Category Archives: 20th Century

Quintessential Diana Wynne Jones: Archer’s Goon is about a boy, a family, a town and a threatening goon who takes up residence in the kitchen

Archer’s Goon is classic Diana Wynne Jones with various mysteries and characters gradually converging. The arrival of the Goon in Howard and Awful’s kitchen, demanding mysterious payment in the form of written words from their author-father, leads them to the … Continue reading

Posted in 10 years and up, 11 years and up, 13 years and up, 20th Century Children's, Adventure, British, Children's Classic, Comedy, Fantasy, Fiction, Novel, Speculative Fiction, YA Classic, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Small Steps by Louis Sachar: An engaging, amusing and compassionate sequel to Holes

The sequel to Sachar’s Holes is as hilarious, enjoyable carefully-woven and heart-warming as the original. Continue reading

Posted in 11 years and up, 13 years and up, 20th Century, 20th Century YA, Adventure, American, Coming of Age/Rites of Passage, Drama, Fiction, Novel, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The most enjoyable ‘collected letters’ I’ve ever read: 84, Charing Cross Road (and the Duchess of Bloomsbury street)

From 1950 to 1970, an American scriptwriter, Helene Hanff, embarked on self-education by book with the aid of some British secondhand booksellers. 84, Charing Cross Road is a collection of the letters which passed primarily between Hanff and the shop’s … Continue reading

Posted in 20th Century, American, British, Diary, General adult audience, Letters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A children’s series that ages with its audience: Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill captures 10 year old life well

Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill is the third in Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy series. The girls are now 10 years old and the largely standalone chapters of the first two books smoothly transition into larger story arcs … Continue reading

Posted in 10 years and up, 20th Century Children's, 7 years and up, American, Children's, Children's Classic, Children's Classics, Coming of Age/Rites of Passage, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Novel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Bucketlists and marriages of convenience: The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery uses a bunch of tropes before they were popular

The Blue Castle was L.M. Montgomery’s only book written for adults and my favourite of her non-Anne books. Really the only difference between it and her young adult novels is that the heroine is 29 and unmarried teen pregnancy is … Continue reading

Posted in 20th Century, 20th Century Light Fiction, Canadian, Fiction, General adult audience, Light Fiction, Novel, Romance, 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

The Sydney Opera House and the murder and narrative of Helga’s Web by Jon Cleary: Equally impressively constructed!

Helga’s Web is the second book in the Scobie Malone series (it stands alone but has key characters in common with The High Commissioner). During the building of the Sydney Opera House, a woman’s body is found in one of … Continue reading

Posted in 20th Century, Australian, Crime fiction, General adult audience, Novel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment