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Nicholas E. Barron Posts

Why We Should Make Sinclair Lewis’s ‘Main Street’ Great Again

What’s surprising about Sinclair Lewis’s “Main Street” is how little has changed in the 97 years since the book was published.Book cover of Sinclair Lewis's "Main Street."

We’ve fought wars, made our phones into computers, and still, the struggles of America in the 1910s and America in the 2010s are fairly similar.

Yes, “Main Street” is a small town story, but it’s a book reflective of societal challenges. That the setting is a rural America most Americans today won’t recognize doesn’t matter. The issues Lewis raises are all too recognizable to contemporary Americans.

Main Street Book Cover Main Street
Sinclair Lewis
Fiction
Penguin
2008
475

Features the story of a college graduate from St. Paul who leaves to marry a doctor in a small, middle-class town, only to find her efforts to bring culture and beauty to the town thwarted by its residents, testing her idealism.

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How “Hero of the Empire” Is a History Book for Today

Reading Hero of the Empire triggers this question: How is writing impacted by how we today consume information?

Surely, there’s an impact. Prevailing advice for writers is to be readers. This implies reading affects writing. If true, then how we read must impact writing as well.

So what can we expect of writers in the world of shortening attention spans, hyperlinks, and social media?

Hero of the Empire Book Cover Hero of the Empire
Candice Millard
Random House Large Print Publishing
September 20, 2016
640

From "New York Times" bestselling author of "Destiny of the Republic" and "The River of Doubt," a thrilling narrative of Winston Churchill's extraordinary and little-known exploits during the Boer War At age twenty-four, Winston Churchill was utterly convinced it was his destiny to become prime minister of England one day, despite the fact he had just lost his first election campaign for Parliament. He believed that to achieve his goal he must do something spectacular on the battlefield. Despite deliberately putting himself in extreme danger as a British Army officer in colonial wars in India and Sudan, and as a journalistcovering a Cuban uprising against the Spanish, glory and fame had eluded him. Churchill arrived in South Africa in 1899, valet and crates of vintage wine in tow, there to cover the brutal colonial war the British were fighting with Boer rebels. But just two weeks after his arrival, the soldiers he was accompanying on an armored train were ambushed, and Churchill was taken prisoner. Remarkably, he pulled off a daring escape--but then had to traverse hundreds of miles of enemy territory, alone, with nothing but a crumpled wad of cash, four slabs of chocolate, and his wits to guide him. The story of his escape is incredible enough, but then Churchill enlisted, returned to South Africa, fought in several battles, and ultimately liberated the men with whom he had been imprisoned. Churchill would later remark that this period, "could I have seen my future, was to lay the foundations of my later life." Millard spins an epic story of bravery, savagery, and chance encounters with a cast of historical characters including Rudyard Kipling, Lord Kitchener, and Mohandas Gandhi with whom he would later share the world stage. But "Hero of the Empire" is more than an adventure story, for the lessons Churchill took from the Boer War would profoundly affect 20th century history. "From the Hardcover edition.""

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2017 reading list: Time to have an accomplished year

Update: Four books have been added to the 2017 reading list. Find out what it’s included in the 38 books to read in 2017 list.

Tis the season for new endeavors and an annual reading list fits the bill. Below is my 2017 reading list.

Maybe you’ve always kept a yearly list of books you want to read. This is a first for me. Now that I’ve become more practiced about my reading, there are books I want to be sure and read.

A reading list helps. And it prevents me from forgetting a book I come across.

The 2017 reading list is organized into categories. As the reading list organization is for my purposes, you won’t find these categories in a library or on Amazon. (See “Oldies but goodies”).

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