Jacki Kellum

Juxtapositions: Read My Mind

Category: Classic Books

Jacki Kellum List of Good Books That Have Been Made into Great Movies – If You Need to Recharge Your Batteries, Slip into a Good Book — Especially One that Has Been Made into a Movie

Some people are completely rejuvenated by reading a good book. For me, recreating is about stopping, at least for a while, the tapes that want to endlessly play through my brain, and literature is a great way for me to do that. But I much prefer watching a great movie that has been made of literature–as opposed to merely reading it. On the third Friday of each month, I lead a Book & Movie club at my local library. The idea is to find good books that have been captured as good movies, and in this post, I want to share my favorite book-movie combinations.

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2005 Pride and Prejudice

For many years, it was a bit of a habit to dismiss books made into movies, saying: “But the book is better,” and I have found that some people hold on to what may have been a truth at one time. In recent years, however, there have been some excellent movie interpretations of books: i.e. The Lord of the Rings, Out of Africa, Pride & Prejudice, and I can earnestly say that in many cases, I prefer watching good movies to reading. I am a visual person, and I love the outstanding, panoramic photography that becomes part of the movie’s total experience.

In a great movie, the music becomes part of your total experience, too. I never shall forget the first time that I watched The Lord of the Rings. As soon as the music of the Shire began, I was totally enamored by everything Lord of the Rings. I loved the setting. I loved the characters. I loved the cinematography, and I loved the story. I learned to love Tolkien through film and not through his books; and I believe that it is okay to admit that we find movies to be literature, on their own terms.

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When I watch a movie, the actors and actresses become the actual characters of the book. Don’t ever try to convince me that Ian McKellen is not the one, true Gandalf the Grey.

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Before I watched Selma Hayek play Frida Kahlo on the screen, I had seen Frida Kahlo paintings for decades. Yet, after watching Frida, Selma Hayek has become Frida Kahlo, in my mind.

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Because of the movie Out of Africa, Meryl Streep has become Isak Dinesen to me.

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And because of her portrayal in the 2005 movie Pride & Prejudice, Kiera Knightley has become all of Jane Austen for me.

At times, a movie may not be absolutely true to an author’s intent. Truman Capote had wanted Marilyn Monroe to play the part of Holly Golightly in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In the book, Capote describes Holly as having albino blonde hair. Because I am responsible for picking the book-movie selections for my club, I watch every movie-book combo that I can find, and in most cases, I watch the movie before I read the book. That was the order with my experiencing Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I was stunned to read that Holly Golightly was supposed to have blonde hair. In my opinion, Audrey Hepburn is the quintessential Holly Golightly, and in my opinion, the movie would have been less effective with Marilyn Monroe.

“It was a warm evening, nearly summer, and she wore a slim cool black dress, black sandals, a pearl choker. For all her thinness, she had an almost breakfast-cereal air of health, a soap and lemon cleanness, a rough pink darkening in the cheeks. Her mouth was large, her nose upturned. A pair of dark glasses blotted out her eyes. It was a face beyond childhood…. I thought her anywhere between sixteen and thirty, as it turned out, she was shy two months of her nineteenth birthday.” p. 12

“She was never without dark glasses, she was always well-groomed, there was a consequential good taste in the plainness of her clothes….One might have thought her a photographer’s model, perhaps a young actress….” p. 14

“I discovered, from observing the trash-basket outside her door, that her regular reading consisted of tabloids and travel folders and astrological charts; that she smoked an esoteric cigarette called Picayunes; survived on cottage cheese and melba toast….” p. 15

In some measure, recreation is about escape, but for me, recreating is more about stepping into something larger that I was before, and when I move into another person’s mind and see the world in a new and enlarged way, I am recreated.  Enjoy my list of books that have been turned into movies. I recommend every title that I have listed.

Jacki Kellum List of Good Books That Have Been Turned into Great Movies

A Time to Kill: A Novel (Jake Brigance Book 1) by [Grisham, John]

A Time to Kill by John Grisham – 4.5 Stars

The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young men. The mostly white town of Clanton in Ford County, Mississippi, reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. Until her black father acquires an assault rifle and takes justice into his own outraged hands.

For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client’s life–and then his own.” Amazon 7.4 Stars

Atonement – 4 Stars

Ian McEwan’s symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative and the provocation we have come to expect from this master of English prose.

On a hot summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’ s incomplete grasp of adult motives–together with her precocious literary gifts–brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime’s repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece.

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IMBd  7.8/10

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote – 4.5 Stars

“The movie has been one of my favorites for decades, but I’d never read the book. It’s no surprise to say that the book is better than the movie, but it really does a great job of pulling us into a somewhat seedier version of NYC than shown in the movie. I fell in love with poor lost Holly all over again, but got a much better feel for the time and the story. Capote does a great job of pulling us into the late war and post-war years, and we’re left genuinely wondering whether Holly ever found peace and home.” Amazon

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IMBd 7.7/10

The Client by [Grisham, John]

The Client by John Grisham 4.5 Stars

IMBd 6.7/10

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier – 4 Stars

New York Times Best Seller for 62 Weeks

“Sorely wounded and fatally disillusioned in the fighting at Petersburg, a Confederate soldier named Inman decides to walk back to his home in the Blue Ridge mountains to Ada, the woman he loves. His trek across the disintegrating South brings him into intimate and sometimes lethal converse with slaves and marauders, bounty hunters and witches, both helpful and malign. At the same time, the intrepid Ada is trying to revive her father’s derelict farm and learning to survive in a world where the old certainties have been swept away. As it interweaves their stories, Cold Mountain asserts itself as an authentic odyssey, hugely powerful, majestically lovely, and keenly moving.”

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IMBd Rating 7.2/10

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown – 4.5 Stars

With The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown masterfully concocts an intelligent and lucid thriller that marries the gusto of an international murder mystery with a collection of fascinating esoteria culled from 2,000 years of Western history.

A murder in the silent after-hour halls of the Louvre museum reveals a sinister plot to uncover a secret that has been protected by a clandestine society since the days of Christ. The victim is a high-ranking agent of this ancient society who, in the moments before his death, manages to leave gruesome clues at the scene that only his granddaughter, noted cryptographer Sophie Neveu, and Robert Langdon, a famed symbologist, can untangle. The duo become both suspects and detectives searching for not only Neveu’s grandfather’s murderer but also the stunning secret of the ages he was charged to protect. Mere steps ahead of the authorities and the deadly competition, the mystery leads Neveu and Langdon on a breathless flight through France, England, and history itself. Brown (Angels and Demons) has created a page-turning thriller that also provides an amazing interpretation of Western history. Brown’s hero and heroine embark on a lofty and intriguing exploration of some of Western culture’s greatest mysteries–from the nature of the Mona Lisa’s smile to the secret of the Holy Grail. Though some will quibble with the veracity of Brown’s conjectures, therein lies the fun. The Da Vinci Code is an enthralling read that provides rich food for thought.” Amazon’

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IMBd 6.6/10

Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis – 4.5 Stars

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IMBd Rating 7.9/10

“Elmer Gantry is a 1960 drama film about a con man and a female evangelist selling religion to small town America. Adapted by director Richard Brooks, the film is based on the 1927 novel of the same name by Sinclair Lewis and stars Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Arthur Kennedy and Shirley Jones and Patti Page.

“Elmer Gantry was nominated for five Academy Awards in 1961, including Best Picture and Best Score. It won Best Actor for Lancaster, Best Supporting Actress for Jones, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

“The movie presents fewer than 100 pages of the novel Elmer Gantry, deleting many characters and fundamentally changing the character and actions of female evangelist, Sister Sharon Falconer, as played by Simmons. The character of Sharon Falconer was loosely based on elements in the career of the Canadian-born American radio evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, who founded the Pentecostal Christian denomination known as the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel in 1927.” Wikipedia

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The Giver 4.5 Stars

The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lois Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.” Amazon

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IMBd 6.5/10

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – 4 Stars

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now….

Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and literary tour de force.

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The Handmaid’s Tale Series IMBd 8.7/10

Heidi by Johanna Spyri 4.5 Stars

Heidi is a work of fiction written in 1880 by Swiss author Johanna Spyri, originally published in two parts as Heidi’s years of learning and travel (German: Heidis Lehr- und Wanderjahre) and Heidi makes use of what she has learned. It is a novel about the events in the life of a young girl in her grandfather’s care, in the Swiss Alps. It was written as a book “for children and those who love children.” Heidi is one of the best-selling books ever written and is among the best-known works of Swiss literature.

IMBd 7/3/10

The Help by Kathryn Stocett – 4.5 Stars

Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who’s always taken orders quietly, but lately she’s unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She’s full of ambition, but without a husband, she’s considered a failure. Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South, that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town…

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IMBd 8.1/10

The Invention of Hugo Cabaret – 5 Stars

“Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.”

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IMBd 7.5/10

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It by Stephen King – 4.5 Stars

Stephen King’s terrifying, classic #1 New York Times bestseller, “a landmark in American literature” (Chicago Sun-Times)—about seven adults who return to their hometown to confront a nightmare they had first stumbled on as teenagers…an evil without a name: It.

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real.

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers.

Readers of Stephen King know that Derry, Maine, is a place with a deep, dark hold on the author. It reappears in many of his books, including Bag of BonesHearts in Atlantis, and 11/22/63. But it all starts with It.

“Stephen King’s most mature work” (St. Petersburg Times), “It will overwhelm you… to be read in a well-lit room only” (Los Angeles Times).

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It [2017] IMBd 8.1/10

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – 4.5 Stars

Louisa May Alcott was both an abolitionist and a feminist. She is best known for Little Women (1868), a semi-autobiographical account of her childhood years with her sisters in Concord, Massachusetts. Alcott, unlike Jo, never married: “… because I have fallen in love with so many pretty girls and never once the least bit with any man.” She was an advocate of women’s suffrage and was the first woman to register to vote in Concord, Massachusetts.

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IMBd  7.3/10

Misery by Stephen King – 4.5 Stars

The #1 national bestseller about a famous novelist held hostage by his “number one fan” and suffering a frightening case of writer’s block—that could prove fatal. One of “Stephen King’s best…genuinely scary” (USA TODAY).

Paul Sheldon is a bestselling novelist who has finally met his number one fan. Her name is Annie Wilkes, and she is more than a rabid reader—she is Paul’s nurse, tending his shattered body after an automobile accident. But she is also furious that the author has killed off her favorite character in his latest book. Annie becomes his captor, keeping him prisoner in her isolated house.

Annie wants Paul to write a book that brings Misery back to life—just for her. She has a lot of ways to spur him on. One is a needle. Another is an axe. And if they don’t work, she can get really nasty.

“Terrifying” (San Francisco Chronicle), “dazzlingly well-written” (The Indianapolis Star), and “truly gripping” (Publishers Weekly), Misery is “classic Stephen King…full of twists and turns and mounting suspense” (The Boston Globe).

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IMBd 7.8/10

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

THE MOST WIDELY READ MYSTERY OF ALL TIME—NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY KENNETH BRANAGH AND PRODUCED BY RIDLEY SCOTT!

“The murderer is with us—on the train now . . .”

“Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer.

“Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again.” Amazon

Mystic River by Dennis Lehane – 4.5 Stars

The New York Times bestselling novel from Dennis Lehane is a gripping, unnerving psychological thriller about the effects of a savage killing on three former friends in a tightly knit, blue-collar Boston neighborhood.

When they were children, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus, and Dave Boyle were friends. But then a strange car pulled up to their street. One boy got into the car, two did not, and something terrible happened — something that ended their friendship and changed all three boys forever.

Twenty-five years later, Sean is a homicide detective. Jimmy is an ex-con who owns a corner store. And Dave is trying to hold his marriage together and keep his demons at bay — demons that urge him to do terrible things. When Jimmy’s daughter is found murdered, Sean is assigned to the case. His investigation brings him into conflict with Jimmy, who finds his old criminal impulses tempt him to solve the crime with brutal justice. And then there is Dave, who came home the night Jimmy’s daughter died covered in someone else’s blood.

A tense and unnerving psychological thriller, Mystic River is also an epic novel of love and loyalty, faith and family, in which people irrevocably marked by the past find themselves on a collision course with the darkest truths of their own hidden selves.

IMBd 8.0/10

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck 4.5 Stars

“They are an unlikely pair: George is “small and quick and dark of face”; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a “family,” clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation.

“Laborers in California’s dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie’s unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.” Amazon – 112 pages

“A thriller, a gripping tale . . . that you will not set down until it is finished. Steinbeck has touched the quick.” —The New York Times

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IMBd 7.5/10

Several film versions for Of Mice and Men have been made.

Oil by Sinclair Lewis -Basis for Movie There Will Be Blood – 4 Stars

There Will Be Blood wins two 2008 Academy Awards. 

Oil!, the classic 1927 novel by Upton Sinclair. After writing The Jungle, his scathing indictment of the meatpacking industry, Sinclair turned his sights on the early days of the California oil industry in a highly entertaining story featuring a cavalcade of characters including senators, oil magnets, Hollywood film starlets, and a crusading evangelist.

This lively and panoramic book, which was recently cited by David Denby in the New Yorker as being Sinclair’s “most readable” novel, is now the inspiration for the Paramount Vantage major motion picture, There Will Be Blood. It is the long-awaited film from Paul Thomas Anderson, one of the most admired filmmakers working today whose previous movies….The movie stars Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis (Gangs of New YorkMy Left Foot) and Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine).

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There Will Be Blood IMBd 8.1/10

Pelican Brief by John Grisham – 4.5 Stars

In suburban Georgetown, a killer’s Reeboks whisper on the floor of a posh home. In a seedy D.C. porno house, a patron is swiftly garroted to death. The next day America learns that two of its Supreme Court justices have been assassinated. And in New Orleans, a young law student prepares a legal brief.

To Darby Shaw it was no more than a legal shot in the dark, a brilliant guess. To the Washington establishment it’s political dynamite. Suddenly Darby is witness to a murder–a murder intended for her. Going underground, she finds that there is only one person–an ambitious reporter after a newsbreak hotter than Watergate–she can trust to help her piece together the deadly puzzle. Somewhere between the bayous of Louisiana and the White House’s inner sanctums, a violent cover-up is being engineered. For someone has read Darby’s brief–someone who will stop at nothing to destroy the evidence of an unthinkable crime.” Amazon

IMBd 6.6 Stars

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen – 4.5 Stars

“In this book, the author of Seven Gothic Tales gives a true account of her life on her plantation in Kenya. She tells with classic simplicity of the ways of the country and the natives: of the beauty of the Ngong Hills and coffee trees in blossom: of her guests, from the Prince of Wales to Knudsen, the old charcoal burner, who visited her: of primitive festivals: of big game that were her near neighbors–lions, rhinos, elephants, zebras, buffaloes–and of Lulu, the little gazelle who came to live with her, unbelievably ladylike and beautiful.” Amazon

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IMBd 7.2/10 – I rate this movie much, muc higher

Pride and Prejudice – 4.5 Stars

“Jane Austen is arguably the finest female novelist who ever lived and Pride and Prejudice is arguably the finest, and is certainly the most popular, of her novels. An undoubted classic of world literature, its profound Christian morality is all too often missed or wilfully overlooked by today’s (post)modern critics. Yet Austen saw the follies and foibles of human nature, and the frictions and fidelities of family life, with an incisive eye that penetrates to the very heart of the human condition. ” – Amazon

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2005 Pride and Prejudice

IMBd 7.8/10 I rate this movie much higher.

