Tuesday, January 05, 2010

America, America

One of the events at 5 Minutes for Books is the I Read It carnival. Initially we only linked up reviews that had been recommended by 5 Minutes for Books, but we've expanded it to include reviews of any book that we read that was recommended by someone.

We have also started running it monthly (the first Tuesday of the month) instead of quarterly as we used to.

I love this idea, because books draw people together. You can recognize a connection with someone if they like -- or don't like -- the same book as you.

My friend Andrea and I often swap book suggestions, and even though she moved away a couple of years ago, when I saw her this summer, we swapped books. One of the books she gave me was America, America by Ethan Canin. She loved it and thought I would too. Although it took me five months to move it from my nightstand to the top of the pile, when I read it over Christmas break, I could see exactly why my friend recommended it so highly.

It's a literary read, and to me read a bit like a biography or something. America, America is a sweeping saga, looking at a generation of the Metarey family. It takes place in the 70's, but there are also scenes in present-day looking back to those times. The narrator is Corey Sifter, a local boy who Liam Metarey takes under his wing.

Liam Metarey also takes another, more influential person under his wing, intending to get him elected President. However, a controversy, to which Corey is a witness, puts Senator Bonwiller's Presidential run in jeopardy.

This book tackles so many themes: the opportunities of the rich vs. the poor, aging (into adulthood from the teen years all the way to the incompetence of old age), political power, the affect of the media.

I loved it. If it's not a 5 star read, it's certainly 4.5. If you like generational sagas or stories of influence or literary novels, I recommend you give this a try.

I would definitely read another novel by Ethan Canin. Are there any you recommend? Have you read America, America?


Bluestocking said...

Sounds good! I really like the shake up on Tuesday! Here is mine

Carrie said...

I hadn't heard of this book before. I speculate I probably wouldn't find it as enjoyable (?) but it does sound intriguing.

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

This sounds like something my mom would really enjoy. She loves those sweeping family sagas (and while I've read my share, I'm not as big a fan of them)...

Friends to swap books with are awesome.

Lisa writes... said...

Have not heard of the book nor the author but YOUR recommendation has me intrigued...

And I agree with Katrina: Friends and book swappers are a cool combo.