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Babbitt

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  14,309 Ratings  ·  769 Reviews
Babbitt is professionally successful as a realtor. He lives with only the vaguest awareness of the lives and deaths of his contemporaries. Much of his energy in the beginning is spent on climbing the social ladder through booster functions, real estate sales, and making good with various dignitaries.
Paperback, 348 pages
Published October 11th 2007 by BiblioLife (first published 1922)
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Les Misérables by Victor HugoWar and Peace by Leo TolstoyAnna Karenina by Leo TolstoyDon Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraUlysses by James Joyce
The Great Classics You Have Not Read Yet
113th out of 557 books — 1,394 voters
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Best Books of the Decade: 1920's
33rd out of 337 books — 738 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Book Circle Reads 55

Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: Prosperous and socially prominent, George Babbitt appears to have everything. But when a personal crisis forces the middle-aged real estate agent to reexamine his life, Babbitt mounts a rebellion that jeopardizes everything he values. Widely considered Sinclair Lewis' greatest novel, this satire remains an ever-relevant tale of an individual caught in the machinery of modern life.

An even better sales copy is on the Buns and Nubile edition
...more
Lyn
Jul 25, 2015 Lyn rated it really liked it
It always amazes me how human nature does not change.

This book was written in and about the 1920's but except for some anachronistic language, could have been written today. This was also a fun glimpse at Prohibition era America. Lewis was spot on in many of his characterizations and was an astute observer of human nature.

This should be on a list of books that everyone should read.

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Viola
Oct 23, 2013 Viola rated it it was amazing
Given that Babbitt was published in 1922, I expected to travel back in time and experience life of the 1920s. I expected to be transported to a different era. I expected to be greeted by a foreign world. And, instead, I mostly felt firmly planted in modern day. Yes, it is true that the language and manner of speaking is different. It’s “by golly” this and “by gosh” that. But, the themes and all of the satire still speak to the human experience of modern day. And in that way, I found the novel to ...more
Nancy Oakes
Jan 20, 2013 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-fiction
Actually, I read this as part of a self-oriented challenge to read a few of the "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die" list; like the ones I've chosen so far it turned out to be a fine novel, one with more than a lot of relevance to our modern world considering it was written in the 1920s.

George F. Babbitt is a real estate agent in Zenith, a Midwestern city of of "towers of steel and cement and limestone" where the population has grown to "practically 362,000." While anyone visiting its busi
...more
Abdullah
Dec 01, 2015 Abdullah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
من الروايات الكلاسيكية العظيمة جداً بترجمة رصينة وقديرة وروح ساخرة. لا أتذكر رواية انتقدت الرأسمالية الأمريكية وعرتها كهذه الرواية. توصية
Ryan Holiday
Jun 22, 2012 Ryan Holiday rated it it was amazing
I don't think there was anyone in the 1920s who would have believed that this book would be completely forgotten. By all accounts, it was destined to be a classic critical novel of the American experience. You can't read anything about the '20s and '30s that doesn't comment on Babbitt (sold 130,000 copies its first year, HL Mecken loved it, it won Lewis a Nobel Prize). Calling someone a "Babbitt" was considered an insult and the phrase became a constant topic of conversation in the media and lit ...more
Chloe
Mar 20, 2009 Chloe rated it it was ok
Oh the pain of suburban ennui! It really and truly sucks when you do everything everyone always tells you will make you happy and then you realize that you're dissatisfied with the world. Poor Georgie Babbitt... or not.

This is an early entry in the genre that has been driven into the ground by things like American Beauty, Norman Mailer's An American Dream and Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho. Middle-aged realtor and pillar of the community, George Babbitt, is an up-and-comer. He says all the r
...more
Andy
Jul 23, 2007 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readownedloved
I think I may have read a short story or two by Sinclair Lewis during high school or early college, but if I did I don't remember it. Lewis was never one of the early modern American writers that I was very curious about, and so when Anna gave me a copy of Babbitt that she bought at some discount book sale, along with several other books, for my birthday I was maybe least excited about Babbitt (among that group of books)--knew nothing about it, really, aside from having heard of it before. Maybe ...more
Josh
This book is conflicting me. What is this a satire of? Your average, shallow, 1920's business-man? Or is George F. Babbitt merely a straw man for every Republican and Christian that dare disagree with or do wrong to ol' Sinclair?

I wouldn't say Babbitt is merely a straw man; he is a very well-rounded character, very realistic and relatable at times, and occasionally put in a sympathetic light. But I was reminded too often that he is just a character, as he suddenly pulls a "DIE SOCIALIST DIE"/"Th
...more
Duffy Pratt
Dec 29, 2012 Duffy Pratt rated it really liked it
Shelves: classic
I rarely change my mind about a book based on the way it ends. With this book, I make an exception. I went through various phases with this book.

To start, it seemed like a fun satire of one of the most shallow characters imaginable. George Babbit is a real estate man, utterly conventional, and without a thought or opinion of his own. He defines himself by the products he buys. He doesn't know what to think about something unless he's read the opinion in the editorials (conservative, of course).
...more
Lisa Kortebein
Sep 12, 2008 Lisa Kortebein rated it it was amazing
Smart. Witty. Utterly satirical. If this is the kind of book you like, read this one. Even if you don't, read this one. Often when you read stellar books, the end lets you down. Not this one. From the first page to the last, Lewis succeeds in relaying the story of everyday America. Babbitt is an average upper middle to middle class businessman who suddenly realizes that he wants so much more. He was kind of waylaid into a marriage, away from career ambitions (no, not by pregnacy, but by midweste ...more
Christian Clarke
What pants should I wear to the US Open, I ask myself, anxiously, at seven in the morning, while guests of mine slept on our threadbare black futon in our hot, cramped living room. Should I wear the chinos? I didn't even know they were called "chinos" until my girlfriend, sleeping in the bed I am pacing next to, told me they were called chinos. The chinos are off-white. Are all chinos off-white? Are there green chinos? White pants are risky. Is wearing white classy or fruity? Both? Isn't there a ...more
Marley
May 29, 2013 Marley rated it it was amazing
I just re-read Babbit after at least 45 years. I'm convinced that like Death of a Salesman, it can't be understood by younger readers. At least I didn't get it back then. I was surprised that this time around I found Babbit very sympathetic. After all, we all are Babbits to some extent. I was really rooting for him to become the town eccentric.

As satire, Babbit works. As a "documentary" of post-war America it works. I found myself, however, mourning the death of American commercial culture, as
...more
Kirk
Mar 29, 2008 Kirk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Contemporary satirists would do well to reread Sinclair Lewis and learn something that doesn't always come through in, say, Little Children or The Emperor's Children: Lewis has a way of making you feel for his characters. I suppose it's a fine distinction between ridiculing social mores and ridiculing the folks who practice them (knowingly or not), but it strikes me as an important one. I guess I'm a sap and I want to like my main characters---or, rather, I want to like them for their susceptibi ...more
Jason Pettus
Jan 28, 2011 Jason Pettus rated it really liked it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label

Essay #55: Babbitt (1922), by Sinclair Lewis

The story in a nutshell:
The follow-up to his surprise smash bestseller Main Street, Sinclair Lewis' 1922 Babbitt is basica
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Jennie
Mar 11, 2008 Jennie rated it it was amazing
I didn't think I would like this book, so I began to listen to it while running one of my mindless reports at work. I was hooked pretty early on. Lewis has such a great voice for description without wordiness that I could picture the scenes in my mind perfectly. More importantly, I found my own inner Babbitt and I welcomed her, with warning. Babbitt's boosters and Elks are my book club and PTA board. My ego has an easy blow up valve on it, and I feel like I have people I need to please, or at le ...more
Janette
Oct 18, 2014 Janette rated it it was ok
First off, I'll say that Sinclair Lewis had a great writing style. Amazing description. Good characterization. But as far as I could tell (and okay, I only got through the second disk--1/6th of the book) there wasn't an actual plot to the story. Seriously, the guy woke up, shaved, had breakfast, and went to work. He dictated letters and bough a cigar lighter. That was pretty much it.

