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Modern Dialect: Recommended Reading List



Modern Dialect is a collection of paintings from the early Twentieth-Century, that focus on the social and political issues of the time.  These books are recommended as sources to put the era of these poignant paintings into perfect context and perspective.  From the hardships of the Depression to the artwork that came out of it to the politics of the time, these books will educate and enlighten you on the early Twentieth-Century in America.  Each of the books below can be found at The Cummer Store.


The Grapes of Wrath

by John Steinbeck

This book viscerally illustrates the hardships of the poor during the Depression.  The story follows the Joad Family as they travel from their farm home in Oklahoma to California in search of a new home and means to live.  Along the journey new friends join the group, members are lost to the hardship, and tragedy touches everyone in very real ways.   Throughout the story are breaks in the narrative showing vignettes of life and political commentary, coming together to mirror the society of the time, and of today.





The Great Gatsby

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

While the story of Gatsby, Daisy, and Nick Carraway is from the years of the Roaring Twenties, set just before the Depression setting of The Grapes of Wrath, it gives a view of a completely different world.  The world of The Great Gatsby is set on Long Island, and is all glittering lights, lyrical prose, music, and parties with just a touch of tragedy.





Appointment in Samarra

by John O’Hara

The story begins with small-town high society, and spirals into the dark side of the American dream.  Full of wealth, privilege, jealousy, and infidelity, it is the story of one man’s decent into self-destruction.




America 1933: The Great Depression, Lorena Hickok, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Shaping of the New Deal

by Michael Golay

This book follows Lorena Hickok, top female reporter of the time and close friend of Eleanor Roosevelt, as she journeys to the hardest-hit areas of the country to report on the level of devastation caused by the greatest economic tragedy in American history.  The book highlights Hickok’s contribution to the relief effort and the formation of the New Deal, along with the rise and fall of her relationship with Eleanor Roosevelt.





Zorach Explains Sculpture: What It Means and How It Is Made

by William Zorach

This book chronicles William Zorach’s maturation as an artist from a painter to a sculptor, explaining the reasons for the drastic change in medium he chose.  He describes sculpture, what is means, how it is created, and why he chose it to express his creative intention.





The Depression Years

As Photographed by Arthur Rothstein

This book illustrates the people and struggles of The Great Depression through the art of photo-journalism.  The images inside make you feel the emotions of the people in them, and make your heart ache in their tragedy and small joys.







Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails

by Ted Haigh aka Dr. Cocktail

The go to book for old fashioned libations.  This book is filled with recipes to give you a taste of another time and place.


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