Anne of Green Gables Review
#AnneReadAlong2017 , Book Review / May 23, 2017

Title: Anne of Green Gables Series: Anne of Green Gables, #1 Author: L M Montgomery Genre: Classic Publisher: Bantam Books (Classics) Release Date: May 1st, 1982 Format: eBook Pages: 314 First Published: 1908 “She’ll have to go back.” Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert had decided to adopt an orphan. They wanted a nice sturdy boy to help Matthew with the farm chores. The orphanage sent a girl instead – a mischievous, talkative redhead who the Cuthberts thought would be no use at all. But as soon as Anne arrived at the snug, white farmhouse called Green Gables, she knew she wanted to stay forever. And the longer Anne stayed, the harder it was for anyone to imagine Green Gables without her. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   I cannot believe I didn’t read this book as a child. This classic novel is over 100 years old and yet captured my heart. There is such a simple serenity hiding within the pages of this novel. Stories of love, adventure, stubbornness, forgiveness, rivalries, family, troublemaking, and dreams are woven together to tell the tale of the heartwarming orphan, Anne Shirley. Anne with an E, that is. It’s been my experience that you can nearly always…

Their Eyes Were Watching God
Book Review / May 8, 2017

Title: Their Eyes Were Watching God Author: Zora Neale Hurston Genre: Classic Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics Release Date: November 23rd, 2004 Format: Audiobook Pages: 237 Source: Library; Blogger Recommendation First Published: 1937 One of the most important works of twentieth-century American literature, Zora Neale Hurston’s beloved 1937 classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is an enduring Southern love story sparkling with wit, beauty, and heartfelt wisdom. Told in the captivating voice of a woman who refuses to live in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams, it is the story of fair-skinned, fiercely independent Janie Crawford, and her evolving selfhood through three marriages and a life marked by poverty, trials, and purpose.  A true literary wonder, Hurston’s masterwork remains as relevant and affecting today as when it was first published – perhaps the most widely read and highly regarded novel in the entire canon of African American literature. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   Wow! A HUGE thank you to Melanie @ Grab the Lapels for recommending not only this book but specifically the audiobook to me!  Winner of the Audie Award for Solo Narration – Female in 2001, listening to Ruby Dee recite Their Eyes Were Watching God was incredibly powerful. I love this book…

1984
Book Review / March 31, 2017

Title: 1984 Author: George Orwell Genre: Speculative Fiction Publisher: Plume Release Date: 2009 Format: Hardback Pages: 294 Source: Library First Published: June 8th, 1949 Nineteen Eighty-Four (mostly written 1984) is a 1948 dystopian fiction written by George Orwell about a society ruled by an oligarchical dictatorship. The Oceanian province of Airstrip One is a world of perpetual war, pervasive government surveillance, and incessant public mind control. Oceania is ruled by a political party called simply The Party. The individual is always subordinated to the state, and it is in part this philosophy which allows the Party to manipulate and control humanity. In the Ministry of Truth, protagonist Winston Smith is a civil servant responsible for perpetuating the Party’s propaganda by revising historical records to render the Party omniscient and always correct, yet his meager existence disillusions him to the point of seeking rebellion against Big Brother.  (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   It’s obvious why 1984 is considered classic literature. Originally published in 1949, Orwell’s story projects a future for post-war England right at the start of the Cold War. A 1950’s atomic war transformed the globe and now is divided into 3 super-countries which control their population through shortages, surveillance, torture,…

We Should All Be Feminists
Book Review / March 8, 2017

Title: We Should All Be Feminists Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Genre: Essays Publisher: Anchor Release Date: February 3rd, 2015 Format: Paperback Pages: 49 Source: Library First Published: 2012 In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah, offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   I had seen Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TEDxEuston talk before. But, in light of everything happening around the world, and today being International Women’s Day, I felt like I needed to reconnect with it on my own time. And at my own pace. It was time to pick up the published text. An eloquent and personal essay, We Should All Be Feminists addresses Adichie’s experiences as a woman experiencing internalized, culturized, and socialized misogyny on varying levels. I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my…

The Screwtape Letters
Book Review / December 15, 2016

Title: The Screwtape Letters Author: C.S. Lewis Genre: Theology Publisher: HarperOne Release Date: October 8th, 2013 Format: Hardback Pages: 169 Source: Library First Published: 1942 This extraordinary little book is a startling, unique, and powerful presentation of the old, old problem of the continuous battle for the soul of man between the insidious forces of evil and the triumphant forces of good. It consists of a series of letters written by Screwtape (an important official in his Satanic Majesty’s “Lowerarchy”) to Wormwood, his nephew, who is a junior devil on earth. The letters are instruction in temptation as to how to corrupt the faith of Wormwood’s “patient,” who is in danger of becoming a Christian. “The book sparkles with wit and reveals on every page a penetrating understanding of man’s spiritual struggle upward toward the City of God. Its incisive truth, its scintillating style cry out for quotation. The reader will irresistibly find himself carrying it about, reading it to anyone who will listen. It is a perfect joy and should become a classic.” (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon C.S. Lewis is known as a Christian apologist. This means he presents reasoned, logical, evidential bases for Christianity. In fact, he is known…

