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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Literary Blog Hop hosted by The Blue Bookcase

As indicated by the new button over on the right, I'm participating in a blog hop for March 17-20 featuring literary blogs.  I'd consider "What Book Should I Read Today?" discriminating enough to fall into that category, so here's my accompanying post!  Click the button to visit another participating blog.

Debbie Nance from ReaderBuzz provides this blog hop's prompt:

What one literary work must you read before you die?

Christina from The Blue Bookcase offered two answers, and I'm going to follow her model and do the same.

1.) The literary work that I recommend you (yes, you) must read before you die: I am torn between Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and The Great Gatsby - but in the end, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter wins out.  It depicts a part of the human experience more readers can relate to, and the small-town setting lets us get to know the characters intimately.  I don't know that I'd call McCullers underappreciated, but she's certainly less well-known and lauded than Fitzgerald.  Other reasons for the rec?  The Southern storytelling style she exhibits propels the novel forward without jarring action, and the variety of personalities in a small space produce unique and understated opportunities for character-driven drama.  It's quite simply a beautiful book full of emotion and depth - all from McCullers at 23.

2.) The literary work that I must read before I die: I'd like to read the Thomas Wolfe novel You Can't Go Home Again, another Southern work (I admit my bias).  It's a huge novel (700 pages) that I bought before I could have really understood it, maybe when I was 11 or 12, because the title was referenced in the movie Now and Then.  Now that I'm older, firstly, I stick by the fact that Now and Then is a fantastic movie; secondly, I need to read this book, because while I haven't written a famous novel based on its inhabitants, I've left and returned to my home in the South, and I can relate to the book in a small and important way.  And the 700 pages shouldn't be prohibitive anymore - two of my favorites, American Tragedy and Native Son, are pretty weighty too.

Make sure to click the blog hop button, and visit The Blue Bookcase!

29 comments:

parrish lantern said...

2 books i've not read so thanks for the introduction, after prevaricating i chose a book about reading.

What Book Today said...

So glad to have introduced you to the books! And I love the idea of choosing a book about reading - it looks like the one you chose is really inspiring and I'll have to check it out.

BookBelle said...

So glad to have found you! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm a new follower. I am definitely putting your picks on my list. I love Southern fiction.

Belle

Toni said...

oooh, interesting rec's! will def. check them out if I get the chance :D

Tony D said...

I've seen The Heart is a Lonely Hunter recommended quite a bit over the last year or so. I need to pick it up. Gatsby is pretty great, too. I've also never read any Wolfe.

and thanks for visiting my blog

Jillian said...

I love Southern literature! I've never heard of You Can't Go Home Again and am about to add it to Goodreads. It sounds exactly like what I'd love.

Risa said...

I haven't read any Southern American literature before. Your recommendation sounds quite interesting. An American Austen perhaps?

mel u said...

I just read a short story by Carson McCulhelers-"The Jockey"-a really good work-you can listed to it for free on the web page of The New Yorker as one of their podcasts


II would like to invite you to consider participating in

Irish Short Story Week-3/14 to 3/20

What Book Today said...

So glad y'all are interested! I feel like a Southern lit evangelist. Belle & Toni, thanks for following. So glad to have found everyone's blogs. Risa, I wouldn't compare her to Austen; she's actually a great example of Southern "Gothic" style, same category as Faulkner and O'Connor. It can be bleak but "Heart," especially, is in the end quite poignant and lovely.

leeswammes said...

I have not heard of your suggestions. They sounds interesting, but not interesting enough. I chose a book from my TBR pile myself.

inknchai said...

Never read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter or heard much about it. Thanks, will add it to my tbr list.

Monica

Little Interpretations said...

I once had a copy of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, but I accidentally spilt coffee over it, resulting in it going a bit soggy... and so I never got round to reading it.

I absolutely love Faulkner though, As I Lay Dying is one of my favourite books of all time (or at least so far), I have a dedicated tattoo and all! Gatsby is great too.

Marie / LittleInterpretations.com

I may need to invest in a fresh copy of Heart...

emeire said...

I've never read anything by Carson McCullers, but have wanted to for a long time. I thought that Ballad of the Sad Café would be my introduction, but I might take your suggestion instead...
Em

What Book Today said...

Monica and Marie, so great to hear! And it's worth the investment. May be a small investment, because there should be paperback copies all over used bookstores. Hey Em! Any will work, really...did you see my full McCullers post linked above? It's about Heart and the Collected Stories.

leeswammes, I hope to win you over next time :)

Thanks everyone for stopping by!

What Book Today said...

Mel U - have you read her collected stories? They are wonderful. I love short stories as well and will get some recs from your Irish week. Thanks!

Vladimir said...

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks07/0700231h.html#book7

What Book Today said...

Thank you, my dear Vladimir, for your strike back against my REAL BOOKS CAMPAIGN. <3

bibliophiliac said...

Gatsby is brilliant, and so is The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. I read the McCullers novel several years ago, and it has really stayed with me. I still have not read Wolfe, but he is on my shelf...

ConnieGirl said...

Great post! I'm actually re-reading The Great Gatsby right now -- what a great book. Thanks for joining us in the hop!

--Connie @ the Blue Bookcase

James said...

Good choices. I'm a Gatsby kind of guy myself, at least when compared with McCullers, but I enjoy her novels. The Thomas Wolfe is magnificent and worth rereading.

thebookstop said...

I definitely want to read The Heart is A Lonely Hunter! I read Member of the Wedding but not this one. Thanks for the recommendation. I don't love Gatsby as much as most people do.

What Book Today said...

Connie, thanks for hosting it! It's been a lot of fun and I've enjoyed seeing everyone's answers.

James, glad to hear that the Wolfe is fantastic. I can't wait. Must get on it in case I run into an errant city bus tomorrow. Have you read Tender is the Night? Even though I consider Gatsby to be technically perfect, Night is terribly engrossing.

thebookstop, so glad I could recommend this to you. Member of the Wedding is wonderful as well. Gatsby has had some overexposure in its time, but I can't help but love it. Thanks for stopping by!

Teacher/Learner said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog & following. I love many of your recommendations & thanks for your Steinbeck & Hemingway suggestions. I am interested in the titles you mentioned & will check them out. I loved the movie The Heart is a Lonely Hunter & recently bought the book. Can't wait to start it! I wasn't that keen (overall) on The Great Gatsby but loved all the symbolism. Am following you back :)

What Book Today said...

Thank you! So happy we found each other ;). Thanks for the follow, the kind words, and for stopping by.

Loni said...

Thanks for stoppying by my blog. Lonely Hunter is on my to be read list. I really enjoyed The Great Gatsby. I agree, Now and Then is a great movie. Have a great weekend!

jackieisreading said...

I'm adding "You Can't Go Home Again" to my to-read list! Gatsby is one of my all-time favorites, but you made some excellent choices here too. So glad to have connected!

Amused said...

What a great, and somewhat serious question to pose! I try to challenge myself to read 3 books everywhere that I've always meant to read. This year one of them I've already read so far and loved: Jane Eyre!

What Book Today said...

Hey Amused! I have got to read Jane Eyre...are you on Goodreads? The constant polls and talk of the movie are making my guilt worse. Glad you loved it, and I like that system of 3 books per year. I might just have to steal it! ;)

What Book Today said...

@Loni - I hope you love Heart is a Lonely Hunter! Can't wait to see what you think. Your blog is great.

@Jackie - Me too! Already some witty banter on Twitter ;)

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