LitPicks Book Reviews—January 2008

 

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Betty Smith, 1943
512 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
January 2008

It's been a year since my friend Nan suggested Marley and Me.

This time she mentioned that she'd just given A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to her youngest daughter. Her older girls, now fully grown, oohed and aahed, recalling it as one of their all-time favorites. Really, I teared up.

That tender display of nostalgia got me to thinking about the book, a beloved classic....

 

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The Remains of the Day
Kazuo Ishiguro, 1989
256 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
January 2008

I know. This is sooo not cutting edge. Remains has been around for 20 years now, and it's been discussed ad nauseam. In fact, I wanted to write about Ishiguro's more recent Never Let Me Go—but this book is just so good.

Remains is an English teacher's dream: there's so much going on beneath the surface—and it's so carefully pieced together—that it makes the sparks fly out of our chalk. It's a modern classic.
 

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Far From the Madding Crowd
Thomas Hardy, 1874
512 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
January 2008

Hardy's rep as a writer is one who plumbs the depths—and what he finds beneath the surface is often grim. Not so with Madding Crowd, an earlier novel and joyful celebration of England's pastoral life.

It's a great story, with two enduring...and endearing...heroes: Bathsheba Everdene and Gabriel Oak (you can have fun just sussing out the symbolic allusions of those names).
 

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