America in Literature II

downloadThere is a plethora of great American literature, I could not create a list of less than 20. However, I focused less on the popularity of a novel/author and more on a variety and depth of “American ” (U.S.) content/concepts and ideas/ideals etc. Literature that focuses on the history, growth, and culture of our nation.
So, I was able to narrow it down…

Here continues my list of quintessential American literary works:

PART II of II

The Things They Carried 

by Tim O’Brien
A classic, life-changing meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Gone With the Wind
by Margaret Mitchell
Widely considered The Great American Novel, and often remembered for its epic film version, Gone With the Wind explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it vividly depicts the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

The Catcher in the Rye
By J.D. Salinger
A controversial novel originally published for adults, it has since become popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage angst and alienation.
Wikipedia

Rated 4.0 on amazon.com

To Kill a Mockingbird
By Harper Lee
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

Moby Dick

By Melville
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is a novel by American writer Herman Melville, published in 1851 during the period of the American Renaissance.
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

The Crucible

By Arthur Miller

Based on historical people and real events, Arthur Miller’s play uses the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence unleashed by the rumors of witchcraft as a powerful parable about McCarthyism.

Rated 4.1 on amazon.com

Civil Disobedience
Henry David Thoreau
An essay by American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau that was first published in 1849. In it, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican–American War.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Of Mice and Men

By John Steinbeck

Published in 1937, it tells the story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in California in search of new job opportunities during the Great Depression in the United States.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Sound and The Fury
By William Faulkner
The tragedy of the Compson family, featuring some of the most memorable characters in literature: beautiful, rebellious Caddy; the manchild Benjy; haunted, neurotic Quentin; Jason, the brutal cynic; and Dilsey, their black servant. Their lives fragmented and harrowed by history and legacy, the character’s voices and actions mesh to create what is arguably Faulkner’s masterpiece and  one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.

Rated 3.9 on amazon.com

 

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America in Literature I

119001003406-originalThere is a plethora of great American literature, I could not create a list of less than 20. However, I focused less on the popularity of a novel/author and more on a variety and depth of “American ” (U.S.) content/concepts and ideas/ideals etc. Literature that focuses on the history, growth, and culture of our nation.
So, I was able to narrow it down…

Here is my list of the top quintessential American literary works:

PART I of II

Common Sense
By Thomas Pain
Paine arrived in America from England in 1774. A friend of Benjamin Franklin, he was a writer of poetry and tracts condemning the slave trade. In 1775, as hostilities between Britain and the colonies intensified, Paine wrote Common Sense to encourage the colonies to break the British exploitative hold and fight for independence. The little booklet of 50 pages was published January 10, 1776 and sold a half-million copies, approximately equal to 75 million copies today.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

Their Eyes Were Watching God

By Zora Neale Hurston

Out of print for almost thirty years due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist. Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


By Mark Twain

One of the most challenged or banned books due to racist language, Twain’s novel can be read as an indictment of unenlightened nineteenth-century thinking or as a heartbreaking coming-of-age novel, but what’s undisputed is the novel’s position as one of the most influential books in American literature.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com10ca59f648094240a32e3146b99bce6c

Book Bean: Iced Huckleberry Hibiscus
Brew some hibiscus tea add honey to taste and chill. Lightly crush a handful of fresh huckleberries (raspberries or marion/black berries are great too). Add berries and ice to a tall glass and pour in chilled tea.

The Scarlet Letter
By Nathaniel Hawthorne
An 1850 work of fiction in a historical setting, and is considered to be Hawthorne’s “masterwork”. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, Massachusetts, during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.

Rated 4.0 on amazon.com

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

By Harriet Beecher Stowe

An anti-slavery novel published in 1852, the novel “helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War”, according to Will Kaufman.Wikipedia. Denouncing the institution of slavery in dramatic terms, the incendiary novel quickly draws the reader into the world of slaves and their masters.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

The Great Gatsby

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

An exemplary novel of the Jazz Age acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. It is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

green-spritzer-051-mbd109404_vertRated 4.3 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Fitz Spritzer

Green tea chilled, fresh lime juice, sugar, and club soda. Pour mixture over ice and enjoy your own Green Rickey 😉 Make it fun, add an olive, lime wedges, and/or mint for garnish.


Leaves of Grass

By Walt Whitman

A visionary volume of twelve poems. Showing the influence of a uniquely American form of mysticism known as Transcendentalism, which eschewed the general society and culture of the time, the writing is distinguished by an explosively innovative free verse style and previously unmentionable subject matter.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

Beloved

By Toni Morrison

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery,  the novel is inspired by the story of an African-American slave, Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery in Kentucky late January 1856 by fleeing to Ohio, a free state. Set after the American Civil War (1861-1865) this spellbinding novel transforms history into a powerful story as intimate as a lullaby.

Rated 3.9 on amazon.com

The Grapes of Wrath

By John Steinbeck
A Pulitzer Prize–winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com


Book Bean:
California Frappe

Cut off peel and white pith from 2-3 orange wedges. Bring 1/2 cup of dry red wine, 2 Tsp. of sugar, a grate of orange zest, and 1/2 Tsp. of cinnamon to a simmer, add the orange wedges and simmer for approx. 10 min. mixture should reduce to a syrup, let chill. Pull 2 shots of espresso (or use 4 oz of brewed coffee chilled.) In a blender add ice, coffee, syrup (for an easier option use marmalade 😉 ), and milk (to taste) blend and enjoy!Frappe-1080x631

Stay tuned for PART II this evening!

While you wait vote for you favorite American Author 

 Share with us about your vote, what do you love about this author, and what makes them “A Great” in American literature?

 

Ten Timeless Dog Tales

 

18734_293820354503_1930542_nSince the day I met my beloved Brandy girl (aka wigglebutt)  I knew she was special to me and for the first time I truly understood the meaning and depth a pup can bring a person. I have hoped for some time since she died 8 years ago, that I would find another dog to share a connection with and companionship with, as rich as the one her life brought me.

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I never understood how beautiful and true the love between a dog and their person/family could be, until the day I met her.
Dogs are amazing creatures and capable of bringing so much joy and love. Lately I have had such a strong desire to bring a new dog into my life, and so I decided to channel that energy into a Mini Bean dedicated to our four legged friends.

 Here are 10 Dog Tales, the timeless and the touching:

Where the Red Fern Grows
by Wilson Rawls
A beloved classic that captures the powerful bond between man and Dog. Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two dogs. So when he’s finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own, Old Dan and Little Ann, he’s ecstatic. It’s true that times are tough, but together they’ll roam the hills of the Ozarks. But tragedy awaits these determined hunters, now friends, and Billy learns that hope can grow out of despair.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans
by W. Bruce Cameron
Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog’s Purpose is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog’s many lives, but also a dog’s-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man’s best friend. This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.

Check out the box set for the whole A Dog’s Purpose Series:
#1 A Dog’s Purpose
#2 A Dog’s Journey
#3 A Dog’s Way Home (forthcoming)

Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

One Good Dog
by Susan Wilson
Adam March is a self-made Master of the Universe. He has it all: the beautiful wife, the high-powered job, the glittering circle of friends. Until the day his assistant gives him a message: your sister called. No one knows that his sister has been missing for decades. Adam loses it, and he is escorted from the building. He loses his job. He loses his wife. At his lowest, Adam is assigned to community service in a soup kitchen. And this is where he crosses paths with Chance.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog Named Trixie
by Dean Koontz
A profound, funny, and beautifully rendered portrait of a beloved companion. Bestselling novelist Dean Koontz remembers the golden retriever who changed his life. A retired service dog, Trixie was three when Dean and his wife, Gerda, welcomed her into their home. She was superbly trained, but her greatest gifts couldn’t be taught: her keen intelligence, her innate joy, and an uncanny knack for living in the moment.

Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

A Forever Home Novel Book Series
by Dan Walsh
download.jpgBook 1A great read for Dog Lovers everywhere (and those wanting to Honor our Wounded Warriors.)
Book 2: Every :  How could the life of a homeless man and the life of a young boy and his dog , Riley, possibly connect? Dan Walsh is a master at connecting the dots.
Book 3: A touching story that spans multiple generations and Covers such topics as Pet Rescue and training, Self-Defense, Bullying, and Relationships.
Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

Old Yeller
by Fred Gibson
A timeless American classic and one of the most beloved children’s books ever written, Old Yeller is a Newbery Honor Book that explores the poignant and unforgettable bond between a boy and the stray dog who becomes his loyal friend. Fred Gipson’s novel is an eloquently simple story that is both exciting and deeply moving. Old Yeller stands as a beloved and enduring classic of literature

Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

Could Chew on ThisAnd Other Poems by Dogs
by Francesco Marciuliano
This canine companion to I Could Pee on This, The beloved volume of poems by cats, will have dog lovers laughing out loud. Doggie laureates not only chew on quite a lot of things, they also reveal their creativity, their hidden motives, and their eternal (and sometimes misguided) effervescence through such musings as “I Dropped a Ball,” “I Lose My Mind When You Leave the House,” and “Can You Smell That?”

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

The Dog Who Saved Me
by Susan Wilson
Rescue comes in unexpected ways for one man and his dog. Cooper Harrison, a member of the Boston K-9 unit, never thought he would return to Harmony Farms. But when tragedy strikes and he loses his job, Cooper has no choice but to return to his hometown.Can a stray dog―a wounded and gun-shy yellow Lab gone feral―teach Cooper what it means to forgive and let go of the past. . . and help him to heal?

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs
by Caronline Knapp
Author of the acclaimed bestseller Drinking:A Love Story, Carolyn found herself confronted with a monumental task: redefining her world.  She had faced the loss of her parents, given up a 21 year relationship with alcohol, and, as she writes, “I was wandering around in a haze of uncertainty, blinking up at the biggest questions: Who am I without parents and without alcohol? How to form attachments, and where to find comfort, i
n the face of such daunting vulnerability?”  An answer materialized in the most unlikely form: that of a dog.
Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

Marley and Me
by John Grogan
Is it possible for humans to discover the key to happiness through a bigger-than-life, bad-boy dog? Just ask the Grogans.

John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

What would you add to this list, do you know any amazing books a dog lover would appreciate?

Tell us about the special pet/s in your life?
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Accolades for Arthur Conan Doyle

“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”

6815345113_e3ee5dc18e_bConan Doyle is most famous as the inventor of Sherlock Holmes, but he had a varied career as a writer, journalist and public figure.
Born Today on May 22nd 1859 in Edinburgh into a prosperous Irish family. He trained as a doctor, gaining his degree from Edinburgh University in 1881. He worked as a surgeon on a whaling boat and also as a medical officer on a steamer travelling between Liverpool and West Africa. He then settled in Portsmouth on the English south coast and divided his time between medicine and writing.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The most recognized detective in all of literature, Sherlock Holmes emerged on the crime scene in A Study in Scarlet in 1887. His deductive reasoning, keen insight, skillful observations, and investigative tactics became the tools necessary to solve riveting and intriguing crimes that continue to delight generations of readers. Discover or rediscover the joys of these fascinating mysteries.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Vampire Stories
Who would suspect that the same mind that created the most famous literary detective of all time also took on the eternally popular genre of vampires? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a contemporary of Bram Stoker, gave us some fascinating works of vampire fiction. From the bloodsucking plant in “The American’s Tale” to the bloodsucking wife in “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire,” he reveled in the horror created by creatures who survived on the blood of men and women.

Rated 4.1 on amazon.com
The Lost World
Talented and extremely ambitious reporter Edward Malone received a humiliating refusal from a beloved girl to marry him only on the grounds that he is too mediocre. The offended young man rushes to the editorial office and begs the authorities to send him to the most dangerous corner of the Earth, so that he can make a report there.

An experienced editor gives the young man a difficult task: at any cost to get an interview with the scandalously dangerous, impulsive Professor Challenger, glorious for his hatred of journalists. After a small but very colorful fight, the professor invites the young man to a conference where Challenger will make a statement that will shock the whole scientific world. It says that dinosaurs and other relic living creatures have been preserved on the inaccessible South American plateau. To support this statement the professor assembles an expedition in which the reporter Malone will become a representative of the press.
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

What are you favorite Doyle delights, please share!

Remembering Browning

“Love, hope, fear, faith – these make humanity;
These are its sign and note and character.”

collection_5295_RobertBrowningRobert Browning was born in Camberwell on May 7th 1812 and educated by private tutors. His parents were wealthy enough to allow him to travel and to be a poet as if it were a profession. He came known by literary figures such s Wordsworth and Landor after the publication of “Paracelsus” in 1835, but he was unrecognized by the public until “Men an Women” appeared twenty years later. He was therefore almost unknown when in 1846 he eloped with Elizabeth Barrett.

He is now widely recognized as a master of dramatic monologue and psychological portraiture. Browning is perhaps best-known for a poem he didn’t value highly, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, a children’s poem that is quite different from his other work. He is also known for his long form blank poem The Ring and the Book, the story of a Roman murder trial in 12 books.

A long dramatic narrative poem, and, more specifically, a verse novel, of 21,000 lines. It was published in four volumes from 1868 to 1869 by Smith, Elder & Co.

The book tells the story of a murder trial in Rome in 1698, where an impoverished nobleman, Count Guido Franceschini, is found guilty of the murders of his wife Pompilia Comparini and her parents, having suspected his wife was having an affair with a young cleric.

“No, when the fight begins within himself, A man’s worth something.”

“One who never turned his back but marched breast forward, never doubted clouds would break, Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph, Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, sleep to wake.”


The love affair between two of the Victorian era’s most famous poets is one of passion, tragedy, illness, and ultimately, endurance. Collected here are their 573 love letters, which capture their courtship, their blossoming love, and their forbidden marriage.


Grow old with me! The best is yet to be.

 

Fantasy Friday

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I am a big fan of Fantasy Fiction but I am also very particular and picky about which books and series I choose to read, and eventually which books I like.


Here are the top 2 Fantasy Fiction books on my TBR:

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Outlander
 
by Diana Gabaldon 

I have nearly started this series SO many times, and I keep kicking myself for still not having started it. I have wanted to read it for so long, and have extremely high hopes for it, I just hope that I will love it as much as I anticipate.


Outlander
 is a New York Times bestseller, and has earned the praise of critics and captured the hearts of millions of fans. The story introduces two great characters, Claire Beauchamp Randall and Jamie Fraser, in a spellbinding novel of passion and history that combines exhilarating adventure with a love story for the ages.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

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raceling 
by Kristin Cashore

This book was recommended to me by a fellow blogger, and once I checked it out, it quickly made it to my list of books to read.
Another best seller and award winner.

Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable yet strong Katsa, a smart, beautiful teenager who lives in a world where selected people are given a Grace, a special talent that can be anything from dancing to swimming. Katsa’s is killing. She is forced to use her extreme skills as his thug. Along the way, Katsa must learn to decipher the true nature of her Grace.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

Have you read either of these books,
what did you think?
No spoilers please 😉