I am working on a different project today, but I came across this amazing poem by E.A. Robinson (1869-1935), who won more than one Pulitzer Prize in poetry. It’s called “Zola,” and it so perfectly captures why I disliked Germinal at the same time I absolutely loved it. If you’ve read any Zola before, you

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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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Thornton Wilder’s sparse and simple play Our Town was first produced during the Great Depression (1938). In a set without any scenery beyond chairs and tables and in three short acts, Thornton Wilder creates an intimacy with the characters. This is probably due to the familiarity of the subject: life, love, and death in a

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How readily our thoughts swarm upon a new object, lifting it a little way, as ants carry a blade of straw so feverishly, and then leave it. Virginia Woolf’s short piece “The Mark on the Wall” captures a few moments of thought-wandering. I’ve been impressed in the past with Virginia Woolf’s ability to perfectly capture

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Author Lloyd Jones obviously enjoys Charles Dickens and the novel Great Expectations in particular. But his novel Mister Pip (published 2006) even more celebrates the power of the written word and story in our everyday life. Matilda is a teenager on a small forgotten Pacific island that is ravaged by Civil War. Pop Eye (aka Mr. Watts), the last

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Although To the Lighthouse is told in a similar stream-of-consciousness manner as was Mrs. Dalloway (reviewed two weeks ago), it struck me as different, and I’m not sure why. Was there more plot? Maybe. Was it the setting (the Hebrides versus London)? Maybe. I do know that as I read, I was less emotionally drawn

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In Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf captures a woman’s joys and frustrations in a single day by revealing her thought processes. Although some other character’s thoughts are captured as well, it was Clarissa Dalloway that I related to.

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I always love to pick up a slim volume of poetry, a volume that contains poems all by the same author, because it helps me to pick up on themes, it helps me get to know an author, and it lets me really feel the emotions the author celebrates. Margaret Atwood’s The Door was published

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I really like audiobooks sometimes because it gives a book a new edge. I absolutely loved listening to a selection of John Cheever’s stories via audiobook. The John Cheever Audio Collection was very well done. As I listened to the stories, I kept recalling my time reading the short stories of Chekhov and Maupassant last

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I mentioned at the beginning of the month that I first “got” poetry when I heard a presentation by the poet Andrew Hudgins, so I thought I’d take National Poetry Month to revisit some of his poetry. Now, I’m a beginner at poetry. I don’t know how to write about it clearly and I don’t

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