May 28, 2012

F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald
At the end of the book I'm left feeling there was much I missed. Fitzgerald's writing can be very subtle, sometimes fiercely poetic, but if you don't pay attention a hint or human emotion will pass and come back to haunt with significance.

The story centers around Jay Gatsby an ambitious, mysterious fellow who calls everyone 'old sport.' He stands out amid the other characters as the only one with a purpose: a naive ideal of reliving the past.

"He had come a long way to this lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him. "

What drives him is a strong love for Daisy, now Tom Buchanan's wife. It's irony that when Daisy takes the wheel she runs into what will bind her to Tom for the rest of her days: guilt.

There's an air of despondence and disquiet from the beginning. The sense that their society has a shallow undercurrent; they don't know how to live or enjoy life. They just float along, which encapsulates what's been coined as 'the lost generation.'

Daisy represses her development as a character. She is often described as having a musical voice, 'full of money' but I think it must be full of potential. But she doesn't have enough strength to let it glow, she's barricaded being and doing what society expects. She puts on a show and enjoys the limelight it gives her.

She knows there's more to life, but doesn't do anything to find out what. Gatsby tries to show her and encourage her, but even his outlook is skewed, missing a level of morality.  She was never fully committed and after his death she's like a snuffed out candle, hardening back into how she was before the fire.

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made

The narrator, Nick Carraway, is the only one who sees and changes and throws his care for society away. Perhaps a hidden message in his last name?

May 22, 2012

Book Shopping

You can just make out the bookshop in the background
Photo © Katherine Cox
It may surprise many of my readers that I own very few books. Libraries and GirleBooks have been my main resources, but there's this little independent bookshop I went into and bought To Kill a Mockingbird from last month.

It's just like a bookstore ought to be: small but well-selected stock, nice people, and that general aura that makes you feel comfortable and free to meander the shelves. The Classics are grouped together in a corner with a humble ottoman nearby and I found myself going in again.


This week I've added three more books to my collection: Uncle Tom's Cabin, Sherlock Holmes, and The Great Gatsby. I've made a promise to collect slowly and, going forward, only buy one after I've finished reading one. It's so nice to own a book you know you're going to read again, to have it in perfect condition, without the wrinkles or stains library books sometimes have, and in a small way help support a bookstore.

Happily there are still many beautiful printed books being made: I love Vintage's collections, Hesperus Press, Penguin's cloth-bound editions, and Persephone are all on my wish-list!

My collection
I love the different papers publishers use and the different fonts give each book their own stamp. When I pick up The Great Gatsby it has a lightly textured book cover, and my Vintage Keats is smooth with a whitish gray paper.

Does that mean I'll stop going to the library or buying eBooks? No, the library will be my 'second shelf'-- the one I go to when something new is out and maybe I just want to read it once.

And eBooks, sometimes there's a rare book that you can only find on GoogleBooks and even though the formatting isn't the best its better than not being able to read it at all! The internet has given us the largest library possible!

What are your book habits? Do you have a large collection? What kind of books? Do you buy them online or go into a store? Do you have a favorite book store?

May 28, 2012

F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald
At the end of the book I'm left feeling there was much I missed. Fitzgerald's writing can be very subtle, sometimes fiercely poetic, but if you don't pay attention a hint or human emotion will pass and come back to haunt with significance.

The story centers around Jay Gatsby an ambitious, mysterious fellow who calls everyone 'old sport.' He stands out amid the other characters as the only one with a purpose: a naive ideal of reliving the past.

"He had come a long way to this lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him. "

What drives him is a strong love for Daisy, now Tom Buchanan's wife. It's irony that when Daisy takes the wheel she runs into what will bind her to Tom for the rest of her days: guilt.

There's an air of despondence and disquiet from the beginning. The sense that their society has a shallow undercurrent; they don't know how to live or enjoy life. They just float along, which encapsulates what's been coined as 'the lost generation.'

Daisy represses her development as a character. She is often described as having a musical voice, 'full of money' but I think it must be full of potential. But she doesn't have enough strength to let it glow, she's barricaded being and doing what society expects. She puts on a show and enjoys the limelight it gives her.

She knows there's more to life, but doesn't do anything to find out what. Gatsby tries to show her and encourage her, but even his outlook is skewed, missing a level of morality.  She was never fully committed and after his death she's like a snuffed out candle, hardening back into how she was before the fire.

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made

The narrator, Nick Carraway, is the only one who sees and changes and throws his care for society away. Perhaps a hidden message in his last name?

May 22, 2012

Book Shopping

You can just make out the bookshop in the background
Photo © Katherine Cox
It may surprise many of my readers that I own very few books. Libraries and GirleBooks have been my main resources, but there's this little independent bookshop I went into and bought To Kill a Mockingbird from last month.

It's just like a bookstore ought to be: small but well-selected stock, nice people, and that general aura that makes you feel comfortable and free to meander the shelves. The Classics are grouped together in a corner with a humble ottoman nearby and I found myself going in again.


This week I've added three more books to my collection: Uncle Tom's Cabin, Sherlock Holmes, and The Great Gatsby. I've made a promise to collect slowly and, going forward, only buy one after I've finished reading one. It's so nice to own a book you know you're going to read again, to have it in perfect condition, without the wrinkles or stains library books sometimes have, and in a small way help support a bookstore.

Happily there are still many beautiful printed books being made: I love Vintage's collections, Hesperus Press, Penguin's cloth-bound editions, and Persephone are all on my wish-list!

My collection
I love the different papers publishers use and the different fonts give each book their own stamp. When I pick up The Great Gatsby it has a lightly textured book cover, and my Vintage Keats is smooth with a whitish gray paper.

Does that mean I'll stop going to the library or buying eBooks? No, the library will be my 'second shelf'-- the one I go to when something new is out and maybe I just want to read it once.

And eBooks, sometimes there's a rare book that you can only find on GoogleBooks and even though the formatting isn't the best its better than not being able to read it at all! The internet has given us the largest library possible!

What are your book habits? Do you have a large collection? What kind of books? Do you buy them online or go into a store? Do you have a favorite book store?
© November's Autumn
Maira Gall