Thanks for reading! I’m Jen, and this blog is my brain-dump for all things Book. You’ll notice many of my posts are not so much reviews as they are essays that pull together my thoughts. That’s why I have writings on a combination of new releases and older books. I particularly enjoy sci-fi, fantasy, 19th century British fiction, and young adult lit. I am strangely underwhelmed by the books of many of the big-name male American 20th century writers.
I like books that are atmospheric, unpretentious, unselfconscious, and true to purpose. “True to purpose” means I thought a book accomplished as much as or more than I expected it to. This means I can read a book about a Viking who gets transported to modern times by a randy she-whale, and think it’s actually a well-done book, because it clearly wasn’t taking itself too seriously to begin with. I have an unabashed love of plot and character. Awful prose is a turn-off, but usually, really, I’ll settle for merely good. Excellent prose is an un-looked for, though appreciated, blessing.
I try to be clear about when I’m discussing my personal feelings about a book versus my relatively objective assessment of it as a work of art… but I make no claims to consistent objectivity.
Periodically, I publish reviews at popmatters.com. The books I review for that site were provided to me free of charge by the publishers. All other reviews are of books I own or have borrowed.
“Effusions of Wit and Humour” is a pull from Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey:
Although our productions have afforded more extensive and unaffected pleasure than those of any other literary corporation in the world, no species of composition has been so much decried. From pride, ignorance, or fashion, our foes are almost as many as our readers. And while the abilities of the nine–hundredth abridger of the History of England, or of the man who collects and publishes in a volume some dozen lines of Milton, Pope, and Prior, with a paper from the Spectator, and a chapter from Sterne, are eulogized by a thousand pens — there seems almost a general wish of decrying the capacity and undervaluing the labour of the novelist, and of slighting the performances which have only genius, wit, and taste to recommend them. “I am no novel–reader — I seldom look into novels — Do not imagine that I often read novels — It is really very well for a novel.” Such is the common cant. “And what are you reading, Miss — ?” “Oh! It is only a novel!” replies the young lady, while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. “It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda”; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best–chosen language.
I chose the quote because, though I am fond of poetry, occasionally read non-fiction or comics, and have a passing tolerance for certain choice short stories, I cherish the novel above all other forms of literature.
I am a massive dork.