One book that I love is ‘The Great Gatsby’. I fell in love with it when I was 17 and I have remained true, dipping into it over the years, watching the various film adaptations, and once, even teaching it. The copy here is the original that I bought back in 1987 and it was bought in a bookshop when I was on holiday in America for $3.95. I was careful when posing not to open the pages too wide as I know I am lucky that it is still holding up and that here we are, 32 years later, still together.
I dipped into the writing of F Scott Fitzgerald as part of my 6th Year Studies in English. He appealed to me as a writer for a number of reasons: the poetic beauty of his writing, his turbulent relationship with his wife Zelda, and the hedonistic world that he created. It was escapism with a touch of reality and I loved it. As I was drawn deeper into his work I developed an appreciation for his clever use of symbolism as well as the inward reflection of his characters.
The autobiographical elements in much of his writing allowed me to indulge in not just the world of the characters he created for me, but also to feel that I was experiencing something of his life at that time. It was escapism at its finest and his world really could not have been further from my own. He gave me the glitz and glamour of the Roaring Twenties, the decadence of a time where anything was possible, and romance like I wanted it to be.
I read his novels, I read his short stories and I even read his letters. I wrote my dissertation later that year on selected fiction by F Scott Fitzgerald and, although I loved many of his books, ‘The Great Gatsby’ was my favourite and still is. At university I studied English literature and read avidly and widely, not quite believing that reading at the expense of other things was now something that I was genuinely allowed to do.
When I started teaching most of what I had studied at university was too challenging for the level I was presenting, but I thought that it would be an ideal opportunity to share my love of ‘The Great Gatsby’ and inspire others in the way that I had been. This did not work out as I planned. They had no patience for Gatsby and saw him more as pathetic than tragic and I learnt from then on, never to teach something that I really loved.
This did not affect my love of the novel itself or my liking for the style of the Jazz Age. I have often opted for accessories with an Art Deco style and have indulged in fashion with its influence, particularly when going out and dressing up. The release of the Baz Luhrmann film was exciting as it combined one of my favourite film producers with my favourite novel, but I have to say that I was nervous when I dragged HL along to watch it in the cinema with me.
Although I am a fan of Luhrmann’s work, I worried that the novel wouldn’t be done justice, but for the most part, I was pleased. It also brought the novel, and the associated themed events to the fore and suddenly The Roaring Twenties was everywhere. This fitted well with the timing of our wedding and I was able to indulge my passion, very tastefully of course, without it seeming odd or out of place.
Really I would never want to limit myself to one book although I haven’t read anything proper for ages. I find that reading online is what takes up my time now, but when I eventually give up work and have more time, I will be back reading avidly again I am sure. Until then, I will leave you with one of my favourite quotations from the novel:
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we run faster, stretch our arms out farther…..And one fine morning –
Oh, Missy. This image is fabulous the background amazing and that dress right out of the Jazz Age. I can see you on Jay’s arm at a party wearing that, so sexy. I love The Great Gatsby, one of my favorite books. I wrote an article and some stories about Gatsby, or rather about Daisy and Nick, on my other blog. I too was pleased with the film.
Thank you so much. Is that the story you sent me the link to once via May where it was an extension of the story? I remember it was very good.
Yes it was, I had forgotten that. Thank you.
I really enjoyed it. I have never tried writing anything set in that time but perhaps I should try some time. Not sure I could pull it off though ?
Absolutely beautiful and brilliant image!!!
Thank you sweet. I laughed when uploaded it and saw yours next to it. Great minds! ?
I know lol
Love this book…and fabulous photo!
Thanks Nora. I love the style from that era ?
What a delicious image to go with your post. Loved books are so precious.
Thanks Missy. I use a kindle app these days but I still love that I have all of my old books ?
I love the pose in the featured photo, so casual yet sexy. The background in the second photo is great, almost like you are on stage about to do a naughty reveal.
Oooo a naughty reveal. Now there is an idea. Thank you gem ?
I was surprised to read that the timing of Luhrmann’s film matched that of your wedding. It seems so recent!
I think Fitzgerald is complicated. You have to understand the times he lived in to understand him as an author, I think. And – much like Hemingway – what he idealized and what he idolized has to be taken with a grain of salt. (And perhaps with a belt of tequila and a lime chaser. 😉 )
Great art deco feel to the photo.
And it was interesting to read your take on what most interests you as a reader. 🙂
We have only been married for 5 years, although we have been together for longer.
I agree with what you say about Fitzgerald and understanding the time. I think my reading habits have changed a lot since then but I would like to be able to read more and get lost in more fiction. It just doesn’t seem to happen these days ?
Your outfit, your pose – they are both fabulous and fit the 20s/Gatsby theme so well. Your figure looks so well in that outfit.
That book is my favourite too – it is his way with words, the prose is so clever yet sparse. I don’t know too much about his relationship with Zelda except it was stormy. I like the tragedy, the love, devotion, re-invention and decadence in it. It’s one I have read twice and will read again and I dont usually re-read books. Like you, online reading of our peers blogs has stolen a lot of my novel reading time.
I think that writing also takes up a lot of time and it is hard to get to everything, especially when you are working like we are. Maybe we need to go all Gatsby for Eroticon ?
It’s funny you should say that – I suggested to Floss and May that we do a 20’s themed #SinfulSunday one time.
That would be fun. I will need a new outfit now though ?
Ooooooh!!! I love this image – that backdrop is bloody epic x
Thank you LSB. It was a filter that I felt worked ?
I’ve never read the Great Gatsby but after reading this excellent post I think I should give it a go. I have a copy of it, so there is no excuse. I remember enjoying Tender is the Night on the BBC back in the 80s. Super photo as well. You look simply divine!
Thank you CP. I really hope that you enjoy it if you do read it ?
Lovely picture to go with the book, I feel inspired ?
Thanks PS ?
I remember that way back in university, The Great Gatsby was one of the books we had to study, alongside Pride and Prejudice and Lord of the Flies. Oh my, I found it so difficult, and in hindsight I think they expected a bit too much of us to have us study all those fabulous stories at the same time. It might be time for me to read The Great Gatsby once more to really appreciate the story, like I have done with Pride and Prejudice too. And Missy, that image… just WOW!
Thank you Marie. I think it can be hard to really appreciate something when you are told to study it. And interesting mix of books. It’s funny that the ones to study never change much ?
There is nothing sexier than a woman reading. I love the Great Gatsby too. It is really that one book that both embraces the hedonism and the tragic of the Roaring Twenties. The Baz Luhrman adaption of the book was pretty amazing in my eyes, a modernized version but still, the depth of what can be found in the book, is still very much present in the film.
Yes! I totally agree with you. I am really pleased how many people agree. Since the criticism from the school pupils I have expected people to tell me it isn’t good, though clearly that makes no sense when dealing with a classic. Kids – pfffff!
This is very atmospheric and erotic x
Thank you ?
Love all of this Missy -you look wonderful. I have a great fondness of your chosen book. Of course I have read it but have other memories. My truly wonderful Gran – who partied away a fortune in the 1920’s – took me to see the film when I was very, very young. And my youngest studied it for her A levels or gcse – good choice x
It is nice to hear about what other people feel about it and I am glad that it has brought back good memories ?
I have never read The Great Gatsby, one of those classics that seems to have slipped me by. I love this image though and agree the 20’s look is definitely a sexy one
Thank you Molly ?
I too love the Great Gatsby. Maybe it’s my love of Jazz and the freedom that came from the roaring 20’s. There just aren’t enough flapper dresses being worn today! Maybe a good scene for you to write a story on?
That is an idea. Thank you. I may try that ?