My first Thomas Hardy novel was simply fantastic. Emotionally poignant but also socially resonant, Tess of the D’Ubervilles provides an intriguing story about Victorian social and sexual hypocrisy through characters with clear flaws to recognize and appreciate. And yet, although it was clearly a commentary on the social structures and sexual morality in Victorian England,

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I will not put Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (published 1851) on my favorite books list because it’s simply not a favorite novel (I shudder at each description of whale blubber).  And yet, I must give Moby-Dick a solid five stars out of five for the rich reading experience it provides. I simply loved reading it.

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Bleak House (published serially 1852-1853) is a sweeping saga of epic proportions. Charles Dickens obviously planned the plot carefully, especially by providing introduction and characters for the bulk of the first third of the novel, so that the last third of the novel would swiftly move to a satisfying conclusion that ties all the previously

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Reading The Iliad (trans. by Robert Fagles) isn’t like reading a modern-day novel: I think it did take a level of concentration I’m not accustomed to. But that just proved to me that the “difficult pleasure” of reading is highly worth experiencing. The Robert Fagles translation was poetic and rhythmic. Once I became accustomed to

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When I decided to read The Iliad, I knew essentially nothing about it. All I knew was that it was Greek, it was written by Homer, and that it was somehow a precursor to The Odyssey (which I read in high school). Having read The Iliad, I can say now that while it certainly is

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What would a young man say or do if he learned that his step-mother had fallen in love with him? In the play Hippolytus by Euripides, Hippolytus finds out that his step-mother has fallen for him. But what he doesn’t know is that the goddess Aphrodite has had her hand in these matters.

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