Several film versions of Pride and Prejudice are available. My favorite stars Keira Knightley

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy – 4.5 Stars

“A big, sprawling saga of a novel” (San Francisco Chronicle), this epic family drama is a masterwork by the revered author of The Great Santini.

Pat Conroy’s classic novel stings with honesty and resounds with drama. Spanning forty years, it’s the story of turbulent Tom Wingo, his gifted and troubled twin sister, Savannah, and their struggle to triumph over the dark and tragic legacy of the extraordinary family into which they were born. Filled with the vanishing beauty of the South Carolina Low Country as well as the dusty glitter of New York City, The Prince of Tides showcases an American original at his very best.

Praise for The Prince of Tides

“This is a powerful book. . . . [Pat] Conroy is a master of language.”The Atlanta Journal
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IMBd 6.7/10 – I rate this movie much, much higher

Psycho by Robert Bloch – Basis fr Hitchcock Film – 4.5 Stars

The story was all too real-indeed this classic was inspired by the real-life story of Ed Gein, a psychotic murderer who led a dual life. Alfred Hitchcock too was captivated, and turned the book into one of the most-loved classic films of all time the year after it was released.

Norman Bates loves his Mother. She has been dead for the past twenty years, or so people think. Norman knows better though. He has lived with Mother ever since leaving the hospital in the old house up on the hill above the Bates motel. One night Norman spies on a beautiful woman that checks into the hotel as she undresses. Norman can’t help but spy on her. Mother is there though. She is there to protect Norman from his filthy thoughts. She is there to protect him with her butcher knife.

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IMBd 8.5/10

Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella – 4.5 Stars

More than the inspiration for the beloved film Field of DreamsShoeless Joe is a mythical novel about dreams, magic, life, and what is quintessentially American; (Philadelphia Inquirer).

If you build it, he will come.These mysterious words, spoken by an Iowa baseball announcer, inspire Ray Kinsella to carve a baseball diamond in his cornfield in honor of his hero, the baseball legend Shoeless Joe Jackson. What follows is both a rich, nostalgic look at one of our most cherished national pastimes and a remarkable story about fathers and sons, love and family, and the inimitable joy of finding your way home.

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Field of Dreams – IMBd 7.5/10

Silence by Shusaku Endo – 4.5 Stars

Shusaku Endo’s classic novel of enduring faith in dangerous timessoon to be a major motion picture directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, and Adam Driver

Silence I regard as a masterpiece, a lucid and elegant drama.”-The New York Review of Books

Seventeenth-century Japan: Two Portuguese Jesuit priests travel to a country hostile to their religion, where feudal lords force the faithful to publicly renounce their beliefs. Eventually captured and forced to watch their Japanese Christian brothers lay down their lives for their faith, the priests bear witness to unimaginable cruelties that test their own beliefs. Shusaku Endo is one of the most celebrated and well-known Japanese fiction writers of the twentieth century, and Silence is widely considered to be his great masterpiece.

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Silence – IMBd 7.2/10

Something Wicked This Way Comes – 4 Stars

[Because of Bradbury’s excellent use of desriptive language, I rate this book higher. This is a great Halloween read].

“The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes. . .and the stuff of nightmare.

Few American novels written this century have endured in the heart and memory as has Ray Bradbury’s unparalleled literary classic SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES. For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry, step inside. The show is about to begin.The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes. . .and the stuff of nightmare.” Amazon

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IMBd 6.8/10 – I rate this movie much, much higher

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen – 4.5 Stars – 352 Pages

Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski’s ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell. Jacob was there because his luck had run out-orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive “ship of fools.” It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn’t have an act-in fact, she couldn’t even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival. Surprising, poignant, and funny, Water for Elephants is that rare novel with a story so engrossing, one is reluctant to put it down; with characters so engaging, they continue to live long after the last page has been turned; with a world built of wonder, a world so real, one starts to breathe its air.” Amazon

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IMBd 6.9/10
Recreate

I Enjoy a Good Book – I Am Enamored by a Good Movie

On the third Friday of each month, I lead a Book & Movie club at my local library. The idea is to find good books that have been captured as good movies. For many years, it was a bit of a habit to dismiss books made into movies, saying: “But the book is better,” and I have found that some people hold on to what may have been a truth at one time. In recent years, however, there have been some excellent movie interpretations of books: i.e. The Lord of the Rings, Out of Africa, Pride & Prejudice, and I can earnestly say that in many cases, I prefer watching good movies to reading.

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2005 Pride and Prejudice

I am a visual person, and I love the outstanding, panoramic photography that becomes part of the movie’s total experience.

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Lord of the Rings

In a great movie, the music becomes part of your total experience, too. I never shall forget the first time that I watched The Lord of the Rings. As soon as the music of the Shire began, I was totally enamored by everything Lord of the Rings. I loved the setting. I loved the characters. I loved the cinematography, and I loved the story. I learned to love Tolkien through film and not through his books;and I believe that it is okay to admit that we find movies to be literature, on their own terms.

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When I watch a movie, the actors and actresses become the actual characters of the book. Don’t ever try to convince me that Ian McKellen is not the one, true Gandalf the Grey.

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Before I watched Selma Hayek play Frida Kahlo on the screen, I had seen Frida Kahlo paintings for decades. Yet, after watching Frida, Selma Hayek has become Frida Kahlo, in my mind.

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Because of the movie Out of Africa, Meryl Streep has become Isak Dinesen to me.

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And because of her portrayal in the 2005 movie Pride & Prejudice, Kiera Knightley has become all of Jane Austen for me.

At times, a movie may not be absolutely true to an author’s intent. Truman Capote had wanted Marilyn Monroe to play the part of Holly Golightly in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In the book, Capote describes Holly as having albino blonde hair. Because I am responsible for picking the book-movie selections for my club, I watch every movie-book combo that I can find, and in most cases, I watch the movie before I read the book. That was the order with my experiencing Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I was stunned to read that Holly Golightly was supposed to have blonde hair. In my opinion, Audrey Hepburn is the quintessential Holly Golightly, and in my opinion, the movie would have been less effective with Marilyn Monroe.

“It was a warm evening, nearly summer, and she wore a slim cool black dress, black sandals, a pearl choker. For all her thinness, she had an almost breakfast-cereal air of health, a soap and lemon cleanness, a rough pink darkening in the cheeks. Her mouth was large, her nose upturned. A pair of dark glasses blotted out her eyes. It was a face beyond childhood…. I thought her anywhere between sixteen and thirty, as it turned out, she was shy two months of her nineteenth birthday.” p. 12

“She was never without dark glasses, she was always well-groomed, there was a consequential good taste in the plainness of her clothes….One might have thought her a photographer’s model, perhaps a young actress….” p. 14

“I discovered, from observing the trash-basket outside her door, that her regular reading consisted of tabloids and travel folders and astrological charts; that she smoked an esoteric cigarette called Picayunes; survived on cottage cheese and melba toast….” p. 15

“Also she had a cat and she played the guitar.

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“On days when the sun was strong, she would wash her hair, and together with the cat, a red-striped tom, sit out on the fire escape thumbing a guitar while her hair dried.” p. 16.

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a movie that was released in 1961. It is based on Truman Capote’s novella by the same name.

Most of us know that Audrey Hepburn made fashion history in the black dress and sunglasses that she wore in the film. Like most people, I have long associated the fashion staple the little black dress with Audrey Hepburn and the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and when I as a child, I memorized the theme song “Moon River” and learned to play it on several instruments. In many ways, I grew up with Breakfast at Tiffany’s and I could have sworn that I had seen the movie before, but until recently, I had not.  I decided that I needed to correct that mistake, and I am glad that I did.

“The song ‘Moon River’ was written especially for Audrey Hepburn, since she had no training as a singer. The vocals were written to be sung in only one octave. The famous black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the opening scenes of this movie was sold for $807,000 on December 4, 2006 at Christie’s Auction House in London, making it the second most expensive piece of movie memorabilia ever sold.” Read More Here

“Tiffany’s flagship store (since 1940) is located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in Manhattan, New York City. The former Tiffany and Company Building on 38th Street is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The polished granite exterior is well known for its tiny window displays. The store has been the location for a number of films including Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sweet Home Alabama and Sleepless In Seattle.” Read More Here

To a large extent, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is Capote’s story of having lived,  as a writer, in New York City.

“I am always drawn back to places where I have lived, the houses and their neighborhoods. For instance, there is a brownstone in the East Seventies where, during the early years of the war, I had my first New York apartment. It was one room crowded with attic furniture, a sofa and fat chairs upholstered in that itchy, particular red velvet that one associates with hot days on a train. The walls were stucco, and a color rather like tobacco-spit. …The single window looked out on a fire escape. Even so, my spirits heightened whenever I felt in my pocket the key to this apartment; with all its gloom, it still was a place of my own, the first, and my books were there, and jars of pencils to sharpen, everything I needed, so I felt, to become the writer I wanted to be.

“It never occurred to me in those days to write about Holly Golightly….” – Truman Capote –Breakfast at Tiffany’s page 3

“Outside, the rain had stopped, there was only a mist of it in the air, so I turned the corner and walked along the street where the brownstone stands. It is a street with trees that in the summer make cool patterns on the pavement; but now the leaves were yellowed and mostly down, and the rain had made them slippery, they skidded underfoot. The brownstone is midway in the block, next to a church were the blue tower-clock tolls the hours.” Breakfast at Tiffany’s, p. 10

 

In 1961, I was 11-years-old, and I was growing up in rural Southeast Missouri–which is a world away from New York City. I did not visit New York City until 2010, and in an odd way, I am glad that I did not watch Breakfast at TIffany’s until after I had become familiar with the Big Apple. My current home is very close to New York, and I visit the city often. As the film opens, a cab makes its way from Tiffany’s to Holly’s apartment, and it follows a route along what has become my favorite walkway in NYC. Breakfast at Tiffany’s was filmed over half a century ago, the New York City that it captures is very much the same now as it was then, and I loved seeing NYC captured in the film.

Central Park is one of my very favorite places, and part of Breakfast at Tiffany’s is filmed there.

Bandshell, Central Park (from 66th to 72nd Street) Manhattan

Conservatory Water, Central Park (from 72nd to 75th Street) Manhattan.

“That Monday in October, 1943. A beautiful day with the buoyancy of a bird. …

“We ate lunch at the cafeteria in the park Afterward, avoiding the zoo (Holly said she couldn’t bear to see anything in a cage)…. Leaves floated on the lake; on the shore, a park-man was fanning a bonfire of them, and the smoke, rising like Indian signals, was the  only smudge on the quivering air Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring;; which is how I felt sitting with Holly on the railings of the boathouse porch. I thought of the future, and spoke of the past. Because Holly wanted to know abut my childhood. She talked of her own, too; but it was elusive, nameless, placeless, an impressionistic recital, though the impression received was contrary t what one expected, for she gave an almost voluptuous account of swimming and summer, Christmas trees, pretty cousins and parties: in short, happy in a way that she was not, and never, certainly, the background f a child who had run away.” p. 51

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‘Passing a Woolworth’s, she gripped my arm: ‘Let’s steal something,’ she said, pulling me into the store, where at once there seemed  a pressure of eyes, as though we were already under suspicion. ‘Come on,. Don’t be chicken.’ She scouted a counter pied with paper pumpkins and Halloween masks. … Holly picked up a mask and slipped it over her face; she chose another and put it on mine; then she took my hand and we walked away. It was as simple as that.

“Outside, we ran a few blocks, I  think to make it more dramatic….p. 52

“We wore the masks all the way home.” p. 53.

During the early part of the film, Cat is the only character who wasn’t wearing a mask. But the true monsters of the film are its rats, and the depth of the movie revolves around Holly’s discoveries about them.

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Holly’s goodbye letter from Jose:

“My dearest little girl, I have loved you knowing you were nt as others. But conceive of my despair upon discovering in such a brutal and public style how very different you are from the manner of woman a man of my faith and career could hope to make his wife. … So I hope you will find it in your heart not to condemn me I have my family to protect, and my name, and I am a coward where those institutions enter. Forget me, beautiful child. I am no longer here I am gone home.” p. 94

“All right, he’s not a rat without reason. A super-sized King Kong-type rat like Rusty…. I did love him. The rat” p. 94

“All right — so he’s not a regular rat, or even a super rat. He’s just a scared little mouse. But — oh, golly, gee, damn!” Movie quote

Neither the book nor the movie are perfect. The book is plagued with politically incorrect references to “dykes” and “les negres,” and the movie suffers from some very weak scenes in which Mickey Rooney poorly plays a China Man. Those scenes are embarrassingly inappropriate now.

I’m glad that I stuck with the film through the rough patches, however, and into the relationship that develops between Hepburn and George Peppard. This relationship and Holly’s struggles with “the Reds” is the meat of the film.

Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul Varjak: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?
Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?
Paul Varjak: Sure.
Holly Golightly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture a give the cat a name!

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“Angst. But what do yu do about it?”

“Well, a drink helps.”

“I’ve tried that. I’ve tried aspirin, too…

“What I’ve found does the most good is just to get into a taxi and go to Tiffany’s It calms me down right away,  the quietness and the proud look of it: nothing very bad could happen to you there, not with those kind men in their nice suits, and that lovely smell of silver and alligator wallets. If I could find a real-life place like Tiffany’s then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name.” p. 38.

“Didn’t I tell you this was a lovely place?”

“Do they still really have prizes in Cracker Jack boxes?” “…Oh; yes.” “That’s nice to know… It gives one a feeling of solidarity, almost of continuity with the past, that sort of thing.”

[I don’t want to completely destroy the film for people who haven’t seen it yet, but the message lies within Holly Golightly’s attempts to deny what is and is not valuable in life. Because of the honest way that Capote created Holly Golighty, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is much more than Romantic Comedy [a genre that I usually detest]. For several minutes into the film, I thought that the movie was going to be silly, but by the end, I was in tears. Holly Golightly is a well-developed character. She is a hayseed who has escaped to New York City and who is caught in the fruitless snare of trying to play the part of someone that she can never be.]

“…the kid’s fifteen But stylish: she’s okay, she comes across. Even when she’s wearing glasses this thick; even when she opes her mouth and you don’t know if she’s a hillbilly or an Okie or what. I still don’t. My guess, nobody’ll ever know where she came from. She’s such a goddamn liar, maybe she don’t know herself any more. But it took us a year to smooth out that accent. How we did it finally, we gave her French lessons: after she could speak French, she could imitate English.” p. 30.

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“But Doc, I’m not fourteen anymore, and I’m not Lulamae. But the terrible part is (and I realized [p. 69] it while we were standing there) I am. I’m still stealing turkey eggs and running through a brier patch. Only now I call it having the mean reds” pgs 69-70.

“Never love a wild thing….That was Doc’s mistake. He was always lugging home wild things. A hawk with a hurt wing. One time it was a full-grown bobcat with a broken leg. But you can’t give your heart to a wild thing: the more you do, the stronger they get Until they’re strong enough to run into the woods. Or fly into a tree. Then a taller tree. Then the sky. That’s how you’ll end up…if you love a wild thing. You’ll end up looking at the sky.

. . .

“…it’s better to look at the sky than live there. Such an empty place; so vague. Just a country where the thunder goes and things disappear.” p 70

“No matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.”

If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s and several other related features free Here.

“She’s a phony. But she’s a real phony. You know why? Because she honestly believes all this phony junk that she believes.”

“Promise me one thing: don’t take me home until I’m drunk — very drunk indeed.”

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Holly Golightly’s relationship with Peppard develops slowly:

“For I was in love with her. Just as I’d once been in love with my mother’s elderly clred cook and a postman wh let me follow him on his rounds and a whole family named McKendrick That category of love generates jealousy, too.” p. 72

“Those final weeks, spanning end of summer and the beginning of another autumn, are blurred in memory, perhaps because our understanding of each other  had reached that sweet depth where two people communicate more often in silence than in words: an affectionate quietness replaces the tensions, the unrelaxed chatter and chasing about that produce a friendship’s more showy, more in the surface sense, dramatic moments. … we spent entire evenings together during which we exchanged less than a hundred words; once, we walked all the way to Chinatown [p. 79] … then moseyed across the Brooklyn Bridge, and on the bridge, as we watched seaward-moving ships pass between the cliffs of burning skyline….

“So the days, the last days, blow about in memory, hazy, autumnal, all alike as leaves: until a day unlike any other I’ve lived.

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“The stables–I believe they have been replaced by television studios–were on West Sixty-sixth Street. Holly selected for me an old sway-back black and white mare: ‘Don’t worry, she’s safer than a cradle.'” p. 82

I have watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s repeatedly now, and every time “Moon River” begins to play, I get cold chills. I love the way that the film opens on a surrealistically empty New York City Fifth Avenue, and the way the the taxi cab drives you down to Holly Golightly’s apartment. I have walked that same route so many times that i have nearly memorized it, and the book does allow you glimpses into Manhattan and NYC, but the movie is distinguished from the book in the way that t ends with the cat:

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“She was still hugging the cat. ‘Poor slob,’ she said, tickling his head, ‘poor slob without a name. But I haven’t any right to give him one: he’ll have to wait until he belongs to somebody. We just sort of took up by the river one day, we don’t belong to each other: he’s an independent, and so am I. I don’t want to own anything until I know I’ve found the place where me and things belong together I’m not quite sure where that is just yet. But I know what it’s like.’ She smiled, and let the at drop to the floor. ‘It’s like Tiffany’s,’ she said.” p. 37

[Holly Golightly decides to run away from all of her troubles and asks her writer friend [the George Peppard character] to

gather her belongings and cat and to bring them to the bar, for her escape].

“The sky was red Friday night, it thundered, and Saturday, departing day, the city swayed in a squall-like downpur. Sharks might have swum through the air….” p.. 98

“Stumbling skidding up and down the fire escape between Holly’s apartment and mind, wind-blown and winded and wet to the bone (clawed to the bone as well fr the cat had not looked favorably upon evacuation, especially in such inclement weather) I managed a fast, first-rate job of assembling her going-away belongings. I even found the St. Christopher’s medal. Everything was piled on the floor of my room, a poignant pyramid of brassieres and dancing slippers and dancing slippers and pretty things I packed in Holly’s only suitcase. There was a mass left over that I had to put in paper grocery bags I couldn’t think how to carry the cat; until I thought of stuffing him in a pillowcase.

“Never mind why, but once I walked from New Orleans to Nancy’s Landing, Mississippi, just under five hundred miles. It was a light-hearted lark compared to the journey to Joe Bells bar The guitar filled with rain, rain softened the paper sacks, the sacks split and perfume spilled on the pavement, pearls rolled in the gutter: [p. 99] while the wind pushed and the cat scratched, the cat screamed–but worse, I as frightened, a coward t equal Jose: those storming streets seemed aswarm with unseen presences waiting to trap, imprison me for aidng an outlaw.”

. . .

And the cat, released, leaped and perched on her shoulder: his tail sung like a baton conducting rhapsodic music. Holly, too, seemed inhabited by melody, some bouncy bon voyage ompahpah.” p. 100

. . .

“…and we pulled to the curb of a street in Spanish Harlem. A savage, a garish, a moody neighborhood garlanded with poster-portraits of movie stars and Madonnas. Side-walk litterings of fruit-rind and rotted newspaper were hurled about by the wind, fr the wind still boomed, [p.101] though the rain had hushed and there were bursts of blue in the sky.

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“Holly stepped out of the car; she took the cat with her. Cradling him, she scratched his head and asked. ‘What do you think? This ought to be the right kind of place for a tough guy like you. Garbage cans. Rats galore. Plenty of cat-bums to gang around with. So scram,’ she said, dropping him, and when he did not move away, instead raised his thug-face and questioned her with yellowish pirate-eyes, she stamped her foot: ‘I said beat it!’

. . .

“I was stunned ‘Well, you are. You are a bitch.’ ” p. 102

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“…Where’s the cat?”

“Oh, cat.” [How the movie ends, but not how the book ends]

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is not a GREAT book, and it is not a GREAT movie either. But because I had connected with the movie, I read the book, and I liked them both. The movie’s cat scene is unforgettable, and it is definitely the part of the movie where I knew that the movie “had” me.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s the movie was released at a time when there were only a few super movies. Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz were exceptions to that rule. I read Margaret Mitchell’s book Gone with the Wind when I was 16, and I enjoyed it, but I loved the movie. I am still trying to wade through reading the books of The Wizard of Oz, but I have watched the movie numerous times. I credit The Wizard of Oz with helping me become the person who I have become. When I was a young child, I watched that movie with my dad and when I was a young child, I learned how to distill the magic that runs parallel to existence. When I was a little girl, my third grade teacher gave me my own copy of the book Louisa Mae Alcott. It was a biography, and it was the first real book that I had owned. No doubt, that book and that teacher changed my life, but it is through the movies along my way that I have discovered magic.

©Jacki Kellum August 30, 2017

Enamored

List of Books for 2016-2018 Classics Book Club

List of Books for 2016-2018 Classics Book Club

December 2016 – The Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens – Published 1843

2017

January – Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen – Published 1813

February – Black Beauty – Anna Sewell – 1877

March – The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald – Published 1925

April – A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway – Published Posthumously about 1920s Expatriates in Paris

During the Summer, We Are Taking a Break from the Classics and Are Reading More Modern Books.

May – The Prince of Tides – Pat Conroy – Published 1986

June – The Language of Flowers –  Vanessa Diffenbaugh – Published 2011

July – The Signature of All Things – Elizabeth Gilbert – Published 2013

August – The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver – Published 1998

September – To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee – Published 1960

October – Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury – Published 1962

November – The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Washington Irving – Published 1820

December – The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams – Published 1922

2018

January – Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell – Published 1936

February – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum – Published 1900

March – The River and Other Stories by Flannery O’Connor

April – Elmer Gantry – Sinclair Lewis – Published 1927

May – Poor White – Sherwood Anderson – Published 1920

June- Cheaper by the Dozen – Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth – Published 1948

July – The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton – Published 1920

August – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith – Published 1943

September – Rebecca – Daphne DuMaurier – Published 1938

October – Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne – Published 1850

November – O Pioneers – Willa Cather – Published 1913

December – Little Women – Louisa May Alcott – Published 1869

 

2019

 

 

 

 

 

Free E-book Black Beauty Project Gutenberg

BLACK BEAUTY, 1994

The Jacki Kellum Book Classic for February is Black Beauty, and you can read the entire book online Free Here

Many do not realize it, but Black Beauty is an old book classic. It was written in 1877 by Anna Sewell.

“Black Beauty is an 1877 novel by English author Anna Sewell. It was composed in the last years of her life, during which she remained in her house as an invalid.[1] The novel became an immediate best-seller, with Sewell dying just five months after its publication, but having lived long enough to see her only novel become a success. With fifty million copies sold, Black Beauty is one of the best-selling books of all time.[2]

“While forthrightly teaching animal welfare, it also teaches how to treat people with kindness, sympathy, and respect. In 2003, the novel was listed at number 58 on the BBC’s survey The Big Read.[3]” Wikipedia

Pride and Prejudice Chapter 3 – Free Audiobook, Quotes, and Notes

“To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love.” [The Narrator] – Jane Austen

“Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the report, which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year.”

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“She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.” [Mr. Darcy] – Jane Austen

“His character was decided. He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, and every body hoped that he would never come there again”. [The Narrator] – Jane Austen

 Illustration of Mr. Darcy by Robert Ball

Description of Mr. Darcy:

“…his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year. The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud; to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend.”

Description of Mr. Bingley:

“He was quite young, wonderfully handsome, extremely agreeable, and, to crown the whole, he meant to be at the next assembly with a large party. Nothing could be more delightful! To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love; and very lively hopes of Mr. Bingley’s heart were entertained.

“If I can but see one of my daughters happily settled at Netherfield,” said Mrs. Bennet to her husband, “and all the others equally well married, I shall have nothing to wish for.” …

“Mr. Bingley was good-looking and gentlemanlike; he had a pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners.

[During the party, Mr. Bingley danced every dance, and he seemed to be particularly interested in the eldest of the Bennet sisters, Jane. Because there were fewer men at the dance than ladies, Elizabeth was forced to sit during a few dances, and she overheard a conversation between Bingley and Darcy]:

“Elizabeth Bennet had been obliged, by the scarcity of gentlemen, to sit down for two dances; and during part of that time, Mr. Darcy had been standing near enough for her to hear a conversation between him and Mr. Bingley, who came from the dance for a few minutes, to press his friend to join it.

“Come, Darcy,” said he, “I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance.”

“I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it, unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. At such an assembly as this it would be insupportable. Your sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with.”

“I would not be so fastidious as you are,” cried Mr. Bingley, “for a kingdom! Upon my honour, I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life as I have this evening; and there are several of them you see uncommonly pretty.”

 [About Elizabeth’s sister Jane]:

You are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room,” said Mr. Darcy, looking at the eldest Miss Bennet.

“Oh! She is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But there is one of her sisters sitting down just behind you, who is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable. Do let me ask my partner to introduce you.”

“Which do you mean?” and turning round he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said: “She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me….”

Back at home, Mrs. Bennet expressed her feelings about Mr. Darcy:

“But I can assure you,” she added, “that Lizzy does not lose much by not suiting his fancy; for he is a most disagreeable, horrid man, not at all worth pleasing. So high and so conceited that there was no enduring him! He walked here, and he walked there, fancying himself so very great! Not handsome enough to dance with! I wish you had been there, my dear, to have given him one of your set-downs. I quite detest the man.”

 

 

 

Pride and Prejudice Free Audio Recording and Quotes – Chapter 2

“She (Mrs. Long) is a selfish, hypocritical woman, and I have no opinion of her.” [Mrs. Bennet] – Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice Free Audio Recording and Notes

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” … Jane Austen

“Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week.”

“What is his name?”

“Bingley.”

“Is he married or single?”

“Oh! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!” – Mrs. Bennet

Pride and Prejudice – Comparing the Keira Knightley Movie to the Jane Austen Text

This week, I am launching a Classics Book Club at my local library, and I hope to share as much as possible of my notes here, as well as on YouTube.  I’ll begin with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  For several reasons, I believe that Jane Austen is a great place to begin studying the classics. Among other things, Jane Austen broke several rules, and I admire her spunk.

To begin to show some of the ways that Austen arched ahead, I’ll tell you a bit about some of Austen’s peers–or near-peers.

Until 1850, when he died, William Wordsworth lived with his wife and sister in Grasmere, England.

William Wordsworth is the well-known Romantic poet who wrote the famous poem about Daffodils:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at one I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils…. William Wordsworth

What many do not know is that William Wordsworth’s sister also wrote in her journal about the same field of daffodils that William describes. In fact, some believe that Dorothy wrote about the daffodils first, and that Wordsworth followed her lead.

One reason that this is not known is that the Wordsworths lived at a time that females were not encouraged to write for publication.

Mary Ann Evans lived until 1880, which was thirty years after Wordsworth died, and she wrote Silas Marner and other books under the male pen name George Eliot.

 

Charlotte Brontë, who lived until 1855, wrote Jane Eyre under the male pen name Currer Bell.

Charlotte’s sister Emily, who lived until 1848, wrote Wuthering Heights under the male pen name Ellis Bell. It was a general practice for female writers of Austen’s time to hide behind male pen names.

Jane Austen lived, wrote, and died before the Brontës or George Eliot, but she defied the societal norms by writing under the pen name “A Lady.” Jane Austen made no effort to pretend that a man had written her books.

Every time that I read the book Pride and Prejudice or that I watch the movie, I am amazed by all of the ways that Elizabeth Bennet, the protagonist, defies the rules of society. When I first watched Keira Knightley in her portrayal of  Elizabeth, I found myself questioning whether the movie was true to the text. It seemed to me that Keira was far too brassy and too tough to accurately portray the way that I believed that Austen would have actually written her. I decided to do an in-depth comparison of the movie with the text, and I discovered that Jane had written Elizabeth in just the way that the movie portrays her.

Keira Knightley and Elizabeth Bennet and Jane Austen have all melded together in my mind, and now, I view Keira Knightley as the manifestation of Jane Austen herself. 

In my opinion, Pride and Prejudice stands at the top of what is wonderful about English literature.

And Jane Austen was undeniably far ahead of her time.

All of us are fortunate that Masterpiece Theater, PBS, and BBC have perfected the art of portraying Jane Austen’s books and other works like them. I am both a visual and a verbal person, and I love the 2005 movie version of Pride and Prejudice as much as I love the book–perhaps even more.  I cannot imagine reviewing the book  Pride and Prejudice without comparing it to the movie.

I hope that all of you will check back several times this month. I  hope to have completed my review of this classic by he end of January. I’ll share the companion videos of my notes as I complete them.

©Jacki Kellum January 19, 2017

 

 

 

When Was the Victorian Period? – A List of Victorian Books & Authors – Free Ebooks of Classic Literature

Technically, the Victorian era did not begin until Victoria became Queen of England in 1837, but several books published before 1837 could be called Victorian Classics.

List of Popular Victorian Classic Books:

 1811 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s first published work, meticulously constructed and sparkling with her unique wit

Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love – and its threatened loss – the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.

– 4 1/2 Stars – 368  Pages

 

Image result for pride and prejudice book1813 – Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
“One of the most universally loved and admired English novels, Pride and Prejudice was penned as a popular entertainment. But the consummate artistry of Jane Austen (1775–1817) transformed this effervescent tale of rural romance into a witty, shrewdly observed satire of English country life that is now regarded as one of the principal treasures of English language.
In a remote Hertfordshire village, far off the good coach roads of George III’s England, a country squire of no great means must marry off his five vivacious daughters. At the heart of this all-consuming enterprise are his headstrong second daughter Elizabeth Bennet and her aristocratic suitor Fitzwilliam Darcy — two lovers whose pride must be humbled and prejudices dissolved before the novel can come to its splendid conclusion.” – 4 1/2 Stars – 272  Pages
Pride and Prejudice Free Online Book Here: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1342/1342-h/1342-h.htm

 

Image result for emma by jane austen 1815 – Emma by Jane Austen
“Beautiful, clever, rich—and single—Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr. Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen’s most flawless work.” – 4 1/2 Stars – 264  Pages – Amazon
Emma Free Online Book Here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/158/158-pdf.pdf

 

 

 1818 – Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

Frankenstein, loved by many decades of readers and praised by such eminent literary critics as Harold Bloom, seems hardly to need a recommendation. If you haven’t read it recently, though, you may not remember the sweeping force of the prose, the grotesque, surreal imagery, and the multilayered doppelgänger themes of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece. As fantasy writer Jane Yolen writes of this (the reviewer’s favorite) edition, “The strong black and whites of the main text [illustrations] are dark and brooding, with unremitting shadows and stark contrasts. But the central conversation with the monster–who owes nothing to the overused movie image … but is rather the novel’s charnel-house composite–is where [Barry] Moser’s illustrations show their greatest power … The viewer can all but smell the powerful stench of the monster’s breath as its words spill out across the page. Strong book-making for one of the world’s strongest and most remarkable books.”

