1001 Books, Book Review, Classics, Doctoral Work, Literature, Naturalism, Philosophy, Re-Reads, Realism, Theodore Dreiser

Review: Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Final Verdict: 3.75 out of 4.0

YTD: 33


Plot/Story:
4 – Plot/Story is interesting/believable and impactful (socially, academically, etc.)

Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie is perhaps the perfect example of American Naturalism.  In it, a small-town Wisconsin girl, Carrie Meeber, moves to Chicago to live with her sister and brother-in-law.  While on the train into the city, she meets a man named Charles Drouet, and this encounter (characterized by Carrie’s adoration of his fancy clothes and well-to-do appearance) will set in motion Carrie’s entire future.  Carrie’s life is filled with example after example of good fortune and coincidence, so that, without taking any real agency of her own, she finds herself elevated from the lowest levels of society (once forced to work in the harshest of factory conditions) to the ranks of wealth and stardom, on Broadway.  Concurrently, the life of her second lover, Hurstwood, begins to deteriorate as of the day he meets her.  At the start, he is a powerful, charming, and accomplished business man.  His wife and children are normal and healthy, although rather self-absorbed.  Soon, the powers of fate and destiny converge on Hurstwood & Carrie – their lives are linked and their livelihoods inverted.  Hurstwood falls tragically and cannot seem to find his way back, while Carrie rises ever higher, without ever putting in much effort of her own.  But, though she ultimately achieves her dreams, she is never happy, never satisfied.  She is lost in a world of “cosmopolitan morality,” where success is defined by things and where possessions are consumed at an ever-growing rate, in an attempt to fill an un-fillable void.


Characterization:
4 – Characters extraordinarily developed.

There are two main characters in Sister Carrie, including Carrier herself, as well as George Hurstwood.  Although the story’s title would lead readers to believe that the story is all about Carrie, it is not hard to argue that the true main character ends up being Hurstwood (whose decline is ultimately much more interesting than Carrie’s rise).  Carrie is naïve, but not inept.  She is not exactly a coquette – not immoral, by any means, but she is quite possibly amoral.  For most of the book, she lacks completely any agency – she allows others to guide her and care for her.  Fortunately, this ultimately works for her, and it is not until near the end of the story, where her relationship with Hurstwood has become interchanged (Carrie becoming the powerful and wealth partner), when she takes a firm action of her own and leaves him to his poverty.  The fact that her one self-guided action is to leave Hurstwood when he is down says much about her character, as does the fact that, though she becomes increasingly wealthy and famous, she remains wholly unsatisfied and lonely. 

In addition to these main two, there is Drouet, a prominent secondary character.  Without Drouet, Carrie’s story could not exist.  He is a constant throughout – never changing much, never learning or growing.  He does eventually come to love Carrie, but only after she has gone out of his reach (becoming desirable to him after it is impossible for him to have her).  Drouet’s constancy allows for the inversion of Carrie and Hurstwood’s situation to be put into perspective – their changes are made clearer in relation to Drouet’s stationary presence.  Finally, there are a few prominent tertiary characters, such as Mr. Ames, who is the one person Carrie seems to love and respect most in the world and the one person she wishes most to be like (and be with), but who is also the one person Carrie could never truly understand.  Ames is an intellectual – a philosopher and he is entirely without need for commercial things.  Carrie is in awe of his ability to be content with whatever he has, because she can never seem to get enough.  In addition to those, there are quite a few minor characters (such as Carrie’s sister and Mrs. Vance’s brother).  Dreiser’s characterization is brilliant, in that each cast member has a clear and necessary purpose to the story.


Prose/Style:
3 – Satisfactory Prose/Style, conducive to the Story.

The only downfall of this novel, for me, was the prose.  Dreiser’s writing was heavily criticized as being pedantic, ungrammatical, and long-winded (even elephantine).  Take, for example, the following passages:

“The, to Carrie, very important theatrical performance was to take place at the Avery on conditions which were to make it more noteworthy than was at first anticipated.” 

“They had young men of the kind whom she, since her experience with Drouet, felt above, who took them out.”

