Let’s begin with Charles Dickens. A true classical author hailing from the 19th century. We have 9 copies of a combination book containing A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. Both novels were written later in Dicken’s life and first appeared in increments in his weekly publication, All the Year Round. A Tale of Two Cities in 1859 and Great Expectations in 1861, respectively.
Next we have William Faulkner, who apparently, avidly read Dicken’s as a child in Mississippi. In 1928, Faulkner began writing the The Sound and the Fury as three short stories, but decided combining them into one, stylistically unique novel was a better option. In 1930, As I Lay Dying was written while he worked the night shift as a power plant. We have 5 copies of each title.
Faulkner is not the only author of a classic novel set in the south that our book collection holds. We also have 8 copies of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee grew up in Alabama and the novel contains many autobiographical features, such as her father being an attorney that defended black men, to being tomboy and having a male best friend growing up (who was none other than,Truman Capote).
Sometimes, however, a novel is about not just a place, but places. We have 10 copies Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. Kerouac began writing the novel in 1949 while enduring a stint of living with his parents as an adult. He completed the book two years later. The novel is mostly autobiographical about his experiences road tripping across the county and Mexico with Neal Cassidy. It was difficult to find a publisher due to the uncommon writing style and controversial content. The novel was finally published in 1957 by Viking Press after explicit material was edited or removed.
Finally, the best for last (that is just my humble opinion) , we have two novels by the mystery noir novelist, Dashiell Hammett. Hammett actually spent time as a San Francisco detective in his early-twenties. This highly influenced the characters for his books and the outline of his stories. The Maltese Falcon (of which we have 10 copies) was originally published as a serial in the magazine Black Mask, a pulp publication featuring stories about adventure, romance, mystery and horror. In 1934, The Thin Man (10 copies) was published in Redbook. Sadly, he did not publish another novel after this one.
So is a classic for you? Feel free to request one!
Links to the discussion questions for most of the books can be found below: