In early nineteenth century Russia, one’s status is decided based on how many enslaved workers (serfs) under your name. Likewise, property owners do not pay taxes on the land own but rather on the number of serfs assigned to them at the last census. Even if a serf dies, a property owner must pay taxes

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I loved George Eliot’s Middlemarch (published 1874; thoughts), despite its 800 pages. I can’t say the same about Eliot’s Silas Marner (published 1861), despite its comparative brevity. Now, if you have been reading my blog in the past, you will know that I tend to read classics and I normally love them, especially Victorian novels.

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In The Girl Who Owned a City (first published 1975, reissued 1995), O.T. Nelson creates an entirely unbelievable post-apocalyptic scenario for middle-grade readers. In the past month, the world population of adults has died of a rapidly spreading plague. All that remains in ten-year-old Lisa’s immediate world are other children, all under the age of

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