Thursday, September 16, 2010
Harper Lee for President!
On the advice of my mother, I just finished re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. I had read it in high school of course, and I remembered enjoying it then, but at the time I wasn't really sure what all the hype was about.
Anyway- It is an incredible book, an important book. It was written by a woman, but yet there is no hidden feminist agenda, proving that women can write books without constantly referring to the bitterness of our gender. It's a commentary on society, a love story, a coming of age story- so many things all rolled into one. I enjoyed it greatly. I laughed, I cried- I could hardly put it down. I definitely understand why we consider this book to be a great example of American Literature.
It got me to thinking- in forty years, which books will we be forcing our high schoolers to read from this era? I am well-read when it comes to the classics, but I am practically illiterate when it comes to anything written in the past ten years (except for Harry Potter of course- who didn't read those?) A teacher friend of mine had me read Lovely Bones, but I found it depressing and unredeeming. I once picked up a copy of Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. I only got about a third of the way through- but it made me want to vomit, it was so disgusting and horrifying. Some of today's fantasy is good- but too much of it seems to rely on sexy woodnymphs, or sexy elves, or sexy vampires.
So what truly great novels are being written right now? Novels that don't have to rely on sex or shocking violence to sell books- Novels that deal with the difficult concepts in today's society without losing their hope and vibrance.
I really don't know- do you?