Tag Archives: AS Byatt

The Song of Achilles Then Possession #AchilleSong #ReadByatt

We have begun the Read-Along of The Song of Achilles! tsoabymm2 Everyone and anyone is invited to join in and I will be posting my FIRST HALF THOUGHTs on Sunday, March 3. I will probably have the whole book read by then, it’s so good!

A final post will be March 10. Feel free to post your own or just join the discussions here. We are informal. I haven’t even bothered to make a button. Is that bad? No sign-ups, no prizes, no pressure.

We do have a hashtag if you want to twitter along and post the quotes you like or your progress or questions. #AchilleSONG.

In other news…

The hosts of the A.S. Byatt’s Possession Read-Along possbyasb will have an official post up soon and have tweeted that the first check-in will be for chapters 1 – 6 on March 11.  The twitter hashtag for that is #readByatt.  Thank you Kim! Thank you Lulu! I know many of you commented on my last unplugged post that you might be interested…


Copyright © 2007-2013. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Angels and Insects; The Conjugial Angel

Thoughts  Angels and Insects TWO NOVELLAS by A.S. Byatt, Vintage 1994, 337 pages

For Challenge:  What’s in a Name 5 – Creepy Crawly Category

“The Conjugial Angel” – novella the second

[Please click the previous post “Morpho Eugenia” for novella the first.]

The second novella will satisfy all of you who like ghost stories. And poetry. Or poetry. Set in Victorian-era London, we jump between various characters who have been brought together by sharing seances. Oh, and this could also fit my definition of Historical Fiction because it fictionalizes real people: Alfred Tennyson and his sister Emily.

Remember this for R.I.P!

We first meet Mrs. Papagay, my favorite character by the way, who isn’t quite sure she is a widow because her husband may or may not have been lost at sea. Then we meet a young lady who seems most susceptible to communications with the dead. Now that I type this and rethink the story, we never do get in the heads of the men…  Hmmmm. Anyway, we meet Tennyson’s sister (and must I be embarrassed and appalled that I have to describe her as such? Because Byatt doesn’t. It gets teased out in the story and I had to do my own Wiki studying but truly, she is one interesting (and dare I say, creepy) character in her own right. She just happens to be the sister of a famous poet.) So, we meet this sister, Emily Jesse, who was engaged to the best friend of her brother’s but he died before they got married. The brother, famous poet Alfred Tennyson, wrote a huge poem called In Memoriam to the best friend / dead fiance of sister and it is hinted in vague subtle ways that perhaps Alfred and his BFF could possibly have been MORE than friends (ifyouknowwhatImean). Emily wants to contact this long lost love.

It’s a ghost story! with SEANCES!! And communications with the DEAD!!! And quite a few little humorous asides and situations, I thought. It ends well, too. I liked how it ended.

Fabulous reviews of Angels and Insects:  Eva at A Striped Armchair and JLS Hall at A Little Reading.


Copyright © 2007-2012. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Review The Matisse Stories

Review      The Matisse Stories  by A.S.Byatt 

OK, first off, I’m such an unaware dweeb that I didn’t even know A.S.Byatt was a woman.  Not that it matters.  Why does that matter, anyway?   Maybe just because an impression is thrown…  

I’m also trying to get into using goodreads.com (like I NEED another place to waste my time and one more pswd to forget!!) but I’m starting to get invited by ‘friends’ and since I can’t get them to come HERE, I’m sharing over there, too.   In addition to.    I am just not familiar with the layout yet so it frustrates me.  

Here’s what I just wrote over there (I’m checking to see if their linking works!)

The Matisse Stories The Matisse Stories by A.S. Byatt

rating: 4 of 5 stars
TOO many words I didn’t know! Can you say ‘vocabulary lesson’? ugh Otherwise, BEAUTIFUL stories about unresolved and resolved tensions, communications, relationships, etc. I can’t put my finger on the word I want (see? I DO need a vocab lesson.) Not amusing, not funny, well, maybe if you think DARKLY amusing. but not sinister….   I did love it, if I didn’t get irritated that I didn’t know some of the words. It makes me wonder about reading any more of Byatt, tho.

