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Bringing Back a Lesser Known Classic: McTeague

Sometimes book news just makes me giddy.  This morning, I found out that Pharos Editions, a small publisher out of Seattle, will be publishing one of my favorite classics, McTeague by Frank Norris.  It’s been over 20 years since I read this book.  I loved it and although I remembered the story vividly, I could not remember the title or the author (I’d gotten the author confused with another one that I had read at the time, Sinclair Lewis).  Thanks to the news of this new edition, I now know the name of one of my  most beloved novels (isn’t it sad that I would have forgotten it’s title?).

I read McTeague way back  when I was 16 years old.  I had the most amazing english/language arts teacher who really shared his love of reading with his class.    For each assignment, he would bring out small sets of different titles and we would be allowed to choose which title we would read.  As a rebellious 16 yr old with purple hair, I loved the “freedom of choice” that this allowed us.  Some of my favorite books come from his class, books like McTeague, Gone With The Wind, and Elmer Gantry (hmm, now that I look at those titles, we must have been focusing on American Literature that year).

McTeague was my favorite of the bunch.  It is a tragic story  (a bit shakespearean in that way) and I just adored it.  At 16, I  think I was already developing my love of history and the author, Frank Norris, wrote with such beautiful detail that I felt like I was there in turn of the century California. I lived near many of the locations in his story.

I am so excited about the re-publication of this book and can’t wait to read it again after all of these years to see if it affects me the same as it did back when I was a teenager.  If you haven’t read McTeague by Frank Norris then you must!  And after you read McTeague, you can go get Elmer Gantry and Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis and Our Town by Thornton Wilder and Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell and The Jungle by Upton Sinclair and anything by Jack London….but first, be sure to get your hands on a copy of McTeague.

Hmm, come to think of it, I think I need to go update my reading list for the  Classics Club to add some re-reads of these American classics.

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