– 4 Stars –166  Pages– Amazon

 1838 – Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

Oliver Twist, or The Parish Boy’s Progress, Is the second novel by Charles Dickens, and was first published as a serial 1837–39. The story is of the orphan Oliver Twist, who starts his life in a workhouse and is then sold into apprenticeship with an undertaker. He escapes from there and travels to London, where he meets the Artful Dodger, a member of a gang of juvenile pickpockets led by the elderly criminal Fagin. Oliver Twist is notable for its unromantic portrayal by Dickens of criminals and their sordid lives, as well as for exposing the cruel treatment of the many orphans in London in the mid-19th century.The alternate title, The Parish Boy’s Progress, alludes to Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, as well as the 18th-century caricature series by William Hogarth, A Rake’s Progress and A Harlot’s Progress. In this early example of the social novel, Dickens satirizes the hypocrisies of his time, including child labour, the recruitment of children as criminals, and the presence of street children. The novel may have been inspired by the story of Robert Blincoe, an orphan whose account of working as a child labourer in a cotton mill was widely read in the 1830s. It is likely that Dickens’s own youthful experiences contributed as well. Oliver Twist has been the subject of numerous adaptations for various media, including a highly successful musical play, Oliver!, and the multiple Academy Award-winning 1968 motion picture. – 4 1/2 Stars –300  Pages– Amazon Full Text  of Oliver Twist Free Online http://pinkmonkey.com/dl/library1/dic01.pdf

 Image result for a christmas carol book1843 – A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
“A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens. It was first published by Chapman & Hall on 19 December 1843. Carol tells the story of a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation resulting from a supernatural visit by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come. The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim. The book was written and published in early Victorian era Britain, a period when there was strong nostalgia for old Christmas traditions together with the introduction of new customs, such as Christmas trees and greeting cards. Dickens’ sources for the tale appear to be many and varied, but are, principally, the humiliating experiences of his childhood, his sympathy for the poor, and various Christmas stories and fairy tales.” – 4 1/2 Stars – 60  Pages– Amazon Gutenberg Free Ebook The Christmas Carol Online Here

 1847 – Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
“A novel of intense power and intrigue, Jane Eyre has dazzled generations of readers with its depiction of a woman’s quest for freedom. Having grown up an orphan in the home of her cruel aunt and at a harsh charity school, Jane Eyre becomes an independent and spirited survivor-qualities that serve her well as governess at Thornfield Hall. But when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a choice. Should she stay with him whatever the consequences or follow her convictions, even if it means leaving her beloved?”  – 4 1/2 Stars – 624 Pages – Amazon
Jane Eyre Free Online Book Here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1260/1260-h/1260-h.htm

 

 

 Image result for wuthering heights1847 – Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
“Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before; of the intense relationship between the gypsy foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw; and how Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class. As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance at his betrayal is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.” – 4 1/2 Stars – 416 Pages – Amazon

Wuthering Heights Free Online Book: http://publicliterature.org/pdf/768.pdf

 

 

Image result for scarlet letter1850 – The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
“Like all of Hawthorne’s novels, “The Scarlet Letter” has but a slender plot and but few characters with an influence on the development of the story. Its great dramatic force depends entirely on the mental states of the actors and their relations to one another, —relations of conscience, — relations between wronged and wrongers. Its great burden is the weight of unacknowledged sin as seen in the remorse and cowardice and suffering of the Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale. Contrasted with his concealed agony is the constant confession, conveyed by the letter, which is forced upon Hester, and has a double effect, — a healthful one, working beneficently, and making her helpful and benevolent, tolerant and thoughtful ; and an unhealthful one, which by the great emphasis placed on her transgression, the keeping her forever under its ban and isolating her from her fellows, prepares her to break away from the long repression and lapse again into sin when she plans her flight. Roger Chillingworth is an embodiment of subtle and refined revenge. The most striking situation is perhaps “The Minister’s Vigil,” in chapter xii. The book, though corresponding in its tone and burden to some of the shorter stories, had a more startling and dramatic character, and a strangeness, which at once took hold of a larger public than any of those had attracted. Though imperfectly comprehended, and even misunderstood in some quarters, it was seen to have a new and unique quality; and Hawthorne’s reputation became national.”   – 4 Stars – 148 Pages – Amazon

 1850 – David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

In one of his most energetic and enjoyable novels, Dickens tells the life story of David Copperfield, from his birth in Suffolk, through the various struggles of his childhood, to his successful career as a novelist. The early scenes are particularly masterful, depicting the world as seen from the perspective of a fatherless small boy, whose idyllic life with his mother is ruined when his mother marries again, this time to a domineering and cruel man. The novel is partly modelled on Dickens’s own experiences, but that is not to say that it is in any way a direct autobiography. Indeed, one of the great joys of the book lies in its outlandish cast of characters, which includes the glamorous Steerforth, the cheerful, verbose Mr Micawber, the villainous Uriah Heep, and David’s eccentric aunt, Betsey Trotwood. Dickens described it as his ‘favourite child’ among his novels and it is easy to see why.

4 1/2 Stars – 1264 Pages – Amazon

 

 1853 – Bleak House – Charles Dickens

As the interminable case of ‘Jarndyce and Jarndyce’ grinds its way through the Court of Chancery, it draws together a disparate group of people: Ada and Richard Clare, whose inheritance is gradually being devoured by legal costs; Esther Summerson, a ward of court, whose parentage is a source of deepening mystery; the menacing lawyer Tulkinghorn; the determined sleuth Inspector Bucket; and even Jo, the destitute little crossing-sweeper. A savage, but often comic, indictment of a society that is rotten to the core, Bleak House is one of Dickens’s most ambitious novels, with a range that extends from the drawing rooms of the aristocracy to the poorest of London slums. This edition follows the first book edition of 1853, and includes all the original illustrations by ‘Phiz’, as well as appendices on the Chancery and spontaneous combustion.

4 1/2 Stars – 1036 Pages – Amazon

 

 1853 – Villette – Charlotte Brontë

“I am only just returned to a sense of real wonder about me, for I have been reading Villette…” —George Eliot

With neither friends nor family, Lucy Snowe sets sail from England to find employment in a girls’ boarding school in the small town of Villette. There she struggles to retain her self-possession in the face of unruly pupils, an initially suspicious headmaster, and her own complex feelings, first for the school’s English doctor and then for the dictatorial professor, Paul Emmanuel. Charlotte Brontë’s last and most autobiographical novel is a powerfully moving study of isolation and the pain of unrequited love, narrated by a heroine determined to preserve an independent spirit in the face of adverse circumstances.

4 –672 Pages  – Amazon

 

 1854 – North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell

North and South is a novel by Elizabeth Gaskell, first published in book form in 1855 originally appeared as a twenty-two-part weekly serial from September 1854 through January 1855 in the magazine Household Words, edited by Charles Dickens. The title indicates a major theme of the book: the contrast between the way of life in the industrial north of England and the wealthier south, although it was only under pressure from her publishers that Gaskell changed the title from its original, Margaret Hale. The book is a social novel that tries to show the industrial North and its conflicts in the mid-19th century as seen by an outsider, a socially sensitive lady from the South. The heroine of the story, Margaret Hale, is the daughter of a Nonconformist minister who moves to the fictional industrial town of Milton after leaving the Church of England. The town is modeled after Manchester, where Gaskell lived as the wife of a Unitarian minister. Gaskell herself worked among the poor and knew at first hand the misery of the industrial areas. The change of lifestyle shocks Margaret, who sympathizes deeply with the poverty of the workers and comes into conflict with John Thornton, the owner of a local mill, also a friend of her father. After an encounter with a group of strikers, in which Margaret attempts to protect Thornton from the violence, he proposes to her, telling her that he is in love with her; she rejects his proposal of marriage, mainly because she sees it as if it were out of obligation for what she had done. Later, he sees her with her fugitive brother, whom he mistakes for another suitor, and this creates further unresolved conflict. Margaret, once she believes she has lost his affection, begins to see him in another light, and eventually they are reunited.  – 4 1/2 Stars –480 Pages  – Amazon Full Text of North and South: http://publicliterature.org/pdf/ecgns10.pdf

Image result 1857 – Little Dorritt – Charles Dickens

A novel of serendipity, of fortunes won and lost, and of the spectre of imprisonment that hangs over all aspects of Victorian society

When Arthur Clennam returns to England after many years abroad, he takes a kindly interest in Amy Dorrit, his mother’s seamstress, and in the affairs of Amy’s father, William Dorrit, a man of shabby grandeur, long imprisoned for debt in Marshalsea prison. As Arthur soon discovers, the dark shadow of the prison stretches far beyond its walls to affect the lives of many, from the kindly Mr Panks, the reluctant rent-collector of Bleeding Heart Yard, and the tipsily garrulous Flora Finching, to Merdle, an unscrupulous financier, and the bureaucratic Barnacles in the Circumlocution Office. A masterly evocation of the state and psychology of imprisonment, Little Dorrit is one of the supreme works of Dickens’s maturity. Stephen Wall’s introduction examines Dickens’s transformation of childhood memories of his father’s incarceration in the Marshalsea debtors’ prison. – 4 1/2 Stars –1024 Pages  – Amazon

 1859 – A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

It was the time of the French Revolution — a time of great change and great danger. It was a time when injustice was met by a lust for vengeance, and rarely was a distinction made between the innocent and the guilty. Against this tumultuous historical backdrop, Dickens’ great story of unsurpassed adventure and courage unfolds.
Unjustly imprisoned for 18 years in the Bastille, Dr. Alexandre Manette is reunited with his daughter, Lucie, and safely transported from France to England. It would seem that they could take up the threads of their lives in peace. As fate would have it though, the pair are summoned to the Old Bailey to testify against a young Frenchman — Charles Darnay — falsely accused of treason. Strangely enough, Darnay bears an uncanny resemblance to another man in the courtroom, the dissolute lawyer’s clerk Sydney Carton. It is a coincidence that saves Darnay from certain doom more than once. Brilliantly plotted, the novel is rich in drama, romance, and heroics that culminate in a daring prison escape in the shadow of the guillotine.

– 4 1/2 Stars –304 Pages  – Amazon

 

1860 – Mill on the Floss – George Eliot
“This Eliot novel tells the story of Tom and Maggie Tulliver, a pair of siblings who grow up together on a river in early nineteenth century England. While Tom’s reserved nature and Maggie’s idealism produce differences that strain their love in times of hardship, the two ultimately reconcile when confronted with certain death. A powerful work on individual tenacity in the face of oppressive circumstance, The Mill on the Floss remains one of Eliot’s most powerful works on unconditional solidarity and love.”  – 4 1/2 Stars – 346 Pages – Amazon

 

 

 

 

  1861 – Silas Marner – George Eliot
“In this heartwarming classic by George Eliot, a gentle linen weaver named Silas Marner is wrongly accused of a heinous theft actually committed by his best friend. Exiling himself to the rustic village of Raveloe, he becomes a lonely recluse. Ultimately, Marner finds redemption and spiritual rebirth through his unselfish love for an abandoned child who mysteriously appears one day in his isolated cottage.

Somber, yet hopeful, Eliot’s realistic depiction of an irretrievable past, tempered with the magical elements of myth and fairy tale, remains timeless in its understanding of human nature and has been beloved for generations.”   – 4 1/2 Stars – 208 Pages – Amazon

 

 

 Image result for great expectations book cover1861 – Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
“Great Expectations is Charles Dickens’s thirteenth novel. It is his second novel, after David Copperfield, to be fully narrated in the first person. Great Expectations is a bildungsroman, or a coming-of-age novel, and it is a classic work of Victorian literature. It depicts the growth and personal development of an orphan named Pip. The novel was first published in serial form in Dickens’s weekly periodical All the Year Round, from 1 December 1860 to August 1861. In October 1861, Chapman and Hall published the novel in three volumes. Dickens originally intended Great Expectations to be twice as long, but constraints imposed by the management of All the Year Round limited the novel’s length. The novel is collected and dense, with a conciseness unusual for Dickens. According to G. K. Chesterton, Dickens penned Great Expectations in “the afternoon of [his] life and fame.” It was the penultimate novel Dickens completed, preceding Our Mutual Friend. It is set among the marshes of Kent and in London in the early to mid-1800s. The novel contains some of Dickens most memorable scenes, including its opening, in a graveyard, when the young orphan Pip is accosted by the escaped convict, Abel Magwitch. Great Expectations is a graphic book, full of extreme imagery, poverty, prison ships (“the hulks”), barriers and chains, and fights to the death.”  – 4 1/2 Stars – 284 Pages – Amazon

Full Text Great Expectations Free: http://www.planetpdf.com/planetpdf/pdfs/free_ebooks/Great_Expectations_T.pdf

Image result for little women book cover 1868 – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
“Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Alcott wrote the books rapidly over several months at the request of her publisher. The novel follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March—detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood, and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters. Little Women was an immediate commercial and critical success, and readers demanded to know more about the characters.” – 4 1/2 Stars – 280  Pages  – Amazon

 

 

 

Image result for middlemarch 1870 – Middlemarch by George Eliot
“George Eliot’s novel, Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life, explores a fictional nineteenth-century Midlands town in the midst of modern changes. The proposed Reform Bill promises political change; the building of railroads alters both the physical and cultural landscape; new scientific approaches to medicine incite public division; and scandal lurks behind respectability. The quiet drama of ordinary lives and flawed choices are played out in the complexly portrayed central characters of the novel—the idealistic Dorothea Brooke; the ambitious Dr. Lydgate; the spendthrift Fred Vincy; and the steadfast Mary Garth.” – 4 1/2 Stars – 880  Pages  – Amazon

 

 

 

 1878 – The Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy
“Tempestuous Eustacia Vye passes her days dreaming of passionate love and the escape it may bring from the small community of Egdon Heath.  Hearing that Clym Yeobright is to return from Paris, she sets her heart on marrying him, believing that through him she can leave rural life and find fulfilment elsewhere. But she is to be disappointed, for Clym has dreams of his own, and they have little in common with Eustacia’s. Their unhappy marriage causes havoc in the lives of those close to them, in particular Damon Wildeve, Eustacia’s former lover, Clym’s mothe”r and his cousin Thomasin. The Return of the Native illustrates the tragic potential of romantic illusion and how its protagonists fail to recognize their opportunities to control their own destinies.” – 4 1/2 Stars – 496 Pages  – Amazon

 

Image result for a study in scarlet 1887 – A Study in Scarlet – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
“A Study in Scarlet is a detective mystery novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, introducing his new characters, “consulting detective” Sherlock Holmes and his friend and chronicler, Dr. John Watson, who later became two of the most famous characters in literature. Conan Doyle wrote the story in 1886, and it was published the following year. The book’s title derives from a speech given by Holmes to Doctor Watson on the nature of his work, in which he describes the story’s murder investigation as his “study in scarlet”: “There’s the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.”  – 4 1/2 Stars – 114  Pages  – Amazon

 


1890 – The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

“In this celebrated work, his only novel, Wilde forged a devastating portrait of the effects of evil and debauchery on a young aesthete in late-19th-century England. Combining elements of the Gothic horror novel and decadent French fiction, the book centers on a striking premise: As Dorian Gray sinks into a life of crime and gross sensuality, his body retains perfect youth and vigor while his recently painted portrait grows day by day into a hideous record of evil, which he must keep hidden from the world. For over a century, this mesmerizing tale of horror and suspense has enjoyed wide popularity. It ranks as one of Wilde’s most important creations and among the classic achievements of its kind.” – 4 1/2 Stars – 176  Pages  – Amazon

Full Text The Picture of Dorian Gray Free: http://www.planetpublish.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/The_Picture_of_Dorian_Gray_NT.pdf

 

Related image 1891 – Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
“When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D’Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her ‘cousin’ Alec proves to be her downfall. A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future. With its sensitive depiction of the wronged Tess and powerful criticism of social convention, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, subtitled “A Pure Woman,” is one of the most moving and poetic of Hardy’s novels.”  –  4 Stars – 592  Pages Amazon

 

 

 

 1893 – The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play by Oscar Wilde. First performed on 14 February 1895 at the St James’s Theatre in London, it is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious personæ to escape burdensome social obligations. Working within the social conventions of late Victorian London, the play’s major themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions as serious as marriage, and the resulting satire of Victorian ways. Contemporary reviews all praised the play’s humour, though some were cautious about its explicit lack of social messages, while others foresaw the modern consensus that it was the culmination of Wilde’s artistic career so far. Its high farce and witty dialogue have helped make The Importance of Being Earnest Wilde’s most enduringly popular play. The successful opening night marked the climax of Wilde’s career but also heralded his downfall. The Marquess of Queensberry, whose son Lord Alfred Douglas was Wilde’s lover, planned to present the writer with a bouquet of rotten vegetables and disrupt the show. Wilde was tipped off and Queensberry was refused admission. Soon afterwards their feud came to a climax in court, where Wilde’s homosexual double life was revealed to the Victorian public and he was eventually sentenced to imprisonment. His notoriety caused the play, despite its early success, to be closed after 86 performances. After his release, he published the play from exile in Paris, but he wrote no further comic or dramatic work. – 4 1/2 Stars – 60 Pages – Amazon

 

 1897 – Dracula – Bram Stoker
“During a business visit to Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, a young English solicitor finds himself at the center of a series of horrifying incidents. Jonathan Harker is attacked by three phantom women, observes the Count’s transformation from human to bat form, and discovers puncture wounds on his own neck that seem to have been made by teeth. Harker returns home upon his escape from Dracula’s grim fortress, but a friend’s strange malady — involving sleepwalking, inexplicable blood loss, and mysterious throat wounds — initiates a frantic vampire hunt. The popularity of Bram Stoker’s 1897 horror romance is as deathless as any vampire.  Its supernatural appeal has spawned a host of film and stage adaptations, and more than a century after its initial publication, it continues to hold readers spellbound.” – 4 1/2 Stars – 336 Pages – Amazon

Book Classics – A Chronological List of Classic Books for Book Clubs

A Chronological List of Classic Books

1812 – The Lost World – Arthur Conan Doyle
“The Lost World is a novel released in 1912 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle concerning an expedition to a plateau in the Amazon basin of South America where prehistoric animals (dinosaurs and other extinct creatures) still survive. It was originally published serially in the popular Strand Magazine and illustrated by New-Zealand-born artist Harry Rountree during the months of April–November 1912. The character of Professor Challenger was introduced in this book. The novel also describes a war between indigenous people and a vicious tribe of ape-like creatures.”   4 1/2 Stars 196  Pages – Amazon

The Lost World Free Online Book Here:  http://www.pagebypagebooks.com/Arthur_Conan_Doyle/The_Lost_World/

Image result for swiss family robinson book cover 1812 – Swiss Family Robinson – Johann Wyss
“Following a wild and raging storm, the Swiss family Robinson are stranded at sea. But the thundering waves have swept them off to a tropical island, where a new life awaits them. Their ship is laden with supplies and the island is packed with treasures, so they soon adapt and discover new dangers and delights every day….”  4 Stars  – 272  Pages – Amazon

Swiss Family Robinson Free Online Book Here:  http://www.grace-ebooks.com/library/Johann%20Wyss/JW_Swiss%20Family%20Robinson.pdf

Image result for pride and prejudice book1813 – Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
“One of the most universally loved and admired English novels, Pride and Prejudice was penned as a popular entertainment. But the consummate artistry of Jane Austen (1775–1817) transformed this effervescent tale of rural romance into a witty, shrewdly observed satire of English country life that is now regarded as one of the principal treasures of English language.
In a remote Hertfordshire village, far off the good coach roads of George III’s England, a country squire of no great means must marry off his five vivacious daughters. At the heart of this all-consuming enterprise are his headstrong second daughter Elizabeth Bennet and her aristocratic suitor Fitzwilliam Darcy — two lovers whose pride must be humbled and prejudices dissolved before the novel can come to its splendid conclusion.”  4 1/2 Stars272  Pages
Pride and Prejudice Free Online Book Here: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1342/1342-h/1342-h.htm

Image result for emma by jane austen 1815 – Emma by Jane Austen
“Beautiful, clever, rich—and single—Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr. Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen’s most flawless work.” – 4 1/2 Stars 264  Pages – Amazon
Emma Free Online Book Here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/158/158-pdf.pdf

Image result for rob roy book 1817 – Rob Roy – Sir Walter Scott
“When young Francis Osbaldistone discovers that his vicious and scheming cousin Rashleigh has designs both on his father’s business and his beloved Diana Vernon, he turns in desperation to Rob Roy for help. Chieftain of the MacGregor clan, Rob Roy is a brave and fearless man, able and cunning. But he is also an outlaw with a price on his head, and as he and Francis join forces to pursue Rashleigh, he is constantly aware that he, too, is being pursued—and could be captured at any moment. Set on the eve of the 1715 Jacobite uprising, Rob Roy brilliantly evokes a Scotland on the verge of rebellion, blending historical fact and a novelist’s imagination to create an incomparable portrait of intrigue, rivalry and romance.”  –  4 Stars512  Pages
Rob Roy Free Online Book Here: http://pdfbooks.co.za/library/SIR_WALTER_SCOTT-ROB_ROY_-_COMPLETE.pdf

 1820 – The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Washington Irving
“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is set circa 1790 in the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town, New York, in a secluded glen called Sleepy Hollow. It tells the story of Ichabod Crane, a lean, lanky, and extremely superstitious schoolmaster from Connecticut, who competes with Abraham “Brom Bones” Van Brunt, the town rowdy, for the hand of 18-year-old Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter and sole child of a wealthy farmer. As Crane leaves a party, he is pursued by the Headless Horseman, who is supposedly the ghost of a Hessian trooper who had his head shot off by a stray cannonball during “some nameless battle” of the American Revolutionary War, and who “rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head.”  – 4 Stars86  Pages – Amazon

Image result for last of the mohicans book cover 1826 – The Last of the Mohicans – James Fenimore Cooper
“The wild rush of action in this classic frontier adventure story has made The Last of the Mohicans the most popular of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales. Deep in the forests of upper New York State, the brave woodsman Hawkeye (Natty Bumppo) and his loyal Mohican friends Chingachgook and Uncas become embroiled in the bloody battles of the French and Indian War. The abduction of the beautiful Munro sisters by hostile savages, the treachery of the renegade brave Magua, the ambush of innocent settlers, and the thrilling events that lead to the final tragic confrontation between rival war parties create an unforgettable, spine-tingling picture of life on the frontier. And as the idyllic wilderness gives way to the forces of civilization, the novel presents a moving portrayal of a vanishing race and the end of its way of life in the great American forests.”  – 4 Stars432  Pages – Amazon

Image result for hunchback of notre dame book cover 1831 – The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Victor Hugo
“A tremendous, emotionally stirring tragedy, The Hunchback of Notre-Damefeatures one of literature’s most striking creations Quasimodo, the hideously deformed bellringer of Notre-Dame de Paris during the turbulent final years of the fifteenth century. Rejected by all but the priest Claude Frollo, Quasimodo rescues the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda, condemned for a crime she did not commit, and brings her to the sanctuary of the cathedral. But Frollo has been corrupted by his lust for the girl. Only Quasimodo can hope to save her.”   – 4 1/2 Stars 664  Pages – Amazon

 

Image result for fall of the house of usher book cover 1839 – The Fall of the House of Usher – Edgar Alan Poe
“Edgar Allan Poe is one of the true greats, a masterful poet and wordsmith, Edgar is considered by many to be one of the greatest poets and writers of all time. This is a wonderful short story by one of the world’s most respected writers, a wonderful book to add to any collection.”  – 4 1/2 Stars26  Pages – Amazon

 

 

Image result for deerslayer book 1841 – Deerslayer – James Fenimore Cooper
“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore. There is society where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but nature more, From these our interviews, in which I steal From all I may be, or have been before, To mingle with the universe, and feel What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal” Childe Harold. On the human imagination events produce the effects of time. Thus, he who has travelled far and seen much is apt to fancy that he has lived long; and the history that most abounds in important incidents soonest assumes the aspect of antiquity. In no other way can we account for the venerable air that is already gathering around American annals. When the mind reverts to the earliest days of colonial history, the period seems remote and obscure, the thousand changes that thicken along the links of recollections, throwing back the origin of the nation to a day so distant as seemingly to reach the mists of time; and yet four lives of ordinary duration would suffice to transmit, from mouth to mouth, in the form of tradition, all that civilized man has achieved within the limits of the republic. Although New York alone possesses a population materially exceeding that of either of the four smallest kingdoms of Europe, or materially exceeding that of the entire Swiss Confederation, it is little more than two centuries since the Dutch commenced their settlement, rescuing the region from the savage state. Thus, what seems venerable by an accumulation of changes is reduced to familiarity when we come seriously to consider it solely in connection with time. This glance into the perspective of the past will prepare the reader to look at the pictures we are about to sketch, with less surprise than he might otherwise feel; and a few additional explanations may carry him back in imagination to the precise condition of society that we desire to delineate. It is matter of history that the settlements on the eastern shores of the Hudson, such as Claverack, Kinderhook, and even Poughkeepsie, were not regarded as safe from Indian incursions a century since; and there is still standing on the banks of the same river, and within musket-shot of the wharves of Albany, a residence of a younger branch of the Van Rensselaers, that has loopholes constructed for defence against the same crafty enemy, although it dates from a period scarcely so distant. Other similar memorials of the infancy of the country are to be found, scattered through what is now deemed the very centre of American civilization, affording the plainest proofs that all we possess of security from invasion and hostile violence is the growth of but little more than the time that is frequently fulfilled by a single human life.” – 4 Stars536  Pages – Amazon

Image result for a christmas carol book 1843 – A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
“A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens. It was first published by Chapman & Hall on 19 December 1843. Carol tells the story of a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation resulting from a supernatural visit by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come. The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim. The book was written and published in early Victorian era Britain, a period when there was strong nostalgia for old Christmas traditions together with the introduction of new customs, such as Christmas trees and greeting cards. Dickens’ sources for the tale appear to be many and varied, but are, principally, the humiliating experiences of his childhood, his sympathy for the poor, and various Christmas stories and fairy tales.” – 4 1/2 Stars60  Pages– Amazon

Image result for count of monte cristo 1845 – The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
“Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantes is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. Dumas’ epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialized in the 1840s.”- 4 1/2 Stars1276 Pages  Amazon

 

 1846 – Typee – Herman Melville
“Typee is a fast-moving adventure tale, an autobiographical account of the author’s Polynesian stay, an examination of the nature of good and evil, and a frank exploration of sensuality and exotic ritual.” –  – 4 1/2 Stars368 Pages  Amazon

 

 

 

 1847 – Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
“A novel of intense power and intrigue, Jane Eyre has dazzled generations of readers with its depiction of a woman’s quest for freedom. Having grown up an orphan in the home of her cruel aunt and at a harsh charity school, Jane Eyre becomes an independent and spirited survivor-qualities that serve her well as governess at Thornfield Hall. But when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a choice. Should she stay with him whatever the consequences or follow her convictions, even if it means leaving her beloved?”  – 4 1/2 Stars624 Pages  Amazon
Jane Eyre Free Online Book Here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1260/1260-h/1260-h.htm

Image result for wuthering heights 1847 – Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
“Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before; of the intense relationship between the gypsy foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw; and how Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class. As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance at his betrayal is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.” – 4 1/2 Stars416 Pages  Amazon

Image result for scarlet letter 1850 – The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
“Like all of Hawthorne’s novels, “The Scarlet Letter” has but a slender plot and but few characters with an influence on the development of the story. Its great dramatic force depends entirely on the mental states of the actors and their relations to one another, —relations of conscience, — relations between wronged and wrongers. Its great burden is the weight of unacknowledged sin as seen in the remorse and cowardice and suffering of the Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale. Contrasted with his concealed agony is the constant confession, conveyed by the letter, which is forced upon Hester, and has a double effect, — a healthful one, working beneficently, and making her helpful and benevolent, tolerant and thoughtful ; and an unhealthful one, which by the great emphasis placed on her transgression, the keeping her forever under its ban and isolating her from her fellows, prepares her to break away from the long repression and lapse again into sin when she plans her flight. Roger Chillingworth is an embodiment of subtle and refined revenge. The most striking situation is perhaps “The Minister’s Vigil,” in chapter xii. The book, though corresponding in its tone and burden to some of the shorter stories, had a more startling and dramatic character, and a strangeness, which at once took hold of a larger public than any of those had attracted. Though imperfectly comprehended, and even misunderstood in some quarters, it was seen to have a new and unique quality; and Hawthorne’s reputation became national.”   – 4 Stars148 Pages  Amazon

Image result for uncle tom's cabin 1852 – Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe
“Selling more than 300,000 copies the first year it was published, Stowe’s powerful abolitionist novel fueled the fire of the human rights debate in 1852. Denouncing the institution of slavery in dramatic terms, the incendiary novel quickly draws the reader into the world of slaves and their masters.
Stowe’s characters are powerfully and humanly realized in Uncle Tom, a majestic and heroic slave whose faith and dignity are never corrupted; Eliza and her husband, George, who elude slave catchers and eventually flee a country that condones slavery; Simon Legree, a brutal plantation owner; Little Eva, who suffers emotionally and physically from the suffering of slaves; and fun-loving Topsy, Eva’s slave playmate.
Critics, scholars, and students are today revisiting this monumental work with a new objectivity, focusing on Stowe’s compelling portrayal of women and the novel’s theological underpinnings.”  – 4 1/2 Stars384 Pages  Amazon

Image result for the mill on the floss book cover 1860 – Mill on the Floss – George Eliot
“This Eliot novel tells the story of Tom and Maggie Tulliver, a pair of siblings who grow up together on a river in early nineteenth century England. While Tom’s reserved nature and Maggie’s idealism produce differences that strain their love in times of hardship, the two ultimately reconcile when confronted with certain death. A powerful work on individual tenacity in the face of oppressive circumstance, The Mill on the Floss remains one of Eliot’s most powerful works on unconditional solidarity and love.”  – 4 1/2 Stars346 Pages  Amazon

 

  1861 – Silas Marner – George Eliot
“In this heartwarming classic by George Eliot, a gentle linen weaver named Silas Marner is wrongly accused of a heinous theft actually committed by his best friend. Exiling himself to the rustic village of Raveloe, he becomes a lonely recluse. Ultimately, Marner finds redemption and spiritual rebirth through his unselfish love for an abandoned child who mysteriously appears one day in his isolated cottage.

