This post was originally published on this site

Via ".@eenderinwales"

Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.So this was the latest library book I’ve read.

The Rules Of Magic – Alice Hoffman

This novel is about three siblings, two women and a man growing up in America during the sixties each with supernatural abilities. As regular readers to this blog will know I try my best to put a story to it’s barest essence as to not spoil the plot for new readers. So I’ll say this. It takes a certain skill for a writer to produce an adult novel which combines believable reality with, well…. magic. And Ms Hoffman definitely has that magic touch.

It’s a prequel to her novel Practical Magic. Now rather like in the Game Of Thrones book I chatted about a while back I don’t like prequels, given that you may not know the route but you know the destination. But as I’ve not read Practical Magic I was in the advantage of treating The Rules Of Magic as Book One. If you’ve not read Practical Magic before I’d suggest you’d follow that as well. For I will be looking forward to reading that in the future.

The Rules Of Magic is a novel everyone can read and enjoy…I did and I’m a fifty four year old man.

And I say this because as regular readers will know I enjoy trying to read most books in my local library. An impossible task I know but a bit of fun but if it wasn’t for that innocent but admittedly mad predilection of mine I wouldn’t have borrowed this book. For as I’ve said before I believe that one of the reasons a lot of men read few books my female writers is that their covers put them off. I know that judging on the cover alone I would have avoided this.

Let’s have another look at the cover again.

Not A Magic Cover

That is not the cover that would entrance a man. It suggests women’s romantic fiction. But it gets worse. The blurb speaks of the family that “their love will be their undoing”. To a man reading it this suggests some soppy sentimentality. But trust me this novel is anything but soppy.

Worst though are the quotes used to (deservedly) praise this book. On the front cover is a quote from The Times (Fair enough) but on the back are quotes from Jodi Picoult and Marie Claire….Marie Claire!!! It’s like a female reader picking up a book and seeing a favourable quote from Playboy.

So I say this again. Despite the cover this is a book men can read and enjoy.

When I started this blog seemingly a long time ago I outed myself as a slight hypocrite as although I said I didn’t understand people who read plays for their personal pleasure only to realise that I have some as part of my collection of vintage Penguin paperbacks.


I downloaded Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov onto my Kindle. Partly because it was free, but mainly because I wanted to see whether my view of Chekhov as a short story writer (I didn’t dislike him but don’t understand why he’s considered great. A view I call Literary Switzerland) would change on reading Chekhov the playwright.

It didn’t.

No magic there.

Until the next time.