Book Talk – The Impact of Female Authors on Young Adult Literature

Welcome to Book Talk, an occasional feature on Book Club Mom, home to quick previews of new and not-so-new books that catch my eye and other bookish discussions.

Today I’m going to highlight five female Young Adult authors and talk about an upcoming discussion on their role in literature, but before I do that, a little history on the genre.

Young Adult literature first came to the reading world in the 1960s and has been evolving ever since. What these books have in common is that they are much more realistic than what adolescents traditionally read before. The genre came to be as authors began to write about modern and grittier problems and themes, unique to teenagers.

But did you know that the term “teenagers” didn’t emerge until the 1940s? It first appeared in a 1941 issue of Popular Science Monthly. Before that, the American population was divided into two groups: adults and children. You were an adult if you were in the workforce and a child if you were in school. Things began to change during the Great Depression because there were fewer jobs for Americans of all ages. So many more adolescents were enrolled in high school, not working a job.

Librarians were the first to call teenagers “young adults,” in the 1940s, a term that was made official in 1957 by the American Library Association.

I found this information in a great May 2018 article from Smithsonian.com, entitled “How ‘Young Adult’ Fiction Blossomed With Teenage Culture in America.” You can read it here.


The following female authors write about modern teenagers and offer a nice variety of Young Adult literature.

Odd One Out by Nic Stone


The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk


Far from the Tree by Robin Benway


Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners) by Libba Bray


I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

(All author and book cover images are from Amazon.com.)

On Saturday, October 13, this group will convene at the Westport Library in Westport, Connecticut, to discuss their audiences, intentions, and themes in the YA genre. These women will specifically focus on their beliefs about the role of a female author writing about young adults in the current climate of teens today. This discussion is part of the library’s Saugatuck StoryFest Events and, if you live in the area, you can check out the details here.

I enjoy reading YA books, even though I’m long past the target reading age, because I like to understand what themes are interesting and important to teenage readers. Are you a YA fan? What are your favorite YA books?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Friday Fiction – “A Man and His Phone” Part 5

“A Man and His Phone” – Part 5

Jane’s sometimes boyfriend, Chris, is playing hard to get. Tentative plans to get together have ended in a tense phone call and Chris has powered off his phone. Jane has recruited her friend, Adrienne, to drive down to Chris’s apartment to see what’s what. They spot his car, so he must still be inside the high rise. Adrienne convinces Jane to wait in the lobby while she investigates. When an elevator ride to the eighth floor puts her face to face with a dark-eyed charmer, Adrienne may finally understand why Jane is such pushover for Chris.

Now you’re set – I hope you enjoy!


Image: Wikimedia Commons

“You look a little familiar,” he said. “I’m Chris, have we met?”

Adrienne stood frozen in the elevator. Chris put out his arm to stop the doors from closing and she thought he looked quite gallant doing so. He made no move to enter and instead, she stepped out into the hallway.

As the elevator doors closed behind her, Adrienne stood frozen in an internal panic, unsure of how to answer Chris’s question. They hadn’t really met. She’d only seen him from a distance at Zadar’s. She’d better not tell him her name. Jane could very easily have mentioned her to Chris.

“Uh, not sure,” she stammered. How was she going to explain herself? But Adrienne had been in a fix or two in her twenty-something life and her mind went to work quickly. She’d have to keep her eyes averted, though. She could feel his power sensors trying to lock in on her.

Chris grinned. He already liked this girl. She was confident and nervous at the same time. He swore he’d seen her before, and recently too, but he didn’t want to push it. There was no telling where that might have been and, if had seen her before, it would all come out eventually.

“Well, maybe not,” he answered, letting it drop.

Adrienne knew she had to come up with something fast. Nerves, shmerves, she had to invent a destination. “Well, I should get going. My friend is waiting for me.” That was sort of true, she told herself.

“Oh?” Chris had lived on the eighth floor for several years. It was a high rise, yes, but there were only ten apartments on each floor and he was on a hello basis with all of his neighbors. Like a card counter at a blackjack table, Chris calculated the possibilities. He was almost certain his new friend would not be hitting the dance floor with the O’Brien sisters who were well into their 80s, or with the workaholic engineer who only took time off to get new batteries for his graphing calculator. That left the newlyweds, the first-year med students who were never home, the lady with the cats and the four tenants down the hall whose average age was about fifty-two.

