Three days off from work, sick with the ferschlugginah flu, so I’ve been rereading some small-town American themed literature, and forgot how much I’ve liked it.
Already finished Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, Sinclair’s Arrowsmith, Wilder’s Our Town **, and currently in the middle of Master’s Spoon River Anthology. To Kill A Mockingbird is next on the list. Rather like the idea of small adorable town America with all the horrible scandals and such. And of course, I’m playing Aaron Copland as background music.
Never had an actual course on American literature, so what are your favorites to recommend while I recuperate? Aw heck, any movies (or movie versions of the above) you’d recommend along the same theme?
“The Last Picture Show” and “Texasville,” by Larry McMurty. The movie of “Picture Show” is a pretty decent adaptation, and “Texasville” wasn’t bad, although it didn’t make me roar with laughter in places the way the book did.
Paradise Falls by Don Robertson is small town American life just after the Civil War. The book is huge – it was published in two volumes – but there’s no padding and it doesn’t feel bloated. It’s in my all time top ten, for whatever that’s worth.
Somebody’s gotta do it – don’t forget Peyton Place by Grace Metalious, and Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, which was Peyton Place with vampires.
Babbitt is a fine novel, but it is not about a small town. The city of Zenith has skyscrapers, factories, and suburbs. The opening sentence:
May I recommend instead Green Town, Illinois, the hometown of 12-year-old Douglas Spaulding in the magical summer of 1928: Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, one of the most exhilirating reading experiences I ever had.
Thanks for all the suggestions. I’d already read Winesburg, Ohio waaaay back in 10th (?) grade, but that one is definitely on my list (don’t have a copy at the moment, else I’d prolly have finished it by now).