This week’s musing asks:
Have you ever read a book that, at the time, you didn’t feel a strong connection towards, but as time goes by you find yourself thinking about it a lot?
Yes, and these books have turned out to be ones that left a long memory trail in me. A recent read, Grand Opening by Jon Hassler didn’t appeal to me much other than the beautiful, unadorned writing. But the story quickly sneaks up on me. It’s a moral tale of a lost time. A family struggles to establish a successful supermarket while adjusting to the close-minded townspeople and their religious bigotry. They find this tightly knit, insular community as strange as foreign country. With graceful and economical prose, Hassler adroitly brings small-town life in a dead-on vividness. The figurative title finds an ironic parallel in the boy’s expanding sympathies and growing awareness. Hassler illustrates that we often learn more about God from misfits than do-gooders or saints.
Another one is The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper. The way I envision this one was a literary version of an Adam Sandler—funny, fast-paced, but silly. Self-deprecatingly funny about provocatively insightful, The Book of Joe is the story of a writer who was once an alienated youth but achieves literary success with a novel that salvages his hometown and its people. Using real people as props, Joe Goffman subjects those who rubbed him the wrong way to exaggerated proportions in his book. This is a beautiful book, full of heart and wisdom. It encompasses life in America in general, beholding an allure and hypocrisy of our society.
The ultimate classic in this category is The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. I dreaded reading this tome since 11th grade when the English teacher assigned it for extra credit. I never finished the book until last year! Rand believes that there is only black and white in moral issues; there is no gray. Therefore, giving in a little is not compromise but rather forfeiting one’s values and surrendering to evil. She argues that society, tainted by collectivism, has a herd mentality that corrupts individual mind. Whether you buy her outlandish ideals, the book itself is gripping and riveting.