Book descriptions

The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore (1967 edition)

In 1967, The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore was published to great acclaim, being the most thorough collection of this distinguished American poet up to that time.

For Marianne Moore, heartfelt and precise expression was the most important aspect of the written word. Most of her poems were written in syllabic verse.

About her own work, she commented “I tend to write in a patterned arrangement, with rhymes … to secure an effect of flowing continuity … there is a great amount of poetry in unconscious/fastidiousness.” Read More→

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Elizabeth Taylor’s Novels: Where to Begin, Which to Reread?

English author (not the actress) Elizabeth Taylor (1912 – 1975) published seventeen books: four collections of stories, one children’s book, and twelve novels. If you’re just discovering this under-appreciated author and wondering where to begin or considering a reread, here is a glimpse of Elizabeth Taylor’s novels.

She’s “not like most novelists,” Elizabeth Jane Howard observes; she’s “one in a thousand: how deeply I envy any reader coming to her for the first time.”

In Contemporary Novelists, Elizabeth explained her process: “I write in scenes, rather than in narrative, which I find boring. I am pleased if the look of a page is interesting, broken by paragraphs or dialogue, not just one dense slab of print.”

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Two Jane Austen-inspired Novels by Sonali Dev: Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors & Recipe for Persuasion

It is a truth universally acknowledged that there are Jane Austen fans so devoted that they read Pride and Prejudice (and/or her other novels) every year or two. Contemporary Austen-flavored retellings only add fuel to the literary fire. In that vein, the witty pen of Sonali Dev has produced Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors (2019) and Recipe for Persuasion (2020).

For fervent devotees, for whom there can never be Too Much Jane, Ms. Dev’s novels will be a delicious treat. They transpose Austen-esque complicated relationships to the modern world, and season them with culinary themes. Here’s a look at these entertaining reads by Sonali Dev. Read More→

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Heidi by Johanna Spyri (1881)

Johanna Spyri (1827 – 1901), the author of Heidi, has been called the “Swiss Louisa May Alcott.” Tens of millions of copies of this classic children’s novel (first published in 1881) have sold worldwide in translations of more than forty languages.

Originally written in German, Heidi was Spyri’s first published novel. None of her subsequent books — and there were many — achieved the level of success as did Heidi. It’s not only the bestselling Swiss book ever published, but one of the bestselling books in the world.

Heidi has also been adapted numerous times to the stage, including an opera, plus several movies and television series. Read More→

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Gertrude Stein has Arrived: The Homecoming of a Literary Legend

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933) is actually Gertrude Stein‘s own memoir. Gertrude Stein Has Arrived by Roy Morris, Jr. chronicles the return of the delightfully perplexing literary figure to her American homeland in 1934.

With Alice in tow, Stein conducted an epic lecture tour to promote what would be her most commercially successful book.

Gertrude appropriated the supposed persona of her longtime companion, Alice B. Toklas, to tell her own tale. Famously, Alice is quoted as saying:

“About six weeks ago Gertrude Stein said, ‘It does not look to me as if you were ever going to write that autobiography. You know what I am going to do? I am going to write it for you. I am going to write it as simply as Defoe did the autobiography of Robinson Crusoe.’ And she has, and this is it.” Read More→

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