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Book Tips - Sinclair Lewis

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1930 was awarded to Sinclair Lewis "for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters".

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Honest dedication.
/John Thomas, United States
'Arrowsmith' was recommended to me by a microbiologist. Usually, I do not trust microbiologists in matters of literature but this time I was willing to take a chance and I was not disappointed. 'Arrowsmith' is about a struggling young doctor who ever since being a child has wanted to be a doctor. The novel follows young Arrowsmith through medical school where he meets Dr. Gottlieb, an incredibly talented researcher who is committed to the absolute truth and objectivity of science. However, young Arrowsmith decides to try his hand at being a family doctor then eventually to a public health official and finally as a researcher where his elation with the discovery of bacteriophage is short-lived when another researcher publishes before him. The novel eventually follows Arrowsmith to a quarantined island where the loss of a close friend and loved one leads him to despair and into the arms of another lover whom he eventually discards for his ultimate love of truth and science. This novel is about a young doctor struggling against the ignorance that is rife in society and his eventual triumph over the forces of evil.
/James Berret, United States


Harry Sinclair Lewis was the first American writer to win a Nobel prize in literature. America - whose first Nobel Prize (1906-Peace), was won by none other than her President; Mr Roosevelt himself, had to wait for 30 long years to get a Nobel Prize in literature. I like and recommend Harry's novel "Babbitt". This novel portrays the true picture of average middle-class American of the 1920's through its main character George Folansbee Babbitt; who is a typical cheerless, money-dominated, street-smart, go-getter and pushy American. Suddenly he realizes the emptiness of his life. Americans themselves did not like this novel due to its Sermon-like appeal which is the trade mark of Harry's superior Journalistic faculty. The unsympathetic employment of satire runs throughout the book. Harry Lewis Sinclair declined the Pulitzer Prize in 1926 but gracefully accepted the Nobel Prize in 1930. Thanks.
/Dilbag Firdausi, India
I like this book because it is really a wake up call for everyone who lives their lives like robots. The book shows us that living a life of conformism is not fulfilling. The book sends out a strong message which you may or may not agree with, but its theme is something many of us can find in our own lives. It is written in a beautiful manner, and I hope you read it!
/Sherry Ford, United States
Sinclair Lewis wrote what he really believed about America, not what he thought people wanted to hear. This book does not romanticize the U.S and there is a lot of apt criticism.
/Elisabeth, United States
Because I understand the American way of life.
/Gabriel, Mexico

Elmer Gantry

This book is a great meditation on hypocrisy. You will never look at an evangelist the same way after reading this book. It is very relevant to our time and place.
/Zachary Hardy, United States
I was led to this book by reading Tom Wolfe's introduction to the paperback edition of his own novel 'The Bonfire of the Vanities' - he was inspired both by Lewis and Emile Zola to go out and do extensive personal research on an aspect of contemporary life, then write a realistic novel about it. Where Wolfe wrote about Wall Street and New York society in the 80s in 'Bonfire', Lewis wrote about evangelical religion in the Midwest in the 20s in 'Elmer Gantry'. Lewis even became a preacher himself for a while. His acute observation of what he found brings the story alive.
/David Morgan, Australia

Main Street

"Main Street" is yet another 'dig' by Mr. Lewis at the hollow, shallow and superficial existence of Small town dwellers. Whereas his "Babbitt" showcases the money-dominated society of Tom, Dick and Harry; the "Main Street" makes Cathy, Dorothy and Martha inclusive in the 'gossip mongering of a small town. Mr. Lewis does not graze on pure inventive journalism - he writes what he lives like.
/Dilbag Firdausi, India
I like the way it depicted the life of a woman in the early part of the twentieth century. I believe it was quite accurate.
/L.A Ruff, United States
I studied this novel at the University of Florida and loved it. There was a time during reading when I thought the shallow nature and ridiculous antics of the town people would never end, yet how presumptuous of me and my classmates! How could it end! During discussion, we were so emotional, passionate, frustrated, and enthusiastic ... I felt like we knew these characters, they could have been our neighbors! What a good read, I was so distraught when it ended! We were so firm on the desire for a sequel! Now I am a teacher and want to use it in my 12th grade class. Since they loved 'Lord of the Flies' and 'As I Lay Dying', I know they will enjoy 'Main Street', they must! I will make sure of it!
/Pam Scott, United States
This book describes very well the shallow existence of people in small towns and everybody gossiping about each other. You can tell that Lewis speaks from experience. Growing up in a small town myself (although not in the US, where I live at the moment, but in Germany) and being rather kind of an outsider, I was able to relate to this book really well.
/Charlotte Sophie Meyn, United States
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