“Up the Down Staircase” by Bel Kaufman ★★★

  In Bel Kaufman's Up the Down Staircase, we step into the shoes of a harried yet still idealistic teacher.  Despite the fact this takes place in a 1960s New York City public high school, teenagers will always be teenagers and bureaucracy is timeless, so I'm sure teachers are still fighting the same uphill battles. This … Continue reading “Up the Down Staircase” by Bel Kaufman ★★★

“Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy ★★★

Well, I now have the bragging rights that I survived the reading experience of this one. Good story but waaaaaaaaay too long.  It started off interesting as we come to know the main players, The Karenins, Levin, Kitty, Count Vronsky; and begin to see the sometimes negative results of poor choices made because of passion. … Continue reading “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy ★★★

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams ★★★★

This is a fun, quirky, sci-fi comedy bit of silliness. It focuses on Arthur Dent, a 30yo also-ran kind of guy just plugging away day to day. His West Country home is going to be bulldozed in order to make room for an expressway. As he is lying in the mud in front of the … Continue reading “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams ★★★★

“Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton ★★★★★

Along with providing food for thought regarding the tug-of-war between passion versus responsibility, I think this may have been Wharton's warning to her readers to avoid making a hasty decision on whom you will marry.  Avoid the shrews!   Ethan Frome was the most handsome man in his little town of Starkfield, Massachusetts.  He was an … Continue reading “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton ★★★★★

“The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton ★★★★

Bittersweet YA novel centering around three brothers raising themselves after their parents were killed, and their friendship with a group of boys from the wrong side of the tracks. Ponyboy, Sodapop, and Darrel "Darry" Curtis are doing the best they can to avoid being split up into foster homes.  Darry had to pass up a … Continue reading “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton ★★★★

“Forever Amber” by Kathleen Winsor ★★★★★

This is a fun, fictionalized epic taking place in the court of King Charles II.  It follows the life of Amber St. Clare for a period of a dozen years, beginning when she is 16 and falls for a handsome Cavalier who passes through her little village.  She follows him to London, although he tells … Continue reading “Forever Amber” by Kathleen Winsor ★★★★★

“The House of Mirth” by Edith Wharton ★★★★★

Portrayal of a young woman, Lily Bart, navigating high society New York circa 1903 without the benefit of a supportive family to guide her or the financial means to support the lifestyle after her father's wealth falls away. "She had no tolerance for scenes which were not of her own making..."  --in regard to Mrs. Bart … Continue reading “The House of Mirth” by Edith Wharton ★★★★★

“Cyrano de Bergerac” by Edmond Rostand ★★★★★

Bittersweet tale of unrequited love, nobility and honor.  This play is set in France in 1640, during the reign of Louis XIII.  Cyrano de Bergerac is known as the best swordsman in France, and is equally revered as a wordsmith and a quick wit.  His pride comes out in displays of courage and bravado and … Continue reading “Cyrano de Bergerac” by Edmond Rostand ★★★★★