Monday, April 07, 2008

What I'm reading

I don't have a spiffy sidebar like Beth, but I figured I'd share what I'm reading these days.

I just finished Babbitt , by Sinclair Lewis. Lewis has become one of my favorite novelists. I started with Arrowsmith, which I came across in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport and which is about a young medical student and doctor who is determined to make a difference in the world with his research, despite many setbacks and difficulties. It's an inspiring read. Arrowsmith himself is full of energy and drive, and he succeeds in the face of significant personal tragedy. Lewis has an incredible ear for American speech, and he never fails to be witty and observant.

Babbitt has the same great qualities. The hero is George Babbitt, a middle-class businessman who is the epitome of conformity. The first two thirds of the novel simply follow Babbitt around his normal work day and his social life in the fictional city of Zenith. And yet it's fascinating to read. Babbitt's way of talking is vivid and real; Lewis is especially good at mimicking the various styles of commercial speech and writing. And even though the novel is set in the 1920's, you can recognize a great deal of today's America in it, too. It makes you think about how conformity influences your thoughts and decisions, even your sense of morality.

I also read Diary of a Wimpy Kid this afternoon, which is a "novel in cartoons" about a middle school kid. Yeah, not in the same elevated company as Sinclair Lewis. But man, it is hilarious. I haven't laughed so much while reading for a long time. Thank goodness I'm going into pediatrics, because I can buy any children's fiction I want and say it's for the kids. You can even read it online!


Lizardbreath McGee said...

Heck, that's why I'm going into children's librarianship.

Elizabeth said...

I just finished East of Eden. Have you read it?

Christian said...

Not yet. I need to finish my Sinclair Lewis kick first.

Elizabeth said...

Some English major you are.

The Loveridge Family said...

Hi this THE Christian that I'm thinking it is? I found your blog on Becca's...although it doesn't look like you post much (totally understandable for being in med school and all). Anyway...I just wanted to say HI!