The author regrets…

After discussing at length J.K. Rowling’s regrets about the Hermione/Ron relationship in Harry Potter, Elizabeth Minkel wrote in The Millions about five other authors who said they really wished they’d done things differently.

Charles Dickens’ greedy villainous employer Fagin in Oliver Twist, for example, is most famously marked by his Jewishness, via every derogatory stereotype in the history of man.  Dickens later saw the light and began stripping out references to Fagin’s religion from the text, as well as the caricature-like aspects. Too little too late, perhaps.

FaginImage via Wikimedia Commons

Authors regrets


Telling women to shut up goes back to antiquity

I want to start very near the beginning of the tradition of Western literature,” Mary Beard says in the London Review of Books, “and its first recorded example of a man telling a woman to ‘shut up’; telling her that her “voice was not to be heard in public. I’m thinking of a moment immortalised at the start of the Odyssey…

 “My aim here,”, she adds later, “is to take a long view…on the culturally awkward relationship between the voice of women and the public sphere of speech-making, debate and comment: politics in its widest sense, from office committees to the floor of the House. I’m hoping that the long view will help us get beyond the simple diagnosis of ‘misogyny’ that we tend a bit lazily to fall back on.”

Mary — Beard, a fellow of Newnham College in Cambridge, goes on:

 “To be sure, ‘misogyny’ is one way of describing of what’s going on. (If you go on a television discussion programme and then receive a load of tweets comparing your genitalia to a variety of unpleasantly rotting vegetables, it’s hard to find a more apt word.) But if we want to understand – and do something about – the fact that women, even when they are not silenced, still have to pay a very high price for being heard, we have to recognise that it is a bit more complicated and that there’s a long back-story.”

 Telling women to shut up


A woman who won’t consider shutting up

For the past six years daredevil Lucinda Grange has travelled the world scaling famous buildings and structures and taking pictures from the top, Alan White writes at BuzzFeed.

 She has put her adventures together in a book which she plans to deliver by hand to customers all over the world. “It will combine my love of travel with a chance to meet people who have connected with my images – and maybe have an adventure or two along the way.”

Lucinda1Lucinda surveys the Manhattan skyline from the Chrysler Building. Alex Shaw / Barcroft USA

Lucina in ParisLucinda sits atop the Carpe Diem building in Paris — Lucinda Grange / Barcroft USA

 She climbs tall buildings…


Farewell Bridget Jones – hello literary bad girls

 Meet the new literary anti-heroines, who are more interested in drink, drugs and sex than finding the perfect man.

 Helen Walsh and Zoe Pilger

Helen Walsh and Zoe Pilger. Photograph: Murdo Macleod; Katherine Rose/Guardian

 Ann-Marie spends her time careening through London while trying to get as wasted as possible and discover the meaning of life; Laura and Tyler careen around Manchester, knocking back pills and booze with abandon. Jenn spends a long hot summer dreaming of seducing her teenage step-daughter’s boyfriend.

 With their descriptions of nights out gone wrong and no-holds-barred sexual encounters, a clutch of newly released novels are full of women behaving badly. From Zoe Pilger’s raucous debut, Eat My Heart Out to Caitlin Moran’s semi-autobiographical How to Build a Girl, which aims to capture that “moment when you try to discover exactly who it is you’re trying to be“.

 Literary bad girls


There’s this house for sale In London…

Victorian house Right Move

In a swanky neighborhood of southeast London, there is a large Victorian Gothic mansion that’s for sale. It’s listed at $5.35 million and it has as many amenities as you’d expect. There are 8 bedrooms, 2 reception rooms, a dining room, a kitchen, a breakfast room, a sitting room/games room, play room, study, dressing room and wine cellar.

Victorian interiorRight Move

 And then there’s the attic.

 Victorian attic

Right Move

The Victorian house


Quote of the Day

Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson


Alma Alexander

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