So, I may have fudged the numbers slightly; Winesburg, Ohio technically was published in 1919. That said, eras are funny things – you think of the disco era as the 1970s, but it pushed well into the 80s; you look at the 1990s and forget that the grunge era sidled right up to bubblegum pop with only a couple years in between, I refuse to think of the 2000-2010 era as a discrete entity and everything from about 2005 to present feels like “near past.” So I’m sticking by my choice, in part because Winesburg was fairly forward leaning anyway. (And also, we got the roaring twenties as an era by playing fast and loose with margins! No one pay attention to that stock market). For a book from 100 years ago, there’s an awful lot of sex and well written female characters who want more out of life. Come at me, Gatsby; Sherwood Anderson has got yearning for days.
I first got this book for a college class where the professor let us know that it was added to the syllabus because every other book in the curriculum owed it a debt, and the students of previous years kept asking why all the criticism of the other texts kept referencing the same book. I kind of shrugged it off at the time, but older, wiser, Octothorp reread this and realized how many people need to pay some royalties to Anderson (Olive Kitteridge, I’m looking in your general direction…). It’s a short collection of vignettes about the residents of a small Ohio town, and glimpses into how their lives kept them from better things. It’s poignant, and even aside from the fairly modern themes, it reads like something written much later than the roaring twenties. Would definitely recommend to anyone wanting inspiration for this bingo square.