July reading list in red, white and blue

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For me, the greatest American novel is “The Adventures of Augie March” by Saul Bellow. Both the author and the narrator are immigrants, yet the book is an homage to American individualism. In the famous opening lines of the novel, the author’s protagonist says:

“I am an American, Chicago born — Chicago, that somber city — and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first knock, first admitted; sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent knock. But a man’s character is his fate, says Heraclitus, and in the end there isn’t any way to disguise the nature of the knocks by acoustical work on the door or gloving the knuckles.”

Augie, Huck, Scout, Cal, Scarlett, Rhett, Ishmael, Don Corleone, Atticus and hundreds of other fictional characters tell the story of America. They tell it better than any history book, because they come to life on the page and they walk the land we love.

Copyright © 2013 Randi Kreiss. Randi can be reached at randik3@aol.com.

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