Books That Inspire 2009

American Pastoral
Phillip Roth

American Pastoral is one of those books that deals with the "big" issues. This one being the death of the American Dream. It tells the story of Swede Levov, a former star high school quarterback in 1950s New Jersey. He has it all--a beauty queen wife, a beautiful home, his own business, and a warm caring child. Then something changes. The child grows up into a radical, demanding an end to the war in Vietnam, and going about it in a horrific way. With an unspeakable act of terrorism, she sends Swede on a descent into a maelstrom of pain. He loses it all--the wife, the child, the house, and the American pastoral that he had sought for himself. Roth uses beautiful language to show the inner and outer pain of his characters. This book introduced me to Roth, who won the Pulitzer for this novel, and for that I am eternally grateful. He has become, for me, one of those things that we look for in the great authors and that is a teacher in the ways of the human psyche.

Joey R. Lynch
Administrative Assistant
L.S. Youngblood Energy Library