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CanLit Challenge 1867-1913 > Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town by Stephen Leacock, #20

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message 1: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (New Canadian Library) by Stephen Leacock I was prepared to like this book but not to love it (mirroring my general feeling about the companion book, Arcadian Adventures). However, I found myself liking this one even more. The first chapter/sketch was a little slow and not so humourous but I found it improved immensely from there on in. Of course everyone talks out The Marine Excursion (i.e. the chapter about The Mariposa Belle) and yes, it was laugh out loud funny, but I think my favourite story was about The Reverend Mr. Drone and the Beacon on the Hill. Of course the ever-resourceful Mr Smith to the rescue again! I thought it bogged down a little in the election parts (to have it just a bit shorter would have been fine) but still amusing and apropos to today’s politics. I also really enjoyed the final chapter, with its nostalgia and poignancy. I’ll definitely read more of Leacock and at least parts of this book will be joining my list of all-time favourite humourous lit.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I just started reading it the other day. I just finished reading "The Marine Excursion of the Kinghts of the Kights of Pythias. Laugh out load kind of stuff. Have ordered tha Arcadian Adventures.

Just finished reading "War Stories" by Gregory Clark earlier this month which won the Leacock was in the 60's. Enjoyed it, but some were of a more serious nature but given a light touch.


message 3: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 26, 2011 12:04AM) (new)

He polks fun at the pretensions and selfishness you find in people in general. Having lived in a small town half my life which is awhile, I thought he was "right on" about somethings that are similar in small towns. Making fun about the population of the town is a prime example.

I would have to agree with some other people that Leacock should be heard. I read the story about the Mariposa Belle to my wife and it worked to a degree. But I know it would have been much better if I could speak like some men I know.

I understand Leacocok himself did not think this was has best piece. It was the one that connected with the Canadian public. He was sort of a public intellectual in his time and even in this book, he mentions things which are international in flavour. Being 1912, you also will enjoy it more if you are familiar with the times. I loved his bragging of the Orange parade when royalty was visiting. Of course those parades were banned in UK and an Orange parade (not intended by the politicians) in front of royalty was a real embarrassment.

I'll definitely read more Leacock. particularly some of his nonfiction. His "Over the Footlights" where he mocks the Russian novelists who seem to be always dark would be an interesting read. I've read some Russian literature in the last few years. It will be interesting to see what he has to say.


message 4: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
Literary Lapses is coming up as a Challenge book in the spring. I hope you'll pick that one up when we do it.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

It is my understanding that Leacock himself thought more of this piece than Sunshine Sketches. He didn't think it was that well written. I found the section in politics funny as well but not as original. Pointing out the weaknesses in the democratic process and still be funny is a tougher nut to crack. People do not want to hear that the public is not as well informed as it should be or about the manipulation of the same. Mr. Smith reminds me of a politician who is currently playing havoc in B.C. with the HST issue. From what I've read , Leacock was a bit of a cynic and it is very easy to be cynical about politics.

Will have to find the future challenges. Older guys like me, sometimes need directions on a web site. I understand the obvious will become less clear as time goes by. As long as I'm enjoying the ride, I guess it's O.K..


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