Somber, yet hopeful, Eliot’s realistic depiction of an irretrievable past, tempered with the magical elements of myth and fairy tale, remains timeless in its understanding of human nature and has been beloved for generations.”   – 4 1/2 Stars208 Pages  Amazon

Image result for great expectations book cover 1861 – Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
“Great Expectations is Charles Dickens’s thirteenth novel. It is his second novel, after David Copperfield, to be fully narrated in the first person. Great Expectations is a bildungsroman, or a coming-of-age novel, and it is a classic work of Victorian literature. It depicts the growth and personal development of an orphan named Pip. The novel was first published in serial form in Dickens’s weekly periodical All the Year Round, from 1 December 1860 to August 1861. In October 1861, Chapman and Hall published the novel in three volumes. Dickens originally intended Great Expectations to be twice as long, but constraints imposed by the management of All the Year Round limited the novel’s length. The novel is collected and dense, with a conciseness unusual for Dickens. According to G. K. Chesterton, Dickens penned Great Expectations in “the afternoon of [his] life and fame.” It was the penultimate novel Dickens completed, preceding Our Mutual Friend. It is set among the marshes of Kent and in London in the early to mid-1800s. The novel contains some of Dickens most memorable scenes, including its opening, in a graveyard, when the young orphan Pip is accosted by the escaped convict, Abel Magwitch. Great Expectations is a graphic book, full of extreme imagery, poverty, prison ships (“the hulks”), barriers and chains, and fights to the death.”  – 4 1/2 Stars284 Pages  Amazon

Image result for journey to the center of the earth book cover 1864 – Journey to the Center of the Earth – Jules Verne
“What a stunning discovery: an old, coded note that actually contains directions for reaching the Earth’s very core! And once he finds it, renowned geologist Professor Liedenbrock can’t resist setting out with his 16-year-old nephew to go where only one man has gone before. Jules Verne takes young readers on one of the most incredible journeys ever imagined, from Iceland’s frozen tundra far down into fantastic underground prehistoric worlds and back up again through the fires of an erupting volcano.”  – 4 1/2 Stars256 Pages  Amazon

 

Image result for little women book cover 1868 – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
“Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Alcott wrote the books rapidly over several months at the request of her publisher. The novel follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March—detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood, and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters. Little Women was an immediate commercial and critical success, and readers demanded to know more about the characters.” – 4 1/2 Stars280  Pages  – Amazon

 

Image result for middlemarch 1870 – Middlemarch by George Eliot
“George Eliot’s novel, Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life, explores a fictional nineteenth-century Midlands town in the midst of modern changes. The proposed Reform Bill promises political change; the building of railroads alters both the physical and cultural landscape; new scientific approaches to medicine incite public division; and scandal lurks behind respectability. The quiet drama of ordinary lives and flawed choices are played out in the complexly portrayed central characters of the novel—the idealistic Dorothea Brooke; the ambitious Dr. Lydgate; the spendthrift Fred Vincy; and the steadfast Mary Garth.” – 4 1/2 Stars880  Pages  – Amazon

 1876 – The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain
“The classic, in all its glory – though what many forget is how well this tale of American boyhood holds up even after nearly 150 years. Tom Sawyer, his best friend Huck Finn, his would-be girlfriend Becky Thatcher, and his aunt Polly teach and learn about life, death, race and painting fences in a “typical” 19th century Midwestern town that bears a striking resemblance to Twain’s hometown of Hannibal, Missouri. On one level, this is the prototypical tale of one boy’s innocence and how he lost it, but it’s also a profound evocation of the national character that Twain, an odd combination of independent thinker and moralist, clearly thought needed some analyzing.”  – 4 1/2 Stars246 Pages  – Amazon

 1877 – Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
“Originally published in 1877, Black Beauty is the “autobiography” of a horse, chronicling a his life experience at the hands of his owners. Some are cruel, with no empathy, while others are kind and gentle. Each experience in Black Beauty’s life teaches the reader a lesson aout kindness, compassion, and respect. With illustrations by Cecil Aldin, this beautiful, vibrant clothbound hardcover is unabridged and makes a great addition to every child’s library.” – 4 1/2 Stars256 Pages  – Amazon

 1878 – The Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy
“Tempestuous Eustacia Vye passes her days dreaming of passionate love and the escape it may bring from the small community of Egdon Heath.  Hearing that Clym Yeobright is to return from Paris, she sets her heart on marrying him, believing that through him she can leave rural life and find fulfilment elsewhere. But she is to be disappointed, for Clym has dreams of his own, and they have little in common with Eustacia’s. Their unhappy marriage causes havoc in the lives of those close to them, in particular Damon Wildeve, Eustacia’s former lover, Clym’s mothe”r and his cousin Thomasin. The Return of the Native illustrates the tragic potential of romantic illusion and how its protagonists fail to recognize their opportunities to control their own destinies.” – 4 1/2 Stars496 Pages  – Amazon

Image result for heidi book cover 1881 – Heidi – Johanna Spyri
“Heidi is a work of fiction written in 1880 by Swiss author Johanna Spyri, originally published in two parts as Heidi’s years of learning and travel (German: Heidis Lehr- und Wanderjahre) and Heidi makes use of what she has learned. It is a novel about the events in the life of a young girl in her grandfather’s care, in the Swiss Alps. It was written as a book “for children and those who love children.” Heidi is one of the best-selling books ever written and is among the best-known works of Swiss literature.”  – 4 1/2 Stars158 Pages  – Amazon

 

 1883 – Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
“One of the most enduringly popular adventure tales, Treasure Island began in 1881 as a serialized adventure entitled “The Sea-Cook” in the periodical Young Folks. Completed during a stay at Davos, Switzerland, where Stevenson had gone for his health, it was published in 1883 in the form we know today.
Set in the eighteenth century, Treasure Island spins a heady tale of piracy, a mysterious treasure map, and a host of sinister characters charged with diabolical intentions. Seen through the eyes of Jim Hawkins, the cabin boy of the Hispaniola, the action-packed adventure tells of a perilous sea journey across the Spanish Main, a mutiny  led by the infamous Long John Silver, and a lethal scramble for buried treasure on an exotic isle.
Rich in atmosphere and character, Treasure Island continues to mesmerize readers with its perceptive views of the changing nature of human motives.” –  4 1/2 Stars160 Pages

 

Image result for huckleberry finn book cover 1884 – The Adventures of  Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain 
“Referring to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, H. L. Mencken noted that his discovery of this classic American novel was “the most stupendous event of my whole life”; Ernest Hemingway declared that “all modern American literature stems from this one book,” while T. S. Eliot called Huck “one of the permanent symbolic figures of fiction, not unworthy to take a place with Ulysses, Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan, Hamlet.”
The novel’s preeminence derives from its wonderfully imaginative re-creation of boyhood adventures along the Mississippi River, its inspired characterization, the author’s remarkable ear for dialogue, and the book’s understated development of serious underlying themes: “natural” man versus “civilized” society, the evils of slavery, the innate value and dignity of human beings, and other topics. Most of all, Huckleberry Finn is a wonderful story, filled with high adventure and unforgettable characters.” –  4 1/2 Stars224 Pages

Image result for king solomon's mines book cover 1885 – King Solomon’s Mines – H. Rider Haggard
‘It is far. But there is no journey upon this earth that a man may not make if he sets his heart to it.’ Adventurer Allan Quatermain leads an expedition into the heart of Africa in search both of lost explorers and of the legendary treasure of the mythical King Solomon. Death and danger are constant companions for Quatermain’s party in H Rider Haggard’s classic adventure novel.”  – 4 1/2 Stars192  Pages  – Amazon

 

 

Image result for a study in scarlet 1887 – A Study in Scarlet – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
“A Study in Scarlet is a detective mystery novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, introducing his new characters, “consulting detective” Sherlock Holmes and his friend and chronicler, Dr. John Watson, who later became two of the most famous characters in literature. Conan Doyle wrote the story in 1886, and it was published the following year. The book’s title derives from a speech given by Holmes to Doctor Watson on the nature of his work, in which he describes the story’s murder investigation as his “study in scarlet”: “There’s the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.”  – 4 1/2 Stars114  Pages  – Amazon

 1890 – The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
“In this celebrated work, his only novel, Wilde forged a devastating portrait of the effects of evil and debauchery on a young aesthete in late-19th-century England. Combining elements of the Gothic horror novel and decadent French fiction, the book centers on a striking premise: As Dorian Gray sinks into a life of crime and gross sensuality, his body retains perfect youth and vigor while his recently painted portrait grows day by day into a hideous record of evil, which he must keep hidden from the world. For over a century, this mesmerizing tale of horror and suspense has enjoyed wide popularity. It ranks as one of Wilde’s most important creations and among the classic achievements of its kind.” – 4 1/2 Stars176  Pages  – Amazon

Related image 1891 – Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
“When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D’Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her ‘cousin’ Alec proves to be her downfall. A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future. With its sensitive depiction of the wronged Tess and powerful criticism of social convention, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, subtitled “A Pure Woman,” is one of the most moving and poetic of Hardy’s novels.”  –  4 Stars – 592  Pages Amazon

Image result for jungle book rudyard kipling book cover 1894 – Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling
“The Jungle Book (1894) is a collection of stories written by Rudyard Kipling.The tales in the book (and also those in The Second Jungle Book which followed in 1895, and which includes five further stories about Mowgli) are fables, using animals in an anthropomorphic manner to give moral lessons. The verses of The Law of the Jungle, for example, lay down rules for the safety of individuals, families and communities. Kipling put in them nearly everything he knew or “heard or dreamed about the Indian jungle.” The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third of the four crime novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes. Originally serialised in The Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902, it is set largely on Dartmoor in Devon in England’s West Country and tells the story of an attempted murder inspired by the legend of a fearsome, diabolical hound of supernatural origin. Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson investigate the case. This was the first appearance of Holmes since his intended death in “The Final Problem”, and the success of The Hound of the Baskervilles led to the character’s eventual revival.

Image result for time machine book cover 1895 – The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
“The Time Machine is a science fiction novel by H. G. Wells, published in 1895. Wells is generally credited with the popularization of the concept of time travel by using a vehicle that allows an operator to travel purposefully and selectively. The term “time machine”, coined by Wells, is now universally used to refer to such a vehicle. This work is an early example of the Dying Earth subgenre. The portion of the novel that sees the Time Traveller in a distant future where the sun is huge and red also places The Time Machine within the realm of Eschatology; that is the study of the end times, the end of the world, and the ultimate destiny of mankind. The Time Machine has since been adapted into two feature films of the same name, as well as two television versions, and a large number of comic book adaptations. It has also indirectly inspired many more works of fiction in many media.”  – 4 1/2 Stars192  Pages  – Amazon

 1897 – Dracula – Bram Stoker
“During a business visit to Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, a young English solicitor finds himself at the center of a series of horrifying incidents. Jonathan Harker is attacked by three phantom women, observes the Count’s transformation from human to bat form, and discovers puncture wounds on his own neck that seem to have been made by teeth. Harker returns home upon his escape from Dracula’s grim fortress, but a friend’s strange malady — involving sleepwalking, inexplicable blood loss, and mysterious throat wounds — initiates a frantic vampire hunt. The popularity of Bram Stoker’s 1897 horror romance is as deathless as any vampire.  Its supernatural appeal has spawned a host of film and stage adaptations, and more than a century after its initial publication, it continues to hold readers spellbound.” – 4 1/2 Stars336 Pages  Amazon

 1899 – Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
“Heart of Darkness (1899) is a short novel by Polish novelist Joseph Conrad, written as a frame narrative, about Charles Marlow’s experience as an ivory transporter down the Congo River in Central Africa. The river is “a mighty big river, that you could see on the map, resembling an immense snake uncoiled, with its head in the sea, its body at rest curving afar over a vast country, and its tail lost in the depths of the land”. In the course of his travel in central Africa, Marlow becomes obsessed with Mr. Kurtz. The story is a complex exploration of the attitudes people hold on what constitutes a barbarian versus a civilized society and the attitudes on colonialism and racism that were part and parcel of European imperialism. Originally published as a three-part serial story, in Blackwood’s Magazine, the novella Heart of Darkness has been variously published and translated into many languages. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Heart of Darkness as the sixty-seventh of the hundred best novels in English of the twentieth century.” – 4  Stars78 Pages  – Amazon

Image result for kim rudyard kipling book cover 1901 – Kim – Rudyard Kipling
“This novel tells the story of Kimball O’ Hara (Kim), who is the orphaned son of a soldier in the Irish regiment stationed in India during the British Raj. It describes Kim’s life and adventures from street vagabond, to his adoption by his father’s regiment and recruitment into espionage.” – 4  Stars256 Pages  – Amazon

 

 

 

 1902 – The Hound of the Baskervilles – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
“The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third of the four crime novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes. Originally serialised in The Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902, it is set largely on Dartmoor in Devon in England’s West Country and tells the story of an attempted murder inspired by the legend of a fearsome, diabolical hound of supernatural origin. Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson investigate the case. This was the first appearance of Holmes since his intended death in “The Final Problem”, and the success of The Hound of the Baskervilles led to the character’s eventual revival.”   – 4 1/2 Stars112  Pages  – Amazon

 1904 – Sea Wolf – Jack London
“The Sea-Wolf is a 1904 psychological adventure novel by American novelist Jack London. The book’s protagonist, Humphrey van Weyden, is a literary critic who is a survivor of an ocean collision and who comes under the dominance of Wolf Larsen, the powerful and amoral sea captain who rescues him. Its first printing of forty thousand copies was immediately sold out before publication on the strength of London’s previous The Call of the Wild. Ambrose Bierce wrote, “The great thing—and it is among the greatest of things—is that tremendous creation, Wolf Larsen… the hewing out and setting up of such a figure is enough for a man to do in one lifetime… The love element, with its absurd suppressions, and impossible proprieties, is awful.” – 4 1/2 Stars  218 PagesAmazon

 1903 – The Call of the Wild – Jack London
“The Call of the Wild is a novel by Jack London published in 1903. The story is set in the Yukon during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush—a period when strong sled dogs were in high demand. The novel’s central character is a dog named Buck, a domesticated dog living at a ranch in the Santa Clara valley of California as the story opens. Stolen from his home and sold into the brutal existence of an Alaskan sled dog, he reverts to atavistic traits. Buck is forced to adjust to, and survive, cruel treatments and fight to dominate other dogs in a harsh climate. Eventually he sheds the veneer of civilization, relying on primordial instincts and lessons he learns, to emerge as a leader in the wild. London lived for most of a year in the Yukon collecting material for the book. The story was serialized in the Saturday Evening Post in the summer of 1903; a month later it was released in book form. The novel’s great popularity and success made a reputation for London. Much of its appeal derives from the simplicity with which London presents the themes in an almost mythical form. As early as 1908 the story was adapted to film and it has since seen several more cinematic adaptations.”  – 4 1/2 Stars  68 PagesAmazon

 1905 – The Scarlet Pimpernel – Baroness Emma Orczy
“The year is 1792. The French Revolution, driven to excess by its own triumph, has turned into a reign of terror. Daily, tumbrels bearing new victims to the guillotine roll over the cobbled streets of Paris.… Thus the stage is set for one of the most enthralling novels of historical adventure ever written.

The mysterious figure known as the Scarlet Pimpernel, sworn to rescue helpless men, women, and children from their doom; his implacable foe, the French agent Chauvelin, relentlessly hunting him down; and lovely Marguerite Blakeney, a beautiful French exile married to an English lord and caught in a terrible conflict of loyalties—all play their parts in a suspenseful tale that ranges from the squalid slums of Paris to the aristocratic salons of London, from intrigue on a great English country estate to the final denouement on the cliffs of the French coast.

