Friday, April 5, 2013

All About Everything - Week Of April 3, 2013

Today's Topic: The Great Gatsby

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The Great Gatsby is a novel by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. The story takes place in 1922, during the Roaring Twenties, a time of prosperity in the United States after World War I. The book received critical acclaim and is generally considered Fitzgerald's best work. It is also widely regarded as a "Great American Novel" and a literary classic, capturing the essence of an era. The Modern Library named it the second best English language novel of the 20th century.

The Great Gatsby received mostly positive reviews when it was first published[19] and many of Fitzgerald's literary friends wrote him letters praising the novel. However, Gatsby did not experience the commercial success of Fitzgerald's previous two novels, This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and Damned, and although the novel went through two initial printings, some of these copies remained unsold years later.[20]
When Fitzgerald died in 1940, he had been largely forgotten. His obituary in The New York Times mentioned Gatsby as evidence of great potential that was never reached.[21] Gatsby gained readers when Armed Services Editions gave away around 150,000 copies of the novel to the American military in World War II.

[There is a film version of] The Great Gatsby, directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Leonardo DiCaprioCarey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire. It is set to be released on May 10, 2013.

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So they had us read Gatsby in high school. Unfortunately, I rarely read anything I was supposed to read in HS. I somehow managed to read the first chapter of all the books and the BS my way through the discussions and tests. I don't know how. I am slightly ashamed of this, but I do wonder at the fact that it was possible to have even done so. (The same was true for math classes. I somehow managed to suck at it, and fail to understand the concepts, but to still make decent grades.)

Then came college, a whole different ballgame. There, you could rarely BS your way through anything, at least not without a low grade to show for it. So I figured out pretty quickly that I would have to study, and, you know, actually read the assigned books. This wasn't always easy -- I enjoy reading the things I want to read. Go figure. When it's an assignment, I tend to want to rebel. I remember in HS there were two instances in which we were allowed to choose our own books from a list, rather than get an assigned one. I totally read those books cover-to-cover. 

When University rolled around, and I found myself being assigned multiple novels, plays, short stories, poems, and essays each and every term, I (usually) got right down to it and read the darn things. Sometimes that happened the night before they were due, but I did read them. And lo, along came some of the novels we'd (supposedly) already gotten in high school -- here again to haunt us. And there, again, was Gatsby. And I thought, Okay, I can do this. And I read it. And it was really good! A bit depressing, yes, but good.

Ah, Leo... I was very interested in you in high school! 

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