Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton: This book was recommended by our home school curriculum as an alternative to reading Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. While I chose to assign Heart of Darkness in addition to this selection, I am glad my son read the two side-by-side. While both books take place in Africa and reflect on the tragic decisions of their characters, Paton’s story is one of redemption and forgiveness. I highly recommend it!
Main Street by Sinclair Lewis: My literary book club is discussing this book, which has been on my must-read list since my mother read it for her book club. While this book takes place in the World War I era, it resonates with my grandmother’s stories about moving to several Minnesota small towns after marrying my grandfather while he was a World War II Air Force lieutenant. Facebook is akin to listening in on the party line, and politics still battle across grocery counters and on street corners. Women still vacillate between having a career and keeping the house. Men and women continue to look across the kitchen table and wonder who that person is reading the daily news and whose distorted reflection peers through murky morning coffee. Sinclair’s story transcends the century, reminding the reader of the Main Street within all of us and of characters real enough to be our neighbors.