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Babbitt
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Past Group Reads > Babbitt - Starting the Read

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message 1: by Simon (new) - added it

Simon (sorcerer88) | 108 comments This is the first thread to share your expectations on reading Babbitt. For a complete discussion, look at the other thread.
What are your thoughts on reading Babbitt?


message 2: by Brendan (new)

Brendan O'connell | 7 comments Hi, I have just bought a 1930 copy of the book on a well known site, so I am looking forward to an even more contemporary feel as I go through it.
I know absolutely nothing about the author or the story; I'm normally a Dickensian type of reader...so, wish me luck!


Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 77 comments I have started reading this. My copy is from 1961. The blurb on the back sounded like current events - "George F. Babbitt, the conniving, prosperous real-estate man... one of the ugliest, but most convincing, figures in American fiction...Babbitt's demons are power in his community and the self-esteem he can only receive from others. In his attempts to reconcile these aspirations, he is loyal to whoever serves his need of the moment: time and again he proves an opportunist in business practice and in domestic affairs. Outwardly he conforms with "zip and zowie," is a "big booster" before the public eye; inwardly he converges day by day upon the utter emptiness of his soul- too filled with rationalizations and sentimentality to sense his own corruption." In light of current U.S. politics this seems completely relevant to me.


Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 77 comments This is a good character study but certainly not plot driven. So far the highlights for me have been the ads for the correspondence courses and the society column items. My great-aunt was the society column correspondent in the 1950's and 1960's, albeit for a much smaller community, but much of the same inane material went into her column. When Ted was talking about the reasons he wanted to take a correspondence course he reminded me of Wally Cleaver and Eddie Haskell from "Leave it to Beaver". I'm certainly showing my age here.


Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 77 comments Brendan wrote: "Hi, I have just bought a 1930 copy of the book on a well known site, so I am looking forward to an even more contemporary feel as I go through it.
I know absolutely nothing about the author or the ..."


How are you progressing with this book? In my copy's afterword by Mark Schorer it states that Lewis' favorite author was Dickens so perhaps in some of his descriptive phrases you will find some familiarities.


message 6: by Brendan (new)

Brendan O'connell | 7 comments Janet wrote: "Brendan wrote: "Hi, I have just bought a 1930 copy of the book on a well known site, so I am looking forward to an even more contemporary feel as I go through it.
I know absolutely nothing about th..."


I think he is very much a real character! I have been able to visualise him from the very first page. In the foreword of my book, Hugh Walpole advises me that "the first 50 pages will be difficult to understand for an English audience" but since 1929, there have been plenty of movies depicting life at that time, so I'm sure that helps. I am only at an early stage with him yet, but please rest assured that I will let you know if my opinion of him changes (which I guess it will otherwise there is no point in the character study).


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