Amy's Slant on literature…

Archive for September 2010

A resonating theme of man’s struggle to avoid isolation and his need for self-expression. This theme runs true for me and I am sure with many others. Certain aspects of the story come from her own life experience. She was a student at NYU AND Columbia when she wrote the novel. She said” writing was her search for god”. This is something I truly understand. A beautiful novel! Enjoy

Another masterpiece by one of the Bronte sisters! Much of the subject matter in this novel, a religious all girls schools, her friend dying from TB and being a governess came from Charlotte’s real life. She and her sisters were sent to a boarding school where two of her sisters did die from tuberculosis. Charlotte also spend time a governess. The sister’s originally published under male pseudonyms as the times were quite different then. The themes of their writing is often about the Victorian class system and different treatment of men and woman. These sister’s were brilliant and successful. A novel that must be read! Enjoy!

One of the most popular and highly regarded novels in English Literature. At first when it was published, Heathcliff’s cruelty was shocking and did not win over readers. Over time it has become a classic. This should be mandatory reading as it reflects a unique time in history. Even Emily’s sister Charlotte initially criticized the novel because Heathcliff’s character was so cruel. Maybe I will cover a novel by Charlotte next?

A literary masterpiece! A story about migrant workers from Oklahoma and Texas trying to make their way to California in the hope of finding work. John Steinbeck took this subject very seriously as he actually migrated with one family from Oklahoma to California to understand the families’ plight. John Steinbeck won a Pulitzer Prize for this novel and later a Nobel Prize for literature for his body of work. Another very successful novel of his is ” Of Mice and Men” is about migrant workers as well and mandatory reading in school. I highly recommend reading these novels!

A risqué novel written by a russian born novelist. He was well-educated in England and wrote the book in english. At first release it was shocking for its sensitive subject matter. It had also been banned in many states. Lolita remains a classic as Nabokov’s prose is genius. This novel was probably not on any schools mandatory reading list, but I highly recommend reading it. It is a true classic.

Another classic and mandatory read for everyone….Couldn’t leave this one out.. Jay Gatsby idolizes wealth and luxury. At first you think he has accomplished the “american dream” only to find out he has corrupted the dream in the end. If you haven’t read this novel, I highly recommend you do. This is on every must read list there is! There are some comparisons to Fitzgerald and one of the main characters Nick Carraway, both went to Ivy League schools, both from Minnesota and both move to New York to write. I reread this one when I was older and understood the nuances and themes with greater depth. Enjoy

A must read classic. A story about recollections of youth growing up in rural Nebraska. The main character recalls his youth with a friend, most revolving around his friendship with Antonia. Willa Cather wrote many short stories as well as another classic novel “O PIONEERS”.Willa Cather was a prolific writer, and won a Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours. Her prose was elegant, and uncomplicated. Simply Beautiful.

Truman Capote said” one the most beautiful books of the twentieth century” , I would have to agree. Isak Dinesen, is really Karen Christenze Dinesen born in Denmark in 1885. Although this is not a strict memoir chronologically, she writes of her 17 years in East Africa in anecdotes. There was a beautiful movie about her life there, although a very romantic version. If you read some of her other short stories you will know she suffered many hardships, including syphilis.There is another movie inspired by her short stories called ” Babette”s Feast” I would highly recommend you see this movie and read her short stories. Isak Dinesen was a born storyteller.

I think everyone is away or busy this weekend, I will resume tomorrow.

The House of Mirth is also a wonderfully written story by Edith Wharton. Again, she writes about the social norms and oppression of woman in society. Edith Wharton herself had a divorce when it was very scandalous. The story is a sad one, a story about a woman who loses her position in society by trusting another to manage her affairs. I love this novel and I hope you will as well.


September 2010

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