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15 August 2015

The Great Gatsby
F Scott Ftzgerald
Charles Scribner's Sons
Publication Date


Generally considered to be F. Scott Fitzgerald's finest novel, The Great Gatsby is a consummate summary of the "roaring twenties", and a devastating expose of the "Jazz Age". Through the narration of Nick Carraway, the reader is taken into the superficially glittering world of the mansions which lined the Long Island shore in the 1920s, to encounter Nick's cousin Daisy, her brash but wