How books can make things better

bridge.jpgLet’s be honest. America is quickly becoming a shithole country. The steady drone of stupidity coming from Washington, D.C. is deafening. And it’s February in Michigan with all the dreary gray that comes with it. And, of course, there’s what happened yesterday in Florida.

But today’s book was read before a teenaged gunman killed 17 people as they sat in class. It’s interesting, as people across the country ask why, how relevant Thornton Wilder’s 1926 classic “The Bridge of San Luis Rey” still is.

Continue reading “How books can make things better”

Hey Classics Challengers: ‘The Good Earth’ is a great gift

So people sometimes ask me, “What’s the point of your Classics Challenge?”

I usually say something like, “It’s important to expand your reading list. You can’t just read the same authors over and over, there are so many great books. You have to explore…” blah blah blah.

Good EarthNow I can boil my argument down to one book: “The Good Earth” by Pearl S. Buck. Continue reading “Hey Classics Challengers: ‘The Good Earth’ is a great gift”

Hey Classics Challengers: Maybe not magnificent, but still pretty good.

Back to the Classics Challenge after too long away…

We are on the Pulitzer Prize-winner category in this years challenge and, as usual, there were too many things from which to choose. I had great plans to read “Gone With the Wind.” I keep promising I’ll get around to reading it, as my wife can’t say enough great things about it. She even allowed me to read her copy of it. This copy was a replacement because her sister read and destroyed a copy my wife loaned her. (My wife and I are very protective of our books, there are some I won’t even let my kids read.)

ambersonsBut with other things going on and a long car trip planned, I just couldn’t guarantee its safety so I changed my mind. I wanted to read “His Family” by Ernest Poole, which won the first Pulitzer Prize for novel in 1918, but I couldn’t find it at any library (such is the enduring power of the Pulitzer) so I chose “The Magnificent Ambersons” by Booth Tarkington, which, in 1919, was the second novel given the Pulitzer Prize. Continue reading “Hey Classics Challengers: Maybe not magnificent, but still pretty good.”

Hey Classics Challengers: Let’s read Pulitzer winners

The Pulitzer Prize for fiction is, along with the National Book Award, the most important awards in literature written in the United States. It is given to a single work by an American author, preferably about life in America, published the previous year.

I love awards and award shows, but I also am conflicted. To wit: I often use them to get what I want: “Let’s go see that movie, it was nominated for 8 Academy Awards so it must be good!” I also use them regularly to show how crappy the world is: “The Academy Awards are a joke—Helen Hunt has an Oscar. Helen Hunt!” Continue reading “Hey Classics Challengers: Let’s read Pulitzer winners”