Here’s what I thought about two books that I was not familiar with prior to this list, #16 and 17 of the 100 greatest novels.
This is a long novel. Dreiser dissects the thought process of each and every character before and after an action. So it takes a long time for things to happen and you can see most of what happens coming. That said, this is an enthralling story based on actual events leading to a highly publicized murder trial. It’s worth the time and effort to read because Dreiser does such an incredible job of making every character very human and you feel strong emotions towards them no matter what their actions are or how other characters see them. Sometimes you’ll be disgusted by the actions of a character. Sometimes you’ll feel pity for a character you should be disgusted by. It’s slightly emotionally confusing. Yet, still a rewarding read.
John Singer is a deaf-mute. There’s something about him that attracts everyone in the town. His eyes have a sense of understanding in them. This novel follows four characters that are loosely connected but are all inexplicably drawn to Singer. They pour their heart out to him. And he nods and smiles. This novel was the easiest read I’ve come across in this list. The writing is simple and to the point. The 4 intertwining story lines are simultaneously intriguing and somewhat depressing. I really enjoyed each and every chapter of this novel and look forward to reading more of McCullers’ novels. In a side note, the author was 22 years old when this novel was written (1940) and the writing is just lightyears ahead of her age. Her understanding of poverty, race, old age, and music is baffling.
Next is Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. This novel and this author are a huge favorite of mine and I’m excited to reread it and finally put my thoughts down. Thanks for reading!