08 June 2005

68. Sinclair Lewis, MAIN STREET

Idealistic librarian Carol marries a country doctor who caters to her dreams of finding a little "Middle Western" town and making it pretty and cultured. Then she moves to Gopher Prairie and the townspeople crush her dreams. I'm FROM Gopher Prairie (though it goes under a different name), so I can say that every word in this book is true... unfortunately. I think Lewis would be rotating in his grave like a Boston Chicken if he knew what replaced these Gopher Prairies -- the cookie-cutter suburbs that are even more soulless, more homogenous, and less open to new ideas.

So the moral of the story is, country mice don't marry city mice.

Ellen vs. the Modern Library: 35-65

71. Richard Hughes, A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA

Arrr, mateys! What we've got 'ere's a tale of pirates! Seven young landlubbers that get kidnapped by pirates! Shiver me timbers! We's supposed to get in 'r brains, but me mateys will understand, it's mostly about PIRATES!

Ellen versus the Modern Library: 34-66

06 June 2005

78. Rudyard Kipling, KIM

I really wanted to hate this book, honestly. After being taught in 9th grade Non-Western World History that Kipling really wasn't being ironic when he used the phrase White Man's Burden, I figured anything he wrote would probably be just as disgustingly biased. So it is with a heavy heart that I announce that this book is actually quite fair to all those involved, not least its half-Irish, half-Indian hero. It reminds me of the fantasy books of my youth a lot more than the historical document it was probably taken for, but it's a good story. In fact, I may even recommend it to someone interested in that genre, but don't quote me on it.

Ellen vs. the Modern Library: 33-67

03 June 2005

91. Erskine Caldwell, TOBACCO ROAD

Think of the worst cliché you can think of that involves the South, farmers, or poor people.

(wait for it, wait for it)

Yeah, it's probably from this book.

Ellen vs. the Modern Library: 32-68

02 June 2005

69. Edith Wharton, THE HOUSE OF MIRTH

I expected to like this after THE AGE OF INNOCENCE and, although it took a long enough time to pick up, I found it hard to put down afterwards. Whartonian/ Jamesian New York has a lot of characteristics that appeal to me (the importance of letters, long descriptions of dresses) even among those that don't (the insistence on having a man, for example!) Lily Bart is my kind of heroine. I can't even think of this book as a tragedy because of the way she held her damn head up the entire time. I wish I could have done the same when similar things happened to me.

Ellen vs. the Modern Library: 31-69