Beatrice Nash is an educated, talented, and pleasant woman. But life in 1914 England does not give much credence to those qualities when she has been left orphaned and impoverished at the old maid age of 22 without any marriage prospects. To make matters worse, she must rely on her unfriendly relatives for assistance in finding

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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing in Tender is the Night (published 1934) is impressive. He writes complex sentences with incredible fluidity and rich vocabulary. This seems to give each sentence, each paragraph, and therefore each page a sense of life. Reading Fitzgerald is an exercise in appreciating the complexities and the beauties of the English language.

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In honor of my 31st birthday on Sunday, I thought I’d find a Persephone book with a title that made me laugh: It’s Hard to be Hip Over Thirty and Other Tragedies of Married Life by Judith Viorst. Being in the USA, however, I only found the non-Persephone edition, the original 1968 publication of Viorst’s

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Today begins the Second Annual Ghanian Literature Week, as celebrated by book bloggers around the globe. Kinna Reads is the central organizer of the occasion; see her introductory post. Changes by Ama Ata Aidoo (1991) is about a Ghanian woman searching for her place in a modern world that is steeped in traditional culture. Esi

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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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When I first read it, I pitied Emma Bovary. How stuck she was in her world! What a victim of circumstance! True, she made wrong decisions. But she was trapped in a relationship that bored her. On this read, I hated her. She made stupid decision after stupid decision. She did not have the ability

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Henrick Ibsen A Doll’s House (Et Dukkehjem, written 1879) is better known than Ghosts (Gengangere, written 1881), and in my opinion, the former is also a more polished drama. Yet, when I think of one of these plays by Ibsen, I cannot but think of the other. I don’t remember which I read first, but

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Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by time. (page 1) From this beginning, Zora Neale

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Yesterday you were divorced. Today I am a widow. (page 1) So begins So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba (first published 1980, translated from the French by Modupé Bodé-Thomas), the personal (fictional) diary of the Senegalese woman Ramatoulaye, written as an extended letter to her best friend Aissatou, who has long lived in the

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