Category Archives: Classics

Mary Barton

Mary Barton is Elizabeth Gaskell’s first novel. It takes place in the industrial town of Manchester, and (like North and South) it is full of industrial concerns: factories, foundries, trade unions, strikes, wages, masters and men, and the inevitable conflict. … Continue reading

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The Fortnight in September

Every year, the Stevens family spends two weeks at the seaside in Bognor. The trip involves a series of rituals — they always take the same train, stay in the same boarding house, and engage in many of the same … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 9 Comments

Barnaby Rudge

Before I start my review, you guys, THIS IS MY LAST DICKENS NOVEL! I have now read all of Dickens (if by “all of Dickens” you mean “not his short stories, novellas, newspaper pieces, plays, travelogues, histories, or Edwin Drood.”) … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, Historical Fiction | 17 Comments

Clouds of Witness

I began reading Dorothy Sayers about thirty years ago. Maybe even a little longer, actually, when I was around eleven or twelve. I started reading detective fiction with an alarming Agatha Christie binge and some of those Alfred Hitchcock story … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, Mysteries/Crime | 13 Comments

The Duke’s Children

The final novel in Anthony Trollope’s Palliser series begins with the announcement that Lady Glencora, Duchess of Omnium, has died, leaving her husband Plantagenet Palliser to guide their three children into adulthood. The two sons, Silverbridge and Gerald, have shown … Continue reading

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The Innocents Abroad

Mark Twain’s story of a cruise on the USS Quaker City from the United States to Europe, down through the Mediterranean, to the Holy Land, and home again, is something I’ve read about all my life. Elnora has her mother … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 8 Comments


YOU GUYS. I read Ivanhoe and it was the most amazing thing. Walter Scott was extremely popular in his day and had legions of adoring fans and was invited to a private dinner by the Prince Regent so they could … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 31 Comments

The Shuttle

Frances Hodgson Burnett is best known for her children’s novels (none of which I happen to have read). The 1907 novel The Shuttle, however, is written for adults. Its subject—an abusive marriage—is a serious one, although it’s presented in such a way … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 12 Comments

Little Dorrit (TV series)

Recently, my friend Laura loaned me her copy of the 2008 BBC production of Little Dorrit. I watched it over a couple of days — it’s 14 half-hour episodes — and thought I would just mention it here. Little Dorrit … Continue reading

Posted in Bookish films, Classics, Fiction | 1 Comment

The Age of Innocence

Looking back on my reading history, I last read Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence ten years ago, just pre-blog. I barely remember it. As I turned the pages, everything seemed new and fresh. I couldn’t anticipate the plot, and … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 13 Comments