I often wonder why schools today don’t read more classics. This is what used to be called a “ripping” tale! Full of intrigue and excitement and….antisemitism that stuns the modern-day reader. This book is a stark reminder of how prevalent hatred or at least dislike of the Jews was everywhere in the early 20th Century (this book was published in 1905. I’m not so P.C. that I can’t read a great book written in a different time and accept that values and opinions change for the better, but I imagine explaining the way Shylock is described in Shakespeare is enough for the average high school teacher today. It doesn’t matter that in one case in this book the identity as Jewish was a ruse. I point this out because many younger readers come here for various book link parties I participate in and they might see the great book and then come back and assail me for failing to point this out. Also, because it needs to be pointed out. Great books can have great flaws–Huck Finn, Gone With the Wind, the Little House series, are among the many great American novels known for racial discrimination in tone and language. I will say that I enjoyed everything else about this book immensely! While I likely won’t read more of the series–I get the drift, I do want to watch the most recent t.v. or movie version I can find. The Scarlet Pimpernel.
If you are 16 and have never heard of Winston Churchill or Franklin Roosevelt, aren’t sure what/where/why Pearl Harbor might be, then you could gain by reading this history-lite book. There’s nothing truly wrong with it, it’s just that jaunty new history style. Suddenly we read of Lord Beaverbrook and then pages after we hear of “The Beaver,” fine if, like me, you’ve read reams on Churchill. A newbie could be forgiven wondering why Theodore Cleaver appears in this book. That’s about the weight of it. There are far better books out there on this political relationship, on the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor and on just about everyone in this book. Plus, maybe I’m wrong–perhaps there is a kind of mango with pink flesh….but I think the author meant papaya. Yes, that’s in this book! A real old-time editor who knows the subject was badly needed for this one. Pearl Harbor Christmas by Stanley Winetraub
This fun story focuses on a quartet of college friends enduring their twenties, who then fall apart, regroup, and finally get it sorted out as they age, has received lots of good hype. Fans of David Nicholls’ One Day or Cecelia Ahern’s Love Rosie, and even fans of Linday Cameron’s Biglaw, will really enjoy this one. I’m eagerly looking forward to Alice Adams’ next book. Invincible Summer by Alice Adams
What have you been reading? Leave me a comment!