The true university these days is a collection of books.
-Thomas Carlyle

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Writing America

I want to tell you about the course I am enrolled on starting in January. The course is over 4 evenings, one a month, and examines how 'history often plays a vital role in shaping American novels'.
The course is using 4 novels to examine this...
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, quite a substantial novel made infamous by the well loved film of the same name. I haven't read this yet but saw the film a long time ago. I'm looking forward to looking at issues regarding the American Civil War and how it comes into this story, and how it depicts those times.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, my 3rd Steinbeck novel and a book that I am 3/4 through and enjoying very much. My version is a lovely 2nd edition published in 1940 too, and clearly representing the Depression in America.
Beloved by Toni Morrison, which I reviewed in May 2008, a novel I have loved along with many other people, exploring Black American history and slavery.
Finally, one of my favourite books, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, which I read back in 1994 after a work colleague had recommended it.
So some fantastic titles to talk about. I am really looking forward to doing the course. I have noticed that a lot of American bloggers love to immerse themselves in English historical novels and classics. Maybe I am one of the English bloggers who loves the American classics as I do seem to have leanings in that direction and have chosen to read as many as possible. I also think that the film adaptations have encouraged this too.
As you can imagine this has shaped my current reading list to accomodate the texts of the course. I'll review the books as I finish them and also tell you about each evening as it happens in the new year.


StephanieD said...

What a great course! I've read all but A Prayer for Owen Meany. They're all very good, but Beloved especially, is a heartwrenching book. Sounds like you'll be having fun :)

Leah said...

StephanieD - thank you for dropping by and leaving a message. I only have Gone with the Wind to read now and the last 100 pages of the Grapes of Wrath, all the others I have read before and love. Owen Meany is one of my favourites and I recommend highly, but don't judge it until you have read 70 pages in!

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