Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

So... recently I bought a Kindle.  It's pretty nifty - suits my desire to carry a library with me wherever I go.  For years I've used a number of Palm devices to do this and the Kindle was a logical next step.  I figure I may buy a few current books, but mostly use it for all the free books at,, and (okay, I do buy some Baen books).

The really nice thing about the Kindle is the built in Internet access - you can look up things in Wikipedia, or check email and more - especially nice is "The Magic Catalog of Gutenberg" - it's a Kindle document which provides live links to the Gutenberg version of many, many books.  It has already lead me to load my Kindle with quite a few volumes - and that's after only a few weeks.  The first books I've completely read on the Kindle (bear in mind I have multiple books "in progress" on it now) is the classic "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

Wow - I'd never read this - only known of it by passing cultural references and the epithet "Uncle Tom."  That should be the "undeserved epithet" for Tom is the hero, the Christ figure, the suffering servant of this book - it was an excellent Lenten reading (I may return to it next year).  Stowe does a tremendous job detailing and humanizing the deprivations of slavery - not sparing the north in their complicity, nor turning a blind eye to their own hypocrisies.  It's an amazing story - again and again I was surprised at how contemporary the story seemed.  And I had to keep reminding myself- this isn't historical fiction - this was real and actively happening when the book was written.