Don’t ever wait for the swallows,

Dear Larissa, Your short story collection Swallow Summer, translated by Lyn Marven (2016. Originally, Schwalbensommer, 2003) made me think of tracks made of air: we might know they have just been travelled by birds, but we cannot trace back the moment immediately before their departure, or the very first movement of their wings. Your stories felt…

Larissa Boehning

Larissa Boehning (1971) is a German writer. She has a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Cultural Studies, Art History and Philosophy, and studied in Lüneburg and Berlin. She works as a graphic designer, lecturer and freelance writer. Awards Longlisted for the 2007 German Book Prize for the book Lichte Stoffe (‘Light Materials’) Books In English:  Swallow Summer, tr….

The Classics Spin #16

Hello, lovely readers! It’s time for another Classics Club Spin! Participants post a list of 20 books on their Classics Club list. On Friday morning (November, 17th), a random number will be selected by the Club. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List, by December 31st, 2017. Here is my…

She attacked first

Dear Oriana, You had never wanted your life story to be written. “I have never authorized, nor will I ever authorize, a biography,” you said once. So, it was with some trepidation that I approached “Oriana Fallaci: The Journalist, the Agitator, the Legend”, by Cristina de Stefano, translated from the Italian by Marina Harss (Other…

Oriana Fallaci

Oriana Fallaci (29 June 1929 – 15 September 2006) was an Italian journalist, novelist, and political interviewer. She worked as a war correspondent covering Vietnam, the Indo-Pakistani War, and the Middle East, and  lectured at the University of Chicago, Yale University, Harvard University, and Columbia University. Books I sette peccati di Hollywood, 1958 (The Seven Sins of Hollywood) Il sesso inutile, viaggio intorno alla donna,…

Fire burn, and caldron bubble

Dear Ronald, “The Witch: A History of Fear, from Ancient Times to the Present” is an ambitious and detailed research on a wide variety of beliefs about witches, as well as on the many ways those beliefs may have shaped and given rise to the Western witch trials. The book starts with an outline of…

Ronald Hutton

Ronald Hutton (1953) is an English historian. He studied at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and at Oxford University. He is professor of British folklore, pre-Christian religion and contemporary Paganism at the University of Bristol. Books The Royalist War Effort 1642–1646 (1982) The Restoration: A Political and Religious History of England and Wales 1658–1660 (1985) Charles the Second, King of England, Scotland and Ireland (1989) The British…

Cool as from underground springs and pure enough to drink

“The Man-Moth – by Elizabeth Bishop Man-Moth: Newspaper misprint for “mammoth.” Here, above, cracks in the buildings are filled with battered moonlight. The whole shadow of Man is only as big as his hat. It lies at his feet like a circle for a doll to stand on, and he makes an inverted pin, the…

I always lacked common sense when taken by surprise

Dear Anne, Agnes Grey (1847) had for me the strange quality of a double-pointed sword: we must read it carefully, or else it may kill precisely what it had promised to protect. Agnes, the eponymous protagonist and narrator of the story, is the youngest daughter of Richard Grey, a clergyman of modest means. Her mother…

Anne Brontë

Anne Brontë (17 January 1820 – 28 May 1849) was an English writer. She was educated at home, and later attended a boarding school in Mirfield, between 1836 and 1837. Anne worked as a governess between 1839 and 1845. Her poems and novels were first published under the pen name of Acton Bell. She died of pulmonary tuberculosis at the…