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  1. #441

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    Quote Originally Posted by LilJen View Post
    And I finished The Great Gatsby. What a downer. Perhaps not quite as bleak as, say, Jude the Obscure, but sheesh.
    I think the final paragraph of Gatsby is one of the greatest pieces of writing. of. all. time.

    That paragraph is so perfect I have no need to read the book!! Although I did enjoy Robert Redford playing Gatsby is a not-so-great film. Mostly, just looking at him. . .

    I'm working my way through Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of Time' series for the second time. I started reading it back in the 90s, waiting two years between books. Then, I waited until Brandon Sanderson finished the final book #14 to start them all over again. I am now on #5 and in book heaven, knowing my reading is set for awhile.

    However, I do find Jordan's writing style a bit jarring. I'm an editor, and it's a natural instinct for me to correct his syntax/how he parses his sentences to make them more clear and readable. And some parts of the book are tedious, then other parts roll along rapidly and I can't stop reading.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ice Alissa
    Love Hemingway too. His short stories
    Hills Like White Elephants. Hemingway is a rare writer in that he writes between the lines.

  2. #442

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyliefan View Post
    NOTHING'S as bleak as Jude the Obscure. Just the memory of that book makes me shudder.
    The Golovlevs by Saltykov-Shchedrin is possibly the bleakest, most depressing thing I've ever read. I really liked it.
    My job requires me to be a juggler, but that does not mean that I enjoy working with clowns.

  3. #443

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    Quote Originally Posted by LilJen View Post
    Symbol, shmymbol. That part of my life was over 20 years ago, cum laude with high honors in English blah blah blah. I read to enjoy (when I am not reading and editing or writing for money).
    My sentiments exactly. Although in my case that part of my life was over almost - gasp - 40 years ago. I figure I'm old enough now to read the trashy stuff I like unapologeticly. Plus I'm in the process of "corrupting" one of my fellow Englsih majors. She's recently retired from teaching and is just now discovering the joys of reading purely for pleasure and not for edification. I don't think she's ever wandered outside of the Classics section of a bookstore before.

    I abandonned Tessa Grant in favor of Susanna Gregory's third Matthew Batholomew mystery, "A Bone of Contention." I seem to be more in a medieval mood this summer. I'll get back to Grant eventually.

    And Dirk Pitt is still saving the world in my car. I am in awe of the audio reader's ability to do accents - I have no problem following conversations because each speaker sounds different. I don't always agree with with the accents - his Boston Lawyer sounded more like a Maine Backwoods Yankee to me - but at least each one is distinctive.
    Last edited by zaphyre14; 08-15-2013 at 01:20 PM.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

  4. #444
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    Just the thought of Gatsby gives me hives. I cannot believe how of all the audio books in the big library, I picked the two most dreary mysteries of the lot. I've listened to the the first CD of both and turned the radio to NPR. I don't mind dark, but geez, the "oh, woe, is me" sucks the life out of a book and the narrators must have attended the "DRAMA" school of reading. All I can say is I'm glad I didn't buy either of these books or I'd be really annoyed.

    I despise "oh, woe is me" characters almost as much as the martyrs which rank right below the idiots.
    Those who never succeed themselves are always the first to tell you how.

  5. #445
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    I realized earlier today why I like fiction. The last 2 books I read were biographies of women who were cheated on. They knew it, they accepted it, and they waited for the man to come to his senses. Hemingway had #2 lined up while #1 was funding his career, and the astronaut wives had to deal with 'Cape Cookies' (although it looks like John Glenn was not part of the group that strayed). Maybe it was that time period, where it was accepted as normal, but I'd be the one walking out and not caring about what people thought.

    I had a college professor who shoved Hemingway down our throats all semester. Short stories, full books, discussions about bullfights and cats. I was ready to pull an Ernest and shoot myself by the end. I didn't want a "Clean Well Lighted Place", I wanted a life without Ernest.

    I've come close to reading Gatsby a few times, but the lives of the fabulous and rich (and those who want to be) never worked for me. I was a Steinbeck worshipper back in my late teens/early 20's. I know some people hate his writing. Books are like food to me - we all have our favorite meals.

  6. #446
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbell1 View Post
    I had a college professor who shoved Hemingway down our throats all semester. Short stories, full books, discussions about bullfights and cats. I was ready to pull an Ernest and shoot myself by the end. I didn't want a "Clean Well Lighted Place", I wanted a life without Ernest.
    In high school the books I *had* to read were a chore because there were so many I *wanted* to read instead. I would get way behind in the reading, rely on Coles Notes (like Cliff Notes, and this all before the internet of course), and sit there wondering what my English teach found so amusing about Jane Austen. Years later I read all of Jane's books, and found I really, really enjoyed them - and a lot of the lessons and discussions from class came back to me and helped me understand them, and I even found myself chuckling from time to time, like my teacher had.