View all my reviews.

Well, OK.   Not what I expected but still cool.    and I don’t yet have any reviews over there but you’ll see a more-pretty list of what you can also read in my Past-Tense list.    I fear that I will get sucked in ‘over there’ and neglect this HOME, where I feel so comfy and get to converse with all you book-buds of mine.


NOW!  Let’s get to that VOCAB lesson, shall we?   Feel free to check off the ones you do know and go ahead and feel smug and superior;  I don’t mind a’tall.  I promise to adore your amazing intellect and vast knowledge of words forever.    I must add this:   MANY of these words I write down EVERY SINGLE TIME I see them.   I know, I do.  (I’ll * the ones I’m referring to.)  It’s like having an acquaintance that you know their name but don’t trust yourself to use it in the open, to voice out loud, ya know?   Does anyone else suffer from vague-word-recollection?    Chartroose, make up a word that is defined as ‘knowing-a-word-but-not-knowing-it-at-the-same-time’, can ya?

The Matisse Stories book includes 3 short stories.  The first, Medusa’s Ankles, was such an itchy reminder of being middle aged and annoyed with it.    A sample passage:  “What had left this greying skin, these flakes, these fragile stretches with no elasticity, was her, was her life, was herself.  She had never been a beautiful woman, but she had been attractive, with the attraction of liveliness and warm energy, of the flow of quick blood and brightness of eye.  No classic bones, which might endure, no fragile bird-like sharpness that might whitely go forward.  Only the life of flesh, which began to die.”   OH!  the ending is awesome!  The whole story is good.   [I actually have a note in my book – that I totally forgot about until I started to type the word list – to do a review of the story as if I was a journalist called to the scene after and writing the story for print in a newspaper.   It would have been clever, I think…]   Here are my list of words:

seraglio – harem, pouffe – thick cushion used as a seat, emanations – unknown to physical science, which sensitives may perceive or which the human body emits.

Art Work, the second story, was delightful and sad and COLORFUL.   I think Byatt was going for colorful and vivid; just as a Matisse painting.   I can’t call myself art knowledgeable but I think I can recognize his major works and his style, though I may not be able to describe it intelligently.    Back to the story, I don’t think I would have been as patient of wife.

chuntering – aha!  a made-up word!!   Byatt is brilliant!  sounds like it sounds, I suppose…[found on another website as GRUMBLE (Brit.)], squitter – burst of data, madder – plant used to make red dye, purblind – slow in understanding, speedwell – plant also known as veronica, verisimilitude * – the appearance of truth, 

—  I’m going to stop linking, too time consuming, since my IE won’t let me use the WP feature to make it easy…  Yes, I have to type/fix all the code.  yuck, I know!   Which is why they don’t open new windows, which I would prefer.   oh well…   Typing up this post has been taking me away from sending that resume out…   DISTRACTION syndrome.   This post is taking me longer than reading one of the stories.   —

gouache – watercolor painting technique
gentian – some kind of plant
minatory – of a menacing nature
alacrity * – eagerness
tump – to fall over
‘horrent and recumbent’ – (huh?)  bristling and with no movement
concertinaed – something to do with concerts
quotidian *  – commonplace
stupiferous*  (spoken by a kid – yea, right.) – [I couldn’t find this so maybe it DOES make sense that kid used it.   The reader doesn’t get told how old the kid is and I assumed he was ~ 8 yo]
sylph * – elemental being of air

The Chinese Lobster story was very intense and discussed intense subjects such as rape, sexual harrassment, and suicide.    It was a colorful story, too, and quite touching.    I didn’t take many notes during this one, but I will mention that one word which upon reading the next sentence became instantly clear and understandable and made me feel idiotic for pausing at it, was MAJUSCULE.    Sure, I know miniscule – how come I never considered majuscule before?   Makes sense; I truly believe this was my first time to consider it, though.  

So ends the lesson.  FOUR STARS.