“Which apartment? He asked.

Adrienne did a quick scan of the apartment numbers in her line of vision as Chris watched in amusement. Down the hall were 808 and 810. What if she named his apartment number? She would have to make a wild guess and hope for the best.

“She’s in 803,” Adrienne said with authority.

Ah, yes, I know that one. “Here, I’ll show you the way,” he offered, and they began to walk towards the cat lady’s apartment. This was going to be fun.

She hesitated. “Oh, thanks anyway, I’m sure I can find it myself.” Adrienne’s phone began to vibrate again. It was Jane, of course, most likely frantic about the lack of updates. Adrienne always told Jane she was a hoverer, but this helicopter was coming in at just the right time.

She turned to Chris, scrunched her shoulders in exaggerated apology and said, “Oh, gee, sorry, I have to take this.”

Chris couldn’t help but smile. He’d give her this victory. Adrienne had no idea who she was up against. When it came to levels of play, Chris had surpassed All-Star and Super Star and was firmly established in the Hall of Fame.

“Of course,” he answered. “I have to grab something in my apartment anyway. Then I’m heading out.”

Adrienne held the phone to her ear and looked at Chris with faked distraction. Her nanosecond call with Jane had ended, with Jane commanding her to get down to the lobby right away. Unsure of how to make the break, she lifted her chin in Chris’s direction.

“Thanks,” she mouthed in pretend appreciation and turned. The relief she felt was short lived, however, because a fast exit was a must. If she could only find the door to the stairwell, she might be able to get to the lobby and out of the building before he did. Oh if only she was wearing sensible shoes.

Thank you for reading – come back next week!

Click here to catch up with all the episodes of A Man and His Phone.

Copyright © 2018 by Book Club Mom

All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale
by
Margaret Atwood

Rating:

I hadn’t read The Handmaid’s Tale in over ten years so I was glad when my book club chose it for this month’s discussion. And it fits right in with the National Banned Books Week (September 23 -29). The Handmaid’s Tale has been challenged or banned many times since its publication in 1985. In Atwood’s dystopian story, the American government is overthrown and replaced by a theonomic military dictatorship in which fertile women are used solely to bear children and all other women are either assigned to a hierarchy that enforces this policy or sent to the Colonies to clean up toxic waste. The idea is to build up the country’s dwindling population, which has suffered due to nuclear explosions and other contamination. The men’s roles vary according to station and include Angels and Guardians, with Commanders at the top.

The story’s narrator is a handmaid, Offred, so named as belonging to her Commander. Handmaids are assigned to the Commanders and their presumably barren wives who participate every month in an orchestrated Ceremony in which the Commanders try to impregnate the handmaids. Although Offred is not at the bottom of the hierarchy, she is nonetheless trapped and by no means secure. If she doesn’t become pregnant, she could be sent to the Colonies.

As with all forms of oppression, ways to communicate, small freedoms, and an underground resistance give Offred hope, but their discovery is slow and unsure. A risky relationship with her Commander and even more dangerous connections with others could go either way as Offred tries to reconcile the life she lost with what may be possible. I enjoyed rereading The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s a look at what could go wrong and is a good exercise of thought. I recommend it to readers who like speculative fiction and to all readers who like seeing how characters fight back in both small and large ways.


The Handmaid’s Tale is also a popular television series. Streamed on Hulu, the show has won eight Emmy awards and a Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama. Seasons 1 and 2 are available to watch and Season 3 is in the works. You can even see Atwood in a small cameo role.


You may also remember the 1990 movie, directed by Volker Schlondorff and starring Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway and Aidan Quinn. Harold Pinter wrote the screenplay.


I also read a great article about what influenced Atwood when she wrote The Handmaid’s Tale. Click here to read Atwood’s March 10, 2017 essay in The New York Times: “Margaret Atwood on What The Handmaid’s Tale Means in the Age of Trump.” Here are some highlights:

  • Atwood began writing in the book in 1984.
  • She was living in West Berlin at the time, before the fall of the Berlin Wall where she “experienced the wariness, the feeling of being spied on, the silences, the changes of subject, the oblique ways in which people might convey information, and these had an influence on what I was writing.”
  • She wasn’t sure she was up to the task of writing a dystopian, speculative fiction.

Atwood also answers three important questions about the book

  1. Is it a feminist novel? She says no, and yes. No because the women in her story are not all angels, and neither are they so victimized that they can’t make moral decisions. But she clarifies, “If you mean a novel in which women are human beings — with all the variety of character and behavior that implies — and are also interesting and important, and what happens to them is crucial to the theme, structure and plot of the book, then yes. In that sense, many books are ‘feminist.’”
  2. Is the book antireligion? No, it’s against using religion “as a front for tyranny.”
  3. Is the book a prediction? She calls it an “antiprediction” and explains that if this kind of future can be described, maybe it won’t happen.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

What’s That Book? The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King

whats-that-book

TitleThe Murder of Mary Russell

Author:  Laurie R. King

Genre: Detective fiction

Rating:  4 stars

What’s it about?  The 14th book of King’s Mary Russell series in which the author incorporates characters from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mysteries into new detective stories. This one includes Sherlock Holmes and his landlady, Mrs. Hudson, as well as Mary Russell, Holmes’ wife, a new character created by King at the beginning of the series. The book is based on Doyle’s “The Adventure of the Gloria Scott,” a tale involving Mrs. Hudson’s father as a young man, as he is transported as a prisoner from England to Australia. A mutiny ensues, the ship explodes and Hudson finds himself adrift.

The bigger story is about Clara Hudson, James Hudson’s daughter, and how she came to be Sherlock’s landlady and housekeeper, first at his Baker Street residence and now in Sussex. It begins in 1925 when Clara returns from the market to a bloody and upturned house. Sherlock is out and Mary is nowhere to be found and Clara fears the worst for a young woman she considers family. Who has been to their house and why are Clara’s personal belongings in disarray?

Clara has learned a few things about how to handle evidence and the process of deductive reasoning and has useful information for Sherlock when he returns. The book is partially narrated by Mary herself, with alternating chapters going back to 1850s when Clara is a young girl and later.

In the back story, James Hudson is not a great father, often drunk and hardly trustworthy, but father and daughter become partners in crime as they work the crowds in both Sydney and London, picking pockets and developing more elaborate schemes to steal people’s money. The stories come together at the finish to connect the Sussex visitor and Clara’s two lives.

How did you hear about it?  I learned about it from the mystery book club I run at my library job. We will be discussing it next week.        

Closing comments:  I enjoyed this story very much. Although I’m sure it’s best to read the series from the beginning, I was pleased to be able to jump in so late. The first of the series, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, is presented as a memoir and introduces Mary to Holmes. Most of the books are about their relationship. The Murder of Mary Russell is different because it is about Mrs. Hudson. I would recommend the series to devoted Sherlock Holmes fans as well as to readers who enjoy detective fiction.

Contributor:  Book Club Mom

For more information, please visit these recent posts:

On mystery writer Laurie R. King, Sherlock Holmes and fan fiction

When you have a Twitter conversation with a character from a book


whats-that-book

Have you read something good?  Want to talk about it?
Consider being a contributor to What’s That Book.

Email Book Club Mom at bvitelli2009@gmail.com for information.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

When you have a Twitter conversation with a character from a book

Something fun happened to me on Twitter this week! I tweeted the link to my post, “On mystery writer Laurie R. King, Sherlock Holmes and fan fiction” and a few hours later, I found myself in a conversation with none other than Mary Russell from King’s book, The Murder of Mary Russell! Russell was a little frustrated that I called her memoirs fan fiction, but we quickly became friends. Take a look at our exchange:

 

I’ve talked to authors on Twitter before, but never a character from a book. You just never know, do you?

Stop by tomorrow for my formal review of The Murder of Mary Russell…

…and thanks for visiting!

Who’s That Indie Author? N.A. Granger

whos-that-indie-author

Author name:  N.A. Granger (Noelle)

Genre:  Cozy Mystery

Books:  The Rhe Brewster Mystery Series: Death in a Mudflat; Death by Pumpkin; Death in a Dacron Sail; Death in a Red Canvas Chair

         

Bio:  N.A. GRANGER is a Professor Emerita at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. After forty years of research and teaching undergraduates and medical students, plus earning her EMT license, she decided to use her knowledge of human anatomy and emergency medicine in mystery writing. In addition to the Rhe Brewster Mystery Series, she has written for Coastal Living and Sea Level magazines and several times for the Bella Online Literary Review. Her latest mystery, Death in a Mudflat, was released in June of this year. You can find more of her writing and musings on her website: saylingaway.wordpress.com. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband and a Maine coon cat who blogs, and she spends a portion of every summer in Maine, researching for her books and selling them, too.

Favorite thing about being a writer:  Using my little gray cells! I’m a pantser – I just sit down and write – and one of the best parts of the day is going back and reading, sometimes with a “where-the-heck-did-that-come-from?” – what I’ve written that day.  A close second is having someone tell me they love my books!

Biggest challenge as an indie author:  Marketing and publicity. I’ve done all the suggested tried and true things and also used publicity firms. I’m not sure they were worth the cost for the outcome. I think I’ll just pound the pavements, going to Indie bookstores and seeking readings on my own, and push the email, twitter and blogging. What’s unfortunate is that M&P are no fun!

Favorite books:  This is challenging. A sampling: books by P.D. James (one of my favorite mystery authors), Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth, Tolkien’s The Ring Trilogy, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Sarah Orne Jewell’s Country of the Pointed Firs.

Contact Information: Email: sailingawayng@gmail.com
Blog: saylingaway.wordpress.com
Twitter: @rhebrewster
Facebook: Noelle A. Granger
Amazon: N.A. Granger

Awards/special recognition:  Mmm. I won second place in the Bloggers Bash writing contest in 2017 – my first time winning anything…


Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

On mystery writer Laurie R. King, Sherlock Holmes and fan fiction

I lead a mystery book club at work and this month, our book for discussion is The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King. It’s the fourteenth book in a series about the later years of Sherlock Holmes and, in the series, she introduces a new character, Mary Russell, who eventually becomes Holmes’s wife. King also uses a plot line from a Sherlock Holmes story and has incorporated several of those characters into her book, including Holmes’s longtime housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson.

Image: Pixabay

So King has taken Sherlock Holmes, a well-known character from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s series of detective stories, and added him and others to her own new set of stories. It’s an interesting idea, one that seems to fall somewhat into the category of fan fiction.

Laurie R. King, Image: Amazon

But much of fan fiction is posted casually on the Internet, and is not professionally published, so this is where King’s books are very different. King is a New York Times bestselling author of 27 novels and other works and has won many awards, including the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America, the John Creasy Award from the Crime Writers’ Association and the Nero Wolf award for best novel.

I was at a bit of a disadvantage in reading The Murder of Mary Russell because I have not read the first thirteen books or any of the original Sherlock Holmes stories! But I had to jump in and, once I got going, it wasn’t hard to follow. I’ll be posting my review of The Murder of Mary Russell later this week, but for now I can tell you that I enjoyed it very much.

My question today is, are you a fan fiction fan? Have you read much of it or even written some? Do you know about the Mary Russell series? Please visit the comments section and tell me what you think!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Author Interview – Jill Weatherholt

Please welcome my author friend, Jill Weatherholt, to Book Club Mom today. Jill is a talented writer and an active promoter of bloggers and writers on her blog and across many social media platforms. By day, she works for the City of Charlotte. At night, and on the weekend, she writes contemporary stories about love, faith and forgiveness for Harlequin Love Inspired.

BCM: Hello Jill and welcome! I think everyone has a story or two in their heads. Some people have written stories their entire lives, even as children. When did you begin your writing career?

JW: It’s hard to pinpoint an exact time as I’ve always enjoyed writing and journaling. For me, writing has always been a way to relax and destress. In 2010, I participated in my first National Novel Writing Month contest. I frantically wrote 50k words during the month of November. That ugly and very rough start to a first draft became my first published novel, Second Chance Romance in March, 2017.

BCM: How did you become a writer for the Harlequin Love Inspired series?

JW: In March of 2015, I made a last minute decision to enter Harelquin’s Blurb to Book contest. As I advanced through the stages, I frantically rewrote that 2010 NANOWRIMO project and in August of 2015, I was offered a contract. It was an amazing experience and one I’ll never forget.

BCM: I was struck with how Second Chance Romance, in addition to inspirational romance, fits into several categories. I think that’s because your characters face modern and often complex problems, just like real people and characters in other genres. I believe your specific genre is popular because of this and because readers simply like to read a book with a feel-good finish. What’s your favorite genre to read? Do your reading tastes cross into other types of books?

