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Academic Discourse at Havana by Wallace Stevens
All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
Arabella by Georgette Heyer
The Big Pony Race by Erica David
Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton
Borders of Infinity by Lois McMaster Bujold
Bye-Bye, Big Bad Bullybug by Ed Emberley
Camp Buccaneer by Pam Smallcomb
Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks
Child of the Owl by Lawrence Yep
Creole Ladies, Marti the Smuggler, Bullfighting by Maturin M. Ballou
Cuban Sketches (excerpt) by James Steele
Dancing Above the Waves by Susan Walerstein
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
Evergreen by Belva Plain
Enfant Terrible by Scott Dalrymple
Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor
Flight of the Goose by Lesley Thomas
The Frog Prints by B. L. Harwick
Fullbrim's Finding by Matthew Hughes
A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis
Havana Letter by William Cullen Bryant
If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff
King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard
LoveHampton by Sherri Rifkin
Marlin off the Morro by Ernest Hemingway
The Minister's Wooing by Harriet Beecher Stowe
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
My Pet Virus by Shawn Decker
Nana Volume 1 by Ai Yazawa
Native Tongue by Carl Hiaasen
The Penthouse Mystery by Ellery Queen
Reader's Guide by Lisa Goldstein
Red as Blood by Tanith Lee
The Roberts by Michael Blumlein
The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason
Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
Sea Gift by John Ashby
Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott
Singing to Cuba (excerpt) by Margarita Engle
Spiders and Scorpions: A Look Inside Series by P. D. Hillyard
Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself by Alan Alda
Unholy Domain by Dan Ronco
Virus Games by G. L. Sheerin
Zen of Fish by Trevor Corson

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The Minister's Wooing: 07/28/08

Although I had learned about Harriet Beecher Stowe's most famous book, Uncle Tom's Cabin, in high school, the first book I read was The Pearl of Orr's Island (1862): a delightful novel set in a fishing village in Maine. It's also vastly different from her most famous novel. Last February when I had $100 to spend at Powell's, I made a bee-line to for Stowe's novels and found a lovely 1883 edition of The Minister's Wooing (1859).

The Minister's Wooing is a mixture of the political evangelizing of Uncle Tom's Cabin and the sentimental romance of The Pearl of Orr's Island. The Wikipedia article compares Stowe's novel to The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850) but the similarities are superficial at best. Hawthorne's historical fiction set in the 1600s exposes the inhumane consequences of theocracy. While Mary, the heroine of The Minister's Wooing is raised as a devout Christian, she never has the opportunity to sin. Mary Scudder is about as Mary Sue< a character as one can get in a book.

Since Mary Scudder is really secondary to the plot even though her adult life is being plotted by everyone else in the novel, Stowe pads out the novel with a number of treatises ranging from thoughts on Calvinism, slavery, abolitionism, faith, family, marriage, and gender equality. These lengthy asides are fairly common in novels of the time; think of the many chapters on whaling in Moby Dick (1851).


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