20th Century & Contemporary American

Cats Literature Reviews

June 2021 and Mid-Year Reading Recap

Sigh.  Well, I think posting a monthly (and even half-year) reading recap a full three weeks into the next month has to be some sort of record, even for me, but here we are.  And I admit that at this point I’d even been contemplating holding off another week so as to combine this with […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

John Steinbeck: The Moon Is Down

My final venture into John Steinbeck’s oeuvre in the context of the (Dead) Authors in Residence challenge, and once more I found confirmation of everything that made me a fan of Steinbeck’s all the way back in my teens: vision and prescience of judgment, exquisitely fine characterization and, perhaps most of all, infinitely great humanity. […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Ursula K. Le Guin: A Wizard of Earthsea

While my first two Le Guin reads for the (Dead) Authors in Residence challenge were both taken from Le Guin’s final years, for my last book I went back to her very beginning and picked the first book of her Earthsea Cycle.  And, while I know that this is an awardwinning milestone of (YA) fantasy […]

Read More
Literature Music Reviews

May 2021 Reading Recap

Still a lot of work on the back end of the blog, including on my “featured authors” pages (see the right column on the main Literature page and the introduction of my April 2021 recap post).  So, contrary to plans, still no new posts in my alphabet blogging series in May.  However, the time-consuming back end […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Nora Ephron: I Remember Nothing

As already mentioned elsewhere, if at all possible I try to combine my Diversity Bingo and / or Around the World reads with my (Dead) Author Birthday reads: In January, that combination yielded Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, in February, Toni Morrison’s Sula, in March, Gabriel García Márquez’s El coronel no tiene […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

John Steinbeck: The Winter of Our Discontent

John Steinbeck’s final novel was one I had never gotten around to in my Steinbeck fangirl binges of yore — I knew it was reputed to be “bleak”, and after I’d seen what Steinbeck can do along those lines in The Grapes of Wrath (never mind that that actually is one of my favorite novels […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Ursula K. Le Guin: Lavinia

The final six books of Vergil‘s Aeneid (half the epic’s length, until its abrupt and arguably premature ending) deal with Aeneas’s arrival in Latium and the hostilities ensuing after the Latian king, obeying a prophecy, promises his only daughter Lavinia’s hand to the Trojan warrior.  Now, this being a heroic epos setting out to chronicle […]

Read More
Cats Literature Music Reviews

Catherynne M. Valente: Space Opera

Catherynne M. Valente wrote Space Opera as a dare, after a publisher (Saga) had said it would accept a novel from her based on the Eurovision Song Contest sight unseen.  The novel had been sitting on my TBR pretty much ever since it was published, and what with May being both the month in which […]

Read More
Cats Literature Reviews

April 2021 Reading Recap

First things first: The persistent bug preventing followers / readers to comment on my posts straight off the post (i.e., other than by using the WP Reader) has finally been weeded out, thanks to my hosting service’s IT team … so you can, at last, comment even if you’re not using the WP Reader.  (I […]

Read More
Cats Literature Reviews

Ursula K. Le Guin: No Time to Spare

Ursula K. Le Guin is an author I’ve only started to discover very recently.  I knew that she fought hard against the qualification as a genre (sci-fi / fantasy / speculative fiction) author; and she has always had all my support to the extent that “genre” is used as synonymous with “less worthy” (or, as […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

John Steinbeck: Travels with Charley in Search of America

John Steinbeck has been a favorite author of mine ever since my teenage years, when I discovered (in short, though not necessarily precisely in this order) East of Eden, The Pastures of Heaven, Of Mice and Men, The Red Pony, and The Pearl, with Grapes of Wrath, The Harvest Gypsies, and Cannery Row following a […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Nella Larsen: Passing

Nella Larsen’s Passing had been sitting on my TBR for a minor eternity; when I found that her birthday, too, was in April, I knew that I had laid my hand on another entry for this particular reading challenge. The novella’s title refers to an extremely light-skinned person of color’s “passing” from their community — […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Joy Harjo: Crazy Brave

Poet Joy Harjo is one of today’s foremost Native American voices; her recently-published memoir was thus a proximate choice for the corresponding entry in my quest to broaden my literary horizons. Harjo’s life story is that of many Native Americans of her generation: as far removed from the American Dream as you can be; socially […]

Read More
Lifestyle Literature Movies Music Reviews

February and March 2021: Reading Recap

Well, go figure.  The first quarter of 2021 is already behind us, never mind that I’m still having to remind myself on occasion to write “2021” instead of “2020” … (and we’re even a week into April already, but let that go). Anyway, since I never got around to doing a “February in review” post, […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Toni Morrison: Sula

I’d been planning to pair this book with Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions, as an exercise in comparing an African American and an African coming of age story, but Nervous Conditions never materialized in my mailbox, so I’m going to have to postpone that reading experience to a later date.  Which, perhaps, isn’t such a bad […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Patricia Highsmith: Carol (The Price of Salt)

My record with Highsmith’s writing is a mixed one: I found the first Ripley novel (The Talented Mr. Ripley) morbidly fascinating and the sardonic put-down of the arts world in the second one (Ripley Under Ground) oddly amusing, and I obviously love any cat story of hers where a cat gets the better of a […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Patrick Radden Keefe: Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

This was a buddy read with some of my BookLikes exile friends — the inside story of the Northern Ireland conflict, the “Troubles”, from (chiefly) the 1960s up to the Good Friday Agreement and (partways) beyond, inspired and based in part on taped interviews with some of the conflict’s key players recorded in the context […]

Read More
Literature Music Reviews

Anne Tyler: Vinegar Girl

Sigh.  Well, I have to admit that it’s hard to translate a 16th century play’s spiky, waspish female main character, who at the end of the play seems to make a complete about-face and to submit to a man whom she professes not even to have married for love, into a modern context — and […]

Read More
Linked Items Literature Reblogs

LitHub: 50 Very Bad Book Covers for Literary Classics

Source: lithub.com/50-very-bad-book-covers-for-literary-classics/ When a book passes into the public domain, it means not only that it’s available for adapting and remixing, but for reprinting and reselling with a brand new cover. Some of these covers are … pretty bad. Which, obviously, makes them very fun to look at. [Continue] ________________________________________ Here are some of my personal favorites from the […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Zora Neale Hurston: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Sandwiched between two personal accounts by modern-day black American leaders — Kamala Harris’s The Truths We Hold and Barack Obama’s A Promised Land –, as my January book for this year’s (Mostly) Dead Writers Society Literary Birthday challenge, I went back to a fictional account set in Jim Crow America: the story of Jeanie Crawford, […]

Read More