Clearly, Dreiser was not a master of the poetic.  His prose is often clunky and, some would say, cheap or common.  Dreiser himself, as well as some of his defendants, assert that his style is actually presented this way as artistic choice – that he was seeking to present “an accurate description of life as it is,” which means narrating in the way common people would think and talk.  A poetic or graceful prose, then, would be unrealistic of the circumstances described within Sister Carrie and thus his style makes perfect sense.

Whether or not it was true artistic choice, it comes across as sub-par prose from a journalist-turned-novelist who still had much to learn about writing style.  Fortunately, his descriptions and dialogue were generally solid, and his use of concrete and purposeful themes/symbols (the rocking chair, the sea, etc.) throughout help raise the overall tone and value of the prose.  


Additional Elements: Setting, Symbols/Motifs, Resolution, etc.
4 – Additional elements improve and advance the story.

William Dean Howells, critic and novelist (and the one man, other than Mark Twain, who was responsible for the success of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) is considered by most to be the father of Realism.  In his explanation of Realism, he stated that it is “nothing more and nothing less than the truthful treatment of material.”  There should be nothing sensational, nothing inexplicable in a story, if it is to be considered of literary consequence.  (This is, perhaps, why I found his book The Rise of Silas Lapham so incredibly boring, but I digress!).  He and other Realists believed that the following principles of life were truth, and thus make up the doctrine of Realism in literature.

–       That the world is amoral.
–       The men/women have no free will. 
–       That lives are controlled by heredity and environment.
–       That religion’s truths are illusory.
–       That the destiny of humanity was misery and oblivion in death.

If one takes these principles into account when reading Sister Carrie, then it becomes clear that not only is Dreiser a practitioner of Realism, but this text might be one of the best examples of theory-in-practice.  Each of these five thoughts about life are clearly present in the novel.  Dreiser was a true Naturalist, in that he believed we were all drifting along on a sea of pre-determination, destined to end up wherever life would have us end up.  The choices we make have very little bearing on what we will be or where we will go, because all of that has been decided for us already (not by God, but by a confluence of fate and chance). 

In addition to Sister Carrie being a brilliant example of Realism (if not the best written example), there is also much to examine in regards to the themes of morality, materialism, fate/fortune, cosmopolitan (city) life and even romance.  Its place in the canon of American literature is well-deserved, both as an example of a shift in the treatment of women (previous to Dreiser, most “lost” women would end up dead) and in the shift from American Romanticism to Naturalism.


Suggested Reading for:
Age Level: Adult
Interest: Determinism/Fatalism, Naturalism, Realism, American History, Rural-City dichotomy.


Notable Quotes:

“She looked into her glass and saw a prettier Carrie than she had seen before; she looked into her mind, a mirror prepared of her own and the world’s opinions, and saw a worse. Between these two images she wavered, hesitating which to believe.”

“People in general attach too much importance to words. They are under the illusion that talking effects great results. As a matter of fact, words are, as a rule, the shallowest portion of all the argument. They but dimly represent the great surging feelings and desires which lie behind. When the distraction of the tongue is removed, the heart listens.” 

“When a girl leaves her home at eighteen, she does one of two things. Either she falls into saving hands and becomes better, or she rapidly assumes the cosmopolitan standard of virtue and becomes worse” 

“A real flame of love is a subtle thing. It burns as a will-o’-the-wisp, dancing onward to fairy lands of delight. It roars as a furnace. Too often jealousy is the quality upon which it feeds.” 

“Men are still led by instinct before they are regulated by knowledge.”

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Blog Post, Book Review, Doctoral Work, Personal, PhD, Uncategorized

Fall Reading List (Ph.D.)

Hi, Folks!

This is just a quick post, listing my reading lists for this Fall.  I’m starting my Ph.D. program and these are the texts that my classes will be reading/discussing.  If anyone sees something interesting here (what’s NOT interesting on this list, I must ask?), maybe you could read along with me?

I’ll try to post thoughts and reviews on these as I go along – since it will help me gather thoughts for essays and research papers.  There are quite a few books that will be re-reads for me, but I look forward to revisiting them all (I list these at the bottom of this post).

I must say – I am actually really, really excited about my classes for the Fall, now.  These text selections are outstanding!

All descriptions are taken from Amazon.com, unless otherwise specified.

Cover image for EGIL'S SAGA

Title: Egil’s Saga by Anonymous

Written: 1240A.D. (Approximately)

Description:

Egil’s Saga tells the story of the long and brutal life of tenth-century warrior-poet and farmer Egil Skallagrimsson: a psychologically ambiguous character who was at once the composer of intricately beautiful poetry and a physical grotesque capable of staggering brutality. This Icelandic saga recounts Egil’s progression from youthful savagery to mature wisdom as he struggles to defend his honor in a running feud with the Norwegian king Erik Bloodaxe and fight for the English king Athelstan in his battles against Scotland. Exploring issues as diverse as the question of loyalty, the power of poetry, and the relationship between two brothers who love the same woman, Egil’s Saga is a fascinating depiction of a deeply human character.”

Cover image for EMIGRANTS

Title: The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald

Published: 1996

Description:

“A meditation on memory and loss. Sebald re-creates the lives of four exiles–five if you include his oblique self-portrait–through their own accounts, others’ recollections, and pictures and found objects. But he brings these men before our eyes only to make them fade away, “longing for extinction.” Two were eventual suicides, another died in an asylum, the fourth still lived under a “poisonous canopy” more than 40 years after his parents’ death in Nazi Germany.

Sebald’s own longing is for communion. En route to Ithaca (the real upstate New York location but also the symbolic one), he comes to feel “like a travelling companion of my neighbor in the next lane.” After the car speeds away–“the children pulling clownish faces out of the rear window–I felt deserted and desolate for a time.” Sebald’s narrative is purposely moth-holed (butterfly-ridden, actually–there’s a recurring Nabokov-with-a-net type), an escape from the prison-house of realism. According to the author, his Uncle Ambros’s increasingly improbable tales were the result of “an illness which causes lost memories to be replaced by fantastic inventions.” Luckily for us, Sebald seems to have inherited the same syndrome.” –Kerry Fried

Cover image for GOOD SOLDIER (9537275)

Title: The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford

Published: 1915

Description:

“First published in 1915, Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier begins, famously and ominously, “This is the saddest story I have ever heard.” The book then proceeds to confute this pronouncement at every turn, exposing a world less sad than pathetic, and more shot through with hypocrisy and deceit than its incredulous narrator, John Dowell, cares to imagine. Somewhat forgotten as a classic, The Good Soldier has been called everything from the consummate novelist’s novel to one of the greatest English works of the century. And although its narrative hook–the philandering of an otherwise noble man–no longer shocks, its unerring cadences and doleful inevitabilities proclaim an enduring appeal.”

Cover image for NARRATIVE DISCOURSE REVISITED

Title: Narrative Discourse Revisited by Gerard Genette

Published: 1989

Description:

“As the title suggests Genette revisits his narrative theory expounded in his earlier work “Narrative Discourse”. This book focuses on criticism directed at Genette’s earlier work. Genette does not elaborate on his narrative theory. Readers will need to be familiar with terms such as paralepsis, prolepsis, analepsis, syllepsis and achronies. For university students studying narrative ideology. Genette’s earlier work is recommended before endeavouring to read what is essentially an extended ‘afterword’.”

Cover image for NARRATIVE DISCOURSE:ESSAY IN METHOD

Title: Narrative Discoursse: An Essay in Method by Gerard Genette

Published: 1979

Description:

“This book should be required reading for anyone who wants to look seriously at narrative theory. Genette’s analysis of the construction of time in narrative discourse is the still the model for theorists writing since then. Such categories as order, frequency, and duration in the narrative presentation of story-time show how narrative decisions on the part of authors can have dramatically different rhetorical effects. Genette views these narrative strategies as a form of rhetorical figuration and gives them terms drawn from classical rhetoric (e.g., “prolepsis” for a flashing forward, “analepsis” for a flashback). Genette’s work is one of the clearest of all the French theorists of the 1970s and 1980s who became popular among literary critics and theorists in the US. His work is easily the most empirical of his academic geration of French theorists and perhaps the most likely to be useful in generations to come.” – Adirondack Views

Narratology: An Introduction (De Gruyter Textbook)

Title: Narratology: An Introduction by Wolf Schmid

Published: 2010

Description:

“This book is a standard work for modern narrative theory. It provides a terminological and theoretical system of reference for future research. The author explains and discusses in detail problems of communication structure and entities of a narrative work, point of view, the relationship between narrator’s text and character’s text, narrativity and eventfulness, and narrative transformations of happenings. This book outlines a theory of narration and analyses central narratological categories such as fiction, mimesis, author, reader, narrator etc. A detailed bibliography and glossary of narratological terms make this book a compendium of narrative theory which is of relevance for scholars and students of all literary disciplines.”

Cover image for PRIDE+PREJUDICE (9535566)

Title: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Published: 1813

Description:

Pride and Prejudice is a novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London.

Though the story is set at the turn of the 19th century, it retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of ‘most loved books’ such as The Big Read.[1] It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen’s memorable characters or themes. To date, the book has sold some 20 million copies worldwide.[2]” – Wikipedia

Cover image for SENSE OF AN ENDING

Title: The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction by Frank Kermode

Published: 2000

Description:

“Frank Kermode is one of our most distinguished critics of English literature. Here, he contributes a new epilogue to his collection of classic lectures on the relationship of fiction to age-old concepts of apocalyptic chaos and crisis. Prompted by the approach of the millennium, he revisits the book which brings his highly concentrated insights to bear on some of the most unyielding philosophical and aesthetic enigmas. Examining the works of writers from Plato to William Burrows, Kermode shows how they have persistently imposed their “fictions” upon the face of eternity and how these have reflected the apocalyptic spirit. Kermode then discusses literature at a time when new fictive explanations, as used by Spenser and Shakespeare, were being devised to fit a world of uncertain beginning and end. He goes on to deal perceptively with modern literature with “traditionalists” such as Yeats, Eliot, and Joyce, as well as contemporary “schismatics,” the French “new novelists,” and such seminal figures as Jean-Paul Sartre and Samuel Beckett. Whether weighing the difference between modern and earlier modes of apocalyptic thought, considering the degeneration of fiction into myth, or commenting on the vogue of the Absurd, Kermode is distinctly lucid, persuasive, witty, and prodigal of ideas.”

Cover image for TRANSPARENT MINDS

Title: Transparent Minds: Narrative Modes for Presenting Consciousness in Fiction by Dorrit Cohn

Published: 1984

Description:

“This book investigates the entire spectrum of techniques for portraying the mental lives of fictional characters in both the stream-of-consciousness novel and other fiction. Each chapter deals with one main technique, illustrated from a wide range of nineteenth- and twentieth-century fiction by writers including Stendhal, Dostoevsky, James, Mann, Kafka, Joyce, Proust, Woolf, and Sarraute.”

Cover image for DINNER AT HOMESICK RESTAURANT

Title: Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler

Published: 1982

Description:

“Pearl Tull is nearing the end of her life but not of her memory. It was a Sunday night in 1944 when her husband left the little row house on Baltimore’s Calvert Street, abandoning Pearl to raise their three children alone: Jenny, high-spirited and determined, nurturing to strangers but distant to those she loves; the older son, Cody, a wild and incorrigible youth possessed by the lure of power and money; and sweet, clumsy Ezra, Pearl’s favorite, who never stops yearning for the perfect family that could never be his own.

Now Pearl and her three grown children have gathered together again–with anger, hope, and a beautiful, harsh, and dazzling story to tell.”

Cover image for FROM PURITANISM TO POSTMODERNISM

Title: From Puritanism to Postmodernism: A History of American Literature by Richard Buland & Malcolm Bradbury

Published: 1991

Description:

“From Modernist/Postmodernist perspective, leading critics Richard Ruland (American) and Malcolm Bradbury (British) address questions of literary and cultural nationalism. They demonstrate that since the seventeenth century, American writing has reflected the political and historical climate of its time and helped define America’s cultural and social parameters. Above all, they argue that American literature has always been essentially “modern,” illustrating this with a broad range of texts: from Poe and Melville to Fitzgerald and Pound, to Wallace Stevens, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Thomas Pynchon.

From Puritanism to Postmodernism pays homage to the luxuriance of American writing by tracing the creation of a national literature that retained its deep roots in European culture while striving to achieve cultural independence.”

