And today’s winner is…

The Scarlet Letter! I know everyone and their mom (and their dad, and their third cousin twice removed, and their neighbor’s cat) has read this book, so I won’t bother saying much about it.  I also happen to know that most of the aforementioned people hated the book. may come as surprise to many of you when I say that I had never previously read The Scarlet Letter.  The year I was supposed to read it in high school I took the advanced level English class rather than the honors level.  Good thing, too, because that’s the class that taught me to love English and literature, and so led to my major and hopefully eventually my career.

So as a (slightly more) mature reader, I approached this book with optimism. After all, I’ve read Hawthorne’s short stories, and really like them.  My feelings on this novel are divided. For one thing, there seems to be a lot of fluff, with just about as much entertaining content in its 240 pages as can be found in the 20 or so pages of a short story.  However, not all literature is written to be entertaining, and I definitely see the value in this book.  In addition to a great study of literature, it makes for a good study of history, and it is set in one of the most interesting eras in America’s past.

Also, one of the things I love is the dark supernatural force that pervades Puritan setting, where sin and evil seem to constantly bombard the people perched on the edge of the vast American wilderness.  The embodiment of this darkness in this novel is Pearl, who is, in a word, creepy. And I love her.

One of the thing I hate is Hawthorne’s use of commas. His sentences are so long that by the time I reach the end of one, I’ve forgotten what was said in the beginning.  This probably the reason that this book took me two months to read.  Laura and I will probably post an online discussion about it on our other blog, to which I will post a link here as soon as it’s finished.

This is one of those books my dad would say you have to read in order to be considered educated. I agree. So if you haven’t yet…read it!

Ex Libris,


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