Monday, April 22

book talk: the great gatsby

I am both upset and grateful I was never forced to read this in school.  I am upset because I could have been exposed to Fitzgerald's brilliant writing years ago.  I am grateful because I may not have appreciated it had it been required reading.  

I doubt a traditional book review is necessary in this case, because most have read [or at least heard about] the book.  But I just wanted to publicly give it my unnecessary stamp of approval.  As I read it, I was reminded of the following quote:

"Easy reading is damn hard writing." -Nathaniel Hawthorne.  

One could easily spend hours studying The Great Gatsby sentence by sentence.  There's so much there.   The craft, the underlying assumptions, the brilliant psychological commentary.  But I think some of its merit lies in the fact that the writing compels you beyond a sentence level study.  You want to know what happens next.  It doesn't feel like homework, the way so many "classics" often do.  So, sure, we could go back and unpack the individual words, sentences.  But the writing simultaneously demands that you continue.  

And also: aren't you dying to see the movie?  Although, so help me if Tobey Maguire ruins what looks to be a fantastic show.


I also finished the sequel to Variant, and finished another John Green novel, Paper Towns.  

FEEDBACK [Variant sequel]:
Decent writing, reasonably fast-paced story.  Engaging for teenagers who don't typically like reading.  I thought it dragged a little in spots, and had some cliche moments.   But I'm glad my students are willing to read it, regardless.

Solid, albeit my least favorite John Green novel thus far.  But: a mediocre John Green novel is, in most cases, better than most authors' best novel.  I recommend his novels in the following order: The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, and An Abundance of Katherines.  



  1. I absolutely adore The Great Gatsby. I was forced to read it in school. I definitely didn't appreciate it the way I do now, but I still enjoyed it and like his beautiful writing style.

    I'm excited for the movie, but also very nervous. I couldn't deal with a book this amazing being ruined by a bad movie!

  2. Because of you writing this, I have now read three john green novels. I only have Paper Towns left. So, I feel a little weird saying this, but thank you, because I now adore his novels. So much. :)