Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Scarlet Letter

What can I say about this one?  The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is often held up as one of the finest examples of classic American literature ever.  It's also probably one of the most hated pieces of literature of all time as well due to the fact that it is so often assigned to American High School students, who mostly are not in the mood for such reading material.  I seem to have had a somewhat different High School English experience and was never assigned this book to read.  And so, once again, when my children were assigned the book to read, we got our own copy and now I, too, have completed it.

I think when one reads a "classic" novel at age 16 or 17 it is quite naturally a different experience than when reading it at 48.  Still, when I read a novel, whether or not it is classic or just published last week, I read them the same way and look for the same sorts of things to satisfy my reading tastes.  That is not to say that I expect them to read the same.  Of course not.  I value the era in which the novel was written.  Thus I don't flinch at the use of the "n" word in Huckleberry Finn. 

So overall, for me, this was a rather mediocre reading experience.  I can appreciate Nathaniel Hawthorne's command of the language but it seems to me that he shows off when he writes.  I thought much the same when I read The House of Seven Gables.  The prose does describe a scene very well but its overabundance gets in the way of the story.  The story itself is pretty straight forward by today's standards and yet still retains a hint of mystery and intrigue.  So I'm glad I finally read this one but I'm looking forward to a bit more modern story telling in my next few choices.

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire