Category Archives: Classic

Fiction from long established or historically relevant novelists. Includes classical literature (Greek and Roman, Elizabethian, American, European). Novels written 50+ years ago.

It Can’t Happen Here by Lewis

I’m a fan of cautionary stories like Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm and 1984 so I thought I would enjoy this book, but I was wrong.

It Can’t Happen Here
by Sinclair Lewis

Unlike the messages of those other books – control of information, totalitarianism, surveillance state, thought control, dangers of socialism/communism due to human nature – the message here that fascism could take root in America like it did in Germany and Spain doesn’t survive the antiquated time and setting of the story. Further, the main character seems to bounce around from Liberal to Communist to a sympathizer of socialism in his fight against fascism. And like most of these types of books from the early-mid 1900s the issues are more important than the story, which suffers by the end. Listening through this book was tedious.

The Audible narrator is pretty perfect for this book, though. Exactly the old timey sound I would want.

Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

Solaris by Lem

I had no idea what to expect here. the description seems to imply a love story and Very Serious Deep Thoughts. Man was I disappointed.

Solaris: The Definitive Edition
By Stanislaw Lem

I’m going to tell you what I wish someone had told me [SPOILERS]: this is boring as heck. Not the charming slow moving classic SciFi with quaint science and thoughts on the future. No, this is an incredibly long winded story where long sections are nothing but back story on the planet. At first I thought it was interesting and wll thought out. After a time I just want to move on.

As for love, the way the main character treats the female lead is incredibly chauvinistic and demeaning. Very little actual love. In fact, he “falls in love” with the alien created version of his dead wife for almost no reason even though he loves her for not being his wife. Huh? If he doesn’t love her because she looks and acts like his wife what exactly is it he loves? Her lack of memory? Her charm? The fact that she a fake version of his dead wife? Makes no sense. But he does fall in love with his suicidal alien construct. Maybe. I don’t care. This story isn’t about love, it is about a man who longs for something he can’t have. That’s not romantic. It’s pathetic.

The alien (Ocean) is interesting. You’ll get no resolution here and that’s actually fine. But I’d prefer more time spent on the Ocean than on the constructs. A better solution is the main character recognizing that the Ocean is sentient and attempting to contact it, rather than longing for his dead wife/ dead construct to come back.

I powered through this but I don’t recommend it. There are simply too many better options.

Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Twain

I haven’t read many Twain books. In fact, this may be the first time I’ve read one all the way through. And I have to admit that it wasn’t easy to get through. The beginning was interesting enough, but the loooooong middle section was so uneventful that even Twain jumps forward a few years at one point.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
by Mark Twain

I was struck by the fact that this book wouldn’t work with today’s audience for another reason as well: he just knows too much about things that we don’t. For instance, he creates a telegraph and phone line system, wires for power, creates factories and schools, manufactures bicycles and other tools. How many of us today know how to do any of those things? We get stuck with King Arthur’s court and we, what? Argue about political correctness on a Twitter made from stone carvings (there isn’t a printing press, no one can read, and paper as we know it doesn’t exist.) We’d be killed. I mean the guy knew the date of the eclipse from that year hundreds of years before his time. I don’t even remember the exact date of the one that happened here last August. Was it August?

The story ends in an unexpected and stunted way. I had to go back to the end and the beginning to make it all make sense. It’s not that it’s bad, but it’s just so abrupt. And sad.

Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury

Imagine a world where there is so much information coming at you that you just can’t handle it; you decide that it would be better to simply avoid information that doesn’t make you happy. The world in this book is that world. And so is the real world, or at least it seems plausible that we are heading there.

Fahrenheit 451
by Ray Bradbury

In recent years we have seen a louder and louder call to silence critics or people we don’t agree with. From de-platforming on college campuses, to blocking and banning on social platforms, to campaigns to fire people from their jobs for things they have said outside of work, to trying to get books banned, to making speech illegal if we find it hateful, we are definitely on the road to more censorship, rather than less. Bradbury provides this world for us: a world of happy thoughts (or else) and complete control by a police state that regulates not only how we relate to others but entertainment and learning as well.

Bradbury was ahead of his time in more than just the call to be wary of totalitarianism. His ideas of wall sized screens (instead of TVs) and interacting with those actors directly was prescient. The idea that we would, as a society, choose to burn ideas (books) on our own, that we would self-medicate (ala Brave New World) and that only true freedom would be outside the system all stay with the reader long after the book is over. I’ve read this book before and, while the story isn’t great, the points the author makes are true and definitely worth being reminded of.

Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

Up From Slavery by Washington

Booker was born a slave on a plantation in Alabama. He died the president of a university and one of the most celebrated men in America.

Up From Slavery
by Booker T. Washington

This is a fascinating autobiography by an important fight in American history! The first few chapters, especially, give a history of the end of slavery and the first 25 years after emancipation from the perspective of a former slave that are indispensable! Later chapters focus more on Washington’s accolades and the growth of Tuskegee University and aren’t as interesting, except for certain events.

This is a book worth reading and one all Americans should read for the history and also Washington’s attitude and philosophy, which I think still matters: educate yourself, gain skills, work hard. Rise up.

Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

The Abolition of Man by Lewis

This very short collection of lectures is a fascinating look at a mid last century argument against, what I believe we now call, postmodernism.

The Abolition of Man
by C.S. Lewis

Lewis argues most vigorously against the attack on reason that a couple authors of a school text make, knowingly or not. The idea that sets Lewis off is a seeming rejection of objective reality; that things are objectively true regardless of our opinions. He carefully makes his argument without referring to Christianity or any religion at all, but falls back on what he calls the Tao or – and Lewis readers will recognize this one – natural law.

This argument is a winning one, but unfortunately we see that nearly 80 years later society has embraced it. Postmodernism and relativism rule academia and culture. “My truth” and “your truth” are accepted even though they don’t exist, objectively. “That’s how you see it” or “That’s your opinion” have not only been shown to be as destructive as Lewis anticipated but lead to exactly where he warns us: the death, or abolition, of all objective knowledge.

Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

The Great Divorce by Lewis

I’ve read this classic before and revisiting this quick read is definitely worth it.

The Great Divorce
By C.S. Lewis

For those that don’t know, the whole story is a dream that the main character has of waking up in Hell in a line for a bus that is taking a trip to Heaven. In Heaven we observe several miserable visitors as they are wooed and pleaded with to join citizens of Heaven (that they knew in life).

The story is very reminiscent of Lewis’ Screwtape Letters in that we aren’t supposed to take this as a true theology of Heaven and Hell, but instead we are to see the character and decisions we make in choosing Hell over Heaven. While Screwtape takes the point of view of a tempter of vice, this book takes the point of view of the sinner choosing vice. So long as we see this book from that perspective and not an attempt at theology of Heaven – or an attempt to paint Lewis as a Universalist – this is a great book.

Insightful as always and cutting for those of us who still struggle to choose Joy instead of Self. With the reminder ever so often.

Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

I Am Legend by Mattheson

It’s (dissapointingly) normal to say a movie doesn’t follow a book well, but I was surprised by just how far BOTH movies strayed from the source material of this book.

I Am Legend
by Richard Matheson

Here you find a thoughtful, plodding, psychological story of one man, maybe the last man alive on earth, and how he deals with the loss of everything and everyone he knows to a great plague that may be vampirism and the great loneliness he feels.

It’s not a great book, and definitely dated, but it was worth the read and definitely better than either movie. Dark and unrelenting and interesting.

Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Doescher

Star Wars and Shakespeare fans rejoice! Unto you is given the most amazing book. Ever.

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars
Verily, A New Hope
Ian Doescher
Quirk Books
July 2013

Imagine the whole story of Star Wars: A New Hope as a classical Shakespearian play. Having trouble? Me too. Then I picked up the book and chose a page at random and started reading. Brilliant! Here, let me help from page 101:

LUKE ‘Tis fortunate thou hast these storgae bins.
HAN Their use hath ever been for smuggling goods.
Ne’er have I thought I would myself herein
Be smuggling. All we do is madness-fie!
If I could start the ship, the tractor beam
Would wrap its eagle’s talons ’round my neck.
OBI-WAN The tractor beam thou may’st leave unto me.
Han Thou fool, I knew thou wouldst say as much.
OBI-WAN Aye, say thou a fool? Then fool, good Sir, am I.

Yeah, it’s awesome like that. Every page is awesome like that!

The actions and language are only part of the story, though; as Doescher adds asides (even for Droids) and chorus to move the story forward and give insight that a casual watcher of the movie may miss. It is very well done.

I can’t recommend this book high enough. It is perhaps my favorite book of the year, and possibly of several years.

Scott Asher is the Managing Editor of His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Tempestuous by Askew and Helmes

Popularity is conditional. We’ve all seen them fall. Miranda Prospero, is one of those fallen.

A Twisted Lit Novel
By Kim Askew and Amy Helmes
Merit Press
January 2013

After her social life’s tragic demise, former “IT” girl Miranda is left working the “Hot Dog Cabob” with her new dweeby coworker: Ariel. During yet another awful shift at the food court of the local mall, a ginormuous snow storm sweeps in, trapping everyone in the mall overnight. To make matters even better, they’re trapped in with a thief who has broken in though the computer store! Miranda is left with a quiet and sarcastic loner named Caleb all night- literally. The two are handcuffed together. Again making things worse: the “IT” crowd, that used to practically worship Miranda, is locked in with them. This is going to be a loongg night…

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and had a great time romping around the mall with these unforgettable characters. One thing parents may be concerned about are the usage of curse words. For instance, the “s-word” frequently and an example “her hellish s___s” are used in the book. Other than that the book is wonderful.

Unlike in Exposure, another twisted lit novel (see my review of it here) I have not read the Shakespeare play that this novel is based off of. I plan on reading The Tempest soon though, so that I can find all the little allusions and similarities that are sure to be there, like they were in Exposure.

I would recommend this book to middle schoolers and up to read, based on individual maturity and parent’s discretion. This book was wonderful to read and I hope to be seeing many more twisted Lit novels published In the future.

Arieltopia, Young Adult Editor, is an 12 year old avid reader – usually going through a book a day – who gives readers a unique perspective on Young Adult, Teen Fiction, along with adult fiction: an actual teenager’s perspective.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.