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The Great Gatsby | 100 Books 100 Months

December 6, 2012

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So, I accidentally started the challenge a little early. My plan was to start January 1, 2013, but my lovely wife convinced me to pick up The Great Gatsby at a small local bookshop we were at. So, the 100 book challenge started exactly one month too soon. Oh well. Also, I may end up reading more than one per month, especially with smaller books. I’m sure a few of the 1000+ page works will keep me occupied for more than a month. A few notes before I get into my thoughts on The Great Gatsby:

  • I have a little wooden bookmark — you can kind of see it poking up in the picture. It says “Rocky Mountain National Park,” and I bought it on Jane and I’s honeymoon. Totally worth the $5. I thought I would lose it, but seeing as how it carries more value (both monetarily and sentimentally), I’ve mostly always known exactly where it is. If you don’t have a nice bookmark, get one.
  • I’m getting more into physical, paper books again. Yikes. Bad news for my bookshelf. I’ve decided I’ll try to find most of the 100 at local used bookshops, and also bring one in to trade at the same time. Therefor, in theory, my bookshelves won’t actually grow much. I have no problem releasing David Baldacci and Clive Cussler for the sake of John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway.
  • In blogging about each of the 100, I won’t be doing reviews as we’ve come to know them. I won’t be literarily critiquing, but expressing my thoughts regarding the books. Big difference. You won’t read about fallacies in plot or use of devices. It will be much more simple than that. Hopefully that’s okay with you.

Onto the good stuff!

Vitals:

  • Title: The Great Gatsby
  • Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • First published: 1925
  • Pages in my edition: 180
  • Words: 47,094
  • Days to finish: 5

The Great Gatsby was probably assigned to me at some point in school, but with most reading assignments, I neglected to actually read it. This is a bit surprising, as I’ve always been a reader by nature. Perhaps it was the combination of “old” books and teenage rebellion that kept me away from classics throughout my schooling. F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author, is even a native Minnesotan for crying out loud. How on earth have I never read this before?

I learned very quickly that Fitzgerald is a master wordsmith. He crafts metaphors and similes as well as anyone I’ve read. Like many books I read, I purposefully went into it without really knowing a whole lot of what it was about. I prefer it that way, so I can be truly surprised by story elements. It is set in 1920s New York, amidst some fabulously wealthy characters, and some not so much. It’s about lavish parties and scandalous affairs, but ultimately, it’s about the American dream. Jay Gatsby is crafted to be one of the most human characters I’ve come across in literature, while being unbelievably rich.

The book is split into two very distinct chunks. In the first, I found myself chuckling and smiling without really realizing it as Fitzgerald describes ritzy life in New York. It was an experience that my reading does not often give me. But then something dramatic happens, and the story shifts from its lightheartedness. Once I got to the middle, it was truly hard to put down, and I found myself thinking about the story when I wasn’t reading it. This was surprising, actually, as the story isn’t necessarily what pulled me in, but the great writing. But as the book progressed, it was the plot that kept me going. Fascinating.

This book has such simplicity and complexity wrapped up in the short span of under 200 pages. It’s incredibly easy to see why this book has received such high acclaim, and I feel sad that I’ve wasted time reading other far less worthy books for most of my life. Such is life, however.

Next book: To Kill A Mockingbird (1. Not “To Kill A Mockingjay” 2. Read this at some point in school, but I already own it, and is definitely worth another read.)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. taykee permalink
    December 6, 2012 10:44 am

    Such a grat project. I totally love the idea.
    And that particular book is just awesome.

  2. jeremyfritz permalink*
    December 6, 2012 12:49 pm

    Thanks for the comment! Twas a great book. Next up is To Kill A Mockingbird.

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