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Tuesday, 22 February, 2011

Best Depression Novel?
(with comments)

Let's say somebody wants to read a novel that's set during the Great Depression. What would you recommend?

GD*6909039


Permalink | Posted in Books |

- Reader Comments -

Following are comments in response to this item.
The most recent comment is at the bottom.

  1. By MAPLE LEAF. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @04:42pm:
    Grapes of Wrath.
  2. By J-Walk. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @04:43pm:
    I should have written, "besides Grapes of Wrath" because that's the answer.
  3. By lobstah. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @05:02pm:
    The Good Earth
  4. By meg_mac. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @05:04pm:
    Of Mice and Men... John Steinbeck
    East of Eden.... John Steinbeck
    Water For Elephants... Sara Gruen
  5. By lobstah. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @05:04pm:
    Strike that... me and my beer thought it was novels written during the depression.
  6. By Bisbonian. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @05:05pm:
    I should have written, "besides Grapes of Wrath" because that's the answer.

    Yes, it is.

    As an alternative, you could listen to a whole lot of Woody Guthrie.
  7. By Doug. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @05:18pm:
    The Tin Flute - Grabrielle Roy
    (a staple Canadian English classes)
  8. By felixthecat. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @05:21pm:
    Now in November
  9. By Dean Booth. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @05:27pm:
    The 2010 book A Secret Gift is a good (5-star) nonfiction book dealing with the Depression.

    "Gup researched a file of Depression-era letters preserved by his family. They were responses to a Canton, Ohio, newspaper notice that Gup’s grandfather, using a pseudonym, had placed in December 1933, which offered a monetary gift and, perhaps more importantly, a promise of anonymity to recipients of his charity. That tapped into social attitudes characteristic of the Depression generation—pride in self-reliance matched by mortification to be seen accepting help, overlain with disdain for complaining."
  10. By Schmittenhammer. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @05:35pm:
    Dean Booth,
    I need to read that (A Secret Gift), the author was on the radio a month ago, very interesting, plus Canton, Ohio is about 20 miles from my house.
  11. By Curtis. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @06:02pm:
    USA Trilogy by John Dos Passos, if you want to experience every facet of American life leading to the Great Depression. It is one of the greatest American novels ever published.
  12. By Wendy!. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @06:20pm:
    To Kill a Mockingbird
  13. By Wendy!. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @06:36pm:
    Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and the two sequels Let the Circle Be Unbroken and The Road to Memphis While these books are classified as "Young Adult" literature, I thought they were magnificent. I read many great books when my kids were in the "Young Adult" literature stage. It was a great untapped source of reading material and occasionally I browse the section looking for new releases.
  14. By Wendy!. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @06:38pm:
    Oh my how could I forget the best Depression setting novel ever?
    Where the Red Fern Grows
    Fabulous, excellent, memorable and wonderful, up there in my top 10.
  15. By Mean Jean. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @06:49pm:
    Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara.
  16. By Annette. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @06:56pm:
    This isn't a novel. It's an oral history. It tells many stories in the people's own words. Studs Terkel's "Hard Times."

    #1 - Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath," of course.
  17. By Wendy!. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @06:56pm:
    Curtis you are a never ending font of fascinating and sometimes obscure information, always at the ready for our entertainment. What are you doing 600 days from now?

    I am trying to figure out how it is that I don't remember reading or hearing about John Dos Passos.
  18. By J-Walk. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @07:00pm:
    I am trying to figure out how it is that I don't remember reading or hearing about John Dos Passos.

    That's exactly what I'm thinking, after googling for 10 minutes. I've heard of him, but I hadn't wanted to read him until now.
  19. By J-Walk. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @07:13pm:
    The trilogy Curtis mentioned isn't available on Kindle. But Amazon has his "Three Soldiers" for $0.00. I splurged and bought it, and will see if I like it. If so, I might have to force myself to read actual books.

    http://www.amazon.com/Three-Soldiers-ebook/dp/B000JQUNNY/
  20. By Gee.... Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @07:21pm:
    Of Mice and Men... John Steinbeck
    East of Eden.... John Steinbeck
    Water For Elephants... Sara Gruen

    I stole your list meg_mac.
  21. By meg_mac. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @07:24pm:
    Gee ... I'm honored.
  22. By Wendy!. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @07:26pm:
    Sigh... I have to check my bank balance to see if I can afford "Three Soldiers"

    You can download a 1313 page zipped pdf of the trilogy from here: http://manyebooks.org/download/U.S.A.-trilogy.html#edown

    I am wondering if there is a catch. The download actually comes from a Chinese domain and on the bottom of each page of the pdf there is a link to a site en8448-dot-com-dot-cn that I clicked on with trepidation. It is all in Chinese. That does not clarify anything.
  23. By mmmark. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @07:38pm:
    It's a little late for the depression (late 30's-1940) but

    The Plot Against America - Philip Roth

    There's also "Day of the Locust" which is a hollywood/depression story, and "Addie Pray" a great book that they made into the movie "Paper Moon".

