A Housewife’s Haunting

The Haunting of Alma Fielding: A True Ghost Story, by Kate Summerscale Some events are so dark that to find them is an act of imagination as much as memory. In 1938, as a storm gathered on the continent and Europe braced for something coming, yet unknown but surely terrible, in England a 34-year-old housewife... Continue Reading →

T.S. Eliot In His Youth

Book review: Young Eliot, by Robert Crawford (Amazon/ Book Depository) What a few weeks it's been for T.S. Eliot, huh? There've been news stories referencing the poet every day: between the much-anticipated release of his letters to Emily Hale, his one-that-got-away who, despite rejecting him, seemed to carry a torch for him anyway; and the... Continue Reading →

How Cooking Made Living Seem Possible

Book review: Midnight Chicken, by Ella Risbridger (Amazon / Book Depository) There is a German word, kummerspeck, that translates literally as 'grief-bacon,' and metaphorically as 'comfort eating'. This book is the grief-bacon book...This is the book I wanted to read when I was sad, but it's also a book for good days. I'm not going... Continue Reading →

A Braided History of Two Killers in 1952 London

Book review: Death in the Air, by Kate Winkler Dawson (Amazon / Book Depository) In 1952, two killers stalked postwar London. One was a serial killer: an average-looking, mostly unremarkable, middle-aged invoice clerk operating out of a grungy, now-notorious apartment building; the other was far more insidious and claimed many more victims: a suffocating, polluting smog that killed around 12,000 people.... Continue Reading →

Stop Romanticizing Victorian London

Book review: The Good Old Days: Crime, Murder and Mayhem in Victorian London, by Gilda O'Neill (Amazon / Book Depository) Author and historian Gilda O'Neill, well-known for her social history books exploring the changing face of London's East End, examines the problems that plagued the "good old days" of the Victorian era, using the thesis that problems of... Continue Reading →

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