Thursday, February 19, 2009


Title: Leaves of Grass [The Original 1855 Edition]

Author: Walt Whitman

Year: 1855

This slim volume of poetry, to which Whitman added until his death (resulting in the hefty "Death Bed Edition"), contains the original 12 poems, all untitled, but which would later become Whitman's well-known masterpieces (including "Song of Myself"); by no means an easy read, this collection is still accessible enough to be enjoyed by casual readers and serious scholars alike.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Title: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Author: James Joyce

Year: 1916

Intimidated by the very idea of James Joyce, I wearily began reading this novel hoping to at least comprehend a small portion; while the first half provides a relatively easy narrative, the book's language gradually grows more complex, and even the dialogue becomes rich with allusions (relating mainly to Catholicism and Irish politics) that are largely convoluted yet do not completely obfuscate the focus of the text: the adolescence and intellectual development of Joyce's partly autobiographical protagonist, Stephen Dedalus.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Title: The Glimpses of the Moon
Author: Edith Wharton
Year: 1922

Caught among an elitist social group that upholds money as its moral standard, Nick and Susy can either fall into the rhythm of a glamorous existence or attempt to transcend it; the novel begins with their honeymoon and schemes for financial gain, then continues to chronicle the following year of their marriage, set against the wanderings and moral infractions of their "friends".