Category Archives: A-

Definitely worth reading.

Le Morte d’Arthur

Thomas Malory

Le Morte d’Arthur is not actually one long epic about the life and death of King Arthur, but rather a collection of stories of the knights of the Round Table fused by Malory into a somewhat coherent tale…

The Divine Comedy

Dante Alighieri

Given the magnificent structure of the work, and the quality of the poetry in Italian, I have to wonder if it’s worthwhile to read The Divine Comedy in translation…

Moominvalley in November

Tove Jansson

Tove Jansson, the dreary Finn, is at it again for one last time. Moominvalley in November is the last of the Moomin books (which is a shame), and it reads more like a suicide note than a children’s book…

The Magic Mountain

Thomas Mann

The Magic Mountain, much like Oblomov, is a dangerous book. What Mann does with this novel of little action that moves at a snail’s place is illustrate just how easily one’s life, one’s youth, one’s livelihood can slowly but surely slip away…

Leopoldina’s Dream

Silvina Ocampo

The stories in Leopoldina’s Dream are, for the most part, concerned with strange, terrible things that go unnoticed by most people, because they take place in the world of children…

The Awakening

Kate Chopin

The Awakening is definitely worthwhile. It’s more a study than a story, but it’s gripping, short, and well-done…

The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear

Walter Moers

At the outset, we’re told that Bluebear lives 27 lives, and that in this book we get to hear about 13.5 of them (“a bear must have his secrets, after all”, he says). Bluebear is, indeed, a blue bear that lives on the mythical continent of Zamonia, which existed at one time somewhere in the Atlantic (west of Africa and Europe, east of the Americas, and south of Greenland). His earliest memory is of being adrift on a walnut shell in a vast ocean…

To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee

Harper Lee, who only ever wrote one book, once described To Kill a Mockingbird as a simple love story (citation pending). I would describe it as a story about a lawyer and his client, a young black man who is falsely accused of sexual assault by a poor white woman, through the eyes of the lawyer’s daughter, Scout…

Frankenstein

Mary Shelley

Frankenstein is a far cry from the Franken Berry we’ve come to know and love, but he still has much to teach us…

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Roald Dahl

Willy Wonka, a mysterious candy maker, decides to open the doors of his chocolate factory to five lucky children, who will become the only ones on Earth, aside from the workers themselves, to ever see the factory from the inside. With that premise, the book could be mediocre and still be a classic. As it is, the book is fantastic, and so it is, and shall remain, one of the greatest children’s books of all time…