Adam Bede by George Eliot
In Adam Bede (1859) George Eliot took the well-worn tale of a lovely dairy-maid seduced by a careless squire, and out if it created a wonderfully innovative and sympathetic portrait of the lives of ordinary Midlands working people--their labors and loves, their beliefs, their talk. This edition reprints the original broadsheet reports of the murder case that was a starting point for the book, and detailed notes illuminate Eliot's many literary and Biblical allusions
Thoughts: I read both Adam Bede and Middlemarch by George Eliot and Adam Bede really stuck with me. I was so surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did.
Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens
Dombey and Son, Charles Dickens’s story of a powerful man whose callous neglect of his family triggers his professional and personal downfall, showcases the author’s gift for vivid characterization and unfailingly realistic description. As Jonathan Lethem contends in his Introduction, Dickens’s “genius . . . is at one with the genius of the form of the novel itself: Dickens willed into existence the most capacious and elastic and versatile kind of novel that could be, one big enough for his vast sentimental yearnings and for every impulse and fear and hesitation in him that countervailed those yearnings too. Never parsimonious and frequently contradictory, he always gives us everything he can, everything he’s planned to give, and then more.” This Modern Library Paperback Classic was set from the 1867 “Charles Dickens” edition.
Thoughts: I loved Dombey and Son, it is a very large novel but it was fantastic. I loved the ending, and felt really satisfied when I finished it. I think it was a great timely novel, when sons had priority over daughters. Dombey and Son made me realize that readers shouldn't feel overwhelmed by the size of a novel.
Both of the following novels were required reading for my African-American Literature class.
Passing by Nella Larsen
First published to critical acclaim in 1929, Passing firmly established Nella Larsen's prominence among women writers of the Harlem Renaissance. The Modern Library is proud to present Passing — an electrifying story of two women who cross the color line in 1920s New York—together with a new Introduction by the Obie Award- winning playwright and novelist Ntozake Shange
Thoughts: I still have a notebook with all of the quotes that I took from this novel. I haven't read any other of Nella Larsen's books but I loved this one!
Daddy was a Number Runner by Louisa Meriwether
Recently chosen by Essence magazine, this beloved modern classic tells the poignant story of a spirited young woman’s coming of age in -Depression-era Harlem. While 12-year-old Francie Coffin’s world and family threaten to fall apart, this remarkable young heroine must call upon her own wit and endurance to survive amidst the treacheries of racism and sexism, poverty and violence. "The novel’s greatest achievement lies in the strong sense of black life that it conveys: the vitality and force behind the despair . . . a most -important novel."—New York Times Book Review
Thoughts: Daddy was a Number Runner reminds me of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. A great classic, and coming of age novel. I loved Francie, and her story. This one is more of a modern classic. but highly recommended.