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Recent Reviews

Lady Susan

by Jane Austen

One of Austen's most arch comedies, this epistolary novel follows the machinations of Lady Susan Vernon, a widow of extreme attractiveness and few compunctions. An early work, published posthumously, "Lady Susan" is lighter weight and less complex than Austen's better-known books, but fun reading.

Reviewed on 2016.05.02
by Leah A. Zeldes

Sense and Sensibility

by Jane Austen

reread Jane Austen's books every few years, and each time I read "Sense and Sensibility," I'm less and less satisfied with it.

The older I get, the harder I find it to enter into the early 19th-century outlook of young women whose only goal in life is marriage, and the more impatient with the forgiveness they grant to fickle and perfidious men. While the forbearance ultimately granted to the unprincipled Willoughby is slight, still, it's far more than he deserves.

"The whole of his behaviour," says Elinor to Marianne, "from the beginning to the end of the affair, has been grounded on selfishness. It was selfishness which first made him sport with your affections; which afterwards, when his own were engaged, made him delay the confession of it, and which finally carried him from Barton. His own enjoyment, or his own ease, was, in every particular, his ruling principle."

Yet, when it comes to Edward Ferrars, who has acted in pretty much the same way toward herself, if in a less blatant fashion perhaps worse, because he was already engaged to marry another girl when he first met her she's overjoyed to excuse, forgive and marry him.

This was Austen's first published novel, which she paid to have printed. Thankfully, her heroines become more progressive in her subsequent books.

Reviewed on 2016.05.02
by Leah A. Zeldes

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

Reading "Pride and Prejudice" a short while after "Cecilia," the Fanny Burney novel that inspired the title, I'm struck by how much funnier Burney's novel is. Austen's subtle irony at the expense of her society and its views of gender roles provides humor, but Burney's pungent satire is hilarious.

Austen's characters are annoying; it's easy to become frustrated with them. Elizabeth, for all her supposed intelligence, appears to think about little except men and her family, and her main superiority over the similar sensibilities of her mother and youngest sisters is that she does so less publicly.

It cannot be said her taste or discernment are notably greater than theirs, given her partiality, at first, for the undeserving Wickham. She doesn't see through him; she has to be shown. She comes to appreciate Darcy, true, but so does her mother.

I don't know maybe it's just that I've read this novel so many times and it's lost its freshness for me.

Reviewed on 2016.05.02
by Leah A. Zeldes

Mansfield Park

by Jane Austen

Of Jane Austen's novels, "Mansfield Park" has less humor, and that darker, than her earlier works, which may be why it's less beloved.

The story of the Bertram family and their timid poor relations ation, Fanny Price, as combined with and contrasted to the lively, London-bred siblings, the Crawfords, has more depth, but the waspish, penny pinching Aunt Norris is really the only caricature, and her cruelty and ability to wound Fanny often makes her unfunny. However, Austen's insights into human nature and her characterizations are acute.

Reviewed on 2016.05.02
by Leah A. Zeldes

The Blue Lights

by Frederic Arnold Kummer

Good book. Full of action, and this us the same detective that was in the Ivory snuffbox. The Ivory Snuff box was made into a movie, however that was back in the silent film days.The author went on to have a busy career writing scripts for movies and shows. In this book the weakness of the French police is displayed by the use of the detectives wife to do the work of the french police. Why would you have to put a foreign woman in danger to do YOUR job? Any way...good book.

Reviewed on 2016.04.30
by Greg B.

Daddy-Long-Legs

by Jean Webster

I Read this book Daddy long leg when i was only 9 years old today i am 47 and still i see that man in my mind , it never gone from my mind i just love it . And still remember. I wish to find it to give to my daughter to resd.

Reviewed on 2016.04.26
by Christina

The Misplaced Battleship

by Harry Harrison

This is a nice little story. Pretty interesting, despite the characters being on the melodramatic side. The "twist" at the end will not be all that surprising to the astute reader. I didn't really care for how abruptly it ended.

A criminal builds a space battleship, and a secret agent must recover it before too much damage is done.

Reviewed on 2016.04.26
by JoJo Biggins

The Machine Stops

by E.M. Forster

An interesting read very prophetic seeing it was written in 1909.A good compliment to the book is the concept album The Machine Stops by Hawkwind.

Reviewed on 2016.04.26
by Tim chapman

Cinderella Jane

by Marjorie Benton Cooke

I'm not sure if it was just because I picked this up to read out of a non-committal sort of idleness, but this book took me by surprise. I read it in a marathon one-sitting and am now sitting back gasping because of the unexpected force of it.

This is a well-crafted romance woven of realistic characters, a clear-sighted view into artistry, philosophy and the man-woman "problem" very much alive in the WW1 period; it is full of unexpected happenings, truths about life, emotion and purpose - and heartbreak.

As a sort of measuring-stick, Cooke's work is heavier than Jean Webster's light romances but a little lighter than the Bronte sisters - still eminently readable. Jane Judd reminded me many times of Jane Eyre - both women of silent force of character and unexpected depths.

If you enjoyed this, I'd also recommend The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery and A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter. A slightly lighter read (but extremely enjoyable - another one that took me by surprise) is A Woman Named Smith by Marie Conway Oehmler.

Reviewed on 2016.04.24
by CPReads

Foul Play

by Dion Boucicault

What a journey. Could not put it Down. It would make a great movie

Reviewed on 2016.04.22
by kathleen

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