Category Archives: Classics

The Watsons

The Watsons is an unfinished novel by Jane Austen, just a few chapters long. There’s basically enough to give readers a sense of who the players are and what some of the crucial relationships are likely to be. The central … Continue reading

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The Group

This 1963 novel by Mary McCarthy follows the lives of eight 1933 graduates of Vassar, as they pursue careers, relationships, and freedom to live their lives as they choose. Some of their experiences are pretty harrowing — one woman is … Continue reading

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Miss Hargreaves

This odd little book from 1940, a favorite of my blogging friend Simon, is the story of a man who finds himself in over his head after telling what seems to be a harmless lie that somehow becomes true. When … Continue reading

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Betty Smith is best known for her novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I love that book but had no idea she’d written anything else until I happened upon an attractive copy of Maggie-Now at a used book sale. And, it turns out, … Continue reading

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The Sundial

When a book begins with a funeral with a man who died because his mother pushed him down the stairs, and everyone is totally matter-of-fact about it and not at all interested in consequences or fretful that this woman is … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 3 Comments

A Glass of Blessings

I haven’t read nearly enough Barbara Pym, I think. I loved Excellent Women when I read it years ago and quickly collected a few more of her books for my collection. And there they sat until I finally got around … Continue reading

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First published in Russia in 1921, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin is the literary ancestor of books like Brave New World by 1984. You have a totalitarian system, a regular dude within the system, a sexy lady, and rebellion that may or may not … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 6 Comments

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (and The Green Knight)

When I made plans earlier this week to go see The Green Knight, I thought it would be interesting to revisit the original 14th-century poem on which this movie is based. I’d read the poem in college (it was the first … Continue reading

Posted in Bookish films, Classics, Poetry | 5 Comments

Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park seems to be the Jane Austen novel that people don’t like much, and its heroine, Fanny Price, the heroine people don’t care much about (if they don’t actively dislike her). I have never considered it a favorite (that would … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 8 Comments

The Tortoise and the Hare

This 1954 novel by Elizabeth Jenkins focuses on the disastrous marriage of Imogen and Evelyn Gresham. Imogen is beautiful and amiable, but, it appears, kind of useless to everyone in her household. She tries, but when she does, she ends … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 6 Comments