Thursday, November 1, 2012

Babbit - by Sinclair Lewis.

Free US/UK Kindle Classic

Babbit is a 1922 novel by American novelist, Sinclair Lewis.  (US Edition)  (UK Edition)  He is from Minnesota and brings that Midwest sensibility to the Midwest - which is the area he writes about.

One Amazon reviewer wrote "Sinclair Lewis has to be one of the "great" writers of all time. In Babbitt he describes an era using fictional characters to represent the times in which many changes were taking place in the social environment of our country. America was coming out of the rural age and into the age of technical development, and characters reflected the effects of these changes in Lewis' novel. Great reading, and an opportunity to reflect on an important stage in America's development."

I think the book applies to another time age of technical development and we are in it!  Here is a pertinent excerpt: 

His name was George F. Babbitt. He was forty-six years old now, in April, 1920, and he made nothing in particular, neither butter nor shoes nor poetry, but he was nimble in the calling of selling houses for more than people could afford to pay.

Now here are the good ol' days when people waited for the primary to discuss the candidates?

"Who you rootin' for for Republican candidate, Mr. Babbitt?"
"It's too early to make any predictions yet. After all, there's still a good month and two weeks—no, three weeks—must be almost three weeks—well, there's more than six weeks in all before the Republican convention, and I feel a fellow ought to keep an open mind and give all the candidates a show—look 'em all over and size 'em up, and then decide carefully."
"That's a fact, Mr. Babbitt."

Judge for yourself if this is a timely (and funny) book . . .

He stopped smoking at least once a month. He went through with it like the solid citizen he was: admitted the evils of tobacco, courageously made resolves, laid out plans to check the vice, tapered off his allowance of cigars, and expounded the pleasures of virtuousness to every one he met. He did everything, in fact, except stop smoking.
Two months before, by ruling out a schedule, noting down the hour and minute of each smoke, and ecstatically increasing the intervals between smokes, he had brought himself down to three cigars a day. Then he had lost the schedule.

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