    As for Hemingway, have you been to his house in Key West? It's worth it just for the cats

  7. #447
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    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    I think the final paragraph of Gatsby is one of the greatest pieces of writing. of. all. time.
    My take on Gatsby is that the writing is beautiful and the story sucks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    Hills Like White Elephants. Hemingway is a rare writer in that he writes between the lines.
    That's one of my favorites for Intro to Lit. Most of the students completely miss that the couple is talking about an abortion. In my last class, some of them were shocked--SHOCKED--that abortion existed in the 1920s. They had the vague idea that it was conceived, so to speak, in the 1970s.

    Quote Originally Posted by dbell1 View Post
    I've come close to reading Gatsby a few times, but the lives of the fabulous and rich (and those who want to be) never worked for me. I was a Steinbeck worshipper back in my late teens/early 20's. I know some people hate his writing. Books are like food to me - we all have our favorite meals.
    What bugs me about Gatsby--and it really bugs me--is that the story reeks of hypocrisy. Look at these shallow and immoral people tuts Fitzgerald as he goes along in his shallow and immoral way, craving the very thing he despises.

    Some people find that tension interesting, but it grates on me.

    Quote Originally Posted by zaphyre14 View Post
    I figure I'm old enough now to read the trashy stuff I like unapologeticly.
    Speaking trashy stuff, I am reading a trashy historical romance called A Lady Awakened that has the oddest smut I've ever read in such books. The heroine is a widow whose husband left her essentially destitute. His dissolute heir is set to inherit everything unless, of course, she is pregnant. She hears that her neighbor is the son and heir of a baronet who has been sent down to the country in disgrace, his allowance cut off, and she hires him to impregnate her so she can pass the infant off as her deceased husband's heir and hang on to her home. In the normal course of such books, he would, of course, drive her mad in bed, but instead, she tells him to just get on with it and then compliments him on his speed . At one point, she is so obviously wishing he would just hurry up that he is unable to perform at all. I figured this wouldn't last long, but they are halfway through the month and he has barely made any headway at arousing her interest in sex at all (and he really doesn't put much effort into it, either). She is, however, most interested in their pillow talk afterward--she is quite passionately fixated on making him a better man.

    Some of the things he says about her are just . And some of the things she thinks about him are too.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  8. #448
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    What bugs me about Gatsby--and it really bugs me--is that the story reeks of hypocrisy. Look at these shallow and immoral people tuts Fitzgerald as he goes along in his shallow and immoral way, craving the very thing he despises.

    .
    i thought that was part of the point of it, no? plus he pines after this girl and mayhem ensues, but she is just an empty set of a human being so it is all the more tragic. i think it is relatable, esp at the age when it is often assigned in school. of course, that could be the point and you could still hate it. i await my flogging.
    I feel like I'm in a dream. But it can't be a dream because there are no boy dancers!

  9. #449

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    My take on Gatsby is that the writing is beautiful and the story sucks.
    I *will* give you that. There were some hilarious turns of phrase. Wolfshiem's "two fine growths of hair which luxuriated in either nostril" is a pretty good one. But everyone is so self-absorbed, shallow, and dishonest. And why Nick wants to defend Gatsby, even while he admits that he "never approved of him," is beyond me. But this was my first reading ever, so I'm sure all will become clearer as I (gag) reread and when we discuss it.
    BARK LESS. WAG MORE.

  10. #450
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    Quote Originally Posted by my little pony View Post
    i thought that was part of the point of it, no?
    It depends on what you mean. Most people think the characters in the story reek of hypocrisy; to me, Fitzgerald reeks of hypocrisy in writing the story.

    Quote Originally Posted by my little pony View Post
    plus he pines after this girl and mayhem ensues, but she is just an empty set of a human being so it is all the more tragic. i think it is relatable, esp at the age when it is often assigned in school. of course, that could be the point and you could still hate it. i await my flogging.
    I don't think Gatsby pines after the girl at all. He pines after what the girl represents to him--both his bygone innocence and his ultimate success. That's why Daisy is such a flat character; she isn't really a character (although she is modeled after Fitzgerald's first love and to a lesser degree all his loves who followed--which tells you a lot about Fitzgerald). And she doesn't show up much because she is supposed to be elusive--like the green light at the end of her dock, she glows in the distance, always insubstantial and out of reach because Gatsby can never have what Daisy (or the green light) represents to him.

