Thursday, February 7, 2008
happy birthday, sinclair lewis
Do you recall your first "light bulb" book? By that I mean the first book you read where the ol' light bulb went on and you realized there was more to it than just the plot and/or characters. You discovered symbolism... or irony... or metaphorical language. In short, you discovered depth, and voila! there was a whole new world out there in literature-land.
Well that book for me was Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt which I read in high school. It is a satire on conformist, middle-class American life, and (even though published in 1922) still seems relevant today.
I've always been sort of grateful to my pal Sinclair, so when we visited Minnesota a few years back, we made it a point to stop in Sauk Centre, his childhood home. We did the whole tourist thing -- went through the interpretive center, toured his house, etc. I even picked up a first printing of his 1949 novel, The God-seeker. (He was sort of losing his touch by then, but oh well.)
Anywhooo... I heard on the radio today that it was Sinclair Lewis' birthday. So a tip of the hat and blow of the candles to Mr. Lewis!