Weeks 24 & 25: Worthwhile Classics

If you're looking for a summer book, I can recommend both The Remains of the Day and In Cold Blood – you'll know if they are your bag. Both are somewhat heartbreaking psychological portraits although their subjects could not be more different – an English butler and two murderers.

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Week 24/52: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Remains of the Day is heartbreaking. Stevens is a real butler and has devoted his life and all of his energy to a social order that is fast disappearing in a post WWII England. He is reserved, humorless, and utterly gripped by his sense of duty. The former Lord of the great manor that he has served has died and an American has taken over the house. Stevens decides to visit the old housekeeper of the house and the novel is both travelogue and reminiscences of a former time. A fine psychological piece, a class novel but also a heartbreaking account of what could have been. 

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Week 25/52: In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences by Truman Capote.

In 1959, the brutal murder of a wealthy Kansas farmer, his wife, and their teenage daughter and son gripped the nation. The killers had no real motive beyond money (and their haul was around $40). In Cold Blood is both a true crime "nonfiction novel" and a psychological study of the killers. It's certainly gripping. Now I want to watch Capote again and lock my doors (as I am sitting here with one door open and the other unlocked!).

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