Thursday, 1 October 2015

I completely love this cartoon the Literary Review made of Charlotte Brontë, for my review of Claire Harman's new biography.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Jacqueline Wilson rides in to the rescue (of What Katy Did)

You probably all know how I feel about What Katy Did. So I was thrilled when Jacqueline Wilson gave the book a much-needed, and excellent rewrite. I wrote about it for The Pool, here.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Nelly Dean

I reviewed this for the Independent on Sunday, and I loved it. It's great if you love Wuthering Heights, and it's very good if you hate it too.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Judging the Jewish Quarterly Wingate award

I'm so happy I'll be judging the Jewish Quarterly Wingate award this year. I'm looking forward to diving into a stack of books about Jewish life, ideas and culture. Actually several stacks; we've been told to bring luggage to get them home from our first meeting! This is both thrilling and alarming.

Friday, 31 July 2015


I reviewed Kate Bolick's book Spinster for the Literary Review (the review's not online, sadly). I so wanted to love this book. I'd loved Bolick's original piece about living a single life for the Atlantic. It feels like time to reclaim the word "spinster", and I was longing for a book that would really dig into what spinsterhood means. Sadly this is not that book, and the books I'd still recommend to any woman wanting to think about living a single life are Marjorie Hillis's breezy self-help book Live Alone and Like It, Sylvia Townsend Warner's Lolly Willowes (which is also subversive and very very funny), Stella Gibbons's Cold Comfort Farm (with doesn't quite stick to exploring spinsterhood, but it is a truly wonderful, hilarious book) and Virginia Nicholson's Singled Out, which tells the story of the many women who lost the men they would have married in the First World War and had to find other ways of living their lives. Though they did so for the bleakest of reasons, the energy and variety of their responses to their situations are truly inspiring.