What exactly does one read during a pandemic?!

I had hoped to restore a bit of humour to Bronte’s Page Turners, given my recent focus on subjects as heartening as depression and immortality, but then BOOM: along comes a pandemic like Covid-19, and like most people I am navigating an ever-present readiness to sob and howl What. The. Actual. Fudge. Yesterday evening, as…

Poems as refuge: In The Pink by The Raving Beauties (1983)

‘Poetry has become divorced from our lives. We no longer feel part of the great oral and written tradition of myths and legends in which so many things were once protected and preserved. Nothing protects us, our minds, bodies and spirits are freely raped in the age of atomic suicide. The eternal truths of language…

The Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2100 BC)

The Epic of Gilgamesh is considered by many to be the earliest surviving work of ‘great’ literature. Even if the very readable tale of the King of Uruk’s search to the ends of the earth for greatness and eternal life is not quite your bag, the survival, discovery, and translation of the four-thousand-year-old clay tablets…

Some (arguably-tenuously-linked-to) Christmas books! 

Following on from our Christmas countdown last year, here are some literary treats in which to seek comfort and placidity this Yuletide. The late 14th century Middle English Sir Gawain and the Green Knight centres on a strange ‘Christmas game’ at King Arthur’s court on New Year’s Day.  The tale of a green knight presenting Arthur’s knights with…

Books ‘N’ Babies!

Upon discovering I was pregnant this time last year, my ponder of the forthcoming journey dwelled on two things: 1) ‘Wow I’m up the duff and gonna be a muvver!’ Who signed that off?’ etc and 2) ‘Finally,  some time to deal with Bertie aka my TBR book case, so monstrous it inspired a rap,…

Enoch Arden by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1864)

Enoch Arden is a narrative poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, published in 1864 during his stint as England’s longest-serving Poet Laureate. Tennyson borrowed the story from poet, sculptor, and founder-member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Thomas Woolner. As I read this poem, I wondered: exactly how did this excessively-melancholy tale crop up in conversation between these…

26 Treasures: 4 national museums, 104 objects, 62 words each

I found 26 Treasures in the National Gallery New Year sale. The fact it only cost me One English Pound instead of £15.99 was a significant factor in my purchase: it could facilitate the illusion of my intellectualism (essential in masking the reality that a substantial proportion of my time is spent reading the gossip…

Catullus: the complete poems for modern readers

For Valentine’s Day today, some Roman poetry that is both bawdy and touching. Catullus  (c. 84 – 54 BC) was a Latin ‘neoteric’ poet in Republican Rome – focused on smaller scale stories borne from personal experience, in stark contrast to the ‘Homeric’ poetry which portrayed the feats of classical heroes. His poems were written…

Talking Turkeys – Benjamin Zephaniah

Yesterday as part of Christmas Week at Brontë’s Page Turners,  we pondered on the peculiar nature of Christmas traditions through the ages. For me, the most peculiar tradition is our obsession with turkey. Beef? Yes. Lamb? Go on. More pigs in blankets  please mother. But turkey – nah mate. In Talking Turkeys, Benjamin Zephaniah makes…

The Englishman At War, edited by John Freeman (1941)

I must start this week’s Random Book of the Week with a confession: a long line of theft led to me possessing this book. I ‘borrowed’ it from my parental abode a few years ago, my dad had himself ‘borrowed’ it from his own parental abode many years before that, and we think my Granddad…

The Fairy Flute by Rose Fyleman (1921)

This week’s Random Book of the Week is a 1920s poetry collection for children, all about the little fairies that might live at the bottom of our gardens. Through writing about the ‘fairy folk’ for children, Rose Fyleman became one of the most successful children’s writers of her generation. This collection (there were others, including…