My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Three 4 Thursday: 3 Classics written in the 1920's you should re-read

It was a golden age of flappers, prohibition, and disillusionment.  The decade of the 1920's was a period of immense social change.  Following the end of WWI, soldiers streamed back into the U.S..  After seeing more of the world than they ever dreamed, many were discontented and unenthusiastic about going back to the farm.  Women, as well, shed social norms and let loose.  Who knew what tomorrow would bring?

The 1920's was also a golden age of literature.  There were many memorable books of that era, but these three really encompass the social upheaval of the times.

1.  The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton:

This book concerns itself with the gilded age of America and takes place in the 1870's.  The story centers around the impending marriage of young gentleman Newland Archer.  He is about to be married to the picture perfect May Welland.  But after meeting her cousin, Ellen, he begins to question many of the assumptions he has been taught about marriage.  Written in 1920, it's commentary on marriage and society and is an indictment on the social conventions that young people were beginning to question following the end of WWI.  With this book, Edith Wharton became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize.  

2.  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald:

Often mandatory reading in high school, everyone should read it again (and again) as they get older.  It epitomizes of the decadence of the times:  the extravagant parties, the gaudy mansions, the garishness of folks suddenly flush with money from bootlegging and a skyrocketing stock market.  The story concerns Jay Gatsby, the poor young soldier who vows to become rich and win the hand of his first love Daisy.  But Daisy is already married to the boorish Tom Buchanan.  Can Jay recapture the sweetness of a long lost love?  Or is it too late to go back?  It is amazing that, although it was written in 1925, the book seems to foretell the looming disaster of the Great Depression.  I re-read this every few years to remind me of the fleeting nature of wealth and infatuation.

3.  The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway:  

Written in 1926, this book initiated the term "The Lost Generation" to describe the disillusionment of young people who went into WWI thinking war would be heroic only to discover the terrible human cost of battle.  In the book, a group of expats living in Paris seem to stumble from place to place drinking and looking for the next amusement.  Jake Barnes is a journalist who works in Paris and is in love with Lady Brett Ashely.  Due to a war injury Jake is impotent, so Brett seeks out various other lovers.  His group of friends all seem to have unconventional relationships and behave in a shallow way.  I think this is a book that would give one insight into a time period of great social flux throughout the world.  The book The Paris Wife by Paula McLain,  chronicles what was happening in Hemingway's life as he was writing this book and how the people he knew at that time populated his masterpiece.

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