JW: When I was in college, I read a lot of Stephen King and true crime stories. As I got older, I guess I turned into a big chicken because I couldn’t read stories like that and fall asleep at night. These days I enjoy reading romance and women’s fiction. I do enjoy a happy ending, but some tears along the way are okay, too.

BCM: I very much enjoyed reading “Memories of the Lighthouse Keeper” and congratulations on being the Dream Quest One First Writing Prize Winner for this moving story! Many writers begin their careers by writing short fiction. Some stay in that genre while others move to writing longer fiction. Do you like both? Any short stories in the works?

JW: Aw…thanks so much, Barbara. “Memories of the Lighthouse Keeper” is a special story to me. It was written shortly after my mother was diagnosed with dementia. I enjoy the challenge of writing short stories. I’ve been writing and submitting short stories to Woman’s World Magazine for several years. After numerous rejections, I sold my first story to them in December, 2017. It was a story inspired by my mother and father and their dating years. I recently sold a second story, also inspired by my mother and using her maiden name. I’ve told her she’s my little lucky charm.

BCM: I see a lot of hummingbirds on your website and on social media. They are such beautiful birds and very fun to watch! Do you have a special interest in them?

JW: Many years ago, I saw my first hummingbird while on a golfing vacation in Arizona. Since then, I’ve been fascinated by these amazing creatures. As someone who has a difficult time relaxing, watching these guys whiz around our backyard gives me peace.

BCM: How would you describe your approach to writing your books? Are you a “pantser” or a planner?

JW: I’m very much a creature of habit. I like my routine and can become quite cranky when it’s disrupted. That said, when it comes to writing, I’m a total panster. Once I come up with characters and their internal and external conflicts, I let them tell their story.

BCM: How do you come up with ideas for the Harlequin Love Inspired books you write?

JW: Often my stories are inspired by something I’ve read in the newspaper or a magazine.

BCM: Tell me about your experiences with submitting short fiction to magazines.

JW: My first published short story was a result of a writing contest offered by Southern Writer’s Magazine. Shortly after, I started submitting to Woman’s World Magazine. I probably submitted 20 or more stories to them before getting published.

BCM: Do you enter a lot of writing contests?

JW: I don’t really enter contests much these days. I did enter Second Chance Romance for the 2018 Golden Quill award and was a finalist. As someone who got their first publishing deal through a contest, I highly recommend them to writers, especially contests that offer feedback.

BCM: What is your approach to marketing and publicity? Do you take on a lot of it yourself in tandem with your publisher?

JW: I am the worst at self-promotion and don’t like to be the center of attention. As I tell my father, I don’t like to toot my own horn. Thankfully, my faithful friends, like yourself, in the blogging community and on Twitter have helped to spread the word about my books.

BCM: I’m not sure if I met you on Twitter, WordPress or Facebook. What’s your favorite social media? Do you think any one of them is better for book publicity?

JW: I think we probably connected through WordPress. Blogging is definitely my favorite form of social media. I’ve met so many wonderful people who’ve become great friends. Facebook is my least favorite. When I need to clear my head, Twitter is my go to place. I do think Twitter is the best platform for book publicity. My sales numbers really spiked when I became more active on that site.

BCM: What’s your working style? Are you a morning person or late-night writer? Do you write on your computer or long-hand? Comfy chair or straight back at a desk?

JW: Since I work full-time during the week, I’m definitely a weekend warrior writer. When on deadline, I might write after my work day, but typically the bulk of my writing is accomplished over the weekend. I do write blog posts during the week. I’m kind of a nomad with my writing spots. During the spring and summer, I like to be out on the patio with the hummingbirds. During winter months, I switch between my two offices and the kitchen or dining room table. I love to write short stories in longhand, so I usually settle into a comfy chair.


And now some fun stuff because everyone wants to know!

Coffee or tea?  Both! I drink strong black coffee in the morning and on the weekend, while writing, I drink tea…also straight up.

Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?  Definitely dark!

Muffin or bagel?  I don’t really eat bread, but if I had to pick, I’d choose a bagel.

Steak or shrimp?  I love a good steak. Throw in a lobster tail and I’m set!

City or country?  I’m definitely more of a country girl than city.  I don’t like crowds or traffic.

Cat or dog?  I don’t have either now, but I’d say dog.

Hat or visor?  While playing golf, usually a visor. When at the beach, I’ll wear a hat.


