American Books, Reviews, and Analysis: Essay
During this winter season, I hope to review and analyze American bookish content. In other words, I will be focusing only on American fiction and non-fiction books, essays, short stories, and everything literary by Americans on American themes. I have already posted many book reviews and short story analysis on the same. I have tried to celebrate the American spirit that focuses on risk-taking, entrepreneurship, and achieving dreams made possible through hard work, talent, and endurance. I will focus on American short story writers and their body of literary work, which has shaped and influenced America and the globalized world to a great extent. The picture attached to this blog post contains a few American literary contents I will touch upon this winter, where I celebrate the American Season. I am doing this in keeping with the fact that the 2020 USA Elections has recently taken place, and it was a critical and crucial election. To celebrate the richness of American literary content: books, novels, biographies, politics, and more, I am dedicating myself to a more in-depth analysis of American bookish content. If you are looking for American bookish content, this is the blog you should be visiting.
The books that I am reviewing and analyzing have been bought or borrowed from the various bookstores and libraries I visit in Mumbai. I even have a vast library collection of my own American and USA related literature, which I will be reviewing. I have a personal library collection of around 31,000 books, and the number keeps growing. If you are interested in knowing more about my life in books and with books, you can check out my memoir Scenes of a Reclusive Writer & Reader of Mumbai on my blog’s products page. The book was a finalist at the 2020 DBW Book Awards. You can check out that blog article here. I have always loved American literature as a student and even more now as a teacher, writer, and publisher. American literature has shaped my life to a great extent and has influenced how I perceive the world. My closest or should I say the nearest contact with America are my visits to the Dosti House in BKC, Mumbai, where I am a library member. The library is housed in the premises of the American Embassy. I love visiting the Dosti House. The whole atmosphere at the embassy feels so much protected, free, and pure, different from the congested Mumbai of the twenty-first century. I hope to visit the American Library (I still call it by its erstwhile name) as soon as library members are allowed. Until then, I am going to borrow books from the American library via courier. America has taught me the power of freedom of speech and how it is essential to have a good library in one’s locality. What’s even more important is to support one’s local library, which I have been doing for more years than I can count.
Libraries are essential not just in America or Mumbai but worldwide so that knowledge is passed on, people of the same minds meet and converse about books close to their hearts, and a community of people can thrive. This is my belief and the belief of the 44th President of the USA, President Barack Obama. It goes without saying how much Obama has focused on the importance of reading for the American people. He has always shown the people of America the importance of reading, passing down one’s knowledge, sharing information and having peaceful across-the-table intellectual talks about issues that concern Americans. I have seen this very clearly in the books penned by him and about him, which I’m going to focus on this winter 2020. I have already reviewed two books on Barack Obama, one written by him and the other penned about him. They are, The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama and To Obama: With Love, Joy, Hate and Despair by Jeanne Marie Laskas. You can check out my review on my blog. President Barack Obama has always shown the global world a very dignified side of the American nation. Many of our Indian intellectuals appreciate his work, books, and version of the American Dream. While the 2020 USA Elections were going on, India and especially me was constantly checking on the progress. I checked all the videos President Barack Obama shared with the people of the world about the importance of exercising your right to vote and how your vote can save Democracy.
I don’t always agree with everything President Barack Obama has to say. That is why I gave The Audacity of Hope a 4-star rating on Goodreads. The point is that it is okay to disagree, as President Barack Obama has always maintained. We cannot agree with everyone all the time, but we have the power to be dignified and act like human beings. I am eagerly waiting for my Santa Claus to gift me A Promised Land by Barack Obama this Christmas. Seeing the sheer size of the book in a bookstore recently took my breath away. I love massive books, and I cannot lie! So, yes, we can disagree, but we should not be disagreeable with one another. But my winter American theme is not just about President Barack Obama. It’s also not just about politics, but about the American spirit, I observed in its literature.
It is doubtful that I will ever get a chance to see or visit America. But I always feel I am within America’s shores when I read American novels, short stories, classics, essays, and non-fiction works. I learn about its education system and its culture, social issues, festivals, ethnic diversity, economic policies, federal structure, and so much else. So, I will be focusing on different genre books written by Americans about America. I will try to avoid focusing on the political angle, but the fact remains that American Politics is one of my favorite topics. But I will try to show the American World’s many-sided prisms that a reclusive writer and reader like me in Mumbai, India, can only dream.
