Posted in History

Reading Notes, 3/29/21

Finished Reading

Two on a Tower by Thomas Hardy


In general, high school English classes treated me pretty well. I wasn’t made to read Moby-Dick before I could appreciate it, was exposed to the requisite amounts of Steinbeck and Orwell, and lucked out to have not only Arthur Conan Doyle, but Bram Stoker and Ray Bradbury on the syllabus. The only author I took a dim view of was Thomas Hardy. We read The Mayor of Casterbridge. From the outset, I couldn’t understand why no one stepped in to say, “Hey, auctioning off your wife and daughter isn’t something you can do… Hey, buying a woman and her kid at auction just isn’t something you can do…” Who are people that act this way? What the heck, Thomas Hardy?

After thirty years, I figured I’d give Hardy another try. Two on a Tower seemed like something I would enjoy: a woman in a fairly abusive marriage falls in love with a young astronomer. “Romance and science is a combination I can get behind!” I thought.


I get that this story is a critique of class boundaries, but there are ways to comment on that without the main female character being maddeningly inconstant. On top of that, when Swithin returns to her, she is now an old hag of *gasp* thirty-four years-old. Thank goodness, he’s the type to feel morally obligated to keep his promise to now marry her. Worry not, Swithin, this story also contains my least favorite trope: “Happily ever after? Nope, abrupt death.”

Who are people who act this way? Seriously, Thomas Hardy, what the heck?

Deal Me In

K♣️ – “Sometimes They Arrive Late” by Rebecca Parfitt
Quick shout out to this story, published in The New Gothic Review. Chloe and her husband travel to the Philippines, where her family is originally from, to reconnect with each other, but Chloe also finds she’s reconnecting with old spirits as well.

Spring Into Horror

While I’ll still be working on my Dune-a-thon, I otherwise intend to read horror for #SpringHorror. I don’t exactly have a list worked out but here are some possibilities:

  • Into Bones like Oil by Kaaron Warren
  • The Ceremonies by T.E.D. Klein (from off my own shelves)
  • The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (for Classics Club)
  • The Ghost Studies by Brandon Massullo (nonfiction)


Writer, publisher. Hobbies include reading, studying magic & illusions from a historical/theoretical perspective, and playing ultimate frisbee.

3 thoughts on “Reading Notes, 3/29/21

  1. Ghost Studies looks like a good one. Thanks for the tip! You always have great titles to suggest. I like your selections, Katherine. Because I read lots of short fiction and supernatural for my blog posts, I’m always looking for new authors I’ve not met yet.

  2. I never had to read books like that at school. I remember reading To Kill A Mockingbird and Black Like Me in senior at high school.

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