Category Archives: Classic

Deadly lizards, delinquent boys, a sinister warden and a whole lot of HOLES feature in Louis Sachar’s acclaimed YA novel

When Stanley Yelnats gets caught holding a celebrity’s stolen sneakers which have just fallen on him out of the sky, he knows that it’s because of the family curse acquired by his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. Stanley is sent to Camp Green Lake, … Continue reading

Posted in 10 years and up, 20th Century, 20th Century YA, Adventure, American, Coming of Age/Rites of Passage, Family Drama, Fiction, Light Fiction, Novel, YA Classic, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A powerful book about growing up and making sense of the world that I first read while I was growing up: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I first read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in year 10 and it was the first really decent book I got to read for high school english (the junior syllabus really wasn’t inspiring – in year 8 we had … Continue reading

Posted in 20th Century, 20th Century Literature, American, Classic, Coming of Age/Rites of Passage, Fiction, General adult audience, Novel, Uncategorized, YA Classic, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mansfield Park: A mature but, for us, challenging novel by Jane Austen

Of all Jane Austen’s heroines, Fanny Price of Mansfield Park is surely the least appealing, the most ‘foreign’ to our age. Unlike Emma’s assertiveness and Lizzy’s humour, Fanny’s combination of self-effacement and moral conviction are at odds with modern core … Continue reading

Posted in 18th Century, British, Classic, Fiction, General adult audience, Novel, Novel of Manners, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fables about in groups, the vagaries of fashion, stalemates, dealing with difference and the consequences of carelessness when naming one’s children: The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss

Posted in 2 years and up, 20th Century, 20th Century Children's, American, Children's, Children's Classic, Picture Books, Poetry, Short Stories, Under 5 years, Under 7 years | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A nuanced exploration of family dynamics, moral identity and cross-cultural perceptions: Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster

The basic storyline of E.M. Forster’s Where Angels Fear to Tread revolves around the child of a mixed marriage and the various characters’ feelings, motives and actions regarding it. Yet this storyline is the vehicle for exploring the struggle between … Continue reading

Posted in 20th Century, 20th Century Literature, British, Classic, Family Drama, Fiction, General adult audience, Novel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poverty and money, men and women, limited-options and Victorian-era spinsterhood: The Odd Women is a thought-provoking, character-driven novel that explores what happens when women lack opportunities for independence

The Odd Women by George Gissing is a late Victorian novel that explores the personal and social implications of a surplus of spinsters. It follows the struggles, fortunes and (limited) choices of the three Madden sisters, whose father’s sudden death … Continue reading

Posted in 18th Century, British, Classic, Fiction, General adult audience, Novel, Realism, Social Novel, Victorian | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Dragon of Mith by Kate Walker

The Dragon of Mith is an Australian kids book by Kate Walker. It’s the story of a vegetarian dragon, a ridiculous number of dragon-slayers, a community of hermits and a blood-thirsty butcher (amongst others). I have vague memories of the … Continue reading

Posted in 20th Century Children's, 7 years and up, Australian, Children's, Children's Classic, Fantasy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Victorian novel about decision paralysis: Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope

Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope has a name that is a bit off-putting. It suggests an obnoxious main character who will be hard to sympathise with. I didn’t find this to be the case. The main character, Alice … Continue reading

Posted in Classic, General adult audience, Novel, Novel of Manners, Romance, Social Novel, Victorian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Country Gentleman and His Family by Margaret Oliphant

A Country Gentleman and His Family by Margaret Oliphant is surprisingly well written. Mrs Oliphant was a Victorian authoress who wrote novels to support herself and several dependents so was prolific but variable in quality. This book had skillful characterisation … Continue reading

Posted in British, Classic, Family Drama, General adult audience, Novel of Manners, Pastoral novel, Romance, Social Novel, Victorian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Esther Waters by George Moore

Esther Waters by George Moore strives for realism as it portrays the choices and struggles of Esther, a house servant, as she seeks to provide for her illegitimate son. Esther herself is a strong character but by no means flawless. … Continue reading

Posted in Classic, General adult audience, Novel, Realism, Social Novel, Victorian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment