South Asian super girls


There’s already been Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, but this book – published by the charity Pink Ladoo (that encourages south Asian mothers to celebrate the birth of their daughters and push back at prejudice that ladoos (sweets) should only be gifted for a boy’s birth) looks equally good. I’m guessing there’ll be a hefty amount of intersectionalism around anti-colonialism and feminism too.

East and West


Excited to read that Penguin Classics are republishing four Asian-American authors from the 20th century. Each of the books (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino) sounds so good and also so pertinent to today’s issues that I’d want to read them all.

Lemon squash and heat

I told them I could be free by the twenty-first and that I’d come home the twenty-second. (June.) But everything went better than expected – I had all the examinations corrected and graded and back at the office by ten the morning of the twenty-first and I returned to the apartment feeling so footloose, so restless that I began to have some second thoughts. It’s only a five hour drive from the University to the ranch, if you move along – if you don’t stop every fifty miles for orange juice the way we used to, Judith and I, our first two years in college, or at bars, the way we did later, after we’d studied how to pass for twenty-one at under twenty…

I did say I’d be home by the twenty-second, and I had unconsciously cleared the way by the twenty-first, which in June is the longest day of the year. After I got back from taking the examinations to the office, it began to feel like it. I walked around the apartment and looked two or three times inside the refrigerator, so cold, so white, so bare, and more times than that out the big west window at the bay with the prison islands in it…

It was increasingly clear to me that I didn’t intend to spend another night, at least not this one, in the apartment. There were all kinds of indications: I stripped the sheets off my bed and put them in a laundry bag; and I folded the cover over the keyboard of the piano, a piano which was held mine, but which I’d scarcely touched, as they say of pianos, since Judith, who owned the other half, went to New York…

By three that afternoon I was halfway home, and sitting in a bar, one of the ones we used to stop at in the old days. It was quite dark and air-cooled and I had in hand a lemon squash with vodka in it in deference to my grandmother who hates the smell of alcohol on anyone’s breath – particularly girls’ breaths.


The opening of “Cassandra at the Wedding” by Dorothy Baker. Republished by Daunts in a new edition, and unputdownable. The plot trigger is the wedding of Cassandra’s twin, Judith, and although the guardian bizarrely reviewed it as “a dark comedy about marriage”, it’s really an examination of family. Published in 1962, it’s deeply evocative of South California ranch life, endless orange juice and Ivy League graduates of the time.



A fascinating exhibition at Two Temple Place of Ruskin: the art he collected and that inspired him, the art and collections he made, and the makers today inspired by him. It especially made me want to visit the museum in Sheffield that Ruskin founded and that’s still going strong today.


Katie Ponder


Katie Ponder is a new-to-me illustrator whose macabre yet whimsical style is ideally suited to stage projects. In fact the first illustration here is a poster for Glyndebourne’s new opera “Agreed”, and Katie’s work also includes pieces on The Rite of Spring, The Magic Flute, Pierrot and Columbine and Les Sylphides.