Friday, September 18, 2009


I had a sudden thought at work the other day.

I took a phone call from a customer who needed a copy of Hawthorne's
House of Seven Gables and after I'd found it for her and I walked back to
the desk, I realized i'd never read the book. This made me wonder if I should
make time to read it now. After all, it's about Salem, where many of my own
ancestors knew Hawthorne's ancestors. Perhaps reading it might give me fresh
insight into my family?

For that matter, should I now reread The Scarlet Letter? Now that gave me
pause. I hadn't particularly cared for that novel when we'd read it in high
school. It wasn't that I disliked the writing style of 19th century literature.
I'd devoured the Cooper novels, and was a big fan of the Sherlock Holmes
stories. I liked Hawthorne's short stories too, as a matter of fact. But
The Scarlet Letter had bored me. A lot.

Of course I'm nearly fifty years older now and more mature...sort of...and it
might very well be that with my adult perspective I might now enjoy both
Hawthorne novels. I'll have to think a bit more about this one.

On another slightly related matter I've run across references to the
genealogy of Edgar Rice Burroughs that seem to show he is a relative
albeit very distant. Now there's somebody whose books I enjoyed reading.
Maybe I'll dig out my old copies of the John Carter of Mars series and
read those!

Too bad he didn't write The Scarlet Letter!


Lori Thornton said...

You should go back and read one or both. After I learned that some people believed one of my ancestor's wives was the inspiration for Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter, I went back and read that with a renewed enthusiasm. I'm descended from a different wife. I suspect Hawthorne used persons from all over the north shore -- Lynn, Beverly, Ipswich, etc. -- as inspiration for his stories.

Tracy said...

I think rereading those books would be an excellent idea. It's amazing to approach the book from a "reading for pleasure" standpoint rather than being forced to read something. It makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable and will make it much more meaningful. Happy reading!

pastprologue said...


Now THAT would be interesting...write a summary of Scarlet Letter as if it was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs! It would have a lot more "action" - that's for sure!

Donna (still catching up on three weeks of blog posts...)