Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli, the Newbery Award Winner for 1991, is celebrating its 25th anniversary since publication. It’s hard for me to imagine this book being an “old” one, but since I knew I read it as a child, I should not be so surprised. Maniac Magee is the story of a legend, a

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I read Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery (first published 1848) over the course of four months, and then I’ve been delaying writing my thoughts about it for more than two weeks. My hesitation to post about it now is related to the fact that this master tome of Victorian literature is well deserving of

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Bleak House (published serially 1852-1853) is a sweeping saga of epic proportions. Charles Dickens obviously planned the plot carefully, especially by providing introduction and characters for the bulk of the first third of the novel, so that the last third of the novel would swiftly move to a satisfying conclusion that ties all the previously

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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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Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is a story of two children’s growing understanding of the double standards of the world. It’s also the story of a small community struggling to come together during the economic era of the Great Depression and the political upheaval of a mixed racial pre-Civil Rights southern town. It is

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After I finished reading The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens (first published serially in 1836-7), I began to read the introduction to my edition1. Almost immediately, it confirmed what I’d thought as I’d read it: that Mr. Pickwick is a Don Quixote and Bertie Wooster character. So I stopped reading the introduction; I’ll tell you

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