Thursday, July 05, 2007

Booking it Great

Booking Through Thursday

What, in your opinion, is the (mythical) Great American Novel? At least to date. A “classic,” or a current one–either would be fine. Mark Twain? J.D. Salinger? F. Scott Fitzgerald? Stephen King? Laura Ingalls Wilder?

It doesn’t have to be your favorite book, mind you. “Citizen Kane” may be the “best” film, and I concede its merits, but it’s not my favorite. You don’t have to love something to know that it’s good.

Now, I know that not all of you are American–but you can play, too! What I want from you is to know what you consider to the best novel of YOUR country. It might be someone the rest of us haven’t heard of and, frankly, I think we’d all like to get some new authors to read.

In fact, while we’re at it–I’m curious about the geographical make-up of this meme. So, while you’re leaving your link to your post, tell us where in the world you are! (For the record, I’m in New Jersey, USA.)

I'll do the easy part first: I live in New Hampshire... but if you ever ask me where I'm "from", I'll answer, "California" -- my home state and where my heart resides.


If any of you are regular blog readers, you'll know my view of "classic literature"... it's not a good one. I find few that I enjoy, and fewer still that I would read more than once. So, favorite fiction aside (The book I've read the most in my life has to be "Black Beauty", with "A Wrinkle In Time" a close second), I would have to give my vote for Great American Novel to: To Kill A Mockingbird. This is one of the only "classics" that I enjoyed reading, that I've read more than once AND that I'll have my (homeschooled) DD read when she's older. It was relevant, well written, interesting, not suicidally depressing -- all of which may be because of the point of view chosen to tell the book.

I wonder, will anyone else choose this one? I'm interested to see.
In other terribly exciting news: DD and I have our first black swallowtail caterpillar to raise. They have been scarce this year, as have monarchs -- nary a butterfly to be seen. I nabbed this critter at my SILs house. We pull them inside to raise when we find them because it dramatically increases their chance of survival. We had upwards of ten monarch caterpillars last year on our milkweed, and I'd bet only two or three reached maturity.

This year, DD and I are establishing a Monarch WayStation in our yard. We have the milkweed (and it's growing like crazy), we have several good perennials (like coneflower) and planted annuals (like zinnia) that they like as well. If you build it, they will come. Right?

If only I could justify buying one of these.

Have a great day!


EnnaVic said...

To Kill a Mockingbird is a great book. We read it when I was 14 or 15 or so I think. I love A Wrinkle in Time as well. Great choices!

Wonderful to hear about the butterflies - Monarch numbers have been lower than normal in NZ as well.
I hope you keep us updated with your caterpillar's progress :)

Allie Boniface said...

Actually, I think TKAM is a really good choice. I don't know that I could pick just one novel that is an American "classic."

--Deb said...

TKAM is an absolutely amazing book. (Good movie, too, and how often does THAT happen?) Great choice!

teabird said...

Great choice - Have you listened to the audio narrated by Sissy Spacek? It's awesome --

Michele said...

I'll stumble through this because I don't remember the title.

It was a book..anthology written by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
In it he amazingly "predicted" that we'd be seeing people walking about with headphones attached to their heads... everywhere they went. However, in it was a subliminal message(Renta-tent, Rent-a-tent) which I certainly hope isn't part of the current picture.
But yes, I felt that the book was prophetic to what we now see .. Ipods with earbuds everywhere .. jogging, walking, driving a car, eating at the dinner table ... everytime I turn around I see the scenario being acted out in real life.
I find it freaky.

Everyday I get reminded that Kurt somehow saw this transition and it still gives me the willies.
Imagination becomes fact.
Many times it's great, othertimes disturbing.
Any book whose general story "speaks" to me years after reading it, even though I can't remember the name, is a classic.

Is a classic still a classic even when you can't remember its name?

Michele said...

Oh! I'm glad you're an advocate for the butterfly. They are special. I have LOTS of cornflowers in my yard.

And,**waving HI ** I'm a quasi-neighbor in that I'm in Western Mass.

Tori Lennox said...

I don't think we've ever had many Monarch butterflies. I wish we did.

Melissa said...

Good luck with the caterpillar. Two of my kids did that in their classrooms and loved seeing how butterflies come tot be!

bookinhand said...

Great choice! I just read this classic novel a few months ago and loved it! My choice was Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Diane in Michigan

Merri said...

Funny how so many of us favour children's books; understandably as good literature is ageless and generation friendly.
I loved seemed to haunt my childhood as it was the first book I read as a child with such a serious theme

Anonymous said...

I hail from suburban Minneapolis, MN...and I think Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose is the quintessential American novel. Plus it's a good read, so none of that "boring classic" problem. A second choice of a contemporary nature would be A.M. Homes' Music for Torching, which is a searing (pun intended) look at modern suburban life.

Dru said...

I love To Kill A Mockingbird. In fact I re-read last year and gave a copy to my niece. Another classic title that I enjoy is Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

Callista said...

Ah another recommendation for TKMB. I haven't read it but want to.

Kevin Numerick said...

Of Mice and Men would be my choice, was an excellent book and one of the few I was able to read with ease. :)

Fantastic site btw!!!!

Ceri said...

I loved The Scarlet Letter and Call Of The Wild. Otherwise I'm not too much into the classics.

Though I was born and lived in Minneapolis for 11 years I'm from New Hampshire.

Alice Teh said...

I did not play for this week's BTT, but I do agree with your choice. To Kill A Mockingbird is a wonderful read and I will definitely re-read this one.