Certainly his influence is undeniable, though the book is not without its critics. McCullers began working on what would become her first novel when she was 19; it would be published when she was only Everyone, it seemed, wanted change and no one seemed to know how to hasten it, direct it or evaluate it. In this last sense, and possibly many more, America then was not so different from America now. Where truth fails, fiction flourishes.
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As you see, self-reckoning is already a theme in this decade—though writing from , one wishes we had accomplished it a little more thoroughly. It provided such a vivid account of childhood that many men felt as though Smith were writing about theirs. Smith received a steady stream of letters from men around the world, thanking her for the effect her writing had on them.
There were more like that. She responded to almost all of them. I feel that I have done some good in this world.
A Century of Reading: The 10 Books That Defined the s | Literary Hub
Gwendolyn Brooks, A Street in Bronzeville Basically, the s was the decade we first got Gwendolyn Brooks, and she was a new star, and people knew it. Influenced by Sigmund Freud and John Dewey, Spock told parents that it was okay to show their children liberal affection, that it was okay to loosen the reins a bit, and more or less reminded them children were people too. People wanted the opportunity and the sanction to have children and to love them. And that book did this. I guess people read into the book what they wanted to. Maybe my book helped a generation not to be intimidated by adulthood.
When I was young, I was always made to assume that I was wrong. Now young people think they might be right and stand up to authority. Alfred C.
Kinsey, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male It sparked outrage, interest, and acclaim in equal measure when it was originally published, and is a landmark text in the field of human sexuality. Before the late s, the sexual lives of most people were shaped by personal experiments, isolated sexual encounters, uninformed gossip, media sensation, and moral condemnation not necessarily in that order. The national myth was that most people were obedient to a traditional set of sexual rules and those who were not were relatively rare and defective in morals or willpower.
It was against this background of repression and prurience that Kinsey asserted the right of science to speak about sexual behavior. As a scientist, Kinsey spoke and wrote plainly, using language about sexuality that was rarely heard or read at the time. Kinsey reported that the practice of masturbation was nearly universal among men 90 percent did it , that homosexual relations were widely experienced 37 percent had done it once , that premarital sexual relations were common most college men did it , that half of married men had had extramarital sexual relations, and that oral sex was routine in deed if not in public discourse 70 percent of educated husbands said they and their wives had done it.
And Caleb Dowdy preaches fire and brimstone to his congregation through an opium haze. Each of their lives, like Thoreau's, is changed forever by the fire. Kit 4 - People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks In , a rare book expert is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of a mysterious, beautifully illuminated Hebrew manuscript created in fifteenth-century Spain and recently saved from destruction during the shelling of Sarajevo's libraries.
When Hanna Heath discovers a series of tiny artifacts in the book's ancient binding - an insect-wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair - she begins to unlock the mysteries of the book's eventful past and to uncover the dramatic stories of those who created it and those who risked everything to protect it. In the hedonistic salons of fin-de-siecle Vienna, the book becomes a pawn in the struggle against the city's rising anti-Semitism. In Venice in , a Catholic priest saves the book from the Inquisition's fires.
In Taragona in , the scribe who wrote the text sees his family destroyed by the agonies of forced exile.
And in Seville in , the reason for the manuscript's extraordinary illuminations is finally disclosed. Hanna's investigations unexpectedly plunge her into the intrigues of fine art forgers and ultranationalist fanatics. Her experiences will test her belief in herself and in the man she has come to love. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills, thatched cottages, and a cast of characters both hilariously original and as familiar as the members of your own family.
Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, Major Pettigrew is one of the most indelible characters in contemporary fiction, and from the very first page of this remarkable novel he will steal your heart. The Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then his brother's death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs.
Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village.
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Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But village society insists on embracing him as the quintessential local and her as the permanent foreigner.
Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition? Ruth is an artist, a romantic with a rich, passionate, imaginative life—the fifth daughter born to a gentle, caring farmer and his stolid wife. Raised by a pair of capricious drifters, Dana is a scientist and realist whose faith is firmly planted in the natural world.
Kit 8 - The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul and an obsession with opposable thumbs , he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.
Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny's wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoe, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody.
In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoe at his side. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man.
Yet one day, he began to consider how very little he knew about the ordinary things of life as found in that comfortable home. To remedy this, he formed the idea of journeying about his house from room to room to "write a history of the world without leaving home. From architecture to electricity, from food preservation to epidemics, from the telephone to the Eiffel Tower, from crinolines to toilets-the brilliant, creative, and often eccentric talents behind them-Bryson demonstrates that whatever happens in the world ends up in our houses, in the paint and the pipes and the pillows and every item of furniture.
She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.
Kit 11 - The Radleys, by Matt Haig Struggling with overwork and parenting angst, English village doctor Peter Radley endeavors to hide his family's vampire nature until their daughter's oddly satisfying act of violence reveals the truth, an event that is complicated by the arrival of a practicing vampire family member. Kit 12 - World and Town, by Gish Jen Hattie Kongthe spirited offspring of a descendant of Confucius and an American missionary to Chinahas, in her fiftieth year of living in the United States, lost both her husband and her best friend to cancer.
But now, two years later, it is time for Hattie to start over. She moves to the town of Riverlake, where she is soon joined by an from their inner-city troubles, as well asquite unexpectedlyby a just-retired neuro-scientist ex-lover named Carter Hatch. All of them are, like Hattie, looking for a new start in a town that might once have represented the rock-solid base of American life but that is itself challenged, in , by cell-phone towers and chain stores, struggling family farms and fundamentalist Christians.
What Hattie makes of this situation is at the center of a novel that asks deep and absorbing questions about religion, home, America, What neighbors are, what love is, and, in the largest sense, what "Worlds" we make of the world. Kit 14 - Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen Ninety-something-year-old Jacob Jankowski remembers his time in the circus as a young man during the Great Depression, and his friendship with Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, and Rosie, the elephant, who gave them hope.
Kit 15 - The Zookeeper's Wife Tells the remarkable WWII story of Jan Zabinski, the director of the Warsaw Zoo, and his wife, Antonina, who, with courage and coolheaded ingenuity, sheltered Jews as well as Polish resisters in their villa and in animal cages and sheds. When Frederick and Jette must flee her disapproving mother, where better to go than America, the land of the new?
Originally set to board a boat to New York, at the last minute, they take one destined for New Orleans instead "What's the difference? They're both new" , and later find themselves, more by chance than by design, in the small town of Beatrice, Missouri.
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Not speaking a word of English, they embark on their new life together. Poignant, funny, and heartbreaking, A Good American is a novel about being an outsider-in your country, in your hometown, and sometimes even in your own family. It is a universal story about our search for home. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow.
The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
Matt will miss seeing Alice blossom into a full-blown teenager: she'll learn to drive, join the track team, go to her first dance, and fall in love—all while trying to be strong for her mother, Angie, and her precocious little sister. But the phone calls from her father are never long enough. At once universal and very personal, Alice Bliss is a profoundly moving story about those who are left at home during wartime and a small-town teenage girl bravely facing the future. In , on the eve of Washington's statehood, the Olympic Peninsula remains America's last frontier.
But not for long.