This book gives short biographies of literature’s greatest authors and poets, including Chaucer, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Poe, the Brontes, the Brownings, Dickens, George Eliot, Emily Dickinson, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Hardy, Doyle, D.H. Lawrence, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Frost.
These are actually classroom lectures that have been written out, and the writing style reflects that. It doesn’t feel like a normal biography or literary essay. The style is more conversational. I really hated that, because the author tries to be funny and clever and does not succeed. The dad jokes are numerous.
This book was published in 1975 just before Agatha Christie’s death in January of 1976. It includes a few chapters of biography about Dame Agatha and how she became such a success. There are also chapters about her most famous characters, her theater plays, and movie adaptations of her works. There is an analysis of the components of a good mystery, and whether or not mystery novels can be considered as artistic literature. There is an entire chapter full of quotes from her critics. The last chapter is a Mystery Quiz, where the reader can try to guess which Christie book has some particular factor or item.
I was disappointed in this book. First of all, the author includes several major spoilers for some of her most popular novels, such as the ending of Murder on the Orient Express. I started skipping ahead anytime that I saw the title of one of her books that I haven’t read yet, so that I would not get spoiled!
This collection of short biographies of famous authors focuses on each author as a child, and what childhood experiences and situations led that person to become a writer.
Including interesting biographies about authors such as Lucy Maud Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jules Verne, Mark Twain, Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, Sherman Alexie, and Stan Lee; this book covers authors from a wide variety of backgrounds and time periods for an eclectic look at what inspires readers to become writers. Continue reading →