magnacarta13 (magnacarta13) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

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January Books

Ah, the beginning of a new attempt to reach 50 books! A good deal of January was taken up reading a pile of magazines that were staring me down, but I did manage to finish two books (one of which was a big 'un):

1. John Steinbeck. Of Mice and Men (1937) - 107 pp
2. Thomas Wolfe. Look Homeward, Angel (1929) - 551 pp

I had read Of Mice and Men once before, rather lackadaisically, but have become rather fond of Steinbeck since then, due to having taught Cannery Row since. The story of George and Lenny is beyond heartbreaking, and knowing what's coming doesn't make it any easier to read. It's a perfect gem of a novella, beautifully structured and tragically real.

Thomas Wolfe, on the other hand, was entirely new to me. I knew almost nothing about him or his work, but came away damned impressed. It tells the story of Eugene Gant and his family in turn of the century North Carolina. Since the story is a bildungsroman, the education of a young man, it's not big on plot. None the less, I was gripped by it, primarily due to the extraordinary beauty of the writing. Lots of "Gee, I wish I'd written that" moments. I am now a confirmed Thomas Wolfe fan and will be making my way through all four of his novels shortly.

I'm still on my American lit binge, as you can see, desperately trying to correct my ignorance after a lifetime of BritLit.

2/50 = 4%
658 pages

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