Category Archives: The Great Gatsby

and many more…

Today is the birthday of F. Scott Fitzgerald.  It only seems appropriate that we celebrate the short lifeFitzgerald of one of our classic authors.

Do you have time to reread The Great Gatsby?  No?  Me either.

Instead, how about we watch this “Ten Classics in Ten Minutes” video that summarizes Fitzgerald’s tale.  Don’t worry.  The video is less than two minutes long.  My husband remembers listening to this synopsis when he was in high school.  See if you can figure out which part of the retelling he remembers best.

Happy Birthday, F. Scott Fitgerald!
We bet your party would have been amazing.

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Posted by on September 24, 2013 in The Great Gatsby


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One of my favorite habits as a Classics Reader and citizen of West Michigan is finding references to our books amid the thousands of entries in one of the largest art competitions in the world, ArtPrize.  In years past I’ve seen bits of Gulliver’s Travels,


Moby Dick,

ArtPrize Moby Dicks Tail

and even an unintentional Great Gatsby reference.

ArtPrize Great Gatsby Glasses

This year’s festival just started yesterday, and I haven’t yet been downtown to see the works in their glory, but the media’s been pretty good at flooding my feed with glimpses of what awaits.  Including this rather unexpected entry:

Even though Mrs. Emma B. wasn’t my favorite character or novel, I would love to hear this.  The piece is by Grand Rapids Symphony’s principal oboist for their newly appointed principal cellist.  According to this interview it is heavily influence and inspired by Flaubert’s work.

It’s an actual ArtPrize entry, and if you can’t make the concert you can always listen to the midi file online.  Personally, I’d rather scramble to find a last-minute babysitter and some dough for some tickets.

*crickets chirping*

What?  That’s not the sound of crickets I hear?  Oh, I see, it’s the sweet music of electronic strings.  That makes more sense.


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One more movie review


GGmovieWhat’s better than a Lutheran pastor presiding over Gatsby’s poorly attended funeral?

A Lutheran pastor reviewing the movie!
Read Rev. Ted Giese’s evaluation here.

And while you’re at, you can listen to his interview on one of our favorite radio programs, Issues Etc.


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Posted by on June 22, 2013 in The Great Gatsby


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Remember when . . .

Do you know what I like in a movie?  Of course you do, you’ve read our posts about flicks like Pilgrim’s Progress, The Scarlet LetterAnna Karenina and Apocalypse Now.  But in case you’re like me, and you forget everything you’ve read or seen within seven days (and that’s probably a generous time frame, I’m afraid) I’ll remind you:  I like to be entertained.

So, did The Great Gatsby deliver?  You bet, I liked it a lot.

And that’s about all I recall because it’s been more than seven days since we’ve seen it.  And I don’t even have the good excuse of being on mega pain-killers.  So, for the next few paragraphs, I’m going to do my best to reconstruct my movie memory.  

  • I was super pleased by the screen play’s faithfulness to the book.
  • I have a weak recollection of complaining to my friends and sister that the modern music seemed out of place, and then when they all enthusiastically approved of the contemporary downbeats I immediately caved to peer pressure with some line about how it was effective in delivering the wild, visceral nature of the times.
  • I remember thinking that you have to be pretty amazing to make a pink suit look like must-have item of the summer, and Leonardo DiCaprio was.

    Look out, Jerry, I might go shopping.

  • I know I was disappointed that the striped inflatable pool chair doesn’t make an reappearance in Gatsby’s final scene.  I can’t even find a picture of it on line.  A real tragedy.
  • I was inclined to try for the eleventieth time to wear headbands.  If only the back of my head wasn’t as flat as Kansas, I’m pretty sure I could pull off Daisy’s do.

    Also, it would drive me crazy to have my ears covered and hair touching my cheek, but oh, how I love this look.

  • I was, and still am, super annoyed that Nick’s cottage was north of Gatsby’s mansion instead of south.
  • I know that we were the only ones in the theater that giggled during the scene where Gatsby and Daisy meet, making us wonder if anyone else had read the book and understood the sheer delight and cuteness of this encounter.  Then again, we were the only one’s that laughed at Oblansky’s love of buns, too.
  • And the sight of Myrtle flying in front of T.J. Eckleburg’s billboard is one I will never forget.  Not even after seven decades.

But you should go see it!  It was great!  I loved it!  Very entertaining!  Trust me.

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Posted by on June 21, 2013 in The Great Gatsby


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I Wouldn’t Recommend It

Oh, you thought I meant the movie!  No, on the contrary – I heartily WOULD recommend it!   My recollections (of the movie) are entirely pleasant.   What I would not recommend is going to see the movie after spending 4 or 5 days in extreme toothache-y pain and then getting 2 teeth pulled.   I guess I figured that after that amount of torture, I was NOT missing out on time with friends at a movie I’ve been looking forward to seeing for months.   So, after 2 extractions that afternoon, I snuck in a purse-full of gauze and an ice pack, bound and determined to have a good time.

