Reading Aloud: Ragtime

Cover of Ragtime

Written by E.L. Doctorow

In addition to Mountains Beyond Mountains and Interpreter of Maladies, Ragtime is another novel I will be studying sometime this year.

I refuse to keep reading it.

It’s infuriatingly boring to be quite honest. There’s random sexual imagery that can’t save this historical fiction from its inevitable blase drone (Can’t wait to discuss these passages in the classroom…) I have always been able to enjoy the genre–of course, I pick out the most heavily romanticized type of historical fiction (see Shanghai Girls, Chinese Cinderella, etc.).

Perhaps the reason why I find Ragtime unbearable is probably because I’ve never been a particular fan of American history. The schools have drilled it in us since we can remember, but what about the collections of stories outside the United States? World history captures a more sculptured, rounded picture of man’s journey to conquer all things. American history has nothing on the histories of Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, China, Japan, Australia…

I wish I could offer a more balanced opinion of Ragtime, but I’m afraid I can’t. I’m ready to read about something a little more, well, worldly.

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A Francophile based in coastal New England

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