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Looks like I get to be the first one to throw out a fiction book:

Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson.

I remember reading two pieces of the book from an anthology many moons ago; how did it affect you? Is it because it's a book about a young man's discovery of his sexual yearnings or a the zeitgeist of the life of the adults around him? Thanks, I'd like to very much read it.

Definitely the latter: to be honest, I wasn't super drawn to the protagonist (it's kind of set up as a bildungsroman, which isn't bad or anything but I think I'm past the point in my life where that stuff is super-applicable) but more the overall depiction of adult life in the town. There's a pervading sense of loneliness (or, more accurately, lonesomeness) and how that affects the town as a whole.

All in all, I thought it was pretty modern stuff considering the settings.

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