Subject: American Classics

My Antonia by Will Cather

This book was published in 1918 and takes place in Nebraska.  It speaks of a time when immigrants came from Europe because life was not good there and there was a promise of free land for those who would work it. It was a tough life and the wind drove them wild. They did not speak the language, but persevered. A good book, our reader wondered if they came back now, would the recognize anything at all?

This book is available at the Grover Beach Community Library

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

The title is the combustion point of paper. A fireman, whose job was to destroy banned books (they made you think), got curious and snuck one home to see what gives. He saw what the culture of that time was doing to his family and the type of life they were living. Were they going to burn everything?  He decided to attempt to preserve the culture.  Bradbury saw what was going on in Germany and its book banning and burning. This book was once banned.

This book is available at the Grover Beach Community Library

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Often required reading in high school, our reader got much more out of the book this time. Each chapter was a description of another aspect of whaling. But, what did the whale mean to the human mind? The obsession of Captain Ahab and the final dramatic ending lead to a very different view of the book when re-read. It made one think of other books that could be reinterpreted.

This book is available at the Grover Beach Community Library

Between Two Worlds by Upton Sinclair

This is the second of three books that won a Pulitzer Prize for historical fiction. Book one was about WW 1 and this covers the rise of fascism to the Wall Street Crash. The father is an arms dealer who becomes a spy and later moves from Germany to New York.  He marries an heiress and experiences the stock market crash. Book three is the follow up.

Extraterrestrial Civilization by Isaac Asimov

Our reader finally finished this book, (he reads several at a time,) and is so impressed with the author he feels his books should all be classics.

This book is available at the Grover Beach Community Library

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

The first portion of the book is only interesting if you are interested in reading about a group that goes out each day from bar to bar getting drunk. Sophisticated, only depends on your outlook. They then travel to Spain and go fishing on their way to Pamplona for the running of the bulls. The men in the group have all been or are in love with the beautiful Brett, who simply wants someone to give her the lifestyle she wants.  In Pamplona she strikes up a relationship with a 19-year-old bullfighter. Being 44 years old it is an ill-fated romance.

This book is available at the Grover Beach Community Library

Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov

A book about a father/daughter relationship.  Our reader was thoroughly disgusted by it, which led to a discussion of banned books, and how they have changed from country to country and over centuries. Yet, some are classics in many ways. You would not compare Lolita with Huckleberry Finn. Other books that were banned were pointed out, including that California banned The Grapes of Wrath because of its’ portrayal of Californians which led to our subject for next month, banned books.

Next Meeting: March 8,2022 at the Grover Beach Community Library, 240 North 9th Street, Grover Beach at 10:30 a.m. Subject: Banned Books throughout history and the world. Google it, there are many, many lists.