It’s finally starting to feel like summer here in the northeast. Schools are out and students around the country are (eagerly!) picking up their summer reading books from their local libraries. This yearly ritual inspired me to pick out a few books from our shelves for a new Summer Reading List display in our reading room.
For this display I focused primarily on nineteenth-century American writers, with a particular emphasis on Essex County authors. I began in our C.E. Fraser Clark Hawthorne Collection by choosing the flashiest Twice Told Tales I could find. Hawthorne’s good friend Herman Melville is also represented with his seminal work Moby Dick. While we have first editions of both these and other books on this list, for purposes of this display, I chose editions with excellent illustrations or particularly attractive covers, to liven up our reading room.
Other Massachusetts authors include Louisa May Alcott (Little Women, naturally), Ralph Waldo Emerson (Letters and Social Aims), and Henry David Thoreau (Walden, or, Life in the Woods). Americans from further afield include a volume on literary criticism with introduction by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain, and an illustrated version of The Hanging of the Crane by Washington Irving.
I also included a smaller subset of poetry, as Massachusetts poets are some of the most prolific and influential of the nineteenth century. Included are Snow Idyll by John Greenleaf Whittier and Poems by Emily Dickinson. There are also works by Walt Whitman, which will be the focus of a subsequent blog post.
So when you come in to research take a break and thumb through some of these great American classics. You’re sure to discover something new in these old works. For more information about these materials check out the full bibliography and PHILCAT.