Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan is a powerful story about a rich and spoiled Mexican girl whose sudden impoverishment in the 1930s takes her in to the migrant worker camps of California. It teaches much about the Great Depression as well as discrimination during that period. 

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I was surprised by Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson (published 1916). I thought it would be an Our Town-esque view of life in a small town. It was very similar in its setting to Thornton Wilder’s play in that it focused on people in a small community. But Sherwood Anderson’s collection of stories was remarkably

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The three plays by Tennessee Williams that I’ve read in the past few weeks all dealt with loneliness, the fragility of dreams, and the masks we all wear as we go through life. Given these themes, it’s no wonder a thread of discontent and depression seemed a hallmark of Williams plays. But add a stupendous

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Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski is about taking chances: daring to love again after having lost all. Although as a post-war novel it captures one man’s search for himself in the form of looking for his lost son, Little Boy Lost remains relevant to all men and women as they search for their own

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In his stories, Vladimir Nabokov so perfectly captures a character, or a setting, or an emotion, that I feel that the character is real, the setting surrounds me, and the emotion is my own. His writing in these stories is so well done that I, a very amateur writer, feel the urge to try my

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To understand Flannery O’Connor’s short stories is understand the rural South that she was familiar with in the pre-1970s. Her stories focus on aspects character in human, every-day situations all revolving around her South, dealing with race relations, Christianity, rural versus city living, parent-child relationships, etc. She brings the reader into the settings by capturing

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