Category Archives: Classics


I read Emma for the first time about 20 years ago. I liked it very much, but it didn’t become a favorite. In fact, it took me 20 years to get around to it again, and I only returned to it … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 26 Comments

The Long Winter

When I looked over the Shelf Love archive, it surprised me to see that I have never reviewed one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s novels. Teresa and I reviewed Pioneer Girl, her (heavily annotated) autobiography, and I reviewed The Wilder Life, … Continue reading

Posted in Children's / YA Lit, Classics, Fiction | 7 Comments

The Brandons

This is the sixth of Angela Thirkell’s Barsetshire books, and it is just possible that it’s the most charming one yet. The novel centers around the unbelievably alluring (if rather scatterbrained) Mrs. Brandon and her two sensible children, Francis and … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 14 Comments

The Home and the World

This 1916 novel, originally written in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore, is a terrific example of what happens when individual lives and the life of a nation meet. Sometimes books like this can be lumpen allegories, where the author keeps hitting … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 5 Comments

Lord Jim

It’s been quite some time since I’ve read anything by Joseph Conrad. Years ago — just after college — I read Heart of Darkness and The Secret Agent, both of which I liked very much both for their gripping plot … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 9 Comments

Silas Marner

After my terrible experience with The Book That Shall Not Be Named, I wanted a palate-cleanser. What (I said to myself) what better than George Eliot to soothe, to instruct, to delight? So I picked up Silas Marner, and lo, … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 12 Comments

Red Lights

It’s Labor Day weekend in the 1950s, and the highways from New York to Maine are clogged with couples and families heading north. Steve and Nancy Hogan are going to Maine to pick up their children from a summer-long camp. … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, Mysteries | 6 Comments


The Bastides Blanches are just four little houses in Provence, not enough to even qualify as a village. The four households who live in these homes, plus the drifter Gagou, form the community at the heart of Jean Giono’s 1929 … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 15 Comments

The Eustace Diamonds

Poor Lizzie Eustace! Widowed after only a few months of marriage, she’s now left on her own to raise her infant son. And now the lawyers want to take away the diamonds her beloved husband gave her to be her … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 6 Comments

The Moon and Sixpence

This 1919 novel by W. Somerset Maugham is ostensibly a biography in which an unnamed narrator attempts to shed light on the life of the mysterious artist Charles Strickland (a character based on Paul Gauguin). Although he’s stretching the truth when he says, “I … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 2 Comments