Blog category: Book Reviews
A winner of the 1923 Pulitzer Prize, One of Ours tells the story of Claude Wheeler, a young Nebraska man who is struggling to find meaning in his life. The novel is divided thematically into two parts. The first part is set in the Nebraska wheat fields where Claude works on his father’s farm. The second part takes place in France where Claude serves in the American army during WWI. Continue reading .
Perhaps surprising for a book about a young girl, readers of both genders and all ages have posted reviews about how wonderful Anne’s story is, “without violence, sexual situations, or earthy language.” We marvel that we still have the capability of being taken in by such a simple story. Somehow these novels help us tap into a primal instinct for nature and simplicity that reminds us of what life’s really about, and they do it most absorbingly. Continue reading .
Fanny Burney’s second novel is the story a young and beautiful heiress whose army of suitors is made up of gentlemen, scoundrels, and many others who are not what they seem. Admired by Jane Austen and other contemporaries, it is said that the title for Pride and Prejudice is taken from the last pages of this novel. Continue reading .
Wanted: Cook for remote camp. Location: Antarctica. Job Description: Cook meals at unspecified times for 7-100 persons. Duration: 4 months. Pay: Appallingly low. Facility: Scattered tents in the middle of nowhere. Entire facility buried sometimes for years when not in use. No Cuisinarts. No KitchenAids–no electricity. Stove sometimes belches fire and could burn down the camp. However, camp more likely to be blown away by storms. Continue reading .
Agatha Christie carefully weaves her story with clues that appear to be casually dropped, and which the reader may not take to heart. Her skill at foreshadowing marks her as a master storyteller whose stories endure nearly a century after they were written. Continue reading .
Published in 1991, and winner of the Anthony Award and the Macavity Award, both for “Best First Mystery,” Murder on the Iditarod Trail chronicles the adventures of a musher (as Iditarod contestants are known) and a State Trooper as the former tries to elude and the latter tries to catch the person responsible for the deaths of three mushers and the maiming of three more. Continue reading .
Published in July 1814, Mansfield Park is the story of Fanny Price who has been raised by her wealthy aunt and uncle as charity to her mother who married poorly. Treated as inferior by everyone except her cousin Edmund, Fanny’s gratitude toward Edmund secretly grows into love. As suitors and other lovers come into the picture, the plot thickens and emotions run high in true Austen style. Continue reading .
Much shorter than Middlemarch, Silas Marner ironically takes a bit longer for the reader to become involved with the story. It starts almost too simply: Silas Marner, a weaver living in a religious community, is unjustly accused of theft, expelled, and becomes a recluse in another small village called Raveloe. Continue reading .
The title of this book is evidently a double entendre–a guess, since pearls are never mentioned in the narrative. However, a string of pearls was and still is a wardrobe staple for the professional woman. A “string of pearls” must also refer to the format of the narrative. It is a collection of vignettes presented in a logical if not always chronological order. As the reader progresses through the stories, he or she realizes that these stories are indeed gems. Continue reading .
My Ántonia is a story of many people over a long period of time. Many come and go, some stay throughout the narrative, many softly pass into the background and are not spoken of again. While not the tightly structured narrative that was O Pioneers!, My Ántonia is a quiet story that finds its power through simplicity. Continue reading .