While there are some that have argued that the proliferation of the internet has us reading more, it can not be understated that more doesn’t necessarily equal better. To put it in insufferable millennial terms, its like eating a whole tray of hot pockets, when you should have had a sensible kale salad.
Not all health food, however, has to be a chore, sometimes it gets to be something pleasant like berries, or whatever that chia seed stuff is. Let’s put it like this, if Chaucer is kale, then these great American novels are berries (if that makes sense).
A Farewell To Arms
Ernest Hemingway had a habit of writing his experiences in form of his novels with obvious embellishments and literary freedom. As an ambulance driver on the Italian front during WWI, Hemingway had more than enough to say about the war, having experienced the horror that came with it.
The novel employs Hemingway’s characteristically clipped and terse prose, that largely was influenced by Hemingway’s newspaper work before he began publishing novels. While it certainly is not the feel good book of the century, it is one that should stick with the reader, unlike the latest fluff piece about whatever show about a big family is popular.
The Great Gatsby
It’s truly a pity that this novel has been relegated to high school classrooms and the latest script doctors that want to make a mockery out of the material.
Baz Luhrmann’s insipid film replete with rap-jazz aside, the novel is wonderfully detailed despite not being terribly long, and captures the spirit of the era, with its excesses and the consequences that flow from them.
Bernard Malamud’s novel is one that has been sadly eclipsed by the movie version, and while the movie is a classic in it’s own right, the saccharine treatment of the material, particularly the ending leaves a lot to be desired.
The novel’s ending is, admittedly, a bit of a downer, but that’s the whole point – the story is supposed to be a parallel to the Arthurian legend. Think about that next time you see “The Savory Special.”