Today I finished reading my first book of the year: Free Air by Sinclair Lewis. Written in 1919, this was a novel about adventuring via automobiles—already an established American pasttime‐as well as a humorous look at the different social classes before the World Wars. In some ways, it was a bizarre mash-up of F.Scott Fitzgerald and Willa Cather where socialites meet farmers. I love how the literature of this era reflects the times, teaching so much about daily aggravations and expectations. Driving back then, by the way, was a chore.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit, for all that it is apparently one of his lesser appreciated novels. I liked his humor and his talent for highlighting human foibles.
The other thing I've been reading in bits and pieces is the latest Indiespensable selection: The Best of McSweeney's. I had previously been entirely unaware of McSweeney's (soooo out of the loop in regards to literary journals!) but got pretty excited upon opening the package for a few reasons. First, the paper quality is divine: a tactile delight! Second, Powell's had six of the authors sign the inside of the book. Third, the dust jacket is a poster in disguise. And ultimately, all the writing has been wonderful thus far. Most of the 600 pages is comprised of short stories, though there are letters, comics, and other goodies interspersed throughout. It might take a little while to get through, but it will be worth it.
What are you starting your year out with? Are you diving into challenges or taking it easy?