Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
Liked it a lot. Didactic, of course – but not as incredible as I has assumed it would be. Then again, put into historical context, maybe it is (was) quite amazing.
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
Where has this novel gone? It’s quite incredible – and nobody has ever heard of it! Anderson weaves a series of short stories from the same small town together, discussing the deconstruction of provincial, farm life and the advent of “the city.” The bottom line – nobody knows that EVERYbody is different.
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
Pretty amazing, especially coming out of the early 20th Century. Hilarious in his obsession with ‘the C word’ and sex and all the dirty diseases that come with it. Also, funny to watch Miller denounce the practice of putting so much importance on the literary geniuses like Goethe, Emerson, Tennyson, etc – but then watch as he quotes them left and right within his own prose. It’s a wonderful experiment with language and stream of consciousness, though. Definitely worth being named a classic, even if a bit bizarre.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
You know, everyone calls this a “boy’s” book – generally speaking, people think the book is for children. I read it when I was a kid, and I didn’t like it. I re-read it a couple years ago and liked it better. Finally, I read it again recently and fell in love with it. The reason? It is not a kid’s book. It’s a very adult book, with themes that were way over my head as a ten, twelve, and even fifteen year old reader. Tom Sawyer, maybe, can be called a boy’s book, but Huckleberry Finn truly is the great American novel. Amazing.
Light in August by William Faulkner
Faulkner is certainly a powerful force and innovator in American literature. I have to say, I was wary of touching his works after my first experience, with The Sound and the Fury. However, Light in August was much easier to follow while remaining just as interesting and even dangerous. They last chapters were a bit of a letdown, they seemed out of place and unnecessary, but this novel as a whole made me re-think my position on Faulkner and …heck, I may even try another of his novels. In a few years.
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You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence. Octavia E. Butler
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A bookish blog (mostly) about women writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries