The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett

Samuel Spade's jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting V under the more flexible V of his mouth. His nostrils curved back to make another, smaller, V. His yellow-grey eyes were horizontal. The V motif was picked up again by thickish brows rising outward from twin creases above a hooked nose, and his … Continue reading The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett

Making sense of ‘The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas’

Gertrude Stein's biography reads like a Who's Who during the roaring 1920's with cubists, surrealists, dadaists, art dealers and publicists all intertwined. Not surprisingly, this makes her incredibly hard to read for students, so I made it easy. Here's the illustrated version, hyperlinked and annotated up the wazoo. I may have gone a little overboard with the … Continue reading Making sense of ‘The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas’

As I Lay Dying – W. Faulkner

Meet the Bundrens, a down-at-the-heels family of dirt farmers in Yoknapatawpha County. Who lays dying? Addie Bundren, the mother. She listens to the “chuck, chuck” of the adze as her son, Cash chisels away at her casket. An easy read? Hardly. You need to piece together the plot and the characters through the eyes of … Continue reading As I Lay Dying – W. Faulkner

Hemingway – The old man and the Sea / Illustrated

"I hate reading books without pictures", is what many a student tells me whenever I hand out the reading list for English class. "There're always so many words I don't understand", says another. I get it. Since our school has no library, all books on the list must be downloadable from the internet and free of … Continue reading Hemingway – The old man and the Sea / Illustrated