Category Archives: Classic

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Upton Sinclair intended to show the plight of poor immigrants, but instead he brought the disgusting things that ended up in food processed in meat packing plants at the turn of the century to the public consciousness. Things changed (such as the Pure Food and Drug Act), but not what Sinclair had intended or hoped. The story itself follows an extended family of Lithuanian immigrants, particularly Jurgis, the man at the head of the family. Jurgis works in meat packing, loses his wife and child, lives as a hobo, discovers his wife’s cousin has become a drug-addicted prostitute due to their circumstances, ends up in jail more than once, becomes a scab and then a socialist, and so much more. Basically, if it could happen to a poor immigrant, it happened to Jurgis. It is an interesting view of that time period and shows how poor immigrants, like now, have always been looked down on and willing to take jobs most people won’t just to survive. I enjoyed reading it a lot right up until the socialist diatribe of the last two or three chapters. Then it just became a lecture, which makes some sense since it was originally published as a serial in a socialist publication and Sinclair himself was a socialist. I recommend reading The Jungle to all adults (though you really won’t miss anything if you just skim the last couple chapters).

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 98
Pages Read in 2019: 25,064
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Filed under Classic, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

I’m really at a loss as to why this is such a beloved book to so many people. I found it boring and uninteresting. There were bits here and there that were captivating, but not very many. I just plain didn’t enjoy it. I don’t recommend spending the time it takes to read The Wind in the Willows. There are so many better books out there just waiting to be read.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 96
Pages Read in 2019: 24,350
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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

L. Frank Baum was a genius in the way he phrased things making them a delight for adults and children alike. All of the Oz books are fun to read and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is no exception. I’ve read it more than once before and every time I so enjoy reading about the Scarecrow with no brain who comes up with all the best plans, the Tin Woodman with no heart who is very kind and tenderhearted, and the Cowardly Lion who is really quite brave. I very highly recommend reading this book and all the Oz books. It makes an excellent family read-aloud!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 66
Pages Read in 2019: 17,660
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Filed under Children, Classic, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Adrian

1984 by George Orwell

1984 is one of those books with themes that continually appear in pop culture and everyone, whether they’ve read it or not, know the basics of how it goes. There’s Big Brother and the Thought Police and the constant fear that you’ll be picked up and just vanish because you said something in your sleep or made a face that was construed as being anti-Party. The main character, Winston, realizes that history keeps getting rewritten (he works in the department where they do just that after all) and that things aren’t what the government claims. The only problem is pretty much everyone else seems to buy into it all, and if they don’t they no longer exist (and never existed). Some things in the book are frightening when you look around and see shades of them in real life (don’t believe what you see and hear… only I tell you the truth). The gaslighting is amazing. If anyone wonders what gaslighting is, reading 1984 should help them understand. The end is rather depressing and give a bleak outlook on what a society like the one portrayed would do to free thinkers. I highly recommend reading it to older teens and up.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 55
Pages Read in 2019: 14,783
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Filed under Classic, Dystopian, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron, Reason: Well-Educated Mind Challenge

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Don Quixote is very long and sometimes interesting. It is a collection of stories of the adventures of a self-proclaimed knight-errant and his madness. Some of the stories are interesting, some are ridiculous, some are boring. If you feel the need to read lots of classic books, Don Quixote is a decent choice.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 52
Pages Read in 2019: 14,049
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Filed under Classic, Reason: Well-Educated Mind Challenge

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I’ve read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland many times and it is still just as weird and wonderful as the first time I read it. It’s so creative and fun. It’s pretty short so it reads fast and makes a lovely family read-aloud. I highly recommend reading it.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 47
Pages Read in 2019: 11,874
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Filed under Children, Classic, Reason: Pre-Reading for Adrian

Gulliver’s Travels adapted by Nick Eliopulos

Adapted for a younger audience, Gulliver’s Travels is an easy to read chapter book that hits all the main plot points of the classic novel. It’s an excellent book for young kids and can help make it so reading the original later on isn’t so daunting. I highly recommend it to elementary age kids.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 76
Pages Read in 2018: 18,140
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Filed under Children, Classic, Reason: Pre-Reading for Adrian