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Profile for Shirley A. Phillips > Reviews


Shirley A. Phill...'s Profile

Customer Reviews: 18
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Reviews Written by
Shirley A. Phillips "ocee" RSS Feed (Lawrence, KS United States)

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Lamy of Santa Fe
Lamy of Santa Fe
by Paul Horgan
Edition: Paperback
28 used & new from $16.49

2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A literary achievement and a historical failure, May 30, 2007
This review is from: Lamy of Santa Fe (Paperback)
Horgan's writing is captivating but his his historical acuity is blunted by his religious zeal (which gets wordy at times) and cannot serve as any sort of corrective to Willa Cather's lavish adulation of Latour/Lamy. Horgan will deal bluntly with Martinez's failings but utterly avoids the sense of homosexuality in the bishop's relationship with his busom buddy Machebeuf. He also does not deal adequately with though he does allude to Lamy's insensitiviy to Hispanic culture, as with the santos.

A Tale of Two Cities (Penguin Classics)
A Tale of Two Cities (Penguin Classics)
by Charles Dickens
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.00
203 used & new from $0.78

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The" Novel of Novels, February 3, 2007
From the first lines of the novel about London and Paris to the last speech by Sydney Carton at the end the book held us in its grip. I have read Carlyle's History of the French Revolution, Dickens' main source, and find this much the superior. My wife and I read this in high school and now in our seventies appreciate it more than then, and we appreciated it then, too. Dickens' engaging style remains with the reader. A few years back we walked by the few remaining stones of the Bastille and they seemed redolent of the novel. Reading this book was more than entertainment, it was an experience.

The Scarlet Letter (Bantam Classics)
The Scarlet Letter (Bantam Classics)
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $3.95
640 used & new from $0.01

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maturity helps, November 30, 2006
The novel has been in the household since I was a child. At some point I undertook to read it, though my mother wisely suggested I wait a while. I did not and got puzzled what the letter A stood for. Oh, adultery, what's that? A boyhood friend explained. I read it again in my late teens and appreciated it. Today, at age 77, I finished it again with tears in my eyes. The human qualities surmount the brittleness of Puritan Boston and still impress me. Hawthorne's ambivalence about his ancestral Puritanism (which caused him to change the spelling of his last name)comes out powerfully.

High school readers, many of them at least, should put it aside until they grow up a bit. Reading Amazon reviews evokes moments of cynicism when I want to suggest that high school students should be banned from reading serious books, such as this one, which hasn't got a single car chase in it, but then I note that there are perceptive reviews by high school readers and clueless reviews by adults who have technically reached the age of maturity.

Pride and Prejudice (Bantam Classics)
Pride and Prejudice (Bantam Classics)
by Jane Austen
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $4.95
428 used & new from $0.01

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OK, no car chases but . . ., December 24, 2005
Jane Austen's great achievement (and she preferred "achievements" to "accomplishments," if you speak early 19th Century English) was to produce a novel esteemed by its contemporaries for what they called its "probableness." They noted she employed none of the fictional gimmicks of the time--their equivalents of car chases--and set a new standard for psychogical perception. Sir Walter Scott observed that he could "do the bow-wow thing" but he could not do this. Those who find fault with the centrality of marriage in the work do not recognize the limited possibilities for women at the time. Given the narrow sea-room available to her, Elizabeth did marvelously with the minimum possible surrender of her personal freedom. Really, though, the one who did marvelously was Jane Austen.

The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary
The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary
by Simon Winchester
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.94
156 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why OED beats the competition, August 28, 2005
Winchester's stress on personalies demonstrates that the OED was the work of amateurs in the main. Their procedure and philosophy was correct, namely, that a dictionary reports meanings and usages; it does not determine them, pace my teachers in the schools. The professionals of the French Academy had, and have, it wrong. You cannot control the growth of a living language. Furthermore, I very much doubt that the "Immortals" were or are anywhere as interesting as the strong, pungent individuals who put the OED together.

Ethan Frome (Signet Classics)
Ethan Frome (Signet Classics)
by Edith Wharton
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
211 used & new from $0.01

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How had I missed this book so long?, May 5, 2005
Here I am at age 75 and had never read this book, though I had read House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence--both since age 65! I was introduced to Wharton by my wife and took to her immediately (as I was introduced to and took to Willa Cather late in life. Of course, my wife is not a professional academic and can read what she wants. This novel took me over from the first page. Wharton's masterly inweaving of the metaphor of snow and bitter cold into the tale of a bitterly cold relationship between a generous and kind husband and his bitter, hard, manipulative wife gripped and overwhelmed me, as did the role of the hapless and innocent Mattie. In 150 pages we have one of the great works of American fiction. Why do I let people talk me into reading trash, like the Da Vinci code?

Mrs. Dalloway
Mrs. Dalloway
by Virginia Woolf
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.01
803 used & new from $1.78

0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Novel vindicated at the end, July 10, 2004
This review is from: Mrs. Dalloway (Paperback)
My initial response of hostility, sustained through much of the book, mellowed some at the end. It is a sensitive story of love and madness, apparent mostly on afterthought. Still, I thought more of Faulkner than of this.

The Children of Men
The Children of Men
by P. D. James
Edition: Hardcover
57 used & new from $0.53

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A grim dystopia, November 6, 2003
This review is from: The Children of Men (Hardcover)
Dame Phyllis has deceived many into believing she was continuing in her normal genre, mystery. .... This is not a mystery novel, though it has suspense. (So did the Odyssey!) Another error is to assume it is science fiction and is so regarded by those who classify C. S. Lewis as a sci-fi writer. What we do have is a grim dystopia, almost apocalyptic, with overt religious underpinnings. Most of the plot gives a futuristic rendering of the Nativity story--e.g., a woodshed for a manger. At the end Dame Phyllis resonates with the Lord of the Ring, the corrupting power of a symbol. I would fault the work only because the parallels to the Gospels and Tolkien's work seem too overt. By the way, she also deceives some about her gender. ...

Life of Pi
Life of Pi
by Yann Martel
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.01
1026 used & new from $0.01

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pi is by definition irrational., July 3, 2003
This review is from: Life of Pi (Paperback)
As we can never bring the mathematical pi to a rational conclusion, neither can we this remarkable novel. I read much of it with my little cat on my lap (her flight distance being about a millimeter or less--something you will learn about in the novel). I suddenly realized she is a distant cousin of the great Bengal tiger of or maybe not of this novel, which I could not stop reading once I had started.

by David Lodge
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.69
156 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Satire and sensitivity in a happy marriage, May 20, 2003
This review is from: Therapy (Paperback)
But the only happy marriage in this novel is the one between satire and sensitivity. I had expected comedy and satire throughout, but, though Lodge gives us a good dose of it, the book turns poignant and touching. I think I was in love with Maureen by the conclusion. I read the book initially with reluctance because it had been, as I viewed it, foisted off on me by a book club. I ended thoroughly caught up and engrossed, even shaken at times. I am in that book. He did he know me?

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