Being a big fan of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, I was happy to come across this title in the graphic novel section at the library. (I’m really glad we have this GN section. A librarian friend of mine advocated for it and curated it right when it first started and since then, it’s grown enormously.) Anyway, this Gatsby graphic novel was hanging out there and I grabbed it and then read it right through there sitting in the library. (I just couldn’t resist!)
And I loved it. It’s more of a (necessarily) condensed version of the plot but there’s enough there for it to work smoothly and without feeling like you’ve been cheated (as the reader). Plus – the artwork by Morton is superb. It uses paler washed-out colors – like the tail end of summer – and this works perfectly as the characters in The Great Gatsby do feel and act washed out a bit after their high-living lifestyles.
And, even better, I’m all jazzed up for a reread of the novel now (despite having read it quite a times already – see reviews here and here) plus having studied it in grad school rather a lot. (I thought that I had a copy of this on the home TBR but it seems not. No probs. I’ll just pick it up at the library next time I’m there.)
Luckily, it’s a complex novel with plenty to talk about (along with being a really good read at the same time). If you haven’t partook of it yet, there’s a good read waiting and ready.
So, this scratched several itches all at the same time: I was looking for a classic to read (check), I was looking for a graphic novel to read (check) and most importantly of all – I was looking for a great reading experience (check). All good.
Hmm. Maybe it’s time to bump the biography of Fitzgerald on the old TBR pile…
Just happened to find myself at the library the other day – a complete accident, I tell you! /jk/ – and these titles happened to make it home with me:
(Top to bottom in photo):
The Old Curiosity Shop – Charles Dickens (F)
Seeking Pleasure in the Old Wild West – David Dary (NF/history)
Women of the Four Winds: The Adventures of Four of America’s First Women Explorers – Elizabeth Fagg Olds (NF/history) (not in pic)
The Great Gatsby – graphic novel (love this read) – not pictured
DK Eyewitness Medieval Life
Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History – S.C. Gwynne (NF/history)
(Can you tell I was roaming the history stacks? It was glorious.)
So what am I reading right now?
Well, these are in line but at this very moment in time, I’m reading an adventure/travel writing book called Side Country: Tales of Death and Life in the Back Roads of Sports by John Branch and then a quick look at a title from the TBR: The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom by Salvomir Rawicz (1956), a NF about Rawicz who was a young Polish cavalry officer who was arrested by the Russians and, after brutal interrogation and a farce of a trial, he was sentenced to 25 years’ hard labor in the Gulags. In the depth of winter in Siberia, he escaped and crossed the trans-Siberian railway and headed south to freedom. (Supposed to be an amazing read so I’m looking forward to this.)
And my regular summer project of a reread of the AP Style Manual….
Already read and finished the Stephen King book (ok) and now about to start on the then-scandalous Crawford memoir about the Queen’s childhood (and that of her sister). Ohh la la. (Rather a craze on the royals right now. 🙂 )
I’ve now properly started my Summer of Liz which means oodles of free time for me (I’m very lucky), and I’ve been thinking of how I’d like to spend my time. (Doing loads of very worthy and world-changing activities, I’m sure… HA.)
Actually, I’m not sure what I’m going to do but I do know it’s going to involve going to the gym and the pool (for the lazy river, naturally!); it’s going to consist of lots of reading; and I’m determined to continue with this slightly out-of-character interest in cooking new recipes.
(I think this is what happens if you binge-watch a couple of seasons of the Great British Baking Show. I’m not that interested in baking sweet stuff so I tend to focus more on savory recipes. If I’m going to cook, I may as well make it something ready for supper… Two-birds-with-one-stone idea. If I’m honest, I am also not the greatest with fiddly baking stuff either.)
Recipes so far have included spinach and feta cheese wrapped up in individual puff pastry packets (yum); lemon chicken; roasted turkey tenderloins with herb sauce and pork tenderloin with figs — all new recipes to me and all worthy of repeating. 🙂
Reading-wise, I think I’d like to focus on my own TBR pile for a while and see what progress I can make there. I do love the library and I’m sure I’m going to continue my visits there — I’d just like to continue my ongoing focus on my own books as well. (I also need to turn off that One-Click option on Amazon… 😉 )
I’d also bet that there will be a jigsaw puzzle or two to keep me busy.
To contribute to communal life, I volunteered some time with the local Friends of the Library group which was fun and worthwhile. I’ll probably repeat that again sometime soon. Messing around with books? Going to the library? No pressure to be sociable? Yes please.
And then I’d really like to get some culture so I’m planning on seeing what exhibits our museums and art centers have going on. Haven’t been to them for some time so interested in catching what’s new (to me, at least). And linked with this, I’d like to pick up my camera and doing some photog stuff again as well.
So, we’ll see how this progresses. None of this stuff is “have-to-do” and if it happens, that’s great. If not, no pressure there either. Win-win.
I do like summer (especially since our region hasn’t hit the highest temperatures yet so it’s not too brutal to spend time outside right now). I hope your summer is going smoothly as well.
Haven’t done a “swabbing-the-decks” post lately and thought that now would be a good time to fix that. I’ve been reading but for some reason, have lost some impetus to blog about them. It’s not that they have been bad reads but I think I’m at that point of the university semester when I’m plumb tuckered out with regard to words in general. (I teach a writing-intensive class which I love to do. But so. Many. Words.)
So what is it that I’ve been doing with myself? Well…
I’ve been reading and here are some brief reviews:
Sharks in the Time of Saviors – Kawai Strong Washburn (2020) F
Loved this very fast fictional narrative about a Hawaiian family and the saga of their lives in the mid 1990s, especially the life of young Nainoa Flores who falls over a cruise ship when he is just seven years old. A group of sharks approach him in the water. Everyone expects the worst but instead, the young boy is brought back to the boat in the mouth of one of the sharks all in one piece, and his family view this as a favor from the ancient Hawaiian gods.
You’ll have to read on to find out how this impacts Nainoa’s childhood and the rest of the family but suffice to say, this was a super-great read and I’m only sorry that I didn’t do a proper blog post on this. (It was also one of former President Obama’s favorite reads for 2020, so if it’s good enough for him, it’s going to be great for me. (And it was.))
I’ve also been rather interested in learning more about birdwatching so I’ve been paying more attention to trees and sounds when I go outside now. To help increase my (rather paltry) bird knowledge, I pulled out the really lovely DK Eyewitness book on the topic and found it fascinating. So far, I’m still practicing seeing the birds – a lot have good camouflage or I have bad eyes! – but I can hear their songs so trying to use those as a clue to identification as well.
There was an Agatha Christie in the list as well, this one Evil Under the Sun, which was just a fun and non-demanding read. I’m very glad that she was a prolific writer since she’s given me lots of titles to read. And have another title on the TBR pile from the library. <rubs hands with glee>
Another read (when I was yearning for a read from another culture/country) ended up being Suburban Sahibs: Three Immigrant Families and Their Passage from India to America by S. Mitra Kalita (2005). This is NF focused on three Indian families who all chose to live in Middlesex County in New Jersey, an area which has the largest Indian population in the world outside India (apparently).
Author Kalita traces each of these long-term residents’ journeys as they land in America and start their lives in suburbia and it’s actually quite fascinating (especially for me, since I was an immigrant as well but with a different trajectory. [Am I still an immigrant even though I’ve been here decades now? When do you stop being an immigrant? Do you stop being an immigrant?))
So this was a fast and interesting read and I enjoyed it. Plus – another off the TBR. Go me. 😉
Other stuff: I’ve just started a new jigsaw puzzle. (Fun.) We’ve been watching Netflix and I’ve even been exploring some new recipes. (Who is this person who is doing this? I’m not really a chef but I’ve suddenly become more interested in food and would like to find some different recipes to try…I think it’s linked with reruns of The Great British Baking Show that I’ve been forcing the Super Hero to watch in the evenings…)
So – nothing too exciting but it’s been nice. I hope that you can say the same.
Rules of Civility – Amor Towles (F/drama). Loved his latest, A Gentleman in Moscow, so picked up this earlier novel.
The Poisoner’s Handbook – Deborah Blum (NF/history). Victorian time and poisons? yes please.
Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running From Madness – Suzy Favor Hamilton (NF/sport/health). I’m a former serious runner so thought this looked interesting.
Mind of Winter – Laura Kasischke (F/drama). Supposed to be a good psychological thriller, I think.
I still have some other reads from my last Library Loot but couldn’t resist a quick trip to the library to look at other titles.
I promise that I’ll write more in the near future. The semester is starting to get busy since lots of things are due for grading, but as soon as I get some breathing space, I’ll be back. How is life in your worlds? I do hope it’s going smoothly for you all.
I’ve been reading quite a lot lately. It’s so interesting to see that I have a tendency to fluctuate in my reading levels. Looking back at trends over the past several years, I see that my reading levels falter in January and February and then pick up the pace once it gets into the Spring months. Is it to do with the amount of sun? Is it something to do with the moon? 😉
I’m not sure but I’m glad I’m back into one of my most important hobbies. So – what have I actually been reading? Let me do a quick round-up for you.
Londoners – Craig Taylor (2011). A nonfiction collection of conversations, really, that Taylor has gathered from a wide range of people who live in, love, hate, or perhaps left London. This was one of those perfect reads at the perfect time for me and I loved it. It was fit in with my temporary Monkey Mind and I could really hear what his interviewees said. This was such a fascinating read and I highly recommend it if you’re searching for a good book to pick up and put down. Loved it.
The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde (1895). The play itself. I have been wanting to go to a live play or other cultural event, but the pandemic has put the kibosh on that option right now so I picked up this Wilde read. I haven’t seen or read this one and it was full of Wilde’s sly witticisms and sense of humor. Good.
Then, still with a bit of a Monkey Mind (and thus lower levels of concentration), I was at the library (shocker!) and saw the most recent edition of the photo collection by Brandon Stanton called Humans. (He did the photo books called “Humans of New York” and has a really good blog, which I reviewed here and this was just as stellar). Stanton takes extremely good photos and allows his interviewees to really talk. Just fascinating if you like that kind of thing. (This is one of the projects that I wish I had done.)
Life After Life – Kate Atkinson (2014). Looking for a solid good read and wanting to pull a title from my homegrown TBR (as opposed to the library), this was quite a chunky read (and yet I wasn’t scared off by it) – 536 pages. (Normally, I would run screaming from such a high page count but it was ok.) This was such a good read but it definitely plays with time and structure so you need to concentrate. The protagonist, Ursula, reincarnates over and over throughout this story but what is truth? Anyway, a very clever novel and easy to read at the same time. I’m definitely going to pick up more Atkinson at some point.
So that’s me all caught up re: recent reads. Tell me about yours.
Oh, and I bought a new rug for my office at home. It makes me very happy! 🙂