Cover image for GRAPES OF WRATH

Title: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Published: 1939

Description:

The Grapes of Wrath is an American realist novel written by John Steinbeck and published in 1939. For it he won the annual National Book Award[1] andPulitzer Prize[2] for novels and it was cited prominently when he won the Nobel Prize in 1962.[3]

Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on the Joads, a poor family of tenant farmers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in financial and agricultural industries. Due to their nearly hopeless situation, and in part because they were trapped in the Dust Bowl, the Joads set out for California. Along with thousands of other “Okies”, they sought jobs, land, dignity, and a future.” -Wikipedia

Cover image for GREAT GATSBY

Title: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Published: 1925

Description:

The Great Gatsby is a novel by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. The book was first published in 1925, and it has been republished in 1945 and 1953. There are two settings for the novel: on Long Island’s North Shore, and in New York City. The book is set in 1922 from the spring to the autumn.

The Great Gatsby takes place during a prosperous time in American History. In 1922, America has fully recovered from the First World War, and is enjoying prosperity during the Roaring Twenties, when the economy soared and emotions ran high. Yet, at the same time, Prohibition, the ban on the sale and manufacture of alcohol as mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment, was gaining traction.

The ban on alcohol made millionaires out of bootleggers, who smuggled in the now-illegal substance. That scenario is the backdrop for the novel, which contributed to its popularity. After the novel was republished in 1945 and 1953, The Great Gatsby quickly found a wide readership. Today the book is widely regarded as a sort of Great American Novel, and a literary classic. The Modern Library named it the second best English-language novel of the 20th Century.[1]”

Cover image for GREEN GRASS,RUNNING WATER

Title: Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King

Published: 1993

Description:

“King’s auspicious debut novel, Medicine River ( LJ 8/90), garnered critical acclaim and popular success (including being transformed into a TV movie). This encore, a genially wild tale with a serious heart, confirms the author’s prowess. It involves the creation of a creation story, the mission of four ancient Indians, and the comparatively realistic doings of 40-year-old-adolescent Lionel Red Dog, unfazable cleaning woman Babo, and various memorable Blackfoot and others in scenic Alberta. Clever verbal motifs not only connect the stories but add fun visual themes, including missing cars and a ubiquitous Western movie. In the end, everyone is thrown together by an earthquake at white human-made Parliament Lake, compliments of the four old Indians and the loopy trickster Coyote. Smart and entertaining, this novel deserves a big audience. Essential for public libraries.” – Janet Ingraham, Worthington P.L., Ohio

Cover image for LOST LADY

Title: A Lost Lady by Willa Cather

Published: 1923

Description:

“First published in 1923, A Lost Lady is one of Willa Cather’s classic novels about life on the Great Plains. It harks back to Nebraska’s early history and contrasts those days with an unsentimental portrait of the materialistic world that supplanted the frontier. In her subtle portrait of Marian Forrester, whose life unfolds in the midst of this disquieting transition, Cather created one of her most memorable and finely drawn characters.”

Cover image for ONE FLEW OVER CUCKOO'S NEST

Title: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

Published: 1962

Description:

“Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is the seminal novel of the 1960s that has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the awesome powers that keep them all imprisoned.”

Cover image for PLAY IT AS IT LAYS

Title: Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion

Published: 1970

Description:

“A ruthless dissection of American life in the late 1960s, Play It as It Lays captures the mood of an entire generation, the ennui of contemporary society reflected in spare prose that blisters and haunts the reader. Set in a place beyond good and evil-literally in Hollywood, Las Vegas, and the barren wastes of the Mojave Desert, but figuratively in the landscape of an arid soul-it remains more than three decades after its original publication a profoundly disturbing novel, riveting in its exploration of a woman and a society in crisis and stunning in the still-startling intensity of its prose.”

Cover image for PRAISESONG FOR THE WIDOW

Title: Praisesong for the Widow by Paule Marshall

Published: 1983

Description:

Praisesong for the Widow is a novel by Paule Marshall which takes place in the mid seventies, chronicling the life of Avey Johnson, a sixty-four year old African American widow on a physical and emotional journey in the Caribbean island of Carriacou. Throughout the novel, there are many flashbacks to Avey’s earlier life experiences with her late husband, Jerome Johnson, as well as childhood events that reconnect her with her lost cultural roots.” -Wikipedia

Cover image for SEIZE THE DAY

Title: Seize the Day by Saul Bellow

Published: 1956

Description:

Seize the Day, first published in 1956, is considered (by, for example, prominent critic James Wood) one of the great works of 20th century literature.Seize the Day was Saul Bellow’s fourth novel (or perhaps novella, given its short length). It was written in the 1950s, a formative period in the creation of the middle class in the United States.

The story centers around a day in the life of Wilhelm Adler (aka Tommy Wilhelm), a failed actor in his forties. Wilhelm is unemployed, impecunious, separated from his wife (who refuses to agree to a divorce), and estranged from his children and his father. He is also stuck with the same immaturity and lack of insight which has brought him to failure. In Seize the Day Wilhelm experiences a day of reckoning as he is forced to examine his life and to finally accept the “burden of self”.” – Wikipedia

Cover image for SISTER CARRIE

Title: Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreisser

Published: 1900

Description:

“Regarded by many critics as the greatest novel on urban life ever composed, Sister Carrie tells the story of Caroline Meeber, an 18-year-old from rural Wisconsin whose new life in Chicago takes her on an astonishing journey from the despairing depths of industrial labor to the staggering heists of fame and stardom. Representing the transition from the heavy moralizing of the Victorian era to the realism of modern literature, Sister Carrie remains a literary milestone that examines the human condition and all its flaws.”

Product Details

Title: That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo

Published: 2009

Description:

“For Griffin, all paths, all memories, converge at Cape Cod.  The Cape is where he took his childhood summer vacations, where he and his wife, Joy, honeymooned, where they decided he’d leave his LA screenwriting job to become a college professor, and where they celebrated the marriage of their daughter Laura’s best friend. But when their beloved Laura’s wedding takes place a year later, Griffin is caught between chauffeuring his mother’s and father’s ashes in two urns and contending with Joy and her large, unruly family. Both he and she have also brought dates along. How in the world could this have happened?

 
By turns hilarious, rueful, and uplifting, That Old Cape Magic is a profoundly involving novel about marriage, family, and all the other ties that bind.”

Cover image for TRACKS

Title: Tracks by Louise Erdrich

Published: 1988

Description:

“Set in North Dakota at a time in this century when Indian tribes were struggling to keep what little remained of their lands, Tracks is a tale of passion and deep unrest. Over the course of ten crucial years, as tribal land and trust between people erode ceaselessly, men and women are pushed to the brink of their endurance–yet their pride and humor prohibit surrender. The reader will experience shock and pleasure in encountering a group of characters that are compelling and rich in their vigor, clarity, and indomitable vitality.”

Cover image for TROPIC OF ORANGE

Title: Tropic of Orange by Karen Tei Yamashita

Published: 1997

Description:

“This fiercely satirical, semifantastical novel … features an Asian-American television news executive, Emi, and a Latino newspaper reporter, Gabriel, who are so focused on chasing stories they almost don’t notice that the world is falling apart all around them. Karen Tei Yamashita’s staccato prose works well to evoke the frenetic breeziness and monumental self-absorption that are central to their lives.” -Janet Kaye, The New York Times Book Review

Cover image for WHITE NOISE

Title: White Noise by Don DeLillo

Published: 1985

Description:

“Winner of the National Book Award, White Noise tells the story of Jack Gladney, his fourth wife, Babette, and four ultra­modern offspring as they navigate the rocky passages of family life to the background babble of brand-name consumerism. When an industrial accident unleashes an “airborne toxic event,” a lethal black chemical cloud floats over their lives. The menacing cloud is a more urgent and visible version of the “white noise” engulfing the Gladneys-radio transmissions, sirens, microwaves, ultrasonic appliances, and TV murmurings-pulsing with life, yet suggesting something ominous.”

So, there we have it – my reading list for Fall.  I’ll be reading all of these titles between August and December, 2012.  It is A LOT of reading, but I’m looking forward to it (even though my personal reading will probably suffer).

Books I’ll be Revisiting:

Pride and Prejudice

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant

The Grapes of Wrath

The Great Gatsby

A Lost Lady

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Sister Carrie

Tracks

Entirely New-to-Me Authors:

Sebald, Ford, Kermode, Cohn, Ruland, King, Didion, Marshall, Russo, Yamashita, and Delillo

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