Books I have read. . . July

HeatLightHeat & Light by Jennifer Haighes

This novel tells of the arrival of fracking in a small Pennsylvania coal town; how different people react to the possibilities it creates and the destruction it leaves. While the novel ends on a negative note, the characters bring up the many sided issue that the natural gas industry poses. Are the incomes and jobs it supplies more important than the environmental destruction it havocs? This story is told from many viewpoints encapsulated in a deteriorating population: characters who need money, characters who want power, characters who want time to stand still, characters who blame everyone but themselves for their worries.  The author says she “doesn’t think of it as a book about fracking. . .I think it’s a book about the soul of a place and how the soul of a place is impacted by the choices we make, economic choices, that’s really the heart of the book.” NPR Interview

Middlemarch Middlemarch by George Eliot PR4662.A2

  • “What do I think of Middlemarch? What do I think of glory – except that in a few instances ‘this mortal [George Eliot] has already put on immortality’.” Emily Dickinson
  • “One of the few English novels written for grown-up people.” Virginia Woolf
  • “But I too hate long books: the better, the worse. If they’re bad they merely make me pant with the effort of holding them up for a few minutes. But if they’re good, I turn into a social moron for days, refusing to go out of my room, scowling and growling at interruptions, ignoring weddings and funerals, and making enemies out of friends. I still bear the scars of Middlemarch.”  Vikram Seth
  • “Slow going but worth the effort.” Cynthia

Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo PS3539.R928J65

Trumbo’s 1939 novel of World War I received the National Book Award and critical acclaim back in the day. But the book resurfaced during the Vietnam era as one of the leading war protests. The novel’s message is timeless. A soldier comes home with no arms, no legs, and no face. Doctors keep him alive. The story is the internal monologue that runs through Johnny’s mind. It’s about how society deals with the wounded. What becomes acceptable. What becomes invisible.
Watch a video clip of Johnny’s final speech.

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