There have been many imitations of The Scarlet Pimpernel, but none has ever equaled its superb sense of color and drama and its irresistible gift of wonderfully romantic escape.” – 4 1/2 Stars  288 PagesAmazon

 1906 – The Jungle – Upton Sinclair
“The Jungle is a 1906 novel written by the American journalist and novelist Upton Sinclair (1878–1968). Sinclair wrote the novel to portray the lives of immigrants in the United States in Chicago and similar industrialized cities. Many readers were most concerned with his exposure of health violations and unsanitary practices in the American meatpacking industry during the early 20th century, based on an investigation he did for a socialist newspaper. The book depicts working class poverty, the lack of social supports, harsh and unpleasant living and working conditions, and a hopelessness among many workers. These elements are contrasted with the deeply rooted corruption of people in power. A review by the writer Jack London called it, “the Uncle Tom’s Cabin of wage slavery.” Sinclair was considered a muckraker, or journalist who exposed corruption in government and business. He first published the novel in serial form in 1905 in the Socialist newspaper, Appeal to Reason, between February 25, 1905, and November 4, 1905. In 1904, Sinclair had spent seven weeks gathering information while working incognito in the meatpacking plants of the Chicago stockyards for the newspaper. It was published as a book on February 26, 1906 by Doubleday and in a subscribers’ edition.”  – 4 Stars250 Pages – Amazon

 1908 – Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
“For more than a century, The Wind in the Willows and its endearing protagonists–Mole, Mr. Toad, Badger, and Ratty–have enchanted children of all ages. Whether the four friends are setting forth on an exciting adventure, engaging in a comic caper, or simply relaxing by the River Thames, their stories are among the most charming in all English literature.”  – 4 1/2 Stars  104 Pages

 

Image result for anne of green gables book cover 1908 – Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery
“Anne of Green Gables (1908) is a bestselling novel by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery; Illustrated by M. A. and W. A. Claus. Written as fiction for readers of all ages, since the mid-twentieth century, the literary classic has been considered a children’s novel. It recounts the adventures of Anne Shirley, a young orphan girl sent to a middle-aged brother and sister who have a farm on Prince Edward Island, and who had intended to adopt a boy to help them. The novel recounts how Anne makes her way with the Cuthberts, in school and the town. Since publication, Anne of Green Gables has sold more than 50 million copies which is a whole lot considering it was written about a redhead! It has been translated into 20 languages. Numerous sequels were written by Montgomery, and since her death, another sequel has been published, as well as an authorized prequel. The original book is taught to students around the world.” – 4 1/2 Stars260  Pages  – Amazon

Image result for secret garden book cover 1911 – The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
“The Secret Garden is a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It was initially published in serial format starting in the autumn of 1910, and was first published in its entirety in 1911. It is now one of Burnett’s most popular novels, and is considered to be a classic of English children’s literature.” –  4 1/2 Stars 146 Pages

 

 

 

 1911 – Peter Pan – James M. Barrie
“Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie. A mischievous boy who can fly and never grows up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang, the Lost Boys, interacting with mermaids, Native Americans, fairies, pirates, and occasionally ordinary children from the world outside of Neverland.”  –  4 1/2 Stars  Pages

 

 

 1913 – O Pioneers – Willa Cather
“Cather’s sentimental and somewhat controversial novel tells the story of the Bergsons, a family of Swedish pioneers that settles for life in the American prairie. While Alexandra, the family matriarch, is able to turn the family farm into a financial success, her brother Emil must grapple with the tragedy of solace and forbidden love. A novel surprisingly ahead of its time, this proto-feminist work touches upon a wide range of themes, including love, marriage, temptation, and isolation.” – 4 1/2 Stars170  Pages

 

 1915 – The Song of the Lark – Willa Cather
“The Song of the Lark” is the story of Thea Kronborg, an ambitious young heroine, who leaves her home to go fulfill her dream of becoming a famous opera star. As is typical with much of Cather’s work, “The Song of the Lark” is a portrayal of an independent-minded woman with a strong work ethic who will not allow anything or anyone to get in the way of her own personal achievement.” – 4 Stars236  Pages – Amazon

 

Image result for portrait of the artist as a young man 1916 – Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man – James Joyce
“A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is the first novel of Irish writer James Joyce. A Künstlerroman in a modernist style, it traces the intellectual and religio-philosophical awakening of young Stephen Dedalus, a fictional alter ego of Joyce and an allusion to Daedalus, the consummate craftsman of Greek mythology.” – 4 Stars384  Pages – Amazon

 

 

 1918 – My Antonia – Willa Cather
My Ántonia is a novel published in 1918 by American writer Willa Cather, considered one of her best works. Ántonia tells the stories of several immigrant families who move out to rural Nebraska to start new lives in America, with a particular focus on a Bohemian family, the Shimerdas, whose eldest daughter is named Ántonia. It is the final book of her “prairie trilogy” of novels, preceded by O Pioneers! and The Song of the Lark.” – 4 1/2 Stars144 Pages  – Amazon

 

 

 1925 – The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.”  – 4 1/2 Stars180  Pages  –

 

Image result for sun also rises book cover 1926 – The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
“The quintessential novel of the Lost Generation, The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway’s masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style. A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the novel introduces two of Hemingway’s most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. The story follows the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of 1920s Paris .to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates. It is an age of moral bankruptcy, spiritual dissolution, unrealized love, and vanishing illusions. First published in 1926, The Sun Also Rises helped to establish Hemingway as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.” – 4 Stars251  Pages  – Amazon

Image result for winnie the pooh book cover 1926 – Winnie the Pooh – A. A. Milne
“Since 1926, Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends—Piglet, Owl, Tigger, and the ever doleful Eeyore—have endured as the unforgettable creations of A.A. Milne, who wrote this book for his son, Christopher Robin, and Ernest H. Shepard, who lovingly gave Pooh and his companions shape.

These characters and their stories are timeless treasures of childhood that continue to speak to all of us with the kind of freshness and heart that distinguishes true storytelling.

“Winnie-the-Pooh is a joy; full of solemn idiocies and the sort of jokes one weeps over helplessly, not even knowing why they are so funny, and with it all the real wit and tenderness which alone could create a priceless little masterpiece.” Saturday Review, 1926 – 4 1/2 Stars176  Pages  – Amazon

Image result for death comes for the archbishop 1927 – Death Comes for the Archbishop – Willa Cather
“Willa Cather’s best known novel is an epic–almost mythic–story of a single human life lived simply in the silence of the southwestern desert. In 1851 Father Jean Marie Latour comes to serve as the Apostolic Vicar to New Mexico. What he finds is a vast territory of red hills and tortuous arroyos, American by law but Mexican and Indian in custom and belief. In the almost forty years that follow, Latour spreads his faith in the only way he knows–gently, all the while contending with an unforgiving landscape, derelict and sometimes openly rebellious priests, and his own loneliness. Out of these events, Cather gives us an indelible vision of life unfolding in a place where time itself seems suspended.”  – 4 1/2 Stars297  Pages  – Amazon

 1927 – Elmer Gantry – Sinclair Lewis
“Possibly the best student of hypocrisy since Voltaire This portrait of a golden-tongued evangelist-who lives a life of hypocrisy, sensuality, and self-indulgence-is also the chronicle of a reign of vulgarity, which but for Lewis would have left no record of itself.”  – 4 1/2 Stars496  Pages  – Amazon

 

 

 

Image result for sound and the fury 1929 – The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
““I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire. . . . I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all of your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.” —from The Sound and the Fury

The Sound and the Fury is the tragedy of the Compson family, featuring some of the most memorable characters in literature: beautiful, rebellious Caddy; the manchild Benjy; haunted, neurotic Quentin; Jason, the brutal cynic; and Dilsey, their black servant. Their lives fragmented and harrowed by history and legacy, the character’s voices and actions mesh to create what is arguably Faulkner’s masterpiece and  one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.” – 4 Stars 326  Pages – Amazon

 1931 – The Good Earth – Pearl S. Buck
“The novel takes in a Chinese society that is showing signs of modernization yet remains connected to ancient traditions and customs. Wang Lung is a poor young farmer in rural, turn-of-the-century China. He marries a 20-year-old slave named O-lan. The ups and downs of their lives is described.” – 4 1/2 Stars – 260  Pages  – Amazon

 

 

 

 1932 – Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

“Aldous Huxley is the greatest 20th century writer in English.” —Chicago Tribune

“Aldous Huxley is rightly considered a prophetic genius and one of the most important literary and philosophical voices of the 20th Century, and Brave New World is his masterpiece. From the author of The Doors of Perception, Island, and countless other works of fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, and poetry, comes this powerful work of speculative fiction that has enthralled and terrified readers for generations. Brave New World remains absolutely relevant to this day as both a cautionary dystopian tale in the vein of the George Orwell classic 1984, and as thought-provoking, thoroughly satisfying entertainment.”  – 4 Stars – 288  Pages – Amazon

Image result for tender is the night book cover 1934 – Tender Is the Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Published in 1934, Tender Is the Night was one of the most talked-about books of the year. “It’s amazing how excellent much of it is,” Ernest Hemingway said to Maxwell Perkins. “I will say now,” John O’Hara wrote Fitzgerald, “Tender Is the Night is in the early stages of being my favorite book, even more than This Side of Paradise.” And Archibald MacLeish exclaimed: “Great God, Scott…You are a fine writer. Believe it — not me.”

Set on the French Riviera in the late 1920s, Tender Is the Night is the tragic romance of the young actress Rosemary Hoyt and the stylish American couple Dick and Nicole Diver. A brilliant young psychiatrist at the time of his marriage, Dick is both husband and doctor to Nicole, whose wealth goads him into a lifestyle not his own, and whose growing strength highlights Dick’s harrowing demise.

A profound study of the romantic concept of character — lyrical, expansive, and hauntingly evocative — Tender Is the Night, Mabel Dodge Luhan remarked, raised F. Scott Fitzgerald to the heights of “a modern Orpheus.” – 4 Stars 320  Pages Amazon

Image result for gone with the wind book cover 1936 – Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
“Since its original publication in 1936, Gone With the Wind—winner of the Pulitzer Prize and one of the bestselling novels of all time—has been heralded by readers everywhere as The Great American Novel.

Widely considered The Great American Novel, and often remembered for its epic film version, Gone With the Wind explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it vividly depicts the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

This is the tale of Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled, manipulative daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, who arrives at young womanhood just in time to see the Civil War forever change her way of life. A sweeping story of tangled passion and courage, in the pages of Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell brings to life the unforgettable characters that have captured readers for over seventy years.” – 5 Stars 960  Pages Amazon

 1936 – Out of Africa – Isak Dinesen
“In this book, the author of Seven Gothic Tales gives a true account of her life on her plantation in Kenya. She tells with classic simplicity of the ways of the country and the natives: of the beauty of the Ngong Hills and coffee trees in blossom: of her guests, from the Prince of Wales to Knudsen, the old charcoal burner, who visited her: of primitive festivals: of big game that were her near neighbors–lions, rhinos, elephants, zebras, buffaloes–and of Lulu, the little gazelle who came to live with her, unbelievably ladylike and beautiful.”

“From 1914 to 1931, Danish aristocrat Baroness Karen Blixen owned and operated a coffee plantation in Kenya. After the plantation failed, she returned to Europe and began to write under the pen name Isak Dinesen. Out of Africa reads like a collection of stories in which she adheres to no strict chronology, gives no explanation of the facts of her life, and apologizes for nothing. First published in 1937, Out of Africa is not free of the colonial or racist attitudes of its time; yet, within that context, Isak Dinesen is an enlightened observer and participant as she describes the experience of British East Africa before World War II. She portrays in rich detail the vast land around her, alive with strange and wonderful human populations; the thrilling terror of a nocturnal lion hunt; a shooting accident among the Africans on her farm and its repercussions; raising and freeing an orphaned antelope fawn; getting to know the Africans and the colonial adventurers who found their way into her life. “If I know a song of Africa,” she writes, “of the Giraffe, and the African new moon lying on her back, of the ploughs in the fields, and the sweaty faces of the coffee-pickers, does Africa know a song of me?” Out of Africa is that song.”  4 1/2 Stars416  Pages – Amazon

 

 1937 – Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
“A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don’t know how to live properly.” —Zadie Smith

One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.”  – 4 1/2 Stars – 219  Pages  – Amazon

Image result for buccaneers wharton 1937 [1993] The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton
“Set in the 1870s, the same period as Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, The Buccaneers is about five wealthy American girls denied entry into New York Society because their parents’ money is too new. At the suggestion of their clever governess, the girls sail to London, where they marry lords, earls, and dukes who find their beauty charming—and their wealth extremely useful.

After Wharton’s death in 1937, The Christian Science Monitor said, “If it could have been completed, The Buccaneers would doubtless stand among the richest and most sophisticated of Wharton’s novels.” Now, with wit and imagination, Marion Mainwaring has finished the story [in 1993], taking her cue from Wharton’s own synopsis. It is a novel any Wharton fan will celebrate and any romantic reader will love. This is the richly engaging story of Nan St. George and guy Thwarte, an American heiress and an English aristocrat, whose love breaks the rules of both their societies.” –  4 Stars – 406  Pages Amazon

1937 – Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
“They are an unlikely pair: George is “small and quick and dark of face”; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a “family,” clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation.

Laborers in California’s dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie’s unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.

“A thriller, a gripping tale . . . that you will not set down until it is finished. Steinbeck has touched the quick.” —The New York Times – 4 1/2 Stars 112  Pages  – Amazon

Related image 1938 – The Yearling – Patricia Reilly Giff
“No novel better epitomizes the love between a child and a pet than The Yearling. Young Jody adopts an orphaned fawn he calls Flag and makes it a part of his family and his best friend. But life in the Florida backwoods is harsh, and so, as his family fights off wolves, bears, and even alligators, and faces failure in their tenuous subsistence farming, Jody must finally part with his dear animal friend.” –  4 1/2 Stars528 Pages  – Amazon

 

 

 1938 – Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
“…the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten—a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house’s current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim’s first wife—the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca.”  – 4 1/2 Stars416 Pages  –

Image result for grapes of wrath book cover 1939 – The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
“First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads—driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s powerful landmark novel is perhaps the most American of American Classics.” – 4 1/2 Stars455  Pages  – Amazon

Image result for how green was my valley book cover 1939 – How Green Was My  Valley – Richard Llewellyn
“How Green Was My Valley is Richard Llewellyn’s bestselling — and timeless — classic and the basis of a beloved film. As Huw Morgan is about to leave home forever, he reminisces about the golden days of his youth when South Wales still prospered, when coal dust had not yet blackened the valley. Drawn simply and lovingly, with a crisp Welsh humor, Llewellyn’s characters fight, love, laugh and cry, creating an indelible portrait of a people.” – 4 1/2 Stars495  Pages  – Amazon

 

 

Image result for the big sleep book cover 1939 – The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler

“When a dying millionaire hires Philip Marlowe to handle the blackmailer of one of his two troublesome daughters, Marlowe finds himself involved with more than extortion. Kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder are just a few of the complications he gets caught up in.

“Chandler [writes] like a slumming angel and invest[s] the sun-blinded streets of Los Angelos with a romantic presence.”–Ross Macdonald  – 4 1/2 Stars231  Pages  – Amazon

Image result for for whom the bell tolls book cover 1940 – For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
“In 1937 Ernest Hemingway traveled to Spain to cover the civil war there for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Three years later he completed the greatest novel to emerge from “the good fight,” For Whom the Bell Tolls.

