Five Pre-Raphaelite Muses Who Did Not Quite Pan Out by prochytes
This is a rare beast indeed: a Desperate Romantics fanfic, which also features crossovers with (in order of appearance) Angel, Torchwood, Primeval, Doctor Who and Merlin. Crikey. But if you're familiar with most or all of these, it's a gem. Clever, thoughtful, and very funny.
No Name by Wilkie Collins (also available the old-fashioned way)
If there were any justice in the televisual world, this would be the next blockbuster BBC Sunday evening costume drama, instead of the three-zillionth Jane Austen adaptation of the decade. Surely the only reason it isn't is that hardly anybody's read it, but you can change that now, and change it you should. It contains everything you could want from a Victorian novel. Bad things happening to poor orphans! Conniving rogues! Fainting fops! Corsetry! An epic battle of wits between two women! Constant page-turning with hardly any boring bits! What more could you ask for?
Fifth Business by Robertson Davies
I'm always keen to bang on about the general greatness of Robertson Davies to anyone who will listen for more than a minute, mainly because he deserves to be about fifty times more famous than he is. This is the first book in his Deptford Trilogy (the other two are The Manticore and World of Wonders). It begins in the fictional Canadian town of Deptford in 1908, when a boy throws a snowball at another boy. The boys grow up, but this initial small event ends up shaping their whole lives, and those of others, throughout the three books. While this may not sound fascinating, it genuinely is, mainly because Davies is a great, great writer, whose characters are wonderful people to spend time with, and whose observations on life and all the things in it are funny and dark and rich and worth going back to again and again. (And as an added bonus, he had a huge beard. See, the good things about him go on and on!)
So there's my contribution to lit crit for the week. While I'm on the topic, I'm in desperate need of something to read on the Tube, so can anyone suggest any decent books I might like? Something with a bit of weight but not requiring too much deep concentration, if that's not asking too much. And I'd prefer non-genre fiction but frankly, I'll take anything that sounds interesting...