Book Reviews, classics 1 comment on Civil Disobedience – by Henry David Thoreau

Civil Disobedience – by Henry David Thoreau

Civil Disobedience is an essay that is usually published inside a book that contains other writing by Henry David Thoreau.  The reason is because Civil Disobedience is extremely short.  There’s enough room to put it at the end of Walden.  My copy of Walden was a Barnes & Noble version that included not only Civil Disobedience,  but also a timeline of Thoreau’s life, an introduction, and a detailed section that described the meaning behind some of Thoreau’s references that were commonly understood at the time, but mysterious and confusing today.

Civil Disobedience was written in response to real life events that Henry David Thoreau experienced.  In 1846, he traveled through Massachusetts.  His purpose was to go to Concord, to run an errand.  (He needed to go to the cobblers to pick up his shoe that the cobbler repaired).  A man named Sam Staples was the tax collector and warden of the county jail.
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Book Reviews, classics 1 comment on Walden – by Henry David Thoreau

Walden – by Henry David Thoreau

Walden is a book that some people are first introduced to when they are forced to read it in school.  I didn’t read it until long after I’d finished school. The book came to me as a prize in a contest that was held during a meeting at work.  It took me years before I got around to actually reading the book.

To me, Walden was a difficult read.  I say this as a person who has dyslexia, and who also has a B.S. degree in Education. Take from that whatever you will.  I recommend that people pick up the Barnes & Noble version of Walden because it has a lot of “extras” in it that helped me to understand the background history of Thoreau and some of the references he mentioned.
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Book Reviews, classics 0 comments on The Scarlet Letter – by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter – by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The first time I read The Scarlet Letter, I was unimpressed. I was fifteen years old, and sitting in a stuffy classroom, dreaming of being anyplace but in my English class. Nothing can kill a great work of literature quicker than being forced to listen to the droning voice of an exhausted high school teacher as she dissects each word and phrase, laying out all the little pieces of meaning for us to observe. It was almost physically painful to sit through.

Decades later, I came across a copy of The Scarlet Letter, lying on a “free” table in the laundry room where I live, and decided to give the book another try.

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Book Reviews, classics 0 comments on Dracula – by Bram Stoker

Dracula – by Bram Stoker

This the book that started it all! All the vampire movies and all the vampire books that came after were inspired by what Bram Stoker wrote way back when. It dawned on me recently that even though I have read many other books about vampires, I had never actually read this Classic.

And now, I know why.  It is not an easy read! I usually fly right through a book once I have started reading it, and this one took a long time. It is not written in a narrative format, but rather, in a series of letters and journal entries written by each of the characters.

Some characters know things that the others do not, and that makes things a bit confusing. The letters and journal entries are written in a loose chronology, but not exactly. The reader ends up jumping back and forth in time in places, and sometimes ends up reading the same event twice from different characters points of view.

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Book Reviews, classics 1 comment on Pride and Prejudice – by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice – by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice has suddenly become popular once again, due to the movie that came out recently that was based on it. I have not yet seen the movie, and am not sure if I want to.

The book was wonderful! The best parts were the sarcastic and witty comments on society that Austen wrote, and, since many of these are written from the viewpoint of her anonymous narrator, and not her characters, how could the movie version even touch that?

It’s about a family of five sisters and their parents, who live in England in around 1811 or so. The book is intentionally vague about the exact years. The girls are old enough to be married, and their mother is desperate to make this happen. The father is less interested in his wife and most of his silly daughters (except Lizzy, his favorite, who is smart) and more interested in reading books and being left alone.

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Book Reviews, classics 0 comments on Little Women – by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women – by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women was one of my favorite books when I first read it. I must have been ten or eleven years old at the time, and had not encountered many other books that were “for kids” and were anything like this book.

I was impressed that it was as big as the books for adults, and, that it was not “dumbed down”, like many of the other books I had read at that time.  The world still had some years to go before bookstores and libraries created a “young adult” or “teen” section, and, there didn’t seem to be many authors who were seeking that particular audience back then.

As I read Little Women now, as an adult, I find that I still enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as I did when I was younger.

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