Katherine Bailey on Books
Book Reviews, Literary Essays
Books For Serious Readers
It’s hard to imagine a life without fiction. To fall through the print on a page, like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole, into a real and convincing world is an experience not to be missed. A novel that detaches the mind from its prevailing concerns and that transports and calms the reader, no matter how agitating the plot, is indeed one of life’s prizes – a patch of sunlight in a dark woods. The settings and prose styles of the books included here are decidedly dissimilar, but they share common features. Each is underpinned by an inherently interesting story; each is populated with three-dimensional characters; and each conveys versions of reality. Readers who are eager to explore the world of fiction – as assiduously as Alice in Wonderland investigated behind each locked door in her magical surroundings – will encounter a windfall of life-enhancing experiences.
Katherine Bailey is a book reviewer currently contributing to the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Her articles have appeared in Publishers Weekly, British Heritage magazine and the Minnesota Law Journal.
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Byatt, A. S.
Forster, E. M.
Howells, Wm Dean
Le Carré, John
Auden, W. H.
Eliot, T. S.
Yeats, W. B.
An ear for language and a sense of drama.
Are the special privilege boys going to run the country, or are the people going to run it?
**The Aviator's Wife
**All This Talk of Love
Teen-age suicide and a mother’s descent into Alzheimer’s.
Lake of Dreams
Deception is at the heart of this second novel.
The Marriage Plot
A love triangle.
The death of a tabloid.
The Widower’s Tale
Getting in shape to die.
When She Woke
Life in the future.
A literary novel.
**The Daughters of Mars
An unforgettable novel.
In The Garden of Beasts
**How It All Began
Human choice versus fate.
Thomas Mallon captures the tone of an era.
Trust No one.
The Butterfly Cabinet
Crime and punishment.
The Paris Wife
Does genius excuse behavior?
No longer urgent.
For what she had put up with.
**The Burgess Boys
The Pig’s Head Caper.
The Road Home
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
Shouldering baggage from the past.
Cutting For Stone
The secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient.
Clara and Mr Tiffany
Chronicles the life of an historical figure from the art world.
Behind the Scenes at the Museum
Not every mother loves her children.
Three or four families in a country village is the very thing to work on.
The Children’s Book
Byatt, A. S.
Nothing is at it appears.
A child brings hope.
Forster, E. M.
A world of kindness contrasts with a world of earned income.
The Transit of Venus
Nothing is less charming than unwanted love.
The Rise of Silas Lapham
Howells, William Dean
Fragile human beings are overwhelmed by life’s circumstances.
The Portrait of a Lady
An American woman throws her life away in Europe.
A woman’s reach should exceed her grasp.
The past exerts a hold over the present.
Henry and Clara
A young couple joins President and Mrs. Lincoln at the Ford Theatre.
The Sea, the Sea
Jealousy plagues well-educated, upper-class English men and women.
Appointment in Samarra
Nothing can save Julian English from his self-perpetuating demons.
The Volcano Lover
One of history’s most celebrated love triangles plays out at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius.
Land of Marvels
The villainous role of Western imperialism impacts Iraq’s history.
**Dancing Fish and Ammonites
An unconventional memoir.
**The Warmth of Other Suns
One set of troubles ends; another set begins.
We Irish prefer embroideries to plain cloth.
The Blackwater Lightship
Three generations of women care for a dying man.
Advice is good or bad only as the event decides.
A middle-aged woman examines her life.
Love and Summer
A woman’s basic goodness prevails.
The Story of Lucy Gault
Youth has consequences.
**Started Early, Took My Dog
Kids Everywhere Falling through the Cracks.
Talking About Detective Fiction
Motive, means and opportunity.
Our Kind of Traitor
Le Carré, John
A high-value defector.
Crime and Transformation.
Revealing the person behind the facade.
Power of Words
Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August.
Churchill by Paul Johnson.
Versions of the Truth
Fiction in our lives.
Fiction is storytelling.
To read, describe, evaluate and appreciate .
**The Anatomy of Influence
Harold Bloom on Shakespeare.
Essays on Poetry
Nothing gold can stay.
Auden’s Memorial to Yeats
The day of his death was a dark cold day.
T. S. Eliot, Christmas 1987
The world as it is.