CBAM2017, Classics, Classics Club, Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Lorraine Hansberry

Thoughts on 3 Classics

This year, I am hosting a “Classic Book-A-Month Club,” hosted on Goodreads. So far, we have read: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott; the Oedipus Cycle (Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone) by Sophocles; The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton; Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald; and A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. Next month’s selection is The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade by Herman Melville. 

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

This is the third Wharton novel I’ve read, following The Age of Innocence and Ethan Frome (read twice). Compared to these others, House of Mirth was a struggle. I didn’t feel invested in the story until about 3/4 of the way into it. I didn’t find the protagonist, Lily Bart, to be a compelling or sympathetic character, as I’m sure readers are meant to. I can certainly see what Wharton is trying to say about the “somber economics of marriage” and “the powerlessness of the unwed woman” at the turn of the twentieth century, but for the most part, I just wasn’t made to care. Normally, this is the kind of story I would empathize with, so I’m not sure what exactly left me feeling so ambivalent and detached. Certainly, personal circumstances may have gotten in the way (this is why I’m still a proponent of reader-response theory; you cannot convince me that one’s personal relationship with a book at a particular moment in time does not matter). I did begin to respond near the end of the novel, when Lily’s circumstances were most dire not necessarily because of her own poor decisions, but because of the pettiness and prejudices of her supposed friends and family. I’ll admit that, had Lily’s circumstances been entirely predicated upon others’ terrible personalities, I probably would have found the story a bit too pathetic and fatalistic (at least currently). The realism, then, is both appealing and off-putting. I found myself thinking Lily Bart had any number of opportunities to turn her situation around, but didn’t. Then, I realized I was becoming psychologically and emotionally attached to her despair because of the personal/professional situation in which I’ve found myself this past year; this perhaps intruded on my experience and prevented me from being able to sink into the story itself, to appreciate it for what it is. I’ll have to give this one a re-read, someday, when I can read it more carefully and from a more receptive/less sensitive position. I’m glad to have finished another title from my Classics Club list, though. 

Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This was a re-read for me, and one that was a long time coming. I started reading it when I was about half-way into The House of Mirth and ultimately got to the end of each ’round about the same time. This was not a good thing. I had a very personal relationship with this book for a very long time. As a result, it colored my impression of it for years. Reading it again has been a blessing and a curse. On the positive side, I no longer feel as desperately attached to the doomed relationship Fitzgerald presents in Dick and Nicole Diver (fictionalized versions of Francis and Zelda). In a way, I suppose this means that enough time has passed, and I’ve changed enough, to let go of certain difficult memories and experiences. On the negative side, I did not find the story as interesting or beautifully written as I once imagined. I used to argue vehemently that this book is far superior to The Great Gatsby. Now, I’m not so sure. I think they’re close, but Gatsby may indeed be the masterpiece. I was reminded, however, that Fitzgerald deals with homosexuality in this novel; I had completely forgotten this. He includes homosexual innuendo in Gatsby, too, and he’s one of the very few major literary figures of the time to do this (in more than one work, I now realize). Of course, the portrayal here is not a glowing one, which makes one wonder at the more naturally incorporated moment in Gatsby. Was one of these pre-Hemingway and the other post? This would be interesting to explore. In any event, as a piece of expatriate American literature and a study of marriage, mental illness, incest, psychology, and the like, it’s still a damn fine book. It’s just, somehow, not at all what I remembered. The situation of reading this alongside House of Mirth, at this particular time of my life, also created some problems. The combined assault on my emotional connection to this story plus my closeness to Lily Bart’s circumstances left me feeling exhausted and despondent. Simply bad timing. 

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Honestly, what took me so long to read this? I haven’t “reviewed” a book in many, many months. I think it’s safe to say that Hansberry’s play is the reason I’m back at it. It’s always such a thrill to read a book that is so alive, so important, so visceral, that it rekindles my faith in the art of literature itself. I’ve never considered myself much of a drama aficionado. I’ve read a number of plays, seen some, and almost always find something to praise; yet, I also somehow think that reading drama is not quite an honest endeavor, because drama is meant for the stage. Still, I loved the characters in this book, their diversity and range of experiences, even while most of them were members of the same single-household family (there’s an opportunity for me to teach Intro to Drama next spring, an opportunity I was not really considering, but I think I’ve changed my mind completely). I loved the main plot and the minor sub-plots, the neighbors interventions and the “I’m not a racist, but…” moments. I loved that the play is set in Chicago, a liberal beacon of the north, and yet reveals the hypocritical racism on which neighborhoods were founded and that we have yet to overcome. I needed this play after my experiences with House of Mirth and Tender is the Night. While the story is still one of desperation, it has a much more hopeful ending. Of course, if I think too hard about it, I have to admit that the reality that probably found the Younger family was probably not a pleasant one. But Hansberry leaves this open, to be determined, which at least offers the possibility that these good people might make it, after all. And, in that way, so too might we all. I can’t think of a message more necessary right now than this. 

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1001 Books, American Mythology, Classics, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Fiction, Jazz Age, Literature, Modernism, Mythology

Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Final Verdict: 4.0 out of 4.0
YTD: 37


Plot/Story:
4 – Plot/Story is interesting/believable and impactful (socially, academically, etc.)

Nick Carraway, our “honest” narrator, is a small-town, Midwestern boy who once spent some time in New York with the greatest man he has ever known, Jay Gatsby.  To Nick, Gatsby is the embodiment of the American Dream.  He is rich, powerful, attractive, and elusive.  Gatsby is surrounded by an aura of mystery and illusion, not unlike L. Frank Baum’s Great and Powerful Oz.  And, like the wizard of Oz, Gatsby and all that he stands for turn out to be nothing more than carefully crafted, delicate constructs.  Gatsby is the dream of a man who does not exist, living in a world where he does not belong.  Although Nick, at first, understands that Gatsby is far from being who pretends to be, it does not take long for Nick to give in to the dream and to believe wholeheartedly (or to willingly consent to suspend disbelief) in the ideals that Gatsby represents.  Ultimately, Nick falls in love with Gatsby, or at least with the fantasy world that Gatsby champions; and, a romantic at heart, Nick helps Gatsby to preserve his dream and to pursue his one primary quest: Daisy Buchanan.    


Characterization:
4 – Characters extraordinarily developed.

Nick Carraway, the narrator, is perhaps the most interesting character in the novel.  He is simultaneously the one person who seems to see through Gatsby and to understand the facade, but also the person who most adores Gatsby and who cherishes the dream that this man represents.  Carraway must continually lie to and deceive himself, while attempting to reassure the reader of his honest nature and unbiased intentions.  Gatsby, or James Gatz, is fascinating in that he represents all aspects of the American Dream, from the tireless pursuit of it to the actual embodiment of it, and also, tragically, the loss of it (or realization that it does not really exist).  The other characters, Daisy & Tom Buchanan, Mr. Gatz (Gatsby’s father) Jordan Baker, and others are all interesting and important in their relationship to Gatsby.  We see Daisy as the traditional Jazz Age “flapper” – a woman interested only in beauty and riches; she returns Gatsby’s interest only because he is so materially advantaged.  Tom is the representative of “Old Money” and its condescension to but vehement dislike of the nouveau-riche.  He is racist, sexist and wholly unconcerned for anyone but himself.   Jordan Baker, the artists, and others represent the various unspoken but ever-present notions of sexual exploration, individualism, and self-gratification that are indicative of the period.  


Prose/Style:
4 – Extraordinary Prose/Style, enhancing the Story.

What typically draws readers to this book, whether or not they come away with the traditional understanding of the novel (a love story, a censure on the American Dream, etc.) is its strikingly beautiful prose.  There are moments of description in this narrative which nearly take one’s breath away, particularly as they often come unexpectedly.  Fitzgerald’s brilliance lies in his ability to undercut his every thought, showing both the positive and negative arguments of a situation within the very same paragraph (or sentence, even).  This is perhaps best demonstrated in the final page of the novel, where the beauty of the dream that is Gatsby is contrasted with the disillusionment of those pursuing the dream.  Fitzgerald explores the power of the American Dream, the heart-pounding, soul-shaking evocation of those early American immigrants who looked upon the new shores with such hope and longing, with such pride and eager determination, only to be crushed by the never-ending struggle to achieve the unattainable; to be trapped in a timeless, ageless, persistent dream that never amounts to anything but the dream.  Fitzgerald’s prose and construction somehow manage to capture all of this, as the actions and events of the story itself do.  It is a wondrous sight to behold and perhaps the primary reason why so many consider this to be the greatest American novel, and certainly Fitzgerald’s magnum opus.


Additional Elements: Setting, Symbols/Motifs, Resolution, etc.
4 – Additional elements improve and advance the story.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is quite possibly the most widely-read piece of American Literature.  But, while it is read by many, it is understood by few.  For the majority of readers, The Great Gatsby is a love story.  Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan are the 1920s American Romeo & Juliet – two star-crossed lovers whose destinies are intertwined and whose fates are tragically sealed from the beginning; however, the love story is a facade.  Does Gatsby love Daisy?  Sure, but only insomuch as he has built up the idea of Daisy in his mind.  Does Daisy love Gatsby?  Not in the least – he was a whim for her when they were young, and he is desirable to her because of his wealth when they are older.   Other readers find the novel to be a depressing critique of the so-called American Dream, one which, perhaps, can never truly be reached.  Similar to Dreiser’s Sister Carrie, this story predicts a bleak fate for America.  No matter how hard one works or how much one achieves, the American Dreamer will always want more – satisfaction & contentment can never be achieved.  This, in my opinion, is closer to the true nature and purpose of The Great Gatsby, but not quite all.  This is not a love story, nor is it strictly about one man’s striving for the American Dream.  Instead, it is a story about a restless nation.  It is a story about wealth and the disparity between “Old Money” and “New Money.”  Fitzgerald, through his narrator, Nick Carraway, has created a dreamy, illusory vision of a society of dreamers – shallow, unfilled people who are rising too fast, consuming too much.  Their children are neglected, their relationships disrespected, and their spirits crushed beneath the weight of soulless riches.  This is the story of The Lost Generation and the lies they must tell in order to continue living every day when they are so sad, lonely, and disillusioned.


Suggested Reading for:
Age Level: Adult
Interest: Modernism, American Mythology, Idealism, Jazz Age, American History, Prohibition, Unreliable Narrators, Anti-Semitism, Racism, Class/Wealth in America.


Notable Quotes:

“What foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.”

“That’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”

“He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. 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 faced–or seemed to face–the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself.”

“He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.”

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter–tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning– So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

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Book Review, Creative Non-Fiction, Dance, Expatriate, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Family, Fiction, Fictional Memoir, Flappers, Jazz Age, Literary History, Literature, Psychology, Zelda Fitzgerald

Review: Save Me the Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald

Save  Me the Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald

Final Verdict: 3.5 out of 4.0

YTD: 16


Plot/Story:
3 – Plot/Story is interesting & believable.

Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald was the troubled wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of the most famous American writers of all-time.  Save Me the Waltz is her first and only novel, one which is largely autobiographical and which covers  approximately the same time period as her husband’s masterpiece, Tender is the Night.  Both books fictionalize the couple’s life in Paris together, but each from their own perspective.  While Tender is the Night deals with F. Scott’s attempt at handling his wife’s eccentric nature (and ultimate mental breakdown), Save Me the Waltz is much more about Zelda’s hopes and dreams and her sense of being overshadowed in most regards by her husband’s great success.  Zelda Fitzgerald was considered to be one of the first American “Flappers” – a glamorous and materialistic woman whose greatest hope was to become a superior ballerina, though she only pursued dance late in life. The story itself is interesting in that it reveals Zelda’s perspective on F. Scott as well as her interpretation of that great American time period known as “The Roaring ‘20s.”


Characterization:
3 – Characters well developed.

The majority of the characters aside from Alabama (Zelda), David (F. Scott) and Bonnie (their daughter) are relatively flat and, at times, even incongruous (characters’ names spelled in different fashions, eye colors changing, etc.).  What Fitzgerald does well, though, is creating characters in relation to Alabama.  The dance instructors and love interests, for example, all come to life quite unexpected because of the way they interact with Alabama.  The relationship between David and Alabama is drawn extraordinarily well and, in fact, reminds me of a lovers’ relationship written by Hemingway in The Garden of Eden.  It is tortuously romantic – hopeless and beautiful at the same time.  It makes sense that this would be the most aptly developed relationship, considering it is at the core of the story (and the primary impetus for Zelda’s writing the story in the first place).  Little Bonnie’s character is also quite charming and her relationship with her Dad is lovely, particularly near the end. 


Prose/Style:
4 – Extraordinary Prose/Style, enhancing the Story.

This book has been both praised and derided for its prose and style.  The structure is sound and relatively traditional; however, the prose and language itself is quite odd.  At times, it reminds me of a less sexual, female version of William S. Burroughs, as there are oftentimes breaks into vivid streams of consciousness, where one has to wonder if passages were written in a fury of (drunken? drugged?) rage; while these moments are sometimes over-the-top and even inexplicable or largely irrelevant, they are also quite beautiful.  There’s a bizarre honesty to the breaks in tempo and the seemingly random items which Fitzgerald chooses to romanticize through language.  As a lover of creative storytelling and free prose, I was quite enamored by it.  Still, for some readers the prose could be distracting or even exasperating as it is, in many ways, self-indulgent and can come across as a novice creative writing student’s first, best work. 


Additional Elements: Setting, Symbols/Motifs, Resolution, etc.
4 – Additional elements improve and advance the story.

When Zelda Fitzgerald originally wrote this book, it was much more accusatory and obviously biographical than the version which was ultimately published.  Her husband believed that she had created the book in a fit of self-destruction, hoping to destroy her (and his) reputations. F. Scott Fitzgerald and their editor, Max Perkins, “assisted” Zelda with revisions.  Although historical evidence (letters, manuscripts, etc.) seem to prove that their part in the revision process was limited and mostly geared toward making elements and characters who were modeled after real-life events and individuals more obscure, Zelda would later accuse her husband of forcing her to change the book entirely and also allege that he stole her original manuscript to write his own (Tender is the Night).  Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this book, then, is in its history and historical significance.  Much can be learned about the Fitzgeralds’ relationship and personalities not only by reading the story (as the two main characters are modeled directly after F. Scott and Zelda), but also in researching the creation of the book itself, as well as F. Scott’s similarly themed novel (which is ultimately much more despondent).


Suggested Reading for:
Age Level: Adult
Interest: Literary History, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dance, Paris, Italy, Expatriate American, Jazz Age, Roaring ‘20s, Family, Schizophrenia, Creative Non-Fiction.


Notable Quotes:

“Alabama had learned from the past that something unpleasant was bound to happen whenever the Saviour made his appearance in the dialogue.”

“The heat pressed down about the earth inflating the shadows, expanding the door and window ledges till the summer split in a terrific clap of thunder.  You could see the trees by the lightning flashes gyrating maniacally and waving their arms about like furies.”

“People are always running all over the place to escape each other, having been sure to make a date for cocktails in the first bar outside the limits of convenience.” 

“The troubles with emergencies is that I always put on my finest underwear and then nothing happens.”

“A shooting star, ectoplasmic arrow, sped through the nebular hypothesis like a wanton hummingbird.  From Venus to Mars to Neptune it trailed the ghost of comprehension, illuminating far horizons over the pale battlefields of reality.”

“People are like Almanacs, Bonnie – you never can find the information you’re looking for, but the casual reading is well worth the trouble.”

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Book Review, Classics, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Fiction, Literature

Review: This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Final Verdict: 3.0 out of 4.0

YTD: 46


Plot/Story:

3 – Plot/Story is interesting & believable.

This Side of Paradise is Fitzgerald’s first published work, and it shows.  It comes across as a sort of announcement from Fitzgerald himself:  “I am here.  This is what I am about.  You will love me and all the genius things I have to say.”  Unfortunately, though the announcement and intent are clear, the story itself is rather disjointed, disconnected, and underwhelming.  Amory Blaine is a spoiled brat who thinks incredibly highly of himself, and who condescends to everyone else (including his mother, who also thinks incredibly highly of him – the beginning of the problem).  He comes from a wealthy family and he and his mother are essentially given all the money they want from Amory’s father, to keep them occupied, satisfied, and generally out of his way.  The story is about Amory’s journey from boyhood onto prep school, college, and the military.  While the story itself isn’t worth much, the book does live up to its reputation as a siren for the advent of Fitzgerald and a lighthouse beacon to the dawn of “The Lost Generation.”  Much of what Fitzgerald writes about here is reshaped, reformed, and reworked by him in later works and by other authors of the period, whom Fitzgerald influences.    


Characterization:

3 – Characters well-developed.

Although none of the characters are particularly likeable, they are developed in such a way as to be distinctive and purposeful.  Amory Blaine’s spoiled narcissism is clearly a problem with the generation – a generation of children who grew up with married but estranged parents; husbands supporting their disillusioned wives’ every whims, to the detriment of the family unit; children shipped off to boarding schools with professions chosen for them long before they’re old enough to make decisions of their own.  There is a blasé attitude about the church’s function in family affairs (although the minister himself is a rather charming intellectual, he is also insignificant in the grand scheme of things).  Amory’s many girlfriends are further example of the interesting male-female dynamic.  The women all come across bolder and more promiscuous than the men, though no one would ever admit it.  Amory’s reaction to his first kiss is perhaps one of the most realistic moments in the book – excitement, shock, fear, self-doubt, anger.  Typical teenage boy!  Unfortunately, Amory never really grows out of that phase and, thanks to his relationship with his parents (and their horrendous example) he also never learns to respect women.  They are trophies – he falls for very few women (they must be perfect) but when he does fall, he falls fast, hard, and in a near-suicidal way.  Still, though he would appear utterly devoted to these girls, their real significance seems to be only in as much as they can inspire him creatively (and for how long they can stroke his ego). 


Prose/Style:

3 – Satisfactory Prose/Style, conducive to the Story.

Fitzgerald was definitely flexing his literary muscles here.  It is clear, though the story is a bit discombobulated, that Fitzgerald is bound to be a shining star in the literary world.  There are certain moments – be it a phrase, a paragraph, or entire passages – where I can see Fitzgerald becoming what we later know he is.  This is one of the most fascinating things about reading writers’ first works long after reading their later works.  It is also fortunate that This Side of Paradise had such moments, because without the Fitzgerald name and without these examples of high-quality writing and craftsmanship within a rather dull story, it is possible that I would have given up on the book.  I also enjoyed the few moments where Fitzgerald broke into political posturing a bit – indeed, there is a moment where I envisioned Fitzgerald writing in one corner of a room, with Ayn Rand in the other, and they are each violently scratching away at their own papers, espousingolar opposite ideals. I think Fitzgerald is putting himself to the test with this first book – he is finding out who he is, what he believes, and what he wants to say.  The voyage is a bit shaky, but getting there is worth the trip.


Additional Elements: Setting, Symbols/Motifs, Resolution, etc.

3 – Additional elements are present and cohesive to the Story.

