Monday, January 11, 2016

THE UNITED STATES OF BOOKS! **Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson**

Welcome to the first installment of the United States of Books (click here for info). Today’s pick is from the state of my birth – Ohio.

Winesburg, Ohio is a series of interconnecting short stories (twenty-two in total) published in 1919. It is considered to be one of the earliest works of modernist literature and in 1998, the Modern Library ranked Winesburg, Ohio 24th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
80176Focusing mainly on George Willard, a young man coming of age in the early 1900’s in a small town, all the stories revolve around the citizens in the town. Stories range from tales of the local doctor, school teacher and merchant. Tales of scandal, the women who was the first to have a driver for her carriage, family, the mother who is uninterested in raising her child, and love, a brief affair concerning the town doctor, showcase the citizens of the town. Over one hundred characters are mentioned, some only once and some weave through each story. It was interesting to see that gossip about others was prevalent in that time and that jealousy regarding monetary and social statuses were also heavily in play. There were very obvious social classes and the interaction between the haves and the have nots was a primary focus.
This was a very fast read at only 180-ish pages and I did enjoy it. The pacing was quick, as each story was only a few pages long. The world building was superb. Sherwood Anderson created such a complete and well fleshed out world, I could picture the streets, the stores and the houses as I read. The characters fit well in the world and even though you only got glimpses into their world, I understood their motivations and actions.
While Winesburg, Ohio is not a typical read for me now, I was a classic English lit major when I started college and have read a large amount of classics in the past. It was nice to get back to my reading roots and delve into a story (in this case stories) that don’t focus on social media mishaps, love found across a bar, or a helicopter parent. Not that I don’t enjoy reads like that, but sometimes focusing on the writing itself is a welcome change.
Favorite lines – In all the babble of words that fell from the lips of the men with whom she adventured she was trying to find what would be for her the true word.
Little pyramids of truth he erected and after erecting knocked them down again that he might have the truths to erect other pyramids.
Biggest cliche – “Those damn carriages will never catch on.”
Have you read Winesburg, Ohio, or added it to your TBR?


Introducing The United States of Books!

I have hinted that I had a big announcement coming and here it is! I was reading the September 4, 2015 issue of Entertainment Weekly and they had a special called the United States of Books that identified the book they thought most closely matched the state it was set in. I was intrigued and thought that it would be a great list to highlight on my site. I figured I could do one review a month and work through the list. Then I did the math and realized it would take me over four years to finish. So I reached out to the amazing book blogging community and found four others to do it with me, with each of us taking our states book and nine randomly assigned books. Beginning Monday, January 4, 2016 and concluding Monday, December 13, 2016, United States of Books will run every Monday here and at the other four sites. The list is very diverse and I think it will be interesting to see everyone’s take on the books chosen. The amazing bloggers participating are –
Make sure you stop by on Mondays to check out the United States of Books reviews!
Here is the list –
Alabama—To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Alaska—Julie of the Wolves, Jean Craighead George
Arizona—Animal Dreams, Barbara Kingsolver
Arkansas—True Grit, Charles Portis
California—Play It As It Lays, Joan Didion
Colorado—Plainsong, Kent Haruf
Connecticut—The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Elizabeth George Speare
Delaware—The Book of Unknown Americans, Cristina Henriquez
Florida—The Yearling, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Georgia—Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Hawaii—The Descendants, Kaui Hart Hemmings
Idaho—Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson
Illinois—Maud Martha, Gwendolyn Brooks
Indiana—The Magnificent Ambersons, Booth Tarkington
Iowa—Shoeless Joe, W.P. Kinsella
Kansas—Doc, Mary Doria Russell
Kentucky—In Country, Bobbie Ann Mason
Louisiana—The Awakening, Kate Chopin
Maine—Empire Falls, Richard Russo
Maryland—The Accidental Tourist, Anne Tyler
Massachusetts—The Wapshot Chronicle, John Cheever
Michigan—Once Upon a River, Bonnie Jo Campbell
Minnesota—The Betsy-Tacy Series, Maud Hart Lovelace
Mississippi—The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
Missouri—The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
Montana—A River Runs through It, Norman Maclean
Nebraska—My Antonia, Willa Cather
Nevada—Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson
New Hampshire—A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving
New Jersey—Independence Day, Richard Ford
New Mexico—House Made of Dawn, N. Scott Momaday
New York—Drown, Junot Diaz
North Carolina—Jim the Boy, Tony Earley
North Dakota—Love Medicine, Louise Erdrich
Ohio—Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson
Oklahoma—The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
Oregon—Geek Love, Katherine Dunn
Pennsylvania—Rabbit, Run, John Updike
Rhode Island—Spartina, John Casey
South Carolina—The Prince of Tides, Pat Conroy
South Dakota—Black Hills, Dan Simmons
Tennessee—A Death in the Family, James Agee
Texas—Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry
Utah—The Monkey Wrench Gang, Edward Abbey
Vermont—Songs in Ordinary Time, Mary McGarry Morris
Virginia—The Known World, Edward P. Jones
Washington—The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie
West Virginia—Lord of Misrule, Jaimy Gordon
Wisconsin—A Map of the World, Jane Hamilton
Wyoming—Close Range, Annie Proulx