The Fancy Times

Fine Slop for the Discerning Tastemaker

Category: Readery

  • The Beans of Egypt, Maine

    The Beans of Egypt, Maine

    Carolyn Chute, 1985 Ghosts bust up my house all the time. They don’t hurt me…but they keep me awake rollin’ them big Blue Hubbards around and smashin’ up glass. They get right under the sheets with me and run around in there under the sheets. Set in the impoverished hills of rural Maine in an…

  • The Song of Roland

    The Song of Roland

    The earliest known French epic poem, a literary form properly known as chanson de geste. The date of its origins is assumed to be somewhere between 1040 and 1115. The Song of Roland chronicles the story of a Frankish military leader in the Battle of Roncevaux Pass, a real event that occurred in 778.  Infamous…

  • Winesburg, Ohio

    Winesburg, Ohio

    Sherwood Anderson, 1919 In that high place in the darkness the two oddly sensitive human atoms held each other tightly and waited. In the mind of each was the same thought. “I have come to this lonely place and here is this other,” was the substance of the thing felt. A composite novel whose stories…

  • The Man in the High Castle

    The Man in the High Castle

    Philip K. Dick, 1962 A weird time in which we are alive. We can travel anywhere we want, even to other planets. And for what? To sit day after day, declining in morale and hope. Philip K. Dick The first book I read by Philip Kindred Dick was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? My…

  • The Undiscovered Self

    The Undiscovered Self

    “The forlorn state of consciousness in our world is due primarily to loss of instinct, and the reason for this lies in the development of the human mind over the past aeon. The more power man had over nature, the more his knowledge and skill went to his head, and the deeper became his contempt…

  • Blood Meridian

    Blood Meridian

    Cormac McCarthy, 1985 War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner. Judge Holden Three hundred and fifty pages of frontier violence and depravity. A novel about the American West that manages to avoid being a Western to the point of Anti. Essentially depicting the lifestyles…

  • The Lives of the Kings & Queens of England

    The Lives of the Kings & Queens of England

    by Antonia Fraser, originally published in 1975 and edited in 2000. This one is more valuable as a reference book than for entertainment. It’s especially useful for parsing out the various Henrys and Edwards that have sat on the English throne. There’s also a clear trace of the decline of British monarchial powers starting post-…

  • The French Revolution

    The French Revolution

    Ian Davidson, 2016 This one is a sweet middle ground between scholarly and easily digestible. There’s a brand of contemporary non-fiction that I call candy tales. It’s that poppy, junk food way of detailing the life of some vast historical figure in these already stale OMG Scandal Gossip or Totally Super Rad Bro tones. This…

  • Les Miserables

    Les Miserables

    Victor Hugo, 1862 “It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.” Victor Hugo I knew little about this story before I read it. I enjoy musicals, but I never knew anything about the one based on this. I hadn’t seen the film flops. I knew little about France besides too much of…

  • Children of Dune

    Children of Dune

    Frank Herbert, 1976 “Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristocratic forms. No government in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, government tends more and more to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class – whether that class be hereditary royalty, oligarchs of financial empires,…

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