Sometimes a clever and intriguing story line makes a novel great. Sometimes, it is the interaction of a number of interesting characters. And other times, a novel is great because because of the carefully developed setting that gives life to the situations and characters. In One Came Home (January 2013, Knopf Books for Young Readers),

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Note: this post contains “spoilers” for the first 60% of Bleak House. I have a book club discussion on this book next Wednesday night, so I have been pushing myself to read quickly: this has been my main reading material this week (after I finished 2 Henry VI, that is — more on that tomorrow,

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I love the sweeping grandeur of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden. The characters built on each other, and I felt I was living through the experiences with them. Steinbeck’s purpose to the novel is found in the subtle and not so subtle conversations and actions of the fleshed-out characters, and in my two reads of

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I was a bit disappointed by Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome. I’m glad I read it: it gave me a new perspective on Wharton, because it was a different setting, cast of characters, and theme from those I’ve read before. It was wonderfully written, with Wharton’s elaborate and realistic descriptions of the setting and thought processes.

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