Friday, May 18, 2018

Classics Club #1

Dear Readers,
I am a lover of classic works of Literature.  There is nothing that brings me more joy than diving into a book that is as big as a brick.  Reading the beautiful prose crafted by the masters either painstakingly or drunk, makes my heart flutter. 

Surely many of you feel the same way (unless you leave a comment dissenting).  So, without further ado, I present:

This month I read The Great Gatsby.  

It was wonderful to revisit this classic that I hadn't read since I was in high school.  So many ideas stood out to me that I either ignored or forgot from my first reading (Daisy and Tom had a child...This crew was beginning their 30's...Gatsby wore many colorful suits). 

Have you read it lately?

If not, you should.  Here's why. 

There are some striking similarities with our culture.  The Great Gatsby takes place in the early 20's.  People were making lots of money doing bad things and the gap between people who had money and people who didn't was growing.  There is a sense of desperation and loneliness at the parties described in the book.  I kept thinking about YOLO mentality and the way our culture currently drowns their loneliness in screens.

Fitzgerald: loved the Midwest, parties, Brooks Brothers, and Zelda

If that sounds a little too bleak for your taste...then maybe Fitzgerald's gorgeous but spare descriptions will entice you to dust off your copy of the book.  Reading his sentences I was in awe of his precision and the way his words brought very real images into my mind's eye. 

"It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life."

"It was the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down, as if each speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again."

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

If that beautiful language doesn't sell's a summer book.  It opens in the summer and I think reading it lazily by the pool would be appropriate.  The hot nights, the parties, the breezy dresses.  It just feels right to read this novel when it is warm outside.

It isn't a fluffy summer read though.  There are parts that are gut-wrenching.  Reading about Daisy and Tom's marriage is not for the faint of heart.  I had a perpetual feeling of tension as Nick, the narrator, bore witness to Gatsby and Daisy's romance.  It was real and raw and if had been more than 180 pages it would have been unbearable.  

Which movie version do you prefer?

If nothing I've said has convinced you to join The Classics Club and read Gatsby now, my last pitch is this: do you have a teen or know a teen?  If so, then they are probably reading this for school/have read it/will read it.  Wouldn't it be lovely to have a conversation about this book with them?  I would have appreciated any adult who could have talked with me about it, besides the usual, "Oh, yeah, it's a great book.  I read it in high school."  

Have you read Gatsby lately?  What are your thoughts?  

I'm currently reading Persuasion by Jane Austen for our next installment of

Stay tuned...

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