Posts in category "Reading"

20th-century "literary heirs" of Jane Austen

A Jane Austen fan, I’ve been checking out novelists who are regarded as Austen’s literary heirs. We Janeites are always looking for something to read when we need a fix and have recently reread her six novels. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the writer who reminds me the most of Austen, Barbara Pym.... Read more »

Barbara Pym, the writer most like Jane Austen

Jane Austen would have appreciated an acerbic comment I remember reading, something along the lines of “Any woman who can write grammatically is compared with Jane Austen.” Most Janeites would agree that there really isn’t anyone who writes like Jane Austen. But nevertheless we keep searching because there are only so many times we can reread... Read more »

The original is always better than a Jane Austen adaptation

A few weeks ago I wrote about choosing to watch Charles Dickens on DVD instead of reading him. For Jane Austen, I prefer the opposite. As I was doing my every-few-years reread of her six novels, plus some critical studies, an observation in A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane... Read more »

Alternative approaches to Dickens

Students of literature know that Charles Dickens wrote his novels to appear in segments. The Pickwick Papers, released in 19 monthly installments in 1836-37, was the book that popularized serial publication and propelled Dickens to fame. Serialization withered away when production of whole books became cheap and easy. Now, almost two centuries after Pickwick, interest... Read more »

Thank you, Harper Lee

When Harper Lee’s death was announced, my first thought was to wish that the last year of To Kill a Mockingbird’s author had been different. That the manuscript for Go Set a Watchman had not been found. That the second novel had not been published, sullying her reputation and Atticus’s. There were rumors that Lee,... Read more »

It would be hard to coast through Dyja’s The Third Coast

Thomas Dyja’s The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream is the current selection for One Book, One Chicago, the city’s community reading program. It received glowing reviews from the New York Times (“intensely engaging”), Vanity Fair (“a rollicking cultural history”), Publishers Weekly (“a magisterial narrative”), and Booklist (“a thrilling read”), among many others.... Read more »