I am trying something different and if people like the idea, it can be a regular feature of my blog. I got the idea by watching a Book Tuber called the Deckled Edge where he did this video on ten books you need in your library, but he only made it up to 5. I like the idea of making mini reviews about books I recommend, but I don’t believe in telling people what books they need to own. I’m calling it 3 Books. I am challenging myself by having one book be a classic, a more contemporary one and the last one added Wildcard. It could be a genre book or a memoir. Let’s go!
Sister Carrie by Theodore Drieser. I have a friend on Facebook who seems to be reading several books at once. Recently, he mentioned Sister Carrie, which I read when I was out of college. The book, published in 1900, was considered controversial. It’s the story of Carrie, who moves from a small Midwestern town to move to Chicago and live with her sister Minnie and her husband. Carrie gets a job at a shoe factory, but she doesn’t like the drudgery of factory work. She starts a relationship with traveling salesman Charles Drouet and she moves in with him.
Carrie may be the title character but the book’s most interesting character is George Hurstwood, a manager of a bar who has a wife and kids. Drouet introduces Carrie to Hurstwood and he becomes obsessed with her. He eventually embezzled money from his employer and takes Carrie to live with him in Canada. Eventually he feels guilty and his life takes a downturn. Sister Carrie is an a great realistic novel from the turn of the century that people should read.
Now we travel 100 years ahead to one of my favorite contemporary novels, White Teeth by Zadie Smith. This was Smith’s debut novel and I enjoyed reading this book. It takes place in Northern London and is about Archie Jones and his friend from WWII, Samad Iqbal, who is a Muslim from Bengali. The book starts off with Archie planning to kill himself on New Years Day 1975, but decides instead to go to a party where he meets Clara Bowden from Jamaica. The novel then follows Archie and Clara and their daughter Irie. Samad, meanwhile, has an arraigned marriage and has twin boys, Magid and Millat.
I don’t want to spoil the book for you but it’s a funny and brilliant book that talks about immigration, race, eugenics and, yes, white teeth. Smith has denounced the book in later years as being too brash and sassy but not enough fiction dares to be this bold. I still have her other books to read but I’m a fan already.
Tether’s End by Margery Allingham. I haven’t talked about how I love reading mystery books and this one I’ve read twice. The book is one of the Detective Champion series. On a rainy night in London, a parked bus at the end of a street is found with a dead body on board. Detective Champion and his team do a great job of finding out who the killer is. What I love about the book is that it has a Hitchcock feel to it. A woman winds up in the same building as the killer and Allingham keeps you in suspense what will happen next. It’s a good thriller that keeps the reader on its toes.
Let me know what you think of these books or the format I’m using. Happy reading to all my friends!