The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories - Washington Irving It's been a long time since I had the pleasure of sitting down and reading pieces of literature written in a time before these last couple of decades, and this one did not disappoint. Mind you, while I'm reading this for my American Literature of the 19th Century class (English Major~ Who'd have guessed it~), it's a really delicious experience to be able to put down the more rampant outlandish stories that so often capture the minds of the youths today and read something that was trying to establish--for the very first time in our history as a country--a train of literature that could be truly called "American." For that single reason, it's a little taste of wonder to go back to these several short stories that became such well known legends in our culture (some that I admit I never knew of as well~) and see what people wrote on the brink of our beginnings as a nation.

Yet even to put aside the relationship of this small book's worth in the development of a nation and its establishment of a strain of literature all its own, this is a really fun and enjoyable piece of fiction to read. It's refreshing to put aside all the fantasies that we're used to hearing about, and the pathetic attempts at portraying romance in some "cool" and "sexy" (more like "redundant and grotesquely pathetic") way, and just enjoy plain works that have elements of all of the above and more. Adventure, mysticism, the passing of ages, the call and devotion of love, the fits of passion and miscarriage of rage~ There are so many HUMAN and wonderfully engaging themes to this little collection of stories written by Washington Irving! You don't have to like all of them, but each of them has its own little world and fanciful, charming tale that it weaves for you, easily and quickly fretting you along its bends and easygoing ways.

Irving's work is not difficult to read, for all that his language does give away its age at times. His works are for the most part simple and to the point, with the exception that he--like many of the characters he writes--tend to get carried away on whims of fancy and completely engulf themselves in their own passions. *Laughs* But it's an enjoyable thing in every story! Even when I found myself rolling my eyes or shaking my head, I still read the story, because each one of them contained a smidgeon of something that captured my interest and kept me going just a little bit further. His plots are all quite simple to follow. There's nothing bewildering or confusing, even though most of them have a few mysterious elements thrown in there for a while. But most of those are unraveled before long, and the one time he took me on a journey from one story to another to another, only to shock me with a surprise ending in finding the stories were all related, I was awed with wonder at how he expertly swung all these seemingly unrelated tales fully around and linked them together to form a delightful loop! He is, if nothing else, a masterful executor of language, and his storytelling, whether the subjects seem to be up your alley or not, is almost continuously enjoyable!

In just under two hundred pages, we get thirteen different stories, and I must say that while some dragged a little, there were quite a few that really caught the imagination or spoke to the emotions and the engaged mind! Irving has a spectacular manner of making things that can be so dated still remain absolutely charming outside their time period, and it is only emphasized by my playful attitude while reading his works. While more than a few of them carry a message, and some beautifully philosophize, we still have that amiable storyteller sitting there before us, telling us his tales of all kinds, yet never losing that same enjoyable quality that made this such a pleasant read. And just for the record, my favorite stories would have to be "Rip Van Winkle," "The Mutability of Literature," "The Wife," and then the string of stories that all lead into one another: "Adventure of the Mysterious Stranger," "The Adventure of My Uncle," "The Adventure of My Aunt," and lastly "The Story of the Young Italian." *Laughs* Seven out of thirteen! Guess I really did enjoy this read for the greater part! And these are only the ones that I loved! The others were still really enjoyable too!

It's a fun read, guys. If you're looking for something a little out of the century and common themes, and you're into legends and old folklore (or things from the 19th Century~), then definitely pick this little book up. It's a read that teaches you while you enjoy it, and your vocabulary and mind will thank you for it~! You can so easily have fun with these simple tales, and engage with what's going on. Was it super-spectacular and amazing to me? Not just quite~ But was it a great read regardless? Yeah, it definitely was. :3 Come on! Check it out! A hundred and seventy pages can't hurt you! People read absolute DIRT that's twice as long as that and only zaps brain space instead of increasing it. *Chuckles* Take up this book definitely. It's a skip and a trip~! I think you'll enjoy it as much as I did! ^__^ At the very least, I sure do hope so~!