Archive | September 2013

The Great Gatsby

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Just finished reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby. It’s a masterpiece.

Can’t say too much about the actual story without giving away the plot, but I have to say that the last three chapters broke my heart and I cried. I’m not the most stoic of readers, but I don’t usually cry when reading; and I can’t remember the last time, or if there ever was a time, that a book made me cry like this one did. That being said, I wouldn’t recommend that you go into it expecting to be moved, and certainly not expecting to cry, because if you do, you probably won’t. 🙂

Luckily, I went into this book with absolutely no expectations and no idea of the plot, other than it involved a fellow named “Gatsby” but the story was told by someone else, and I was pretty sure it involved some kind of love story. Also, aside from the outline given for each “player” on the cover of my book (see the above picture), I had no preconceived ideas about any of the characters. I’m glad I didn’t know more, because I was able to learn about each person as the plot unfolded and that added a level of realism–it felt very similar to getting to know someone in real life.

As far as the writing goes, there’s an understated elegance in Fitzgerald’s writing which is brilliant. Each sentence is necessary and worded perfectly, but it isn’t flashy–the writing doesn’t draw attention to itself. It’s wonderful storytelling and Fitzgerald makes it all seem so effortless. If I were to describe the book in a few words, without giving away any of the plot, I would say it’s simple yet intricate, honest and elegant. It’s pretty much a perfect novel.

So if you’re looking for a good book to read and you haven’t yet read The Great Gatsby I highly recommend you do. I can’t promise that you’ll enjoy the plot or connect with the characters, but even if it were only to appreciate the superb writing, I would say read this book. It’s relatively short, for a novel (my “A-format” paperback, with average size font, is about 200 pages), so it really shouldn’t be too hard to find the time to read it. And when you read it, or if you’ve already read it, let me know what you think. 🙂

I haven’t read anything else by F. Scott Fitzgerald (aside from a few quotes here and there), but I will definitely be checking out more of his work. Not really sure where to start, though, so If anyone (Tom? 🙂 ) has any particular favorites or recommendations, I would be very happy to hear them.

P.S. I just found out now (when interestingliterature liked this post and I clicked on their blog and happen to see on their twitter feed) that today is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s birthday. He was born 1896, Sept 24th. So my first post about F. Scott Fitzgerald just happens to be on his birthday! What a coincidence!  🙂

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Let me, if I may, be ever…

This summer I put away my books and went out to enjoy the world. As much as I love books and reading, I never want to get to a point where they matter more than spending quality time with friends and loved ones or actually going out and living life. I’ve still been reading bits and pieces here and there, but nothing that I would call “real” reading. Starting this week, I’m hoping to slowly get back to regular reading.

Today I pulled out George MacDonald: An Anthology (Edited by C. S. Lewis) and came across this quote which I think is beautiful and profound. It’s gotten me thinking about contentment again and how it’s such a multifaceted word. And now I’m wanting to write a longer post about contentment, but it will have to wait till another time. 🙂

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Let me, if I may, be ever welcomed to my room in winter by a glowing hearth, in summer by a vase of flowers; if I may not, let me think how nice they would be, and bury myself in my work. I do not think that the road to contentment lies in despising what we have not got. Let us acknowledge all good, all delight that the world holds, and be content without it.Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood by George MacDonald