Book: The Scarlet Letter – I read this using an iPhone app called Stanza, so I’m linking to the wikipedia page of the novel.
I started reading this because of an offhand comment made by Wil Anderson to one of his co-hosts on the Glasshouse years ago – “we should paint a scarlet letter on your forehead”. I knew there was a book called the Scarlet Letter, but had no idea what it was about.
In the book, the scarlet letter is not something painted, but rather a piece of fabric that a sinner must wear as a mark of her sin. Single mother Hester Prynne is shunned by her entire small town: the novel details the punishment she must endure, and how it affects her.
This was a timely one to read: this week, in looking at the church of the 15th and 16th century, our lecturer mentioned it as giving insights into puritan society, even though it is set in America (Boston), not Europe.
Beyond giving insights into a lost culture, this book is considered a classic of English literature, and worth a look if only to see how Nathaniel Hawthorne puts a sentence together.