Unfortunately, my recollections are vague and tinged with memories of replacing bloody gauze and trying to ice the area on and off every 20 minutes.  So, listen to my wise and much more focused friends as they review The Great Gatsby.  I’ll have to rent it when it comes out on video.

I leave you with the picture my daughter dared to take while I was in pain.   Just so you believe me.   (That’s a primogeniture trait, I believe.   One doesn’t skip out unless one has a verifiable excuse.)


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Posted by on June 20, 2013 in The Great Gatsby


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A Great Review

CCOM went on another field trip!  Can you guess where?

ggmovie1No, we didn’t imbibe at a speakeasy.  We saw Gatsby at the theater!

We’re going to make these movie reviews down and dirty, much like the parties at Jay Gatsby’s.  Each of us will share a few thoughts about the film, and then we leave you dash of to your nearest multiplex to watch this version of Fitzgerald’s hit.

GG for blogChristine’s thoughts:

Tea Time: One of my favorite parts was the scene where Nick invites Daisy to his house for tea and Gatsby is there. DiCaprio plays Jay Gatz beautifully: the longing, the hoping, the dreaming…the part where he’s dripping wet in a white summer suit.  He’s boyishly charming.  It’s endearing.   I found myself wanting things to work out between the former sweethearts.  Then I told myself to snap out of it and quit rooting for the affair.

Nick Carraway:  Moments before the movie started, I maintained that Nick was merely a tool Fitzgerald used to tell the tale: a narrator and nothing more.  I was wrong.  He became caught up in the soap opera just as much as the other characters.  I found myself liking Nick less and less.  He was an accessory to both affairs.

Clothing:  It was breath-taking.  The women were gorgeous and dramatic with their styled hair, fashionable hats, and beaded dresses.  The men were incredibly dashing with their suspendered pants, buttoned vests, and tailored jackets!  I even liked the pink suit!  Click on this link to learn a little more about Prada’s part in the costuming.  By the end of the night I found myself sighing that my hair would never do what Jordan Baker’s did.

Stay tuned to see what my fellow flapper fans have to say about big screen version of
The Great Gatsby.

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Posted by on June 19, 2013 in The Great Gatsby


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Some Dads

Happy Father’s Day Sancho, Christian, Gulliver, Mr. Bennett, Fagin, Mr. Brockelhurst, Arthur Dimmesdale, Ahab, Arthur Shelby, Charles Bovary, Marmeladov, Vronsky, Damon Wildeve, Gilbert Osmund, Pap Finn, and Tom Buchanan.

Thanks for not being my dad.

You see, he’s pretty awesome.  And you guys, well, let’s just say that you’re best left where you are:  inside the covers of a book.

Dad Dance


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I hope you’ve seen this:

I love the style, the colors, the lines, the information.  Here’s the home page where the designer also has a really nice video that makes every Cliff Note cower in fear of replacement.


Posted by on June 14, 2013 in The Great Gatsby


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Woof Down that Cantaloupe

Confession Time:  Pretty much all my life I have struggled with the meaning of two particular words:  melancholy and sparse.

classic-word-of-the-day fail

I don’t know why, it probably dates back to my melancholy childhood in a sparsely populated county.  No, wait, my non-melancholy youth in a non-sparse locale . . . no, no, no, um, my sparsely melancholy formative years in a melancholy sparse area.

I was happy, but there weren’t many people around.

Whew.  And I think both of the words mean their opposite.

Let’s just take melancholy.  What about that word sounds sad?  Nothing, that’s what.  I get pictures of long-faced, furry friends enjoying overflowing bowls of honeydew.  There’s nothing pensive about a fruit salad enjoyed by man’s best friend.

And it doesn’t help when the context clues are confusing combos like “beauty.”

Just as Daisy’s house had always seemed to him more mysterious and gay than other houses, so his idea of the city itself, even though she was gone from it, was pervaded with melancholy beauty.

I bet he was just upset because the city was so sparsely populated.

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Posted by on June 13, 2013 in The Great Gatsby


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And Many More, or Not

minus 10

minus 10

Birthday traditions are as varied as they are joyful.  Although, one of the varieties, one belonging to a dear friend of ours, lacks a bit of the joy.  Maybe you’ve heard it:

Happy Birthday (Uggh!)
Happy Birthday (Uggh!)
One year closer to death,
Happy Birthday (Uggh!)
People living in despair,
People dying everywhere . . . but . . .
Happy Birthday (Uggh!)
Happy Birthday (Uggh!)

It was the song that sprang to mind as I finished the account of Nick Carraway’s 30th.  I have a feeling it might have been going through his as well.  Here’s his parting thought,

So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight.

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Posted by on June 12, 2013 in The Great Gatsby


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