Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: Book Review

3 Stars. According to the introduction to this edition, Northanger Abbey is the earliest of Jane Austen’s published novels but the last to be published, and even then it was published posthumously. I could tell this was an early work of hers, because her sarcasm and social commentary is much more obvious and pointed than in the other […]

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My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell: Book Review

2 Stars. I’m sorry to say that this didn’t quite work for me. I’m disappointed since so many other readers love it. The tales of the family misadventures were hilarious. Larry, the budding author, is a know-it-all who can steer his mom in any direction he chooses. Leslie, the avid huntsman, shoots his guns and scares the wits […]

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The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis: Book Review

The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis Book Cover

3 Stars. The Screwtape Letters is honestly not the kind of book I would choose on my own but it filled a reading challenge prompt, I love Narnia, and one of my old bosses recommended it to me years ago. So my review should be read with that in mind. This just was not the book for me. I’m a fast reader and simply cannot bring […]

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Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison: Book Review

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison Book Cover

2 Stars. I imagine that this book is a fantastic choice for a book club or assigned reading but I, as a solo reader, just found it confusing. The plot jumped around with little resolution, characters appeared and disappeared, and I couldn’t find an entry point to understanding it. To be fair, it’s written in an […]

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The Ramayana by R. K. Narayan: Book Review

The Ramayana by R.K. Narayan Book Cover

4 Stars. I don’t even know how I first came across this title but I added it to a list of possible books to read for a classics challenge I’m participating in. I had to read Beowulf and The Epic of Gilgamesh in high school so I wanted to read some epics from other cultures. Somehow I found The Ramayana. Then I realized that this version […]

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All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West: Book Review

All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West Book Cover

4 Stars. I’m not entirely sure what I expected when I started this book, but it’s not what I got, and that was a pleasant surprise for me. Lady Slane is a delightful creature and I know she and I would be friends if she were real. She’s always been dutiful to her family but she has a rich inner landscape. She draws eccentrics to herself […]

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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë: Book Review

4.5 Stars. Oh my goodness. Why do we pay less attention to Anne Brontë than the other sisters? I liked this book infinitely more than Wuthering Heights! I’ll still give Jane Eyre the edge as my favorite book by a Brontë, but it’s a closer thing than I expected. Anne wrote both a captivating story and a searing indictment of “bad boys” and [..

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The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame: Book Review

3.5 Stars. I’ve never read this before and found it pretty charming if a bit outdated. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it in elementary school. I remember bits and pieces of the Disney cartoon but I’m honestly not sure if I’ve ever watched the whole thing. The illustrations by David Roberts in this edition […]

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The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales: Book Review

4 Stars. I love retold fairy tales but don’t often go back to the original sources. This was a nice refresher and even an introduction to some classic European tales. Some annotations and introductions were more helpful than others, as is always the case with these kinds of books. I would have been perfectly happy if any contributions […]

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A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck: Book Review

4 Stars. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this book but I ultimately found it to be a surprisingly touching story of a boy on the cusp of manhood. Robert is fairly innocent in the ways of the world (he thinks that the tiny town of Rutledge, Vermont is almost as big as London). But he also has a practical knowledge of […]

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The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger: Book Review

4 Stars. I’ll be honest–I fully expected to dislike this book. I only decided to read it to see why it’s always on lists of banned/challenged books. You can’t even begin to imagine my surprise when I immediately clicked with Holden. Is he young and judgmental? Yes. But he’s broken and feels the world deeply. He sees all the ways we hurt […]

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