The Great Gatsby

We’re enjoying another slow week in Campbellsville, and I have decided to read or re-read some classics. It is possible to experience too many of the great books too soon in life. I suspect that I did. I wolfed down everything written by Hemingway, Steinbeck, Tennessee Williams, and Faulkner before age 25. I also read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s greatest hit, The Great Gatsby, much too soon. I say this because forty or so years ago Gatsby did not impress me.

 

A Killer Book Cover
A Killer Book Cover

Then and now I remain in thrall to the stories Papa Hemingway told, simply and truly. He covered the worst wars, followed the most dangerous blood sports (boxing and bull-fighting), and hunted and fished everywhere for everything. He lived large and his stories were larger. My favorite Hem production is his 1959 narrative covering a three month series of mano a mano bullfights between Dominguin and Ordonez, the old and young superstars of the Spanish ring. The book is called Dangerous Summer, and to enjoy its chronology of the eternal rivalry between premier athletes, young and old, you must get past your modern day distaste for this barbaric pursuit. You will get past it. The characters, the danger that the sport demands and rewards, and their powerful opponents will get into your blood.

 

A Cover with Killers
A Cover with Killers

Gatsby is a story of human hopes, cruelties, memories, and wistful dreams. Hemingway often wrote disparagingly of Fitzgerald, perhaps because his writing was something more than “true and simple”. Gatsby is ornate and introspective, poetic and timeless, and yet as believable as Papa’s stories of war, hunting, and sport.

 

Check out Dangerous Summer, and re-read Gatsby. You will be glad you did. I will leave you with the last paragraphs of The Great Gatsby. These words do not give away the plot, but are examples of his wonderfully thoughtful writing.

 

F. Scott Fitzgerald, a Princeton Man
F. Scott Fitzgerald, a Princeton Man

“(Gatsby) had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back there in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

 

Gatsby believed in the green light (Daisy’s), the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter … tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther….   And one fine morning —-

 

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

11 thoughts on “The Great Gatsby

  1. Sound advice.

    No question that I need (and want) to re-read certain books, as well as read more in general.

    My first choice is to always read on paper. Nothing can take the place of physical books.

    At the same time, given my location (in the middle of the beautiful boondocks), I am also grateful for the many sites where one can read for free online.

    If you want any of those links, feel free to write me via my email here.

    In the meantime, I hope all is well. 🙂

    Like

  2. Okay. I will be glad to post some of them here.

    There are so many, so let me pick the best of them, and then pare them down to a manageable number.

    For starters now, go to OpenCulture.com.

    This is one of my very favorite sites.

    ===

    Here is the link from today, for playing free vintage video games (as some lagniappe).

    http://www.openculture.com/2014/11/internet-arcade-lets-you-play-900-classic-video-games.html

    ===

    Note on the right the long list of free items.

    Don’t stop at the Essentials list. There is more—a lot more.

    Scroll down the right side, and do searches for what you cannot find on there.

    ===

    For example, I knew from past experience to do a search for Harvard Classics (in the search box in the upper right).

    Here are three of the many hits from that search.

    There will be overlap, but you will still find different nuggets in each link here:

    http://www.openculture.com/2014/03/the-harvard-classics-download-all-51-volumes-as-free-ebooks.html

    http://www.openculture.com/2011/07/the_harvard_classics_a_free_digital_collection.html

    http://www.openculture.com/free_ebooks

    ===

    As you can see, it’s not only about free books on here.

    There are free movies, free courses, and so on, as well as interesting articles on all manner of topics.

    If you like this site, I suggest signing up for their emails.

    ===

    More links on free books to come, but this should keep you busy for a while. 😉 🙂

    Enjoy!

    Like

  3. Here are more links for free reading online, but before we proceed here is a note on site safety.

    In my first comment here, I meant to mention the following.

    Before I open up an unknown site for myself, it has to pass muster on both Norton and McAfee.

    To do so, it has to get at least an OK rating from Norton, a green check mark from McAfee, and no seriously negative reviews from either one.

    Any link I post on here has passed the above, as I would not want anyone to open a dangerous link.

    Having said that, some links change over time, so it cannot hurt to once in a while run them again.

    New links embedded in safe ones may need checking, and so on.

    Here are links for Norton and McAfee, and then I’ll get onto the books.

    Norton:

    http://safeweb.norton.com

    McAfee:

    http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/

    ========

    Now for the books, etc. 😀

    Here is another one about Harvard Classics (and more) that I forgot to add the last time around:

    http://www.openculture.com/free_k-12_educational_resources

    Don’t let the reference to K-12 resources deter you from visiting it.

    It is for adults, too.

    ===

    Internet Archive

    https://archive.org/index.php

    For some different fun, check out the Wayback Machine:

    https://archive.org/web/

    ===

    The Online Literature Library

    http://literature.org

    http://literature.org/authors/

    ===

    Project Gutenberg

    https://www.gutenberg.org

    ===

    Bartleby

    http://www.bartleby.com

    More than books on here, too.

    ===

    Unz

    http://www.unz.org/Home/Introduction

    ===

    Google Books

    There are easier ways on many of the other links here to find free books, but I’m including this just the same.

    http://books.google.com

    Info for finding public domain books on it:

    http://google.about.com/od/experimentalgoogletools/ht/how2dwnloadbook.htm

    http://www.google.com/advanced_book_search

    ===

    SparkNotes (Kind of like Cliff’s Notes, but with more.)

    http://www.sparknotes.com

    No Fear Literature

    http://www.sparknotes.com/nofear/lit/

    Right now, only a few titles are listed, but perhaps more to come.

    ===

    Shakespeare

    I’ve no idea if this is of particular interest, but still thought I’d make a separate category for it for fun.

    There are a great deal of sites offering free books, and more, from/on the Bard.

    http://nfs.sparknotes.com (from above site)

    http://www.openculture.com/2014/03/read-all-of-shakespeares-plays-free-online-courtesy-of-the-folger-shakespeare-library.html

    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/search/?query=shakespeare

    http://shakespeare.mit.edu

    http://www.opensourceshakespeare.org

    http://www.extension.harvard.edu/open-learning-initiative/shakespeare-after-all-later-plays

    Watch online, though not all content is free:

    http://globeplayer.tv

    http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/05/globe-theater-to-offer-streaming-shakespeare/?_r=0

    ===

    Sherlock Holmes/Doyle

    It’s the same idea here as with the Shakespeare listing. 🙂

    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/search/?query=arthur+conan+doyle

    http://www.readsherlock.com

    ===

    Brain Pickings

    Not exactly a listing of free books, but one that should be in this list.

    The articles are thoughtful, and also sometimes there are links to where one can read for free.

    http://www.brainpickings.org

    http://bookpickings.brainpickings.org

    ===

    Internet Public Library

    It offers some magazines, newspapers, and more.

    http://www.ipl.org

    http://www.ipl.org/div/news/

    ========

    This seems like enough for now. 😉 🙂

    If there is ever something you cannot find, let me know.

    It is fun for me to do the research, and I always learn something new as a result.

    Happy reading,

    K.

    Like

  4. This book is on my to-read list. And I’ve held off watching the film too because obviously I have to read the book first. And I have a retelling Great that is on hold too until I read the book. So I just need to suck it up and do it! A bit disappointed to hear that it was a bit of a struggle though. Especially as I will more than likely feel the same, as we rarely differ!

    Like

    1. Carrie, I did not to intend to categorize Gatsby as a difficult read. And I just reread that post … nothing but kind words the second time around. It is a fine read. It is absorbing. It’s a study of people and their peculiarities. It is wordy, like my blogs, except Scott Fitzgerald was a first class writer.

      I have not seen the movie, but if it adds something to that great novel, please let me know. That would make it a Must See.

      Thanks for reading us,

      Jackson

      Like

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