    The real love story in Gatsby is Nick's crush on Gatsby, IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by LilJen View Post
    But everyone is so self-absorbed, shallow, and dishonest. And why Nick wants to defend Gatsby, even while he admits that he "never approved of him," is beyond me.
    Because that's Fitzgerald. He sees the self absorption, the shallowness and dishonesty, but he still loves his Beautiful People. He can see them for what they are, but he still wants to be them even while he judges them. And Nick is an unreliable narrator--he may SAY he never approved of Gatsby, but that doesn't mean you are supposed to take him at his word.

    Why would you read it again? Once is enough to say you did it.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  11. #451

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    Read Colum McCann's newest TransAtlantic, does anyone know of any of his older books:

    This Side of Brightness
    Let the Great World Spin
    Dancer

  12. #452
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    If anyone is in the market for books (and really, who isn't?), Better World Books is having a flash sale for the next 12 hours or so: http://www.betterworldbooks.com/go/booklovers

    Every time you buy a book, the store makes a donation to a world literacy group. Good cause and a good store!
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  13. #453
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    Fitzgerald is no more hypocritical than Aerosmith singing Eat The Rich.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

  14. #454
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    Fitzgerald is no more hypocritical than Aerosmith singing Eat The Rich.
    I don't know that I would equate the two, but let's say that I do. And?
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  15. #455

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    I loathe and despise the Great Gatsby with every fiber of my being. I hated it at 15, I hated it at 20, I hated it at 25. There are not words in any language to describe my hatred of the basic storyline. BUT. I also cannot deny:

    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    I think the final paragraph of Gatsby is one of the greatest pieces of writing. of. all. time.
    I've decided that paragraph is not part of the book. It was tacked on by some uncredited intern.
    "The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play." –Olympic Charter

  16. #456

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    I haven't read Gatsby. I tried but I got bored

    I finished "Victoria's Daughters" which I think was suggested by IceAlissa in one of these threads. I liked it a lot. Victoria was so meddlesome and annoying (felt so bad for poor Beatrice), but the whole story is so fascinating and I kind of want to read more about that era.

  17. #457
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    matry, isnt your dog named gatsby?
    I feel like I'm in a dream. But it can't be a dream because there are no boy dancers!

  18. #458

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    He is named Gatsby. I only ever promised snarks in the book thread--I never promised consistency. I like the name. I also considered Darcy, and I hate Jane Austen even more. I can at least respect Fitzgerald. Pride and Prejudice makes me want to join a local book burning. But I like the Austen movies sometimes--the less like the book, the better.

    I do get why it's a classic--I did teach the damn thing in AP American Lit and did an almost-credible job. Like others have said, I know why it's considered a great work of literature. The language is beautiful and it's great from an historical perspective--it gives such a perfect window into the excesses of the 1920s. People enjoy reading for different reasons--I read for character. If you're reading for character, The Great Gatsby is not going to do it for you. If you're reading for beauty of language, I can see how it's a total turn-on.
    "The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play." –Olympic Charter

  19. #459

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    Last night I finished Welcome Strangers, the final volume in Mary Hocking's "Good Daughters" trilogy and liked it very much. Although there were a couple of characters I just could not warm to, it was, by and large, a satisfying conclusion to the story. As an antidote to Depression-era to Cold War Britain, I started Elizabeth von Arnim's charming novel The Solitary Summer. Von Arnim also wrote Mr. Skeffington, which the Bette Davis movie was based on, and The Enchanted April, which has been staged and filmed numerous times since 1922. The 1991 movie version is delightful, and true to the spirit of the novel.
    My job requires me to be a juggler, but that does not mean that I enjoy working with clowns.

  20. #460

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Because that's Fitzgerald. He sees the self absorption, the shallowness and dishonesty, but he still loves his Beautiful People. He can see them for what they are, but he still wants to be them even while he judges them. And Nick is an unreliable narrator--he may SAY he never approved of Gatsby, but that doesn't mean you are supposed to take him at his word.

    Why would you read it again? Once is enough to say you did it.
    Sounds like Fitzgerald read too much Thomas Mann (obsessed with the happy blue-eyed people, at least in one book I was forced to read).

    I'd read it again only so that I could have an intelligent conversation about it and understand other people's points of view and maybe find something to appreciate or see something differently. I may or may not do that prior to our meeting on that book (not until February).
    BARK LESS. WAG MORE.

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