Indexed herein are all the book reviews I’ve written. The ratings are based upon my honest impressions, some of which were influenced by a re-reading or re-evaluation as an adult, and some of which were influenced by disappointment in not living up to decades of hype. For example, I might have a somewhat better opinion of The Great Gatsby if I reread it today, just as I would’ve given 5 stars to The Lives of John Lennon and Constance had I reviewed them at fourteen.

I make no apologies for not rating Beatrice Sparks’s one-dimensional morality plays very highly. She was the true author, NOT the “editor,” of these “real-life troubled teen journals.” Some of her books are relatively better-written, but they’re still awful.

Feel free to suggest any books you’d like for me to review, if they seem like my style. I most prefer serious historical fiction (NOT the trendy hist-fic lite I see so much of today, esp. in YA published in the U.S.), well-written MG historicals, classic world literature, and non-fiction on historical, literary, sociological, and religious topics.

Anna Is Still Here (Anna Is Er Nog), Ida Vos (5 stars)
Anna Karenina, Lev Tolstoy (4.5 stars)
Annie’s Baby, Beatrice Sparks (1 star)

Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown, Maud Hart Lovelace, 4 stars
Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill, Maud Hart Lovelace, 3 stars
Betsy-Tacy, Maud Hart Lovelace, 3 stars
Betsy-Tacy and Tib, Maud Hart Lovelace, 3 stars
A Bintel Brief, edited by Isaac Metzker (4.5 stars)
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak (0 stars)
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, John Boyle (0 stars)
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley (5 stars)

Candide, Voltaire (5 stars)
The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer (5 stars)
Caroline: Little House, Revisited, Sarah Miller (2 stars)
The Comedy World of Stan Laurel, John McCabe (4.5 stars)
Constance: A Story of Early Plymouth, Patricia Clapp (3.5 stars)

Dancing on the Bridge of Avignon (Dansen op de Brug van Avignon), Ida Vos (5 stars)
De Monarchia, Dante Alighieri (3.5 stars)
The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs (3.5 stars)

The Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio (5 stars)
Favorite Decameron stories, Part I
Favorite Decameron stories, Part II
Favorite Decameron stories, Part III
Favorite Decameron stories, Part IV
Favorite Decameron stories, Part V
Favorite Decameron stories, Part VI
Least-favorite Decameron stories, Part I
Least-favorite Decameron stories, Part II
Least-favorite Decameron stories, Part III

The Divine Comedy (La Divina Commedia), Dante Alighieri (5 stars):
Part I
Part II
Part III
General historical overview and brief summary
Empyrean (summary of the last four Cantos plus information about Empyrean itself)
Inferno (general summary)

Empty Mansions, Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. (3 stars)

A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway (2.5 stars)
Finding Katie, Beatrice Sparks (3 stars)
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, Margaret Sidney (4 stars)
Five Little Peppers Grown Up, Margaret Sidney (4 stars)
Five Little Peppers Midway, Margaret Sidney (4 stars)
Forever Amber, Kathleen Winsor (5 stars)

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald (3 stars)

The Hole in the Sheet, Evelyn Kaye (Negative one million stars!)

I’m a Believer, Micky Dolenz (5 stars)
The Invisible Bridge, Julie Orringer (1 star)
It Happened to Nancy, Beatrice Sparks (3 stars)

I Was Anastasia, Ariel Lawhon (1 star):
Part I
Part II

Jay’s Journal, Mostly Beatrice Sparks, with 25 real journal entries from Alden Barrett (2 stars)
Joy in the Morning, Betty Smith (3 stars)

The Key Is Lost (De Sleutel Is Gebroken), Ida Vos (5 stars)
Kolyma Tales (Kolymskiye Rasskazy), Varlam Shalamov (4 stars)

The Lives of John Lennon, Albert Goldman (2 stars)

Many Years from Now, Barry Miles, with extensive material from Paul McCartney (3 stars)
Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln, Janis Cooke Newman (3 stars)
The Master and Margarita (Master i Margarita), Mikhail Bulgakov (5 stars)
The Member of the Wedding, Carson McCullers (2 stars)
Mila 18, Leon Uris (4.5 stars)
My Family for the War (published in German as Liverpool Street), Anne C. Voorhoeve (4.5 stars)

Now I’ll Tell You Everything, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (2.5 stars)

Out of This Furnace, Thomas Bell (5 stars)

The Persian Letters (Lettres Persanes), Montesquieu (5 stars)
Persuasion, Jane Austen (2 stars)
The Play of God, Devi Vanamali (5 stars)
Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage, Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas (5 stars)

The Ramayana (5 stars)
Rashi’s Daughters: Joheved, Maggie Anton (1 star)
Return from Exile, Carol Matzkin Orsborn (3 stars)

Tender Is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald (3 stars)
The Trial Begins (Sud Idyot), Andrey Sinyavskiy as Abram Terts (4 stars)
Treacherous Love, Beatrice Sparks (2 stars)

La Vita Nuova, Dante Alighieri (4 stars)

We (My), Yevgeniy Zamyatin (5 stars)
The Wind Done Gone, Alice Randall (1 star)