Tag Archives: classic

Book Review: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

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The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin Recommended Ages: 14+ Winner of the 1970 Hugo Award for Best Novel, this book by the author of A Wizard of Earthsea more than deserves to be in the company of such books as Stranger in a Strange Land, Dune, Foundation’s Edge, Ender’s Game, American Gods, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union. It packs ... Read More »

Movie Review: ‘The Great Gatsby’ Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack

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The Great Gatsby Book by F. Scott Fitzgerald Film by Baz Luhrmann Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey McGuire, Carey Mulligan, & Joel Edgerton Rated: PG-13 English was (almost) always my favorite subject when I was in high school. I truly loved the fact that every other week I was specifically told to transport myself into, to get fully enveloped by, to really experience, a world outside of my own.See, my high school world was that of ... Read More »

Review: Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini

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Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini Recommended Ages: 12+ As they went, he considered her admiringly, and marveled at himself that it should have taken him so long fully to realize her slim, unusual grace, and to find her, as he now did, so entirely desirable, a woman whose charm must irradiate all the life of a man, and touch its commonplaces with magic. I chose this quote (see inset) to illustrate why this book has ... Read More »

Review: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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Great Expectations—buy it by Charles Dickens—Wiki him Recommended Ages: 13+ There was a time in the British Commonwealth when crimes that would formerly have been punished by death were commuted to a sentence of “transportation.” This is to say, the convicted criminals were packed into prison-ships and banished to Australia, to become forced colonists. There they led such a hard life that only the toughest succeeded—but even the most successful colonials would have gone home ... Read More »

Review: Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

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Our Mutual Friend—buy it by Charles Dickens—Wiki him Recommended Ages: 13+ Death by drowning in the River Thames. Murder by blunt object, made to look like death by drowning. Innocent hands made to look guilty of said murder. Money, and expectations of inheriting money, acting as a poison that corrupts men’s (and women’s) virtue, hardens their heart, blights their future, destroys their life. Poverty, even unto starvation, appearing less horrible than the remedy thereof—and possibly ... Read More »

Review: Daniel Deronda by George Eliot

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Daniel Deronda—buy it by George Eliot—Wiki her Recommended Ages: 14+ The last completed work by one of the greatest English novelists, this book proves that Victorian literature need not be staid, conventional, and formulaic. In fact, it is such a daring and intricately-wrought book that even some avid readers my be intimidated by it. I won’t fib: it’s a big bite to chew. But it is also a mouthful of rare, delicate flavors, and nourishing ... Read More »

Review: Adam Bede by George Eliot

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Adam Bede—buy it by George Eliot—wiki her Recommended Ages: 13+ In the imaginary village of Hayslope, on the frontier between the nonexistent English counties of Loamshire and Stonyshire, round about the year 1799, a strong, manly carpenter named Adam Bede lives with his doting mother (who becomes a widow in an early chapter) and his gentle, sensitive brother Seth. The brothers love the two pretty nieces of a prosperous farmer and his wife who live ... Read More »

Book Review: Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Tanglewood Tales—buy the paperback—free Kindle book by Nathaniel Hawthorne—wiki him Recommended Ages: 11+ You may have heard of the Tanglewood Music Festival in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. This festival is named after the mansion where the festival is held. The mansion was named after the nearby cottage where Nathaniel Hawthorne stayed while writing this book. And the cottage, according to my sources, was named after this book—a sequel to the same author’s A Wonder-Book ... Read More »

Book Review: The Rose and the Ring by W. M. Thackeray

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This hilarious fairy-tale spoof was written as a “fireside pantomime,” to amuse a group of English children between Christmas and New Year while staying in an unnamed European city. Moreover, it was published under the pseudonym “Michael Angelo Titmarsh,” if you please. Today’s American children might not understand what’s so funny about that name, let alone what a pantomime is or why it’s remarkable to find the author of such big-boned books as The Luck ... Read More »

Book Review: The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs

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John Bellairs (1938-91) specialized in writing spooky tales of the mysterious and macabre for younger readers. One of the most mysterious and macabre things about him is the fact that he went on writing them after his death. It turns out that four of his books were completed by Brad Strickland based on sketches left unrealized at the author’s death; Strickland then went on to write at least nine more books based on characters Bellairs ... Read More »