June 19th, 2013

Relax!  Grab a Book!

Book 11

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  1. Fitzgerald, F. Scott — The Great Gatsby (146 pages)
Page count
3121
book cover: The Great Gatsby.

Yes, I have read Gatsby before. At least once, if not twice — but not, I think, when it was actually assigned to me (as to most American students) in high school. However, it's probably been 15 years or so since I last read it, and a new movie was coming out. That's right, I re-read Gatsby solely to refresh my memory in anticipation of the new movie.

What can I say? Actually, here's a little nugget you may not have heard before: This is a great book. One of the best ever written, in fact. I know, shocking, isn't it?

Can you think of another novel that has such memorable opening and closing lines? And such captivating symbols as the green light and Doctor T. J. Eckleburg's eyes?

I've also seen the classic 1974 Robert Redford movie before, but I wanted to watch it again before treating myself to Baz Luhrmann's adaptation. I was shocked when I found out my hair stylist had no clue who Robert Redford is. I mean Robert Mother Fuckin' Redford!?! (Not to be confused with Samuel L. M.F. Jackson.) What has the world come to???

I know it received mixed reviews, but I really enjoyed the new Gatsby flick, with all its glorious anachronisms. But then, I suppose I'm partial to Baz Luhrmann's œuvre. It was sensationalist and over the top, as Luhrmann always is, but reportedly so were the Roarin' Twenties. Both films captured the spirit of Fitzgerald's novel, or perhaps different aspects of it. Perhaps the new film better captures the energy; the old, the nuances and intricacies. As much as I enjoyed the new film, one thing was clear: Robert Redford was the quintessential Gatsby. Sorry Leonardo, you're no Redford! And that's no slight to DiCaprio. Redford was simply perfect as Gatsby, perhaps his defining role.

Not that this has anything to do with what I thought of the novel, but then I'd be like a boat beating against the current if I tried to say anything original about The Great Gatsby.