Category Archives: Classics

The Fire Next Time

This 1963 book by James Baldwin is heart-breakingly relevant today. Not only did it inspire two important books of 2016—The Fire This Time and Between the World and Me—but it also feels at times like it could have been written last … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Nonfiction | 6 Comments

The Haunting of Hill House

This book by Shirley Jackson might have had more of an impact on me if I weren’t already a fan of the 1963 film (soooo creepy!), but it’s still a good book, even if you know what chills are coming … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 13 Comments

The Cornish Coast Murder

I read about the British Library Crime Classics on Litlove’s site a couple of years ago. They are reprints of lesser-known crime fiction, put out by the Poisoned Pen Press, with titles like A Scream in Soho, Sergeant Cluff Stands … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, Mysteries/Crime | 6 Comments

Henry VIII

I’m actually not all that well-read when it comes to Shakespeare. I’ve read or seen ten out of thirty-eight of his plays, and a big chunk of his sonnets, but that’s all. Before reading Henry VIII, I hadn’t read any … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Drama | 7 Comments


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