Upton Sinclair was 26 when he wrote The Jungle. He saved up a little money and spent six weeks living near a meat factory in Chicago. He wore old clothes and carried a lunch pail, and that enabled him to pass as one of the factory workers. He spent six weeks talking to the employees of the factory, committed every scene to perfect memory, and left, dirt poor, to New England. He locked him self in a tiny cabin he had made, and wrote this book. To do that at 26, is, I think, pretty amazing. And if you read just the first few pages, you’ll realize his vocabulary and sentence structure are super evolved and articulate.
I picked this book up at the library last night, in an attempt to read it before Book Club. I’ve joined a new book club to be hosted at Allison’s house. I’m excited about having the challenge of reading something to be discussed in a group. I haven’t been involved in a book club in some time…probably a year ago since I read Lolita for the last book club in Boston.
This book cover is garish and macabre, but I happen to really like it. The one I have is just a plain white cover with the title in red serif letters. This book has been reprinted so many times that there are a million covers for it, but I think this one above, by Penguin, is the best. Penguin has done a series of books with great cover illustrations like this one, all printed on very thick, toothy paper covers with a matte finish and French flaps, called the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition. They’re awesome. I’d eventually like to own all of them, just cause I think they’re so well-designed.
Here are a few more of my favorites from the series: