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Alice in Wonderland and Puberty

I physically wrestled my husband for a copy of one of the Harry Potter books.  It came in the mail the day of its release (I can’t remember which book it was), and… Continue reading

Rebecca: Not Really a Ghost Story

When I picked up a copy of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (1938), number 15 on the BBC Book List, I couldn’t help but think, “Is this a romance novel?” You know, one of… Continue reading

How to Train Your . . . White Whale?

My only in-person experience with white whales occurred at Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, when a male beluga whale aggressively chased the female whale in the tank, alternately poking out and… Continue reading

My Favorite Canterbury Tale: The Sneaky, Feminist Wife

The shock on my students’ faces when I tell them that there is such a thing as self plagiarism always reminds me of The Wife of Bath.  They don’t believe me.  They try… Continue reading

I Was Afraid to Major in English

I was afraid to become an English major.  They all seemed so . . . smart.  Arrogant.  Self-assured.  These were traits I did not possess, aside from smartness, but they seemed smarter.  They… Continue reading

Someone at a Distance: A Treasure from the Grave of Library Basement Obscurity

Someone at a Distance (1953) by Dorothy Whipple (1893-1966) is about a wife who is strong and smart in the face of her husband’s extreme stupidity.  Sound familiar?  If you’re married, it should. … Continue reading

Elizabeth Gaskell: Jane Austen’s Plagiarist

I almost didn’t finish reading North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.  I started reading it after watching the miniseries Cranford, which is based on three of her novels.  It is a charming series… Continue reading

Three American Tragedies (1906, 1925, and 2002)

I first read Theodore Dreiser’s masterpiece An American Tragedy (1925) during the summer of 2003.  Little did I know that the story unfolding before me in that book would also play out on… Continue reading

Harry Potter, the Hero Cycle, and Cinderella

Because of my curiosity, I sneaked the first Harry Potter book into an assignment for my Myth, Legend, and Folklore class as an undergraduate college student.  The Harry Potter series (number 4 on… Continue reading

Depressing Books

I enjoy depressing books.  Russian authors?  Bring them on!  Shakespeare’s tragedies?  Can’t get enough!  And my love of these books once led me to suggest them to others.  However, I quickly learned that… Continue reading