The most interesting aspect of the novel is that it is the dawning of a new generation.  This Side of Paradise was published just two years before T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, and it is impossible not to draw comparisons.  Following World War I, much art and literature was devoted to describing “The Lost Generation.”  As Eliot’s poem is concerned with the emotional and spiritual stagnation or snuffing-out of western civilization (particularly the male population), so too is This Side of Paradise concerned with a people devoid of substance and without purpose or direction.  Eliot’s poem is more innovative in terms of structure, form, and narration, but there is a certain musicality to This Side of Paradise which is also present in The Waste Land and which, I think, is indicative of The Jazz Age in general.  Keeping this work in perspective – reading it in relation to the period and other works of the time (not just literature – but art and music as well) makes the significance of This Side of Paradise truly apparent.


Suggested Reading for:

Age Level: High School +

Interest: Jazz Age, Prohibition, Bildungsroman, The Lost Generation, Post-World War I

Notable Quotes:

“It was always the becoming he dreamed of, never the being.”

“The idea that to make a man work you’ve got to hold gold in front of his eyes is a growth, not an axiom. We’ve done that for so long that we’ve forgotten there’s any other way.”

“People try so hard to believe in leaders now, pitifully hard. But we no sooner get a popular reformer or politician or soldier or writer or philosopher — a Roosevelt, a Tolstoi, a Wood, a Shaw, a Nietzsche, than the cross-currents of criticism wash him away. My Lord, no man can stand prominence these days. It’s the surest path to obscurity. People get sick of hearing the same name over and over.”

“Here was a new generation, shouting the old cries, learning the old creeds, through a revery of long days and nights; destined finally to go out into that dirty gray turmoil to follow love and pride; a new generation dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and the worship of success; grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken. . . .”

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Book Review, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Fiction, Literature

Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I have finally found the time to re-read this novel, and I’m glad. I still don’t believe it is Fitzgerald’s best work (I give that nod to Tender is the Night) but it’s much better than I originally gave it credit for. I was assigned this book in my Freshman year of high school, and I’m not quite sure why. There’s no way imaginable that I could have appreciated or even really understood the novel at that age. Fitzgerald’s descriptions are vivid and rich. There are many memorable quotations and passages, like the famous last line, which might go down as one of my favorite novel endings of all time:

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” Fantastic. The idea, too, of the dangers of capitalism and the evils of exchanging a love of tangible, “simple” things for the love of money and status.. well worked and presented.

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Anita Loos, Book Review, Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Fantasy, Fiction, Literature, Nathanael West, Rick Riordan, Willa Cather

Reviews: The Earlies, Part 5

Gentelmen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos

Very funny but also very serious. A lot of social commentary.

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

This Pulitzer Prize winning book by Edith Wharton is, well, prize-winning. Wharton asserts herself as America’s Jane Austen – witty, intelligent, moving, and principled. The ending, especially, is so personal and touching, it’s difficult to get through. 4 Stars.

The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West

Very interesting early-Hollywood read. Seems to anticipate “The Beat” generation.

Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This book is breathtaking. I’m not a Fitzgerald fan – I hated The Great Gatsby, but Tender is the Night is quite an achievement. Fitzgerald does an incredible job of demonstrating how a life is touched, changed, and destroyed by involvement with a schizophrenic. Perhaps it is my own personal experience which connected me so well with this novel and with Fitzgerald’s emotion – but, regardless, the imagery is vivid, the scenarios and plot credible, and the entire story absolutely moving and painful, as well as vindicating. I had to put the book down at many points, due to its ability to evoke sad and painful memories, but upon completion, I felt whole again.

A Lost Lady by Willa Cather

Wonderful story. Surprisingly anti-feminist.. but that shouldn’t be shocking, coming from Cather. She loves to push the envelope! This book reminded me why I love Willa Cather. Great read.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

What a great fantasy book! Based in Greek mythological “fact” – and the author obviously did his homework. The characters and the story work well with the mythology and Riordan even adds to it with a modern twist. I can’t say enough about this book and I can’t wait to read the second in the series. I think the book was much more fun to me now than it would have been if I had read it as a kid because having a background in the gods and myths made the story flow more easily and made it genuinely more interesting. However, I’m sure any young fantasy-fan can pick it up and have a great time.

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