Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens (published serially from 1838-1839) meets the Dickensian stereotype of a very long book. I began reading it when my daughter was newborn and I finally finished it, now that she’s three and half. Nicholas Nickleby is definitely not my favorite Dickens novel. In some respects it’s obvious that its a early

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How does a blind person understand the majesty of a cathedral? The narrator in Raymond Carver’s short story “Cathedral” tries to describe it. His underlying epiphany, however, is not about architecture but about his own prejudices and stereotypes. He discovers in the end that he has been the one blind. He has not understood the

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The Princess Bride (by William Goldman, first published 1973) is a celebration of story-telling. It is a story in a story in a story. William Goldman tells the story of his father telling him a story of an abridged story by S. Morgenstern, which has all sorts of political side-agendas for Morgenstern’s day. There are

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Please note: This post may contain “spoilers,” particularly for Huckleberry Finn. Rereading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (written 1876) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (written 1876-1885) as an adult reminds me just why I love Huckleberry Finn so much more. Tom Sawyer is a book I have always had fond memories of because of

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Although Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a slim book (124 pages), the issues raised are relevant today. I wouldn’t say Gilman’s writing is stunning or beautiful. The plot is not engaging or page-turning. It is predictable and overly “convenient.” The characters are stereotypes on steroids. But rather than expecting any of those other things,

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Aucassin et Nicolete was written in medieval France, but it’s not your typical roman d’amour. I haven’t actually read any other medieval romances. My expectations of “typical” are all formed on stereotype. In many ways, Aucassin and Nicolette meets those fairy tale stereotypes. On the other hand, something goes quite “wrong” in this love story,

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Phileas Fogg, a proper Englishman in 1870s England, gambled his life savings on the supposition that he could go around the world, from London to London via France, India, China, Japan, and America, in just eighty days. An amazing number of things hold him up as he travels by train, boat, carriage, and even an

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