Democracy in America Review

Democracy in America, Tocqueville’s nineteenth century commentary inspired by his travels in America and written for his primarily French audience in an attempt to salvage that nation’s struggles with revolution and democracy, is one of those classic works that is referenced over and over in everything from newspaper editorials, to historical essays, to modern, scholarly books.

From the Earth to the Moon and ‘Round the Moon Review

Imagine that the year is 1869.  Heavier-than-air powered flight is a distant fantasy for reckless dreamers and adrenaline junkies willing to throw themselves off of cliffs to test their contraptions.  The American Civil War only recently ended, and the transcontinental railroad is not quite complete.  Steam-powered ships are just beginning to replace sailing vessels for oceanic travel.  This is the context in which Jules Verne, one of the grandfathers of science fiction, told the story of the Apollo program.

The Fellowship of the Ring Review

As I said in my review of The Hobbit, during this reread I was surprised by how light that novel is; I suspect that my memory of its tone from my last reading was affected by my intermediate viewing of the movies. Or, perhaps I was merely linking it with the core Lord of the Rings books, which very quickly take on a markedly different tone from their prequel (and yes, I know that technically there is just one "book," which was split into three parts for the convenience of readers and publishers). The implications of a darker turn are heavy throughout even the early chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring, but are pivotally confirmed with the events of the chapter A Knife in the Dark.

The Story of Burnt Njal Review

One of the wonderful things about this modern age is the fact that so many classic texts are available for free, or for very little, to read instantly on Kindle. That's actually why I first found myself delving deeply into the lesser known works of authors like Jules Verne and HG Wells, and I continue to find it convenient how easily and cheaply I am able to obtain copies of classics. I can't help but think that in another day and age, finding a copy of something like The Story of Burnt Njal would have involved multiple trips to specialty bookstores in the hopes of finding this particular text.

Gulliver’s Travels Review

Coming off of the Bhagavad Gita, I had every intention of either a) finding an additional work of Eastern philosophy to read, or b) going into a reread of The Lord of the Rings (since it has been almost ten years now since I last read them, I intend to reread them this year, so expect reviews for those on the site some time this year). Then, somehow, I ended up picking up a copy of Gulliver's Travels, instead. This ended up on my reading list as one of those classics that is frequently referenced by other works, and so I thought it would be valuable to know just what was being referenced.