Category Archives: Book Review

Overlooked Classics: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick DouglassMany of the books that now fall under public domain have appeared on the myriad versions of canonical lists of what people consider to be the classic novels of the English language. Authors whose works appear on this site and often are considered part of these canons include Homer, Shakespeare, and Dickens to name just a few. However, there are many novels that tend to fall through the cracks when people, whether they are reading for scholastic purposes or for entertainment, are asked to list works that they believe to be some of the most important literary moments in the history of the English language. One such work is the autobiographical work of Frederick Douglass entitled, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.

Frederick Douglass was a slave in antebellum Maryland who eventually escaped from slavery, authored this work, and subsequently became the face of the abolitionist movement both in America and abroad. The influence of Douglass’s Narrative in undoing the evils of slavery cannot be overstated. If you wish to experience one of the most poignant and moving works produced in America’s early history, you cannot miss Douglass’s Narrative. Within the Narrative, Douglass lays bare his life as he struggles to unshackle his mind and body from the seemingly overwhelming power of slavery. With gripping accounts of daring, sickening atrocities against human beings, and personal mental struggles all set forth in Douglass’s eloquently sparse style, you will be transported to the 1840’s and experience the firsthand accounts that played a major role in persuading people around the world to put an end to the reign of slavery. At barely over 100 pages long, Douglass’s Narrative will be a quick and powerful listen/read if you are picking it up as an audiobook or ebook. Either way, it is well worth your time to witness one of the most influential literary works in American history.

Hidden Gem: The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is often known as the American master of the macabre, and yet, it is lesser known that he is also credited with introducing readers on both sides of the Atlantic to a new style of literature that came to be known as Detective Fiction with his 1841 short story: “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” This story invites readers to partake in a gruesome murder mystery while witnessing the brilliance of the French detective, C. Auguste Dupin as he works to unravel a seemingly unsolvable case. This story is arguably the origination of the locked room mystery, and keeps readers ever on their toes as they strive to deduce the truth in this hairy case alongside the famous C. Auguste Dupin. As the precursor to the widely popular Sherlock Holmes works written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle later in the 19th century, this gem of a story often gets overlooked by contemporary readers. However, any fan of detective fiction, suspense, or thrillers will be captivated by this blood-soaked, mind-bending mystery!