Category Archives: literature

Nonsensical Geometry: The Two Love Triangles of Jane Eyre

The central romance in Jane Eyre resolves happily. (Do I need to mark that as a spoiler? Surely not! Surely, if you haven’t read Charlotte Bronte’s triumph of a novel by this time, you’ve at least watched a movie version?) Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre overcome every obstacle, including those within themselves, to meet as equals at last in the eyes of all, marry, produce offspring, and live happily ever after. Good for them. Continue reading

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What Are Little Boys Made Of?

One reading subject dominated my growing-up period–The Hardy Boys. Most little girls I knew were reading either Nancy Drew, which I get because my mother is a huge fan even today, or Goosebumps, which was not up my alley. No, my passion was to be one Frank and Joe’s “chums,” off on crazy and reckless adventures with them. Continue reading

Fight the Nothing: The NeverEnding Story

Experiencing stories not only exercises a child’s imagination, it also progresses their emotional development. When a child reads (or watches) a tale that touches them, they can learn more about the world around them and how to deal with the things in it. Particularly the difficult things. Many children’s novels do this. One of them is The NeverEnding Story. It serves an important purpose by providing kids with a fantastical way to process true life problems. Continue reading

More Than a Kindred Spirit: Ramona Quimby

I don’t remember the first time I encountered Ramona Quimby. My mom read me one of Beverly Cleary’s books when I was probably five or six—so long ago, Ramona has always been a part of my consciousness. Why? Because, though I didn’t know how to phrase it that way, I knew from the start that Ramona and I were kindred spirits. Continue reading

The Lion, The Witch, & the Wardrobe

My Dear Lucy,

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result, you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still…

Your affectionate Godfather,

CS Lewis Continue reading

Something Out of Nothing: The Kitchen Madonna

Few authors capture the magic of childhood as well as Rumer Godden.

Until a year ago, I’d have argued the finest example is Godden’s Christmastime classic, The Story of Holly and Ivy, dual-narrated by a lonely orphan girl and a lonely doll without an owner. Now, though, I have to admit another Godden story, The Kitchen Madonna, might just give Holly and Ivy a run for their money. Continue reading

Falling in Love with Reading: The Giver

I grew up home-schooled, which I think for most people implies I was an avid reader. This was true. I read a lot. My mom had a rule I read at least 30 minutes a day, which was no struggle. Reading was so normal and common for me, I didn’t think much about it. It was a time-killing activity I would complete with as much apathy as one who watches infomercials late at night. Sometimes by noon, I had finished with my schoolwork for the day. I would camp out in my room and read for 3 hours. I read in the car, before bed, while I procrastinated instead of doing my required household chores… Continue reading

The Cursed Child

When the magic continues…

What would you say if all your dreams about all your favorite characters come true? What if all your favorite characters gathered together in one interesting story? Probably, you would be happy as an army of Harry Potter fans, having received the long-awaited continuation of their favorite franchise. It’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Let’s inspect this official sequel in the form of the play… Continue reading

Not a Fool: The Importance of Portraying Dr. Watson Correctly

All but four of the original sixty Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle (also known as the “canon”) are narrated by Dr. John Watson.

You know what that tells us?  Watson is not merely a sidekick.  He’s not an afterthought.  He’s not just the comic relief.  He’s not a cardboard cut-out for Holmes to bounce ideas off. Continue reading

Rest in Peace: The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane

What’s your favorite Sherlock Holmes story?

Every Holmes fan has a different answer to that question. My own has always been “The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane.” Published in 1926, “Lion’s Mane” is the final installment in the collection entitled The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes. Because the Case-Book was the last Holmes anthology Conan Doyle published, “The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane” was the last story Sherlock Holmes (in his original incarnation, at any rate) would ever appear in. Continue reading