I was sick throughout a lot of last winter (2019), and it was the most I could do to lie in bed and listen to audio books. I discovered Mary Anderson’s free reading Pollyanna through LibriVox, and was hooked from Chapter 1. Pollyanna Whittier is an optimistic little girl who has endured great trials in … Continue reading Book Review: Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
After having very much enjoyed listening to A Study in Scarlet on audio last year, I was looking forward to continuing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic Sherlock Holmes adventures. I was a bit taken aback when the book opens with a rather alarming scene of Holmes shooting up cocaine. Watson protests the practice, but it's odd … Continue reading Book Review: The Sign of Four (Sherlock Holmes #2) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I had attempted to read the Sherlock Holmes mysteries by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as a younger person, but usually the old-fashioned prose threw me off, and I had difficulty following it. Recently, I had the pleasure of coming across a free LibriVox recording of the audiobook (the version I listened to is here: https://librivox.org/a-study-in-scarlet-version-6-by-sir-arthur-conan-doyle/), which … Continue reading Book Review: A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes #1) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I read Lois Lowry’s classic fantasy, The Giver, as an adult. In a Matched- or Hunger Games-like dystopian future, a boy’s destiny is chosen for him. He must become something of a memory keeper for his literally colorless society. As he awakens to the history of humanity, which he has never known, he discovers something else: the evil and … Continue reading Book Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle is a 1960s book far ahead of its time. It captured some cool concepts about space, aliens, good vs. evil, and even spirituality. I read this book twice: once as an eleven-year-old, and once as a twenty-year-old. I loved it both times, but got more out of it the … Continue reading Book Review: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Their Eyes Were Watching God was published in 1937, penned by renowned author Zora Neale Hurston. We follow the story of Janie, a young African American woman who breaks all chains of tradition by refusing to marry the man her family had selected for her, and setting off to make her own life. She goes … Continue reading Book Review: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
I was not expecting to enjoy the original Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker. I don't like vampire books, after all. The beginning was difficult to get through, at first. But once the story started coming together, the accounts of different characters each blending together and making for a fascinating story told in fictional journal entries and … Continue reading Book Review: Dracula by Bram Stoker
I never finished the last two of C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia books, but read most of the series as a teenager. I must note, I read them solely for the story, and didn't think to dissect them for religious symbolism (although I was aware of it). I began with The Magician’s Nephew, which was the last of the books … Continue reading Book Review: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The Secret Garden (1911) by F. H. Burnett is one of the sweetest, most touching little novels I have ever read. We meet young Mary, sullen and cross, a friendless and unfriendly little girl. She is loathe to be moving to a mysterious home in the English moors. But the fresh, open air of the … Continue reading Book Review: The Secret Garden by F.H. Burnett
Great Expectations (1860) by Charles Dickens is the classic, delightful story of Pip, a young English boy who inherits a mysterious fortune. I read this book in high school and really enjoyed it. Despite being long-winded in places, it’s a great story that I’ve always remembered, with a few shocking and somewhat disturbing twists as … Continue reading Book Review: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Catcher in the Rye (1951) by J. D. Salinger is one of my all-time favorite novels for more reasons than one. First, it’s impossible to put down. The eccentric narration by Holden Caulfield is conversational and comical, despite the more serious undertones to the novel. Second, the character development, symbolism, and approach to deeper, … Continue reading Book Review: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
A symbolic novel about the American Dream, sad and romantic. It’s been so long since I’ve read it, but I remember the main character, Nick, and his potential love interest, Jordan Baker. The lost romance between Gatsby and Daisy was truly haunting. A classic novel.
1984 by George Orwell, published in 1949, is the signature dystopian novel. Inspiring later literature like The Hunger Games, Orwell’s frightening story of a totalitarian government and their oppression of the people strikes a chord with the political fears of people in the 20th century and today. A fascinating and unforgettable read, in ways reminiscent of … Continue reading Book Review: 1984 by George Orwell
In my experience, Moby Dick (1851) by Herman Melville cannot be read outside of academia, with a professor to walk you through the meaning of the text. Or at least, I’m biased because this was my experience as a junior in high school! And it was wonderful!! This is the classic tale of a whale … Continue reading Book Review: Moby Dick by Herman Melville
In the book rendition of The Phantom of the Opera, later to be converted into the famous play, there is nothing supernatural about the Phantom. He's really just sort of a weirdo, named Erik, who devised a bunch of special effects and secret passages in the opera house. An odd yet original and imaginative novel for … Continue reading Book Review: The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Lereux
The Jane Austen resurgence was all the rage when I was in high school! Other authors started publishing fan fiction based off her characters, new film renditions of her work took to the silver screen, even books about people reading her books became popular! I began reading her because, at age fourteen, I was bored … Continue reading 4 Books by Jane Austen
In the summer of tenth grade going into eleventh, I read 3 books by Mark Twain: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Pudd’nhead Wilson. To begin with Tom & Huck (1876 and 1884, respectively), whose stories really run together for me: I had grown up watching various film versions of … Continue reading Author Spotlight: Mark Twain
I read this Barnes & Noble H.G. Wells omnibus one summer, back when I was in high school. The Time Machine is the story of a time traveler who voyages into the future and meets bizarre human-like species - and almost doesn’t get back to his own time. I could imagine this was the original Star Trek when it first … Continue reading Author Spotlight: H.G. Wells
I read Jane Eyre (1847) by Charlotte Bronte when I was in tenth grade. I’d grown up watching the various film renditions, so was already fond of the story. As such, I loved the experience of reading the novel. The title character is a physically plain but intelligent young woman who sets out to become … Continue reading Book Review: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
A surprisingly easy-to-read (for the era in which it was written) novel by Oscar Wilde about a vain young man named Dorian Gray. Mysteriously, he retains his youth, while his portrait ages. What I found most interesting (again, for the era) were the homosexual undertones and also the fact that the protagonist was not a particular likable character.
This classic Bradbury sci-fi was required reading in my freshman English class. It takes place in a dystopian future where books are illegal, and the job of firemen is to burn books, rather than put out fires. Most memorable was a strange Luna Lovegood-like character named Clarisse. A very good novel.
A well-known piece of French Existential literature about a man coping with the death of his mother. While fairly readable for its simplicity, it's a rather bleak read.