    Anyone who reads and hasn't read "Where The Red Fern Grows" is missing a part of their soul.
  24. By AZJohnB. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @07:41pm:
    The Big Rock Candy Mountain Wallace Stegner
  25. By Monica. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @07:57pm:
    'Tis' by Frank McCourt, the sequel to "Angela's Ashes".
  26. By Wendy!. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @07:57pm:
    mmmark a pleasure to make acquaintance with another Red Fern Fan.

    I just remembered another book: A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck. Set during the Calvin Coolidge Presidency qualifies it as Depression Era by a squeak. (perhaps?) I see on Wikipedia it was 16th on the ALA list of "Challenged" books, to be banned from libraries. Being on that list almost guarantees it is a great read!

    I used to offer money to kids I met who hadn't read Where the Red Fern Grows I would pay them if they would read it. If they were not great readers the book I would pay them to read was A Day No Pigs Would Die. No one ever asked me for the money, instead they thanked me and we chatted about the book. Good Times.
  27. By chazunga. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @07:59pm:
    If The novel I consider William Faulkner's best, As I Lay Dying, isn't set in the Depression, it might as well be.
  28. By Don Coyote. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @08:07pm:
    Best Depression Novel?

    Sorry but I prefer the Cheerful Optimism genre.
  29. By Curtis. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @08:28pm:
    Don't bother with Three Soldiers. It is nothing compared with the USA Trilogy. Just scuttle it and hunker down with the paper masterpiece.

    Thanks for the kind words, Wendy!.
  30. By Curtis. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @08:41pm:
    And you haven't heard of him because he went from being an advocate of social justice to an intense anti-communist who supported Joseph McCarthy, a move that unfortunately destroyed his literary reputation.
  31. By wth. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @09:11pm:
    How about

    Tobacco Road
    They Shoot Horses Don't They
    Cannery Row (to pick a more uplifting Faulkner book)
  32. By wth. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @09:11pm:
    oops I meant Steinbeck
  33. By meg_mac. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @09:35pm:
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn... Betty Smith.
    They made a movie of it which was great too.
  34. By Anon. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @09:51pm:
    FLANAGAN'S RUN. By Tom McNab
  35. By Lisa. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @10:09pm:
    Where the Red Fern Grows made me cry. I can't read it again......very sad.
  36. By Mr. Pointer Outer. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @11:03pm:
    Native Son by Richard Wright is pretty good.
  37. By rodent. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @11:08pm:
    The Girl, by Meridel LeSueur
  38. By John. Comment posted 22-Feb-2011 @11:25pm:
    Most of Los Angeles novelist John Fante's books are set in the 30s and are quite good.
  39. By Ron Traweek. Comment posted 23-Feb-2011 @03:49am:
    Try Ironweed by William Kennedy.
  40. By TomG. Comment posted 23-Feb-2011 @05:00am:
    Another vote for Cannery Row. Short, sweet, awesome.
  41. By Snag. Comment posted 23-Feb-2011 @05:14am:
    The Harp in the South ... Ruth Park
  42. By Doug. Comment posted 23-Feb-2011 @05:15am:
    More history than novel but 'Ten Lost Years' was a great read.

    Hundreds of ordinary Canadians tell their own stories in this book. They tell them in their own words, and the impact is astonishing. As page after page of unforgettable stories rolls by, it is easy to see why this book sold 300,000 copies and why a successful stage play that ran for years was based on them.
    The stories, and the 52 accompanying photographs, tell of an extraordinary time. One tells how a greedy Maritime landlord ho tried to raise a widow's rent was tarred and gravelled; another how rape by the boss was part of a waitress's job. Other stories show Saskatchewan families watching their farms turn into deserts and walking away from them; or freight-trains black with hoboes clinging to them, criss-crossing the country in search of work; or a man stealing a wreath for his own wife's funeral.
  43. By The Black Adder. Comment posted 23-Feb-2011 @06:24am:
    GW Bush's memoirs. You did say Depression Era?
  44. By spoon. Comment posted 23-Feb-2011 @06:38am:
    Who Has Seen the Wind, by W.O. Mitchell. A classic.
  45. By Humpty Day. Comment posted 23-Feb-2011 @10:13am:
  46. By CathyG. Comment posted 23-Feb-2011 @11:27am:
    Who needs books? Just watch the Waltons on TV.
  47. By wally the duck. Comment posted 23-Feb-2011 @11:46am:
    I would just re-read Raymond Chandler. His stuff is mostly - not all - set in that time. However, it is not about the Depression, if that's what you mean.
  48. By 12-stringer. Comment posted 23-Feb-2011 @04:45pm:
    Brother to a Dragonfly, Will D. Campbell
  49. By scot. Comment posted 23-Feb-2011 @05:20pm:
    Out of the Dust
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