Thursday, June 9, 2011

what do you read? words, my lord.

30 Day Challenge, Day 3: A book you love.

Aha! I tricked you with the title. The book ISN'T going to be Hamlet. Though I do love me some Hamlet to a nerdy and somewhat absurd degree. Okay slash I feel that way about all Shakespeare, let's just be honest. (I may or may not have made myself a list of all the Shakespeare plays I've never actually read - seeing or being familiar with doesn't count - while at the Globe and made it my project for summer. Errrr I mean I'm really cool).

I've strayed. The book in question today is The Great Gatsby.

Junior year of high school, I believe I deemed this book the only worthwhile thing we read in all of American literature - a lofty generalization, to be sure, but dear Harker - the books you cover in American lit are boring as hell. Just sayin'. Regardless, I loved it. LOVED it. The book came into my life at the right time the way The Catcher in the Rye (which by the way, I hate) finds most 16 year olds. Something about it captured me (and about 90% of Harker juniors before and since).

Interestingly, I had a conversation much later (around my 3rd or 4th reading of the book) with a dear friend who hated the book, on the basis that nothing happens. And in the course of this conversation, a third friend asked me to explain the plot and I... couldn't. Because in terms of action, minus the last, say, 30 pages, not a lot does happen. Which is interesting, come to think of it, because thinking about it this way Gatsby shouldn't've been a book I loved. I love reading, I really do, but I also get bored unbelievably easily - just ask anybody about my six-month sojourn with Catch-22.

But there's just something about it. Even if, sort of, nothing happens. I believe I've read it 5 times now, and I find something new each read. A new sentence to love, a new idea to think about, a new character to sympathize with who I didn't like last time. The book breaks my heart and makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside each time I read it.

Hmm. Perhaps I re-read when I finish with Richard III.

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