Les Mis: When Justice Is Overshadowed by the Law

I’m teaching Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables this fall. First published to international acclaim in 1862, the novel’s inception actually took place in 1845 under the working title Jean Tréjean, which translator Julie Rose characterizes as “the story of a convict, a poor man persecuted by a system in which justice has been overshadowed by theContinue reading “Les Mis: When Justice Is Overshadowed by the Law”

9 Classics to Add to Your 2020 Reading List

As you put together your good intentions for 2020, consider adding some classics to your reading list. I know what you are thinking: But weren’t these books written to be read by whiny high school students and no one else? Whether you were forced to read some of these in school or not, I thinkContinue reading “9 Classics to Add to Your 2020 Reading List”

Huck Finn and the Providential Benefit of a Good Novel

N O T I C E Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot will be shot. BY ORDER OF THE AUTHOR, Per G. G., Chief of Ordnance With this unilateral prohibition, Mark TwainContinue reading “Huck Finn and the Providential Benefit of a Good Novel”

Book Review: ‘On Reading Well’ by Karen Swallow Prior

“Good books are a very great mercy to the world.” -Richard Baxter I’ve heard it said that a well-crafted book review is a success if it makes you want to go read the book. If this isn’t too meta for you, it’s the object of this review to make you want to go read KarenContinue reading “Book Review: ‘On Reading Well’ by Karen Swallow Prior”

Edna Lewis and the Flourishing of African Americans

“I grew up in Freetown, Virginia, a community of farming people. It wasn’t really a town. The name was adopted because the first residents had all been freed from chattel slavery and they wanted to be known as a town of Free People.” From the opening paragraph of The Taste of Country Cooking, I wasContinue reading “Edna Lewis and the Flourishing of African Americans”