As I’ve scoured the lists of books about revolutionary America for a book to read for my own education, I struggled to find one that covered a variety of people (I love biographies, but I can’t read one about everyone!) and eras (I would love to learn about all eras of the revolution, from the pre-revolution, the actual war years, to the beginning of the republic and later political fall out). At the same time that I’m I’ve been searching for the perfect book about the revolutionary era, I remembered I had picked up a used copy of Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis (Vintage Books, 2000) in a previous year’s book sale. I decided it was the book to read right now.
I was expecting Founding Brothers to be a collection of mini-biographies about the “brothers” of the revolutionary generation. Or maybe it would be about the Constitutional Convention and how they all worked together. Honestly, I did not know what it was, but any expectations I did have were far surpassed in Ellis’s complex portrait of the generation that founded the country. His work is both thorough and completely readable. (more…)
Thornton Wilder’s sparse and simple play Our Town was first produced during the Great Depression (1938). In a set without any scenery beyond chairs and tables and in three short acts, Thornton Wilder creates an intimacy with the characters. This is probably due to the familiarity of the subject: life, love, and death in a small town. As an audience participant (or, in my case, a reader), I felt I became a part of the small town’s happenings, and the encouragement to enjoy the simplicity of life, the magic of love, and the reality of challenges becomes a poignant emotional journey. (more…)
In my reading journal a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I may want to reread The Good Earth many times. I may need to amend that.
The writing was beautiful. I loved Pearl Buck’s almost Biblical prose that just flowed like poetry. And yet, probably a dozen times, I almost stopped listening to the audiobook. The main character, Wang Lung, drove me crazy, and the blatant mistreatment of women by all the characters irked me throughout. It was difficult to persevere to the end. And yet, since it was written by a woman who lived in China for much of her life, I figured she had a deeper point behind the misogyny. I finished it.
I will probably revisit it sometime for a fresh perspective, because it is deeply interesting and the writing was so beautiful. However, I can’t now say that it is a favorite book of mine. It was difficult to listen to. (more…)
The Summer Lovin’ Challenge is all about rereading favorites, so can you blame me for squeezing in a short reread this week? After I made my list, I couldn’t resist. I love rereading my favorite books!
Wit by Margaret Edson is a quick read (I think I read it in about an hour over the course of a day), but is poignant because of its emotional subject matter. Despite its brevity, it is packed full of various implications. I’m sure I miss most of the subtle meanings when I read it, so I enjoy rereading it. I get more out of it each time. (more…)
Carl Sandburg was born in rural Galesburg, Illinois in 1878. He quit school after eighth grade, and did a variety of jobs throughout the Midwest, including traveling as a hobo, working as a fireman, and threshing wheat, eventually settling down as a journalist in the city of Chicago. Through his experiences, he observed the dichotomy between rich and poor and developed a strong sympathy for the “plight of the worker,” a sympathy obvious in his first book of poetry, Chicago Poems, first published in 1916.
While Sandburg’s poetry isn’t my favorite style nor does it focus on favorite subjects, I enjoyed reading Chicago Poems, and I loved the historical context of his poetry. He made the people of early twentieth-century Chicago real as he wrote of their plight. This was Chicago a hundred years ago: child factory workers, poor people dying of sickness and starvation, and the tragedy of every-day death. (more…)