Jazz Age January is the cat’s meow, but I only kinda did a job on it. Today I finished The Great Gatsby, which I hadn’t intended to read what with having read it already, but I was reading Careless People, which goes over Gatsby chapter by chapter and it had just been too darned long, so I got Gatsby and read it and what little I remembered I remembered wrong, so it was good to read it again. But that slowed down the reading of Careless People so I only got halfway through that and I only got halfway through Everyone Was so Young, which is about the Murphys. Sara and Gerald were ex-pats who had a lot of money and became great friends with and helped out the Fitzgeralds and the Hemingways and generally knew everyone in France in the 20s. I’ve just gotten to the part where Hemingway is giving Hadley the bum’s rush and the Fitz are acting like a bunch of babies. Why anyone put up with them is a mystery. They musta been positively swell when they weren’t causing a major scene.
It’s interesting too to be reading Gatsby near Ulysses as they’re on nearly everyone’s top books of the 20th century and along with The Waste Land and Mrs. Dalloway, the absolute end of modernist lit. Gatsby is, of course, much easier to read than Ulysses. Pretty straightforward. And I thought I would have something to say about it, but I’m not sure I do. Reading all these books has me thinking more about Scott and Zelda than Gatsby and Daisy. Although to some extent it’s the same thing. I think it must always eat at a guy to be rejected for not having enough money. Practical, yes, especially for someone like Zelda who really doesn’t seem to have a housewifely bone in her body, but still it’s gotta rankle a bit, I think. I sympathize with her and Hadley. Hadley was more domestic, I gather, but still, your husband’s gone all day writing, then walking around Paris and visiting people. Sometimes he takes you along, but it seems to me like she must’ve spent masses of time by herself with not much to do. Zelda when bored would cause trouble so Fitz was always worrying about what she might do. Not sure how she got bored. Just listening to the round of constant partying they did exhausted me.
So, the sum total is 2 books: Moveable Feast and Great Gatsby and 2 half books: Everyone Was so Young and Careless People. Among these I slipped in 3 mysteries and Utz. 6 books is rather good for me, but unfortunately they were all short, easy reads. No long fiction nor non-fiction has been finished this month.
Gatsby counts as a Classic that has been turned into a movie – so I’ll have to finally watch that.
I’ll close with perhaps my favorite line ever. Sadly, I don’t know who said it.
Ain’t no party like a Gatsby party
because a Gatsby party don’t stop
until at least two people are dead and everyone is disillusioned with the Jazz Age as a whole