-Raphaelite painters—his genius for the absurd and his dazzling wordplay make him a very modern spirit.
What are your favorite books from 2018?