Andrea Schlottman, Author at Books on the Wall

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The King of the Jazz Age: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Life and Times

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F. Scott Fitzgerald blog feature image

Just like Mark Twain before him, F. Scott Fitzgerald both literally and symbolically defined an age in American history. While Twain coined “The Gilded Age” to describe late 19th-century America, Fitzgerald popularized “The Jazz Age” for the 1920s. Although Fitzgerald’s name is inextricably linked to that era of bootleggers, speakeasies, and flappers, his fiction is so much more than a historical relic. The lyricism of Fitzgerald’s prose and the profound themes his works explore have earned him a spot alongside greats like Henry James, Faulkner, and Hemingway. To get a better understanding of the man behind the greatest “Jazz Age” […]

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Five of the Most Influential German Authors [Infographic]

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Five of the Most Influential German Authors

Germany has produced some of the finest artistic and intellectual minds in the Western world. Here are just a few of the famous German geniuses to revolutionize the fields of music, philosophy, and science: Beethoven Bach Einstein Kant Perhaps there’s no better way for non-Germans to understand the German psyche than to read some of the finest books by the greatest German authors. Who are these authors, you may ask? Although there are hundreds of awe-inspiring artists to read from the canon of German literature, today we’ll take a look at five of the greatest German authors. Get a sneak […]

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Words Wednesday: Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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Carlos Ruiz Zafón quote, The Shadow of the Wind

This Carlos Ruiz Zafón quote comes from his 2001 novel The Shadow of the Wind. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón Originally written in Spanish, The Shadow of the Wind was translated into English by Lucia Graves in 2004. It has since been translated into more than 40 languages around the world. The novel is set in Barcelona in 1945, during the Spanish Civil War, and follows the life of a young boy named Daniel. The son of a book dealer, Daniel is taken to the secret Cemetery of Forgotten Books, where he chooses a mysterious book […]

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Jane Austen: Great Britain’s Greatest Novelist

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Feature image for Jane Austen novels blog

The British novelist Jane Austen only published four novels during her brief lifetime. Despite the rather small oeuvre of Jane Austen novels (six major novels, including two posthumously published works), nobody doubts Austen’s status as one of the greatest writers in the English language. Portrait of Jane Austen, via Wikimedia Commons Indeed, Austen is one of those rare authors beloved by both critics and the general public. It might seem strange that people in our technophilic 21st century would be at all interested in Austen’s “novels of manners” set in Regency England. However, every time a new film based on […]

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Words Wednesday: John Steinbeck

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John Steinbeck quote from East of Eden

This John Steinbeck quote comes from his 1952 novel East of Eden. East of Eden by John Steinbeck Published in September 1952, East of Eden follows several generations of two families whose stories intertwine: the Trasks and the Hamiltons. Set in the Salinas Valley of Central California, the setting is as much a character as any person in the novel. The story begins on the ranch of Irish immigrants Samuel and Liza Hamilton. While their land is notoriously infertile, the nearby lands are lush and productive—and it’s these lands that purchased by the wealthy stranger Adam Trask. Adam moves to […]

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Words Wednesday: Viet Thanh Nguyen

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Viet Thanh Nguyen quote from The Sympathizer

For today’s Words Wednesday, we’re featuring a recent Viet Thanh Nguyen quote from his 2016 novel, The Sympathizer. The Sympathizer (2015) by Viet Thanh Nguyen Published in 2015, The Sympathizer is the debut novel of Viet Thanh Nguyen, a Vietnamese American professor of literature. The novel follows the story of an unnamed narrator who works as a North Vietnamese mole in the South Vietnamese army. After the fall of Saigon, the narrator is moved to Los Angeles, where he continues his spying work in the city’s close-knit Vietnamese community. Often called “a man of two minds,” the narrator struggles with this […]

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Words Wednesday: Hilary Mantel

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Hilary Mantel Quote, Wolf Hall

Today’s featured snippet is a Hilary Mantel quote from her 2009 novel Wolf Hall. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel Set in early 1500s England, Wolf Hall is a historical novel that follows the rise of Thomas Cromwell and Anne Boleyn (whose rises, story lines, and real lives are impossible to untangle from one another) during the reign of King Henry VIII. Still famous today for his many wives and ordered decapitations, King Henry—and all of the other characters—are wonderfully humanized by Mantel in this novel. Although King Henry and his court feature prominently in this work, the focus remains on Thomas Cromwell. […]

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Words Wednesday: Margaret Atwood

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These quote from The Handmaid’s Tale is one of our all-time favorites, though there are many to choose from in this interesting novel. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood Published in 1985, The Handmaid’s Tale is set in a dystopian Boston, in which a theological dictatorship has taken hold. This new nation, called the Republic of Gilead, has forced young women into sexual and intellectual subjugation. Reading has been outlawed, women are forced to procreate with high-ranking party members, and Old Testament-inspired punishments are doled out in public to maintain order. The Handmaid’s Tale won several literary awards, including the Governor […]

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Words Wednesday: Herman Melville

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Herman Melville quote graphic, Moby Dick

Today’s Words Wednesday features a Herman Melville quote from his classic novel Moby-Dick; or The Whale. Moby Dick by Herman Melville Published in 1851 at the height of the American Renaissance period, Moby Dick follows the adventures of the mad whaler Ahab, captain of the Pequod. The novel was originally published in London as The Whale and then as Moby-Dick; or The Whale in New York. The book is dedicated to famed author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Although the novel was originally not a commercial success (it was actually out of print when Melville died), it has become one of the most […]

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Words Wednesday: NoViolet Bulawayo

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NoViolet Bulawayo quote, We Need New Names

This NoViolet Bulawayo quote comes from her 2013 debut novel, We Need New Names. We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo We Need New Names is in many ways a typical coming-of-age story, following young Darling as she leaves her home country of Zimbabwe for the Midwestern United States. It’s also in many ways a typical immigrant’s tale, if such a genre can even be named given the diverse experiences that immigrants to the United States have. Although the story follows hardship after hardship, both in Darling’s home country and her adopted home of Detroit, the story is never lifeless […]

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