“It was on this day in 1789 that the first American novel was published in Boston. The Power of Sympathy: Or, the Triumph of Nature. Founded in Truth, by William Hill Brown, (books by this author) was the first novel to be published in America that was also written by someone who was born here. America’s first novel is not light reading.” – The Writer’s Almanac
In honor of the 221st anniversary of the first American novel being published, I have decided to post my reading list for the upcoming months. I adore books. I found myself a little anxious about working in publishing because I was afraid that if I worked with books all day I would not want to even see one at night. Luckily, that fear was never realized. However, I find myself to be a strange breed of bibliophile for a number of different reasons.
- I’m terrified of “Bestsellers” and Oprah’s list.
- I am either reading nothing at all or literally inhaling books.
- If I start a book, I must finish it.
- I never have just the next book to read, that makes me nervous. I always have to be at least 3 deep.
With that said, like most people, my reading list is a compilation of suggestions from trusted friends. I’d love to hear what you think. If you’ve read any of these, did you like/dislike them? Have any other gems that should be added to the list? Without further ado, here’s what’s on my bedside table.
1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I know, I know, I said I hate books on the bestsellers list but this one won me over after an NPR feature on All Things Considered. This debut novel from Stockett is about “Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step” in Jackson, Miss during the civil rights movement. A story about three women who aren’t happy and will not settle for living inside the lines that people/society have placed around them. I love that! Their determination and passion change not only their lives but those around them. What I find fascinating is that Stockett was for the most part raised in Jackson herself by a black woman, Demetrie, who was dear to her family and was very formative in her young years. Stockett wrote this book because she wanted to examine what it must have been like for Demetrie in that time and was never able to ask her. I love that Stockett is out to examine a life different than her own because she sees it as “vital to humanity.” I couldn’t agree more and can’t wait to read this book!
2. Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Greg Mortenson. After reading Mortenson’s first book, Three Cups of Tea, I am very intrigued about this second book. In this book, which is in first-person narrative unlike his first one is from what I’ve heard, not simply a status update but a way for Mortenson to share a bigger vision: “to promote peace through education and literacy.” As a book lover and one who truly believes that education is the greatest humanitarian gift anyone could give I can’t wait to learn more about the work he has been doing, the challenges he faces and the lives it’s changing.
3. The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life by Dr. Armand M. Nicholi Jr. Alright, so I saw this book a couple years ago and was intrigued so I bought it but somehow forgot about it. I saw The Book of Eli this past Monday and thought about this book. I’ve pulled it back off the shelf and and really excited about reading it. Now granted, these discussions between these two modern day thinkers never happened but this book takes their writings and works on the different subjects and creates a conversation. I’ve read many of Lewis’s books and absolutely love them so I am really looking forward to this one and delving more into these topics.
All over the board, I know but I like it like that. I just read Stieg Larsson’s first two books, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire and need something totally different. These books were fantastic and to read anything even in the same genre right after…I mean nothing would come close. So I had to shake it up a bit. I’ll let you know how they are. What’s on your bedside table?