BCM: Thanks so much for taking the time for this interview, Jill. I’m looking forward to reading your new book, A Father for Bella. What’s next for you?

JW: I’m working on more books for my Whispering Slopes series, but I do have plans to venture into writing women’s fiction.  Thanks so much for hosting me today, Barbara. I’m so happy we’ve become friends.


Jill’s latest story, “A Pair of Lovebirds” is in the August 27 issue of Woman’s World Magazine. It’s a heartwarming story of a chance meeting and a promise of something more!

Be sure to visit Jill’s website at jillweatherholt.com. You can also find her on the following social media platforms:

WordPress: jillweatherholt.wordpress.com
Facebook: @jillweatherholtauthor
Twitter: @JillWeatherholt
Pinterest: @JillWeatherholt

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Book Review: Encounters: Relationships in Conflict by Fred H. Rohn #short stories #conflict and reconciliation

I am very pleased to share Noelle Granger’s thoughtful review of my father’s book of short stories, Encounters. Thank you Noelle!

SaylingAway

Encounters: Relationships in Conflict was an thoroughly enjoyable and thought-provoking read and clearly the result of the author’s long career in business, on boards, and as Chair of the New Jersey Historical Society. His stories cross age groups and are set in different time periods, but all concern the conflict between people based on differing perceptions, and are written with a wisdom that comes only with age and experience.

I found the stories oddly soothing and gentle and could directly relate to some of them myself. The Piano Recital concerns an amazing resolution of the conflict between a boy being bullied and the one doing the bullying. Bicycle describes the change in the relationship between a small boy and his much older brother. Harry is the poignant story of the deteriorating relationship between Harry, who is descending to dementia, and his caregiver and wife Shirley, whom he thinks is a…

View original post 324 more words

The Lady with the Dog and Other Stories by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

The Lady with the Dog and Other Stories
by
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

Rating:

There’s a lot of great literature on the public domain and I found this terrific collection of short stories by Anton Chekhov for free at the Kindle store.

Image: Wikipedia

Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) was a Russian playwright and writer of short fiction and is considered one of the all-time greatest masters of the short story. I loved this collection of nine stories, and, while I think I must have studied Chekhov in college, I don’t remember whether I read stories or plays, and so in reading this collection, I was starting from the beginning.

Each story is a little different, but they all paint a universal picture of the human condition in Russia during the second half of the 1800s. Some are about romantic relationships, others about being sick with disease and mental illness. In addition, he includes themes of marriage, class distinction, factory life, religion and nature, as his characters try to figure out their place in the world. Chekhov was a doctor as well as a writer, and he also suffered from tuberculosis, so much of his insight comes from first-hand experience. I read that Chekhov resisted committing to particular religious and political views, and he only touches on religion in “The Black Monk” and on politics in “Anonymous Story.”

A quick search confirms that these stories are well-known and character and theme analyses are a couple clicks away. I won’t do that here. I’ll just share my thoughts about a few.

“The Lady with the Dog” is one of the best in this collection, in which two married people meet and begin an affair. Chekhov’s characters here find love after they have already committed to others, and he shows how they manage their secret lives and whether they can find happiness.

“The Black Monk” is about an overworked university scholar who returns to the home where he was raised by his adoptive father. The father’s successful horticulture business weighs heavily on the old man’s mind, as his grown daughter, now an attractive young woman, thinks of her own future. Pressure to marry the daughter and take over the business leads to a progressive madness, all based on the scholar’s vision of a monk robed in black.

“An Anonymous Story” is one of the longest in the collection and is also one of my favorites. In this story, the narrator, with a mysterious political motive, assumes the position of footman for a wealthy Petersburg official. The official, a confirmed bachelor faces turmoil when the woman with whom he’s having an affair, leaves her husband and moves into their household.

You can find out more about Anton Chekhov on britannica.com and Wikipedia.

I highly recommend this collection and will be looking at more of Chekhov’s stories and plays over time. Here’s a list of what’s else free on Amazon!

The Duel and Other Stories
Uncle Vanya
The Schoolmistress and Other Stories
The Sea-Gull
The Witch and Other Stories
The Chorus Girl and Other Stories
Plays by Anton Chekhov, Second Series
Swan Song
Letters of Anton Chekhov
The Cook’s Wedding and Other Stories
The Wife, and Other Stories
Ivanoff
Note-Book of Anton Chekhov

What great reads have you found on the public domain?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!