Review: The Book of Margery Kempe


The Book of Margery Kempe
translated by John Skinner


1999 • 343 pages • Book-of-the-Month Club

I am as frankly surprised as you are that my reading has taken on a religious bent these past two weeks. I threw The Girl of Fire and Thorns into my bag yesterday morning, and only remembered once I started it that I had wanted to read it because it was the rare fantasy novel that actively deals with faith. (Verdict so far: yes, good, continue.) I’ve suddenly become dissatisfied with everything I currently have out of the library, so we’ll see if this trend keeps up when I refresh my selections. (I imagine it won’t, because I have Kieron Gillen’s Darth Vader on hold and cannot wait to read it.)

But I originally wanted to read The Book of Margery Kempe because it’s often considered the first autobiography written in English (and by a woman!). Although, of course, autobiography wasn’t really a genre in the fifteenth century—it’s more accurately an autohagiography. Still, it offers particular insight into the life of a middle-class laywoman in medieval England, as Kempe experienced her call to Christ after the birth of her first child.

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Review: His Last Bow

His Last Bow by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


There’s only book left now. I’ve been taking my sweet, sweet time with polishing off the Sherlock Holmes canon—I started two years ago!—simply because my bookish diet requires a great deal of variety or I end up just stagnating and boring myself. A bit like Holmes himself, really, without the attendant misogyny, genius, or lackadaisical house manners. But just as I eventually finished Star Trek: The Original Series after four years (and with the rest of the franchise to go), so too must I set down a Sherlock Holmes collection only to realize that the next one I pick up will be my last. I’m mentioning it now because finishing a series gives me such an enormous sense of satisfaction that all the ennui hits me at the penultimate installment.

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