Blogs > Cliopatria > Wait! I'm Still Reading!

Jul 19, 2006 10:56 pm

Wait! I'm Still Reading!

As of this morning, my favorite book of 2005 is Melvin Patrick Ely's Israel on the Appomattox: A Southern Experiment in Black Freedom from the 1790s Through the Civil War. My admiration for the book isn't mine alone. It won the Bancroft Prize, after all. O. K., so I know it was published in 2004, but I didn't get to read it then. I love the book because it is a close reading of the possibilities and limits that a colony of freed slaves experienced in rural ante-bellum Virginia. I love it because it is an important non-fiction account of the phenomenon that Edward Jones explored so imaginatively in my favorite recent novel, The Known World: A Novel. [ed: O.K., so it was published in 2003. Punish me!] I love Ely's Israel on the Appomattox because it fleshes out a background to my own writing project that was previously unavailable. I love it until I finish reading Michael O'Brien's Conjectures of Order (2004, also), but it is over 1300 pp. Give me a break!

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