A couple of days ago my colleague stopped by my office on his way back from teaching his class. In addition to his lecture notes he had a copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin in his hand, which he had brought to class so that he could read passages to his students. When I saw it I was inspired to read it, and he generously lent me his copy.
It was a fortuitous moment in so many ways. I reference Stowe's novel whenever I teach early U.S. history, and as I discuss it I think to myself that I really ought to read it for myself someday. The problem in the past has been that such moments occur at the point of my maximum interest, so by the time I'm free to read it my focus has shifted elsewhere. This time was different, however, as I'm still a few days away from discussing the early 1850s and with my final review obligation for the year wrapped up this morning there's never been a better time to undertake it. So far it's proving to be incredibly interesting, and I'm looking forward to seeing some of the themes in the book that I've read so much about.