My first interaction with America in literature was with a horror book, an abridged classic volume of Edgar Allan Poe’s tales of the macabre. I studied at Bombay Scottish School in Mumbai, and my school was famous for its massive library. It was in this library that I fell in love with books at the tender age of seven. I read Edgar Allan Poe’s tales when I was seven and a half years old. I have always been a great fan of the horror genre. R. L. Stine, a famous American writer, was one of the many reasons I fell head over heels in love with that genre later. After reading Edgar Allan Poe’s book of short stories, of course, abridged, I realized that it was a different experience from other horror books that I had read. But once I started reading R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps Series and his Fear Street Series, I realized that America existed, and this was the place where every dream can come true. The first Edgar Allan Poe short story that I read was ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’, and I have analyzed that short story here on my blog.
Slowly over the years, I read more American novels, short-story collections, non-fiction, etc. My favorite American writer is President Barack Obama, but back when I was growing up, my favorite author was Mark Twain. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Twain somehow touched the very core of my soul. I read it in the unabridged form when I was eight years old, and the story shook me. I then realized the stigma of Slavery that was similar to the Caste System in my country India. I have always maintained that I loved reading classic American writers. Mark Twain is my favorite, followed by Kate Chopin, Jack London, Ernest Hemmingway, Edgar Allan Poe, Toni Morrison, and Stephen Crane. Yes, as you can see, I love the classic American writers, mostly from the nineteenth century. They defined what America was, which was a beautiful place that I hoped to see in person. In those days, I used to think that one day I would reside in the USA, but now I don’t think that will be possible.
However, just like I don’t agree with all that President Barack Obama writes or speaks, I did not agree with some things in America. If you want to know more about my thoughts on the past four years of contemporary American history, you can check out my book review and analysis of A Warning by Anonymous. Yes, I wouldn’t say I liked certain things that were happening in America. But I am sure that from now on, the USA will strive towards spreading goodwill among all people and not discriminating against others just because ‘the others’ don’t fit into the universal everyday norm. Nobody fits into that norm anymore, and once everyone gets that idea once for all the world over, this world will be a better place to live. For more thoughts on this subject, you can read my book review of The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison. Do check it out.
There are many-sided versions of America we see and America that we want to see. I see my America through books, which defines my creed about America – the place where there is maximum freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is what we as developing nations wish and pray for and know that it can happen when we see countries like the USA. American’s are so free. Why can’t we be the same? When I feel envious of America, I still realize in all humility that what the USA is, India too, can become. Because that is what the American Dream is all about. It is not just about America but is about the global dream of every nation on this planet for a better tomorrow. America is the country that inspires people around the world, even to date, to strive for excellence. It is the benchmark that we set to make our nations better and make ourselves better than before. I hope the USA and the USA people realize that they are not in this alone because America is for everyone, even those who may never live in it or visit it. Because America is the Utopia that has not just remained a Utopia but has come true, even if it is 0.01 percent true – but it has happened.
Through my blogging about American literature and books, I hope my viewers start reading American books and short stories and taking the lessons learned in it to heart strive for a better tomorrow. I hope that the Americans reading this blog piece realize that they are blessed and that the world is watching them and taking note. We always like to learn from our elders, and America, where freedom of speech is concerned, is our elder – if nothing else. Thanks to the USA, we have learned that we can change dictatorship’s scourge by exercising freedom of speech and our vote’s power. God bless America always! America was always great. If you feel it is not, then that means you are asking the wrong people. Ask us – We know America is great, was great, and shall always be great!
I enjoyed writing this little bookish piece for you today. I hope to read, re-read, review, and analyze more American books in the coming days. If you want to check out what I am reading, you can join me on Twitter and see what I am blogging.
If you are interested in book reviews, book analysis, short-story analysis, poems, essays, essay analysis, and other bookish content, you can check out my blog insaneowl.com. If you are interested in purchasing my books, you can check out the products page on my blog or my author’s page on Amazon. There is a lot of good stuff to buy! Happy reading to you always!
Copyright © 2020 Fiza Pathan
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