I read a biography of Byron when I was about 17 or 18, having been introduced to him by a teacher. I fell in love with his life story, the drama and romance, the scandal, and of course the poetry. I automatically took his side in the break with his wife Annabella (which happened as… Continue reading The Elusive Ada Lovelace
I think we can all agree that a mythology has grown around Sylvia Plath and her husband Ted Hughes. Both her writing and her short life were undoubtedly remarkable, but it is also the fact of Hughes' control over what was published or not published after her death that has gained notoriety and drawn endless… Continue reading Can We Agree On No More Sylvia Plath Biographies?
This book came to me entirely by chance when I saw it was up for grabs from the publisher Gallic Books on Twitter. I had heard of Helena Rubinstein at some point, not sure where, but my first memory of hearing her name was in an episode of Sex and the City when the girls… Continue reading Helena Rubinstein: The Woman Who Invented Beauty by Michele Fitoussi
Deadlines are generally a good thing but when it comes to this book it's a good thing that I didn't have one. I bought it of my own volition and read it, and thought about it for a long time, and attended a Q&A with the author, and only now am I about ready to… Continue reading Mad Girl’s Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted by Andrew Wilson
By now I'm sure you've all heard of Peirene Press - they are a small publisher bringing European literature to a British audience in translation. They publish their beautiful little books (all are intentionally short) in series of threes, each with a theme. Sea of Ink by Swiss author Richard Weihe is the third book… Continue reading Sea of Ink by Richard Weihe and a Peirene Press Experience at Senate House
There are countless books on Marilyn Monroe already - so why another? And why did I choose to read this one? The author of Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox, Lois Banner, is a prominent American feminist scholar and historian, and teaches history at the University of Southern California. The inside cover of this book, as… Continue reading Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox by Lois Banner
Last year (2011) I read Fallada's final novel Alone in Berlin, after reading about it in various magazines - it seemed to be unanimously praised, and thee subject matter seemed interesting, so I gave it a go. I wrote a review of it for a former (and frankly less good) incarnation of this blog, which… Continue reading More Lives Than One: A Biography of Hans Fallada by Jenny Williams