This month our film is a favorite of many – Gone with the Wind starring Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh. Set in the deep South before, during and after the Civil War, it is a triumph of storytelling and cinematic excellence (that famous burning of Atlanta scene is not easily forgotten). The dashing hero, the vain heroine, the elegance of plantation life (possible only with the enslavement of people), the horror of battle and the struggle to rebuild highlights one of the most important time periods of American history.
There are a lot of directions you can go when looking for a book related to this film. You can go straight to the heart and read Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind which stands as an excellent choice on it’s own. There are also a lot of books about the making of the film itself which was nearly as dramatic as the movie!
A lot of popular books have been written about the Civil War including classics like Little Women by Louisa Alcott and The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. Anything about Abraham Lincoln – and there are lots of books about Lincoln – would be appropriate. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier is an award-winning novel about a soldier that goes AWOL and begins the long walk home while Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini looks at the controversial First Lady. For an in-depth description of battles turn to Shelby Foote (Shiloh) or Jeff Shaara’s Civil War series which includes The Killer Angels.
We cannot not overlook the terrible price paid by millions – the enslavement of African Americans. For a glimpse of slavery and its long lasting consequences try Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup or go for a classic such as There Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston or Roots by Alex Haley. Several recent titles such as Underground by Colson Whitehead and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi would be excellent choices as well as any title by Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, especially Beloved.
Be sure to stop in at any of the Davenport Library locations and check out the Online Reading Challenge display where we’ll have these titles and lots more for you to choose from.
I’m going to be reading The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, a fictionalized account of abolitionist and member of the woman’s suffrage movement Sarah Grimke and her slave Hettie and their struggles during the Civil War era. It promises to be an excellent book.
What about you? What are you planning to read this month?