Modern Classic Review: The Black Stallion

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
The Black Stallion (The Black Stallion, #1) 
by Walter Farley

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Alec is heading home aboard a steamship, when the ship sinks in a storm and there are only two survivors: Alec and a spirited black stallion. The two are washed ashore on a small island, where they forage for food, and Alec tames the wild stallion.

I was completely riveted while reading this book! I couldn’t put it down, and read it in one day. The writing has such good pacing, and the action moves swiftly along, pulling the reader into the next chapter and the next.

I adored Alec’s character. He’s smart and tough and resilient.

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Non-Fiction Review: Jane Austen

Jane Austen by Claire Tomalin
Jane Austen: A Life 
by Claire Tomalin

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This biography of Jane Austen does a very thorough job of seizing on every letter, every mention, every tiny detail that can be gleaned about the famous author; unfortunately, that isn’t much. Jane’s sister, Cassandra, destroyed many of her letters after Jane’s death. Jane’s brothers and nephews and nieces didn’t preserve her letters as faithfully as they should have. The result is that there are few original writings left from one of the best-loved authors of all time, and little is known of her day to day life.

However, the author does a wonderful job of piecing together letters from cousins, diary entries of nieces and neighbors, along with the few portraits and tin-type photographs of her family and friends.
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Classic Review: Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Northanger Abbey 
by Jane Austen

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Catherine Morland is on vacation in Bath with family friends, where she is befriended by the scheming Isabella Thorpe. At her very first dance, Catherine falls in love with the charming Henry Tilney and is invited to visit Northanger Abbey to keep his sister company. Catherine’s wild imagination paints the Abbey as a Gothic melodrama waiting to happen, and she sees mystery and murder in every innocent corner.

Rereading this book for the third time, I enjoyed it so much more than the first two readings; probably because I’m older and more sensitive to the wisdom and humor in Austen’s writing.

When I first read Northanger, I remember being so frustrated with Catherine Morland’s character, because she can’t see through the social facade of people like Isabella Thorpe. Of course, Catherine doesn’t have the experience yet to be able to judge people’s character very well. She assumes that other people think and feel just like herself, and she gives them the benefit of the doubt.

But now I recognize that those aspects of Catherine’s character really frustrated me, because I AM like Catherine in many ways. Imaginative, sensitive, trusting, gullible, naive, and prone to flights of fancy instead of being rooted in reality. Continue reading

Classic Book Review: Moll Flanders

Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
Moll Flanders 
by Daniel Defoe

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Moll Flanders tells the story of her life, from her infancy in Newgate Prison where her mother was convicted as a thief, to her young maidenhood and adulthood as a whore, conwoman, honest wife, mistress, mother, thief, and the worst kind of liar.

I just hated this book from start to finish. I hated the main character, Moll Flanders, for all her sneaky, conniving, selfish, evil ways. She is entirely self-centered. She is disgustingly promiscuous. She has several children by different men, and abandons them all. She lies to everyone about everything. She has no morals whatsoever, and shows no remorse for her heinous crimes. She schemes how she can trick people out of their money, and steals from innocent children. She is revolting in every particular.

I did not like the writing style either.

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Classic Book Review: Love and Freindship

Love and Friendship and Other Early Works by Jane Austen
Love and Freindship, and Other Early Works 
by Jane Austen

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This hilarious collection of Jane Austen’s early attempts at writing show how witty and sharp she could be even at a young age. It’s such a pity that all the short stories here are unfinished.
I was laughing and chuckling at every page, because of the sketches of ridiculous characters in awkward situations.
“Love and Friendship” follows the life of Laura through her love-at-first-sight encounter with a handsome stranger, her ill-advised marriage, and how she was thrown upon the kindness of friends for financial support. It’s full of fainting women, comical misunderstandings, and a rich old grandfather who shows up at the most convenient times. Full of true Austenian satire. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Wind in the Willows Jigsaw Puzzles

Wind in the Willows Jigsaw Book by Kenneth Grahame
Wind in the Willows Jigsaw Book 
by Kenneth GrahameErnest H. Shepard (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


A beautiful board book with jigsaw puzzles on the pages. I will NEVER take those puzzle pieces out. They are too perfect! I adore Shepard’s whimsical illustrations, and enjoyed reading the little excerpts from the Wind in the Willows book that accompany each puzzle.
So cute!