I'm not sure why this book is a classic. Mostly I just wondered if everybody else's life was so petty and devoid o
...more
Razvan Zamfirescu
Spicuiri din recenzia finala care se gaseste pe blogul meu



..........................................
Bineînțeles că intelectualitatea nu vedea cu ochi buni acest personaj și pe bună dreptate îl acuza de filistinism suficient – aș corecta puțin exprimarea în spiritul managementului de înaltă calitatea și aș spune filistinism eficient.

Sinclair Lewis a reușit cu romanul său să introducă un nou cuvânt în vocabularul american: babbit înseamnă o persoană supusă conformității fără a-și raționa prea mu
...more
Lisa
My reading has taken me from one sad marriage to another, though the discontent is about more than gender relations. In Babbitt, by the Nobel Prize winner Sinclair Lewis, there is alienation between the sexes because women (albeit sympathetically portrayed) are limited creatures who know nothing of the discontent that the anti-hero Babbitt feels, but there is also a piercing satire of the American Dream gone sour. The emptiness of a successful realtor’s life is stripped bare, and Babbitt’s uneas ...more
Amorfna
Jan 31, 2013 Amorfna rated it really liked it
Džordž F. Bebit , stanovnik Zenita I imućni trgovac nekretninama je po pe-esu visoko moralni građanin, tipični konformista i valjani republikanac. On prezire klasičnu muziku I sluša isključivo dobri stari američki jazz. Klanja se novcu, progresu i praktičnom. Oličenje američkog optimizma!
Trebalo bi da je zadovoljan pa opet…
Bebit je savršen primer čoveka koji je zadovoljan svojim životom iz puke nemogućnosti da se otme zakonima konformizma koji mu nalažu da bude zadovoljan. Čovek koji je lišen sp
...more
Adam
Jan 06, 2008 Adam rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: A person who likes F. Scott Fitzgerald.
This is really two books, both about Babbitt but really differing in plot structure and time period covered. The first book (half) is about the daily life of George Babbitt, who was once the symbol of the superficial and vacuous middle-class man but -- since people don't really read Babbitt anymore -- has lost that iconic status. We follow Babbitt as he wakes up to a pricy alarm clock, goes to work, tries to quit smoking, hangs out with other Babbitt-type chums, and goes back home. It's a good c ...more
Kerrie
Feb 08, 2012 Kerrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
George Babbitt is the ultimate conformist - successful businessman and high-ranking member of the little booming town of Zenith which, by golly, produces and contributes more to America than any of those four-flushers in New York or San Francisco! To all onlookers, Babbitt should be 110% satisfied with his place in society and life and a person to be envied.

