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Old 12-18-2019, 06:27 PM
11,227 posts, read 10,296,375 times
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Interesting how authors fall out of fashion. I've only read his "Seventeen," but this reminds me I want to read more. Anyway, this is full of interesting little facts. Funny that E.D.E.N. Southworth ranked so high once. I don't know of anyone who read her books except my mother.

The Rise and Fall of Booth Tarkington
How a candidate for the Great American Novelist dwindled into America’s most distinguished hack.

Can you name the only three writers who have won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction twice? Faulkner, yes; Updike. And? Hats off if you came up with Booth Tarkington. And yet his two prize-winners—“The Magnificent Ambersons” and “Alice Adams”—are not even the most commercially successful novels of his extraordinarily successful career. Nine of his books were ranked among the top ten sellers of their year, and the outlandishly dissimilar “The Turmoil” and “Seventeen” were the No. 1 sellers in consecutive years. And then there’s “Penrod,” probably the most beloved boys’ book since Tom and Huck.
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Old 12-20-2019, 09:14 PM
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Our farmhouse had the whole collection of Tarkington's works on the shelves, and I read all of them as a pre-teen/teen. (The farmhouse bookshelves full of 1890s - 1940s fiction shaped my tastes and life.) I remember enjoying Seventeen and Freckles.

So when Amazon offered a free download of a collection of Tarkington's works for Kindle, I was excited and downloaded. Then was faintly nauseated because - Wowza, these books are racist! And not in the acceptably historical way Twain's books are.

Reading them now they seem very much popular fiction for a very specific class of people. I'm sure they were evocative of childhood for many living then. But they don't in any way reach the level of Sinclair Lewis's work, for example.

I don't know why I would have enjoyed them as a kid, other than I read anything and everything then.
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Old 01-17-2020, 06:16 PM
11,227 posts, read 10,296,375 times
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But maybe more well-written than popular fiction today?

That's a wonderful example about how, when young, we can end up reading things just because they're there, even if they don't fit into pre-conceived notions of what we already like.
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