26 July 2009

Sunday Salon: Working my way down "Main Street"

I'm trying to work my way through Main Street by Sinclair Lewis. My friend LS2 and I are a book club of two, and it was my turn to pick a book from the 1001 Books list for us to read. I thought this one would be easier to read than our last few picks, but I'm still trying to adjust to Lewis' writing style. The book isn't exactly difficult to read, but the writing of the 1920s is quite different than what is found in a modern chick lit novel. It requires more concentration than my last book, The Yada Yada Prayer Group.

Whoever had this copy of Main Street before me made plenty of notes in the margins. I would surmise that the note-maker was a student who checked the book out in the past twenty years because all the notes are definitions of words that I don't see a lot these days, like "stolid" and "propinquity". It made me think of an essay in the book Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader where the author talks about words that have gone out of fashion to the extent that modern readers don't know their definitions. It also reminds me of the reason I chose a book from the early 20th century. I enjoy all kinds of words, but most especially words and phrases that you don't hear every day.

3 comments:

Literary Feline said...

I'm always tempted to start using words that are not so common anymore when I come across them in books.

I'm trying to remember if I have ever read anything by Sinclair Lewis, but I don't think so. I was looking up the list of books and stories he'd written to see if I recognized any and noticed he'd turned down a Pulitzer for one of them.

I hope you have a great week, Dani!

Michael said...

I'll be reading a book written in 1931 - Faulkner's "Sanctuary" - so it will interesting to see what phrases I'll come across that have fallen by the wayside.

JM said...

Wow, that sounds interesting. I don't read books that contain words I don't know very often, but I'm usually drowning in a pile of recently released review copies. I must take time out to find some more classics to read.

JM @ TheBookStacks.com