Tag Archives: classic

Book Review: The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt

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It was first published in 1962. It was recognized as the children’s book of the year in 1963, and the best children’s book in 50 years as of 2004. It was translated into fifteen different languages between 1977 and 2011. It has sold over a million copies. It was made into a feature film in 2008. Its author received a knighthood and a lifetime award for youth literature, and is considered the greatest children’s author ... Read More »

Book Review: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle Recommended Ages: 12+ Sherlock Holmes had already appeared in two novels, but his popularity did not really take off until the brief “adventures” collected in this book began to appear in monthly issues of The Strand Magazine, from 1891 to -92. And though there are two novels and three volumes of short stories still to come, these twelve mysteries include some of Holmes’ most memorable and ... Read More »

Book Review: The Idiot by Dostoevsky

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The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky Recommended Ages: 14+ Published in a series of magazine issues in 1868-69, this is one of the masterpieces by the author of Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. It made me laugh a great deal, but it is not a comedy. Its climax is mysterious and chilling, but it is not a thriller. Dickensian in its large cast of vividly colorful characters and in its satire on the society ... Read More »

Book Review: The Sign of (the) Four by Arthur Conan Doyle

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The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle Recommended Ages: 12+ The second book of the Sherlock Holmes canon was first published in 1890 under the five-word title The Sign of the Four. Since then, it has often been republished under the four-word title The Sign of Four. The confusion actually originates in the book itself, in which both phrases are used interchangeably. Although Holmes did not really become a hit until Conan Doyle ... Read More »

Book Review: A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

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A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle Recommended Ages: 12+ When detective fiction was still in its infancy, in the year 1887, this novel first appeared in an issue of Beeton’s Christmas Annual. Just imagine: it was the first anyone had ever heard of Sherlock Holmes! Then a young physician, just starting to stretch his literary muscles, Arthur Conan Doyle here created a character who has become one of the most enduring figures in ... Read More »

Book Review: Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

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Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy Recommended Ages: 14+ If I had read Anna Karenina after this book, it would have cheered me up. Hardy’s last novel, written in 1895, stirred up such harsh criticism that its author never wrote another novel, although he lived until 1928. In me, listening to the audio-book while driving a sales circuit of convenience stores in rural Illinois, it stirred up feelings of failure and disappointment in life. The ... Read More »

Book Review: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

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Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy Recommended Ages: 14+ Over the past few years, I have frequently experienced the advantages of having audiobooks in my car while commuting or traveling. In that way I have found time, at last, to take in many great works of literature that I might otherwise have skipped because they were too long, too serious, to difficult to focus my mind on during the sleepy time of day when I do ... Read More »

Book Review: The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

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The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757 by James Fenimore Cooper Recommended Ages: 12+ Forget about the 1992 movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis, and based on this book published in 1826. All these years later, I still remember a lot of things about that movie. Very few of them faithfully represent things in this book. It turns out to be not so much a film adaptation of the novel, as a piece of original ... Read More »

Book Review: Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

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Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson Recommended Ages: 12+ The title of this book varies from one edition to another. Sometimes it is published with a “The” at the beginning. Sometimes “Strange Case of” is omitted. Sometimes it is even given simply as Jekyll & Hyde. It’s not as though the printer needs to save ink; it’s a very short book, a novella really. There are even more versions ... Read More »

Book Review: Persuasion by Jane Austen

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Persuasion by Jane Austen Recommended Ages: 12+ The last novel completed by the author of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma, was first published in 1818, the year after Austen’s death at age 41. Yet though a wistful shadow lies across this book, perhaps in consequence of its author’s failing health, it remains like all her novels a romantic comedy: romantic, because no subject drew on her experience more than the drawing-room society ... Read More »