Biography Reviews

Jane Austen: A Life Revealed

[openbook booknumber=”0547370210″][rating:4/5]

Jane Austen’s popularity never seems to fade. She has hordes of devoted fans, and there have been numerous adaptations of her life and work. But who was Jane Austen? The writer herself has long remained a mystery. And despite the resonance her work continues to have for teens, there has never been a young adult trade biography on Austen.

Catherine Reef changes that with this highly readable account. She takes an intimate peek at Austen’s life and innermost feelings, interweaving her narrative with well-crafted digests of each of Austen’s published novels. The end result is a book that is almost as much fun to read as Jane’s own work—and truly a life revealed.

This book caught my eye for its clean, well styled cover and hooked me with its promise of a simple and concise biography of Jane Austen written for young adults. I love Jane Austen and am a huge fan of her novels, their movies, and their many spin offs. But, aside from what I knew from watching Becoming Jane, I didn’t know too much about the author herself. This book was the perfect toe in the pool and revealed Jane Austen in a way that was engaging and interesting and left me eager to re-read her novels again with this new information in mind.

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The French Mathematician

[openbook booknumber=”0425172910″][rating:3/5]

While growing up in revolutionary France, Evariste Galois immersed himself in the study of mathematics, a pursuit that allowed him a welcome glimpse of order at a time when chaos consumed his country. Arrogant, ambitious, and brilliant, Galois dreamed of solving the quintic, a complex equation that had baffled many talented mathematicians before him–but after his father’s mysterious death, he devoted himself to Republican politics with the same fervent energy he had applied to his mathematical studies. Rich in historical detail and bursting with intellectual passion, this captivating novel describes a genius’s valiant quest for truth–in a turbulent and uncertain era that in many ways mirrors the one in which we live today.

I am sharing this review for posterity’s sake, this is the very first review I ever wrote and posted online. I blogged this review over ten years ago on December 13, 2001. I meant to post it here on its ten year anniversary but the holidays got in the way. Instead I am posting it today to kick off a new year with. This review is full of spoilers (seriously, it spoils just about the whole book) and is really more of a book report than a review but I can definitely see some of my beginnings in this and so I decided what better way to start a new year than with my start in book blogging. Enjoy!

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The Age of Napoleon

[openbook booknumber=”0828104913″]

[rating:2/5]

Since I had started to develop a new found interest in the regency period I decided I wanted to know a bit more about the political events of the period. These almost always surrounded the Napoleonic wars, of which I knew embarrassingly little. So I picked up a book called The Age of Napoleon.

This book is part biography, part history book as it tells the story of Napoleon in the context of the times he was in: political, cultural, military, economic and social.

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