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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Every so often I have a "Lost Weekend" day--a day when I feel so unwell that nothing is accomplished and the following day I feel as if I have had a lost weekend. I don't bounce back as I did in my youth.

Tonight we are doing "The Great Gatsby" at my occasional book-club. Rereading it has been a treat. I'm impressed with the beauty and brilliance of Fitzgerald's prose. I'm impressed with the way he has captured the essential tawdriness of most human motivation and desire. The best literature always has a timeless element. Songs, dances, and dress designs of the 1920's might pin the novel in place in time, but the meretricious in humanity is eternal. Wanting and longing for things that we cannot have, things that are really bad for us, things that are indeed worthless seems to be inbuilt into people too.

I have seen many babies--including my own children---get mesmerized by a trinket and NEED to possess it. I don't think they learn that behavior: I think it's an innate as breathing. Longing. aspiration, desire: perhaps learning to let go of it is the lesson of life?

I love to reread books. It's always a new experience for me. The first time I read this novel was almost 50 years ago. I was in the 9th grade and I thought that Gatsby was really super, hyper cool. I wanted to be that kind of person: the one who can say "old sport" effortlessly, the one with the party guests, the one with a plethora of shirts. I didn't spend much time thinking about or judging murder, crime, false values, recklessness, cheating, and lying.

I am much different today when I view Gatsby as a worried mother might see a son doing profligate things with credit cards and unsavory friends.
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  • SCOOTER4263
    I love Fitzgerald and have read many of his books over and over - plus all the little miscellaneous scribblings, and of course Zelda. I do need to revisit some of the other classics, though - I reread Jane Austin last summer, and Dostoyevsky two winters ago. We had to read Kafka in German in high school, but I'm not going there again. I have a copy of Sparkenbroke around here someplace, and I loved Below the Salt (forget the writer's name offhand.) I think I'll skip O'Henry this time - what seemed romantic the first reading just seems maudlin now. Plus all the books we read as children that helped form us! And Wordsworth (my favorite.) Too many to choose from.

    Periodically I decide to forgo the library and just read what's already on my shelves, but then I worry that I'm missing too much... emoticon
    3283 days ago
    I used to re-read Little Women every year. Now I'm thinking I really ought to go back and re-read a number of books I read in high school. I found Gatsby boring as a teenager, but I bet 30 years of life experience would make it an entirely different book.
    3285 days ago
    I think I need to reread it now, too. You did a beautiful job of summing up so many of the aspects that make the book a classic. I hope you're feeling better.
    3285 days ago
    I need to read that book again too. I love the classics. Or at least some of them. LOL.
    3285 days ago
    Oddly enough, when I read it in high school, I thought ill of all of the characters! I may have been born in "worried mother" mode. LOL

    I love 20's clothes, music, and art though. emoticon
    3285 days ago
  • LE7_1234
    When I think of this book, I always think of the scene in the library--with all the real books... that don't have the pages cut so they can be opened...
    3285 days ago
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