The story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to an antifascist guerilla unit in the mountains of Spain, it tells of loyalty and courage, love and defeat, and the tragic death of an ideal. In his portrayal of Jordan’s love for the beautiful Maria and his superb account of El Sordo’s last stand, in his brilliant travesty of La Pasionaria and his unwillingness to believe in blind faith, Hemingway surpasses his achievement in The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms to create a work at once rare and beautiful, strong and brutal, compassionate, moving, and wise. “If the function of a writer is to reveal reality,” Maxwell Perkins wrote Hemingway after reading the manuscript, “no one ever so completely performed it.” Greater in power, broader in scope, and more intensely emotional than any of the author’s previous works, it stands as one of the best war novels of all time.”  – 4 1/2 Stars480  Pages  – Amazon

 1943 – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
“The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.” – 4 1/2 Stars  528 Pages – Amazon

Image result for the glass menagerie book cover 1945 – The Glass Menagerie – Tennessee Williams
No play in the modern theatre has so captured the imagination and heart of the American public as Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie.

“Menagerie was Williams’s first popular success and launched the brilliant, if somewhat controversial, career of our pre-eminent lyric playwright. Since its premiere in Chicago in 1944, with the legendary Laurette Taylor in the role of Amanda, the play has been the bravura piece for great actresses from Jessica Tandy to Joanne Woodward, and is studied and performed in classrooms and theatres around the world. …

“More than fifty years after telling his story of a family whose lives form a triangle of quiet desperation, Williams’s mellifluous voice still resonates deeply and universally.” – 4 1/2 Stars104  Pages  – Amazon

 1943 – The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint Exupéry
“Few stories are as widely read and as universally cherished by children and adults alike as The Little Prince. Richard Howard’s translation of the beloved classic beautifully reflects Saint-Exupéry’s unique and gifted style. Howard, an acclaimed poet and one of the preeminent translators of our time, has excelled in bringing the English text as close as possible to the French, in language, style, and most important, spirit. The artwork in this edition has been restored to match in detail and in color Saint-Exupéry’s original artwork. Combining Richard Howard’s translation with restored original art, this definitive English-language edition of The Little Prince will capture the hearts of readers of all ages.” – 4 1/2 Stars96  Pages  – Amazon

 1946 – All the King’s Men – Robert Penn Warren
“Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this classic book is generally regarded as the finest novel ever written on American politics. It describes the career of Willie Stark, a back-country lawyer whose idealism is overcome by his lust for power.” – 4 1/2 Stars656  Pages  – Amazon

 

 

 

 1948 – Cry, the Beloved Country – Alan Paton
“An Oprah Book Club selection, Cry, the Beloved Country, the most famous and important novel in South Africa’s history, was an immediate worldwide bestseller in 1948. Alan Paton’s impassioned novel about a black man’s country under white man’s law is a work of searing beauty.

Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.

The eminent literary critic Lewis Gannett wrote, “We have had many novels from statesmen and reformers, almost all bad; many novels from poets, almost all thin. In Alan Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country the statesman, the poet and the novelist meet in a unique harmony.”

Cry, the Beloved Country is the deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son, Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice. Remarkable for its lyricism, unforgettable for character and incident, Cry, the Beloved Country is a classic work of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man.”  – 4 1/2 Stars316 Pages  – Amazon

 1950 – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
“Four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie—step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.

Open the door and enter a new world! The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobeis the second book in C. S. Lewis’s classic fantasy series, which has been captivating readers of all ages with a magical land and unforgettable characters for over sixty years. This is a stand-alone read, but if you would like to discover more about Narnia, pick up The Horse and His Boy, the third book in The Chronicles of Narnia.”  – 4 1/2 Stars208  Pages  – Amazon

Related image 1952 – A Child’s Christmas in Wales – Dylan Thomas
“This gem of lyric prose has enchanted both young and old for over half a century and is now a modern classic. Dylan Thomas (1914–1953), one of the greatest poets and storytellers of the twentieth century, captures a child’s-eye view and an adult’s fond memories of a magical time of presents, aunts and uncles, the frozen sea, and in the best of circumstances, newly fallen snow.” – 4 1/2 Stars48  Pages  – Amazon

 

 

 1953 – Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
“Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of twentieth-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future.

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.”  – 4 1/2 Stars249  Pages  – Amazon

1954 – Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was first published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Th”ough critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students and literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought and literature.” – 4  Stars208  Pages  – Amazon

 

 

 

Image result for the grass harp book cover 1951 – The Grass Harp – Truman Capote
“Set on the outskirts of a small Southern town, The Grass Harp tells the story of three endearing misfits—an orphaned boy and two whimsical old ladies—who one day take up residence in a tree house. As they pass sweet yet hazardous hours in a china tree, The Grass Harp manages to convey all the pleasures and responsibilities of freedom. But most of all it teaches us about the sacredness of love, “that love is a chain of love, as nature is a chain of life.” –  4 1/2 StarsPages  – Amazon

 

 

Image result for the quiet american book cover 1955 – The Quiet American – Graham Greene
Graham Greene’s classic exploration of love, innocence, and morality in Vietnam

“I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused,” Graham Greene’s narrator Fowler remarks of Alden Pyle, the eponymous “Quiet American” of what is perhaps the most controversial novel of his career. Pyle is the brash young idealist sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission to Saigon, where the French Army struggles against the Vietminh guerrillas.

As young Pyle’s well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But Fowler’s motives for intervening are suspect, both to the police and himself, for Pyle has stolen Fowler’s beautiful Vietnamese mistress.

Originally published in 1956 and twice adapted to film, The Quiet American remains a terrifying and prescient portrait of innocence at large.” –  4 1/2 Stars180  Pages  – Amazon

Image result for a christmas memory book cover 1956 – A Christmas Memory – Truman Capote
”     The classic story of Truman Capote’s childhood Christmas ritual…. Originally published in 1956, this is the story from Capote’s childhood of lovingly making fruitcakes from scratch at Christmas-time with his elderly cousin, and has stood the test of time to become known as an American holiday classic.” 4 1/2 Stars48  Pages  – Amazon

 

 

 1956 – The Nun’s Story – Katherine Hulme
“The Nun’s Story is a 1956 novel by Kathryn Hulme. The book was a Book of the Month selection and reached #1 on the New York Times best-seller list.
Hulme wrote the book based partly upon the experiences of her friend, Marie Louise Habets of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, a Belgian nurse and an ex-nun whom she met while working with refugees in post-war Europe. The author sponsored the former nun’s immigration to the United States, and later converted to Catholicism.[1] It is often erroneously stated that the book was based upon Hulme’s own experiences.
The lead character of the book, Sister Luke (pre-convent name Gabrielle Van Der Mal), finds her faith tested in Africa where she finds herself at odds with headstrong Dr. Fortunati, operator of a remote Congo hospital, with whom she gradually builds respect, and again during World War II, when she is ordered not to take sides. Ultimately, Sister Luke is forced to decide whether to remain in the convent or return to the outside world.
Gabrielle/Sister Luke is stretched between her desire to be faithful to the rule of her congregation and her desire to be a nurse. As a nun she must remove all vestiges of “Gabrielle Van Der Mal” and sublimate herself into the devoted bride of Christ. ” Wikipedia  –  4 1/2 Stars399 Pages

 1956 – Old Yeller – Fred Gipson
“When a novel like Huckleberry Finn, or The Yearling, comes along it defies customary adjectives because of the intensity of the respouse it evokes in the reader. Such a book, we submit, is Old Yeller; to read this eloquently simple story of a boy and his dog in the Texas hill country is an unforgettable and deeply moving experience.” –  4 1/2 Stars144 Pages

 

 

 

 1958 – The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Elizabeth George Speare

“Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met. Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when it seems she must give up, she finds a kindred spirit. But Kit’s friendship with Hannah Tupper, believed by the colonists to be a witch, proves more taboo than she could have imagined and ultimately forces Kit to choose between her heart and her duty.

Elizabeth George Speare won the 1959 Newbery Medal for this portrayal of a heroine whom readers will admire for her unwavering sense of truth as well as her infinite capacity to love.”  –  4 1/2 Stars272 Pages  – Amazon

Image result for exodus leon uris 1958 – Exodus – Leon Uris
Exodus is an international publishing phenom”enon–the towering novel of the twentieth century’s most dramatic geopolitical event.  Leon Uris magnificently portrays the birth of a new nation in the midst of enemies–the beginning of an earthshaking struggle for power.  Here is the tale that swept the world with its fury: the story of an American nurse, an Israeli freedom fighter caught up in a glorious, heartbreaking, triumphant era.  Here is Exodus –one of the great best-selling novels of all time.” –  4 1/2 Stars608 Pages  – Amazon

 

Image result for hawaii james michener 1959 – Hawaii – James Michener
“Hawaii is a novel by James Michener. Written in episodic format like many of Michener’s works, the book narrates the story of the original Hawaiians who sailed to the islands from Bora Bora, the early American missionaries (in this case, Calvinist missionaries) and merchants, and the Chinese and Japanese immigrants who traveled to work and seek their fortunes in Hawaii.[1] The story begins with the creation of the islands themselves at the dawn of time and ends in the mid-1950s. Each section explores the experiences of different groups of arrivals. The point of view changes with each chapter, although as the novel nears its end, these points-of-view change and coalesce rapidly culminating with the “Golden Man”, who Michener describes as racially and culturally the result of the millennia of immigration to the islands.[citation needed]
The novel was published in 1959, the same year Hawaii became the 50th U.S. state. The book has been translated into 32 languages.[2]
The historical correctness of the novel is high, although the narrative about the early Polynesian inhabitants is based more on folklore than anthropological and archaeological sources.” Wikipedia  –  4 1/2 Stars937 Pages  – Amazon

 1960 – To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
“The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.”  – 4 1/2 Stars384  Pages  – Amazon

 1961 – Where the Red Fern Grows – Wilson Rawls
For fans of Old Yeller and Shiloh, Where the Red Fern Grows is a beloved classic that captures the powerful bond between man and man’s best friend. This edition also includes a special note to readers from Newbery Medal winner and Printz Honor winner Clare Vanderpool.

” Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he’s finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own—Old Dan and Little Ann—he’s ecstatic. It doesn’t matter that times are tough; together they’ll roam the hills of the Ozarks.
Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region, and the combination of Old Dan’s brawn, Little Ann’s brains, and Billy’s sheer will seems unbeatable. But tragedy awaits these determined hunters—now friends—and Billy learns that hope can grow out of despair, and that the seeds of the future can come from the scars of the past.” – 4 1/2 Stars304  Pages  – Amazon

 1962 – A Wrinkle in Time – Madeline L’Engle
“It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.”

A tesseract (in case the reader doesn’t know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L’Engle’s unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg’s father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.

A Wrinkle in Time is the winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal.” – 4 1/2 Stars256  Pages  – Amazon

 1962 – Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury
“The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes. . .and the stuff of nightmare.

Few American novels written this century have endured in the heart and memory as has Ray Bradbury’s unparalleled literary classic SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES. For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry, step inside. The show is about to begin.The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes. . .and the stuff of nightmare.”- 4 Stars297  Pages  – Amazon

 1962 – The Reivers – William Faulkner
“This grand misadventure is the story of three unlikely thieves, or reivers: 11-year-old Lucius Priest and two of his family’s retainers. In 1905, these three set out from Mississippi for Memphis in a stolen motorcar. The astonishing and complicated results reveal Faulkner as a master of the picaresque.” –  4 Stars – 320 Pages – Amazon

 

 

 

 1964 – A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway – Published Posthumously
About Hemingway’s Marriage to His First Wife Hadley
“Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway’s most enduring works. Since Hemingway’s personal papers were released in 1979, scholars have examined the changes made to the text before publication. Now, this special restored edition presents the original manuscript as the author prepared it to be published.

Featuring a personal Foreword by Patrick Hemingway, Ernest’s sole surviving son, and an Introduction by grandson of the author, Seán Hemingway, editor of this edition, the book also includes a number of unfinished, never-before-published Paris sketches revealing experiences that Hemingway had with his son, Jack, and his first wife Hadley. Also included are irreverent portraits of literary luminaries, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ford Maddox Ford, and insightful recollections of Hemingway’s own early experiments with his craft.

Widely celebrated and debated by critics and readers everywhere, the restored edition of A Moveable Feast brilliantly evokes the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the unbridled creativity and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized.” –  4 Stars – 256 Pages

The Thanksgiving Visitor 1967 – The Thanksgiving Visitor – Truman Capote
“Buddy and his closest friend, his eccentric, elderly cousin, Miss Sook – the memorable characters from Capote’s A Christmas Memory–love preparing their old country house for Thanksgiving. But there’s trouble in the air. Odd Henderson, a scrawny, freckled, red-headed bully makes Buddy the target of his relentless torment. But Miss Sook only counsels patience and understanding, “He can’t help acting ugly; he doesn’t know any different,” she says. Filled with emotions that are universal to both young readers and adults, this poignant story brings to life what we all should cherish and be thankful for–the gifts of friendship and love.” – 4 1/2 Stars37  Pages  – Amazon

Image result for i know why the caged bird sings book cover 1969 – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.

Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.

Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.
 
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity.”—James Baldwin – 4 1/2 Stars304  Pages  – Amazon

 1975 – Chesapeake – James A. Michener
“In this classic novel, James A. Michener brings his grand epic tradition to bear on the four-hundred-year saga of America’s Eastern Shore, from its Native American roots to the modern age. In the early 1600s, young Edmund Steed is desperate to escape religious persecution in England. After joining Captain John Smith on a harrowing journey across the Atlantic, Steed makes a life for himself in the New World, establishing a remarkable dynasty that parallels the emergence of America. Through the extraordinary tale of one man’s dream, Michener tells intertwining stories of family and national heritage, introducing us along the way to Quakers, pirates, planters, slaves, abolitionists, and notorious politicians, all making their way through American history in the common pursuit of freedom.”  – 4 1/2 Stars1024  Pages  – Amazon

Image result for tuck everlasting book cover 1975 – Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbitt
“Doomed to―or blessed with―eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.”  – 4 1/2 Stars160  Pages  – Amazon

 

Image result for roll of thunder hear my cry book cover 1975 – Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – Mildred D. Taylor
“Winner of the 1977 Newbery Medal, this is a remarkably moving novel–one that has impressed the hearts and minds of millions of readers. Set in Mississippi at the height of the Depression, it is the story of one family’s struggle to maintain their integrity, pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice. And, too, it is Cassie’s story–Cassie Logan, an independent girl who discovers over the course of an important year why having land of their own is so crucial to the Logan family, even as she learns to draw strength from her own sense of dignity and self-respect.” – 4 1/2 Stars276  Pages  – Amazon

 

 

Image result for bridge to terabithia book cover 1977 – Bridge to Terabithia – Katherine Paterson
“This Newbery Medal-winning novel by bestselling author Katherine Paterson is a modern classic of friendship and loss.

Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie’s house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia. One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief.

In addition to being a Newbery Medal winner, Bridge to Terabithia was also named an ALA Notable Children’s Book and has become a touchstone of children’s literature, as have many of Katherine Paterson’s other novels, including The Great Gilly Hopkins and Jacob Have I Loved.” – 4 1/2 Stars208  Pages  – Amazon

Image result for the giver book cover 1993 – The Giver – Lois Lowry
The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lois Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.” –  4 1/2 Stars208  Pages  – Amazon

 1998 – The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it—from garden seeds to Scripture—is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.” – – 4 1/2 Stars576  Pages  – Amazon

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