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Everyone Loves Turn-of-the-Century Novels!

I bought Catching Fire for Kindle, because it wasn't even IN TRANSIT from the library, which means I won't get it for weeks. I'm finding myself becoming ridiculously belligerent about Peeta vs Gale, which is just silly because I've barely seen Gale so of COURSE I'm going to want Katniss to end up with Peeta. But my brain ignores this fact. "NO. I AM RIGHT AND EVERYONE ELSE IS WRONG." But, y'know, ingrained thought patterns and all.

So let's talk about how Ragtime is completely amazing and you should all read it. Daaaaaymn, E.L. Doctorow. I'm kind of a giant Broadway nerd, so in high school I was like "RAGTIIIIIIIME!" and checked out the cast recording from the library, as this was in the days before Spotify and mp3s and the like (*grumbles about kids today*). Liking it for the most part, I got the book, but being a teenage UBER-CHRISTIAN, around the 20th mention of sex I was completely disgusted and returned it unfinished.

Now, of course, I'm ever-so-slightly more mature, and beginning this spring I've gotten way into the Labor Movement (posts on the Triangle Fire/Rose Schneiderman and Carola Woerishoffer!). Oh, and you guys didn't know it, but I did this:



AND Emma Goldman's one of the characters in Ragtime (she also has a song in the musical called The Night That Goldman Spoke at Union Square, and it's amazing and you should listen to it). Doctorow says lovely things about her like "She wore horn-rimmed glasses that enlarged her eyes and suggested the constant outrage to her soul of the sights she saw."

Nice.

So yes, he combines figures from the period (1910, part of the most kickass decade in terms of social change), and has them interact and it's SO AWESOME. Like how whenever anyone writes a play/movie about Elizabeth I, they HAVE to have a scene where she meets up with Mary, Queen of Scots, even though that proooobably never happened. It's like that, but for all the historical figures. Goldman meets up with Evelyn Nesbit, who's looked on by Freud, who then hates America and goes back to Austria. But never mind that.

He doesn't write in I guess 'florid' prose, and although I tend to like that sort of thing, I love his writing style. It's simple and clean and extremely visual nonetheless. And just really good. Y'know, if you're into that sort of thing.

It was the music of something beginning
An era exploding, a century spinning
In riches and rags
And in rhythm and rhyme
The people called it ragtime.

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