And yet... he's not. He feels hemmed in, restricted, and unable to be himself. He wants to be... different. It's a niggling feeling, which c
...more
Violet
Oct 06, 2015 Violet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone with eyes
While the language is quite outdated, the story could have been written today.
(Featuring Donald Trump, me thinks and all cloned Kardashians taking selfies)
Strong characters, great satire. Humor is ripe with cynicism.
By golly, what a great book.
Kenneth Grossman
Nov 04, 2015 Kenneth Grossman rated it it was amazing
Babbitt (1922) by Sinclair Lewis is an American classic and has long been 'recommended' student reading in the United States as early as high school.
Babbitt is a blistering critique of early 20th century American upper-middle class society and especially of the hypocrisy and superficiality that characterized it. The philosophy, ideals and morals of that society are shown to be vacuous. Severe conformism is promoted by its members mainly for their own self-aggrandizement, self-perpetuation and se
...more
Caren
Oct 02, 2010 Caren rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
I had never read anything by Sinclair Lewis, but he was put on my radar when it was mentioned in a library school class that the heroine of his book "Main Street" began her 'career' as a librarian. When I saw the audio version of "Babbitt" at the library, I decided to give it a listen. I was drawn in immediately by the detailed description of daily life in the USA in 1920. George F. Babbitt is a middle-aged realtor living in Zenith, a medium-sized town in middle America. Lewis' portrait of Babbi ...more
Cdrueallen
Jan 21, 2011 Cdrueallen rated it it was amazing
BABBITT is the devastatingly funny yet still endearing portrait of George Babbitt, a suburban real estate broker who is 46 in 1920. It's fascinating and disturbing when reading BABBITT to realize how little American business, American marriages, and American men have changed in the past 91 years. In 1920 gas cost 31 cents a gallon, liquor was illegal though in plentiful supply, and the internet had yet to be imagined, but George's emotional mix of bluster, bullying, babyish pouting, and his desp ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
722. Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis (1885 - 1951)
ببیت - سینکلر لوییس (نیلوفر، چشمه) ادبیات
عنوان: ببیت؛ نویسنده: سینکلر لوئیس؛ مترجم: منوچهر بدیعی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، نیلوفر، موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان آمریکایی قرن 20 م
نویسنده با روایت زندگی «جرج ببیت»، به نقد فرهنگ، و رفتار جامعه ی آمریکا میپردازد، و توخالی و پوچ بودن طبقهی متوسط را نشانه میرود. نخستین بار در سال 1922 نشر شده
This satire of the American social landscape created a sensation upon its 1922 publication. Babbitt's name became an instant and
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Stephen Gallup
I've always understood this to be a novel about conformity and always had it on my list of titles to read sooner or later. It turned out to be a rather difficult read, but in the end I'm glad to have persevered.

George Babbitt is a businessman in a fictitious mid-sized American city (I envisioned it as being located perhaps in the region around St Louis or Indianapolis). Married with three kids, he holds a moderately respectable niche in the community, from which he freely offers critical comment
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Linda
Jan 20, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, audio, literature
A moment in time - the 1920's in a mid-sized city in Middle America. George Babbit is just over 45. He's been married for over 20 years and has 3 kids - a daughter just graduated from college, a teenage son who will son graduate from high school, and a 10 year old. They live in a 5 year old house in a suburb of Zenith. George is a realtor and he's pretty good at it. He's in a partnership with his father-in-law, who seems almost retired, except for a few "shady" deals. George is experiencing a mi ...more
Swetha
'For many minutes, for many hours, for a bleak eternity he lay awake, shivering, reduced to primitive terror, comprehending that he had won freedom, and wondering what he could do with anything so unknown and embarrassing.'

There was a FLAT 70% off sale in a retail chain a couple of months back and as I strolled the aisles looking for a good buy, I had to decide between picking a popular hit that was easily available in the market at an obnoxious price and something that was exclusively put on d
...more
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All About Books: Week 47 - Babbit by Sinclair Lewis 5 18 Aug 13, 2014 09:19AM  
  • The Bostonians
  • Maggie: a Girl of the Streets: and Other Tales of New York
  • Look Homeward, Angel
  • Founding America: Documents from the Revolution to the Bill of Rights
  • Night and Day
  • Selected Essays (Penguin Classics)
  • Billy Budd and The Piazza Tales
  • The Octopus: A Story of California
  • The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
  • Ethan Frome and Other Short Fiction
  • Sister Carrie
  • Great American Short Stories: From Hawthorne to Hemingway
  • The Good Soldier
  • The Rise of Silas Lapham
  • Sentimental Education
  • Two Years Before the Mast: A Sailor's Life at Sea
  • The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings
  • The Professor's House
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Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1930 "for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humor, new types of characters." His works are known for their insightful and critical views of American capitalism and materialism between the wars. He is also respected for his strong characterizations of modern working women. H.L. Mencken wrote of him, "[If] the ...more
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“Whatever the misery, he could not regain contentment with a world which, once doubted, became absurd.” 18 likes
“You're so earnest about morality that I hate to think how essentially immoral you must be underneath.” 16 likes
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