Classic Book Review: The Portable Kipling

The Portable Kipling by Rudyard Kipling

The Portable Kipling
by Rudyard Kipling, Irving Howe (Editor)

3 out of 5 stars

I do love Rudyard Kipling’s writing, but I found this book difficult to get through. It took me a year to read little by little through all of the short stories and poems and essays, because I didn’t enjoy most of them.

Most of the time the setting of the stories were so entirely foreign to me that I had a hard time understanding what was going on. There are so many references to historical things and cultural ideas in India that are not explained. The author assumes that the reader already knows about these things, and so it is not clear to a modern reader what is happening. Unless you know the entire history of the British occupation of India and every battle and political upset from the 1800s, you will likely be lost.

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Book Review: Aunt Jane’s Nieces in the Red Cross

Aunt Jane's Nieces in the Red Cross by Edith Van Dyne

Aunt Jane’s Nieces in the Red Cross (Aunt Jane’s Nieces, #10)
by Edith Van Dyne (Pseudonym), L. Frank Baum

3.5 stars
In this last book of the Aunt Jane’s Nieces series, the girls are upset by news of the Great War (WWI) in Europe. Although the United States is remaining neutral so far, the nieces and their Uncle John decide to join the Red Cross as nurses and ambulance drivers to help the wounded French and Belgian soldiers near Dunkirk. Their friend volunteers his yacht as a hospital ship, and Uncle John provides all the necessary supplies. They obtain their approval from the Red Cross, their nurses’ training, and their official credentials, but they still need a surgical doctor who will volunteer to join them. Uncle John hears of a medical man with a severely disfigured face who might be willing to help, but they will have to convince him that his features are not an obstacle.

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Classic Play Review: Lover’s Vows

Lover's Vows by Elizabeth Inchbald

Lover’s Vows
by Elizabeth Inchbald

3 out of 5 stars

This play follows the sad fortunes of Agatha, who is forced to beg on the street. Her son, Frederick, returns from the army, and she confesses to her son that he is illegitimate. He vows to find his true father, the Baron Wildenhaim. Agatha is taken ill, and some kindly cottagers welcome her into their home, while Frederick wanders the countryside begging. He meets some wealthy noblemen and begs money from them, not realizing that one of them is his own father, Baron Wildenhaim.
Meanwhile, Baron Wildenhaim’s daughter, Amelia, considers whether she will marry the wealthy Count or her lowly tutor.

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Classic Book Review: Lady Susan

Lady Susan by Jane Austen

Lady Susan
by Jane Austen

4 out of 5 stars

Lady Susan is charming and vivacious. Lady Susan lies to everyone. Lady Susan flirts with anything in pants! Lady Susan tries to persuade her daughter, Frederica, to marry. Frederica doesn’t like the gentlemen, so Lady Susan manipulates and schemes. Lady Susan is greedy and immoral, but… she is not boring.

The epistolary style is my favorite thing about this little book. It was so fun to see from all the different perspectives of the characters. They all have a strong opinion of Lady Susan, and they aren’t afraid to express it in their letters! Lady Susan’s letters to her friend, Alicia, are so full of malice and deceit. Ooh, it’s thrilling!

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Classic Book Review: Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice with Related Readings by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice with Related Readings
by Jane Austen

5 out of 5 stars

Elizabeth Bennett and her sisters are eager to make the acquaintance of their new neighbors, Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy. They meet and dance together at various country balls and events. However, Elizabeth is frequently embarrassed by her mother’s vulgar manners and her little sisters flirtations with army officers. Elizabeth must navigate the social criticism of her sisters’ romances, while fending off a few proposals of her own.

I just love the witty dialogue between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. There is so much sparkling dialogue in the whole book, and it is a delight to read. The entire writing style is so polished and easy to read! The plot flows along so naturally and with so much energy that you barely notice all the little genius sub-plots that are happening.

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Shakespeare Review: Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Much Ado About Nothing
by William Shakespeare

5 out of 5 stars

My favorite of Shakespeare’s plays! I love the interaction between Benedick and Beatrice!

This play is just so witty and fun. It always makes me laugh every time I reread it. The dialogue is snappy and the plot flows along quickly. It is such an easy one to read because it really grabs your attention.

The characters are vibrant and real. I love Beatrice’s character so much. She truly feels like a real person to me. There is so much depth to her personality, and I love the way she tries to act all tough in public, but really she has a gentle heart.

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Book Review: The Little Bookroom

The Little Bookroom by Eleanor Farjeon

The Little Bookroom
by Eleanor Farjeon, Edward Ardizzone (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

This charming collection of short stories includes elements from fairy tales, from Victorian England, and even from WWII. The settings are just as varied, sometimes in England, sometimes in a fairy land, sometimes in Italy or Ireland. There are magical giants, kings, and dragons, and sometimes just a donkey, a parlormaid, or a plain peach tree. The fantastical and the ordinary are blended so beautifully in each story.

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Board Book Review: Lit for Little Hands Jane Eyre

Lit for Little Hands by Brooke Jorden

Lit for Little Hands: Jane Eyre
by Brooke Jorden, Olga Skomorokhova (Illustrations)

5 out of 5 stars

This board book tells the story of Jane Eyre, simplified for little readers. It has interactive pull tabs and flaps to reveal the mysteries surrounding Thornfield Manor! Some of the story is told with quotes from the original novel and includes original dialogue as well.

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Book Review: Aunt Jane’s Nieces Out West

Aunt Jane's Nieces Out West by Edith Van Dyne

Aunt Jane’s Nieces Out West (Aunt Jane’s Nieces, #9)
by Edith Van Dyne

4 out of 5 stars

Uncle John and his nieces discover the delights and dangers of the motion picture business when they befriend two young actresses. When a mysterious young man makes their acquaintance, the group are puzzled to explain what he is doing in California.

This penultimate book in the series is so much fun! It has mystery and stolen jewels, a daring rescue, and all the intrigues of the early days of silent films. It was really interesting to see how the girls and their Uncle John got entangled in the lives of these two actresses and the mysterious young man. I loved learning more about the motion picture business in its early days. It’s like a little snippet of history.

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Manga Classic Review: Midsummer Night’s Dream

Manga Classics by Crystal S. Chan

Manga Classics: Midsummer Night’s Dream (Modern English Edition)
by  Crystal S. Chan, William Shakespeare, Po Tse (Illustrator), Michael Barltrop (Editor)

5 out of 5 stars

This manga adaptation of Williams Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream is the perfect way to introduce Shakespeare to readers who might feel intimidated by the original play. The text is modernized, but still captures the original style of Shakespeare. The entire play is intact, and all the beauty of Shakespeare’s words comes through wonderfully in this modern adaptation.

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