Peter and Wendy
Book Review / October 31, 2016

Title: Peter and Wendy Series: Peter Pan, #3 Author: J. M. Barrie Genre: Fairy Tale Publisher: Kindle Release Date: May 11th, 2012 Format: eBook Pages: 166 Source: Owned First Published: 1911 One magical night, the Darling children­­––Wendy, John, and Michael––are visited by two mischievous denizens of Neverland, an island of the imagination where pirates prowl the Mermaids’ Lagoon and fairies live so long as children believe in them. Peter Pan and his loyal, lightning-quick companion, Tinker Bell, have come for Peter’s shadow, captured the previous night by Nana, the children’s Newfoundland nanny. The pair leaves not just with the shadow, but with Wendy and her brothers, as well, whisking them away to Neverland to join the Lost Boys in their war against the evil Captain Hook. J. M. Barrie created the character of Peter Pan to entertain a young family he regularly met in Kensington Gardens. Over the course of two novels and a play, he turned a whimsical idea into one of the most cherished literary characters of all time. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   We all know the story of Peter Pan. He’s the Boy-Who-Never-Grew-Up. He is as cocky as a rooster, and crows just the same. He flies,…

Charlotte’s Web
Book Review / October 19, 2016

Title: Charlotte's Web Author: E. B. White Genre: Fiction Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers Release Date: March 15th, 2015 Format: Audiobook Pages: 184 Source: Library Illustrator: Garth Williams First Published: 1952 This beloved book by E. B. White, author of Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, is a classic of children’s literature that is “just about perfect.” Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter. E. B. White’s Newbery Honor Book is a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come. This edition contains color illustrations by Garth Williams, the acclaimed illustrator of E.B. White’s Stuart Little and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, among many other books. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   As part of my quest to read every Newbery Award winner, I couldn’t wait to revisit a childhood favorite: Charlotte’s Web. A heartwarming story about life, love, and death…

5 Classic Challenged Books You Should Read
Between the Lines , List / September 29, 2016

              Between the Lines is a series of posts focused on better understanding books, trends in writing, and the labels associated with these.  Banned Books Week is almost over. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to read banned and challenged books! I hope that you will continue to keep reading and talking about banned and challenged books through the rest of the year. In this post, we will explore some of my favorite Classics which have been challenged or banned.   1 — The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien What is it? The Lord of the Rings is the fantasy series that completely changed how fantasy is written. J.R.R. Tolkien was a linguistic genius who spoke over 10 languages. He began inventing functional languages for fun, and then developed a world in which they were spoken, which required a series of legends to support it… which led us to the creation of High Fantasy. The pinnacle of High Fantasy Adventure stories, we follow Frodo Baggins on a complex journey to destroy the One Ring. It’s a work of genius. Why is it challenged? The Lord of the Rings has been challenged for various reasons since its publication…

Slaughterhouse-Five
Book Review / September 28, 2016

Title: Slaughterhouse-Five Author: Kurt Vonnegut Genre: Classic Publisher: Dell Release Date: November 3rd, 1991 Format: Paperback Pages: 215 Source: Library First Published: 1969 Prisoner of war, optometrist, time-traveller – these are the life roles of Billy Pilgrim, hero of this miraculously moving, bitter and funny story of innocence faced with apocalypse. Slaughterhouse 5 is one of the world’s great anti-war books. Centring on the infamous fire-bombing of Dresden in the Second World War, Billy Pilgrim’s odyssey through time reflects the journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   A commonly banned book, Slaughterhouse-Five, Or the Children’s Crusade is a powerful piece of classic American literature. Believe it or not, this was my first time reading a Vonnegut novel. Sometimes, I reflect back on my public school English curriculum, and I wonder what my teachers were thinking. There are so many classic authors I have never read. But then again, there are a lot of classic authors… I digress. Kurt Vonnegut was a prolific American author who had a perchance for the darkly comic in his writing. His writing quickly became classics of American counterculture and he was an…

Holes
Book Review / August 28, 2016

Title: Holes Series: Holes, #1 Author: Louis Sachar Genre: Fiction Publisher: Scholastic Release Date: August 20th, 1998 Format: Paperback Pages: 233 Source: Owned Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes. It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   It’s not a surprise that this is the first book to win both the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature (1998). This is an incredible story– impeccable storytelling happens in these 233 pages. An effortless weaving of the…