The NY Librarians book group met at Pauline's place on 11/30 to discuss Main Street by Sinclair Lewis. The discussion was led by Larissa, and opening comments were provided by Stephanie.
Larissa initiated the discussion by distributing some wonderful turn of the century images of Sauk Centre, Minnesota. Sauk Centre was Sinclair Lewis' hometown and purportedly the inspiration for Gopher Prairie, the primary setting of the novel. Stephanie then delivered a brief biography of Sinclair Lewis, and discussed his writing in the context of his contemporaries, Theodore Dreiser, Willa Cather, and Ernest Hemingway. We discussed his Nobel Prize, and his nomination, award, and refusal of the Pulitzer Prize.
The discussion progressed and touched on a number of varied topics explored in the text of Main Street such as: librarians, the settlement of the American Midwest, the nature of small-town living, ennui, community development initiatives, judging and criticizing vs. organizing public service programs, architecture, internal and external motivation for behaviors, the reasons a character may choose to return to a place they fled, and finally socially and intellectually uplifting experiences vs. light entertainment.
We also spent a pleasant amount of time talking about our own jobs, interests, and aspirations. In addition to hosting, Pauline distributed free copies of the novel The Eleanor Roosevelt Girls by Bonnie Bluh. The next book to be discussed was not selected, but it was determined that www.GoodReads.com was a useful tool for sharing information about potential reading material.
Generally, it was a lovely evening. Please consider joining us next time.