Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Am I terrible if I only reread this book from a desire to see Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby this May? Probably, but I won’t be the only one. If you haven’t had a chance to see the trailer, this is the one to make the movie seem decent, but it may convince you that The Great Gatsby is more of a love story than it is. The book relies on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s poetic prose to flesh out a simple story; when you take away the narration, it doesn’t seem there’s enough for a movie without tedious voice-overs, but we’ll see. In a nutshell: Nick Carraway, the narrator, moves to a small house next door to Gatsby’s mansion on Long Island. After attending one of Gatsby’s opulent parties, he is asked to facilitate a meeting between him and Daisy, Gatsby’s former lover who is now married to Tom Buchanan. Gatsby intends to charm Daisy back to himself and things become tangled. This book may have been around since 1925, but I can’t bring myself to spoil the ending even if everyone read it in high school. read more

Review: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

I don’t care for capers or artichoke hearts. One night, my husband made Chicken Piccata with heaps of these ingredients. Despite this, I knew it was an objectively good dish: the chicken was well cooked, it had an interesting balance of flavors, etc., but I still asked that he not rush to cook it again. I feel the same way about Cloud Atlas. David Mitchell is uncommonly talented and there’s nothing “wrong” with his latest book, but it’s difficult to enjoy. Unfortunately, it’s one of those books you’re not allowed to hate, because if you hate it, people say: “you’re stupid; you only disliked it because you didn’t get it.” It’s an overstuffed, self-important book, and this has engendered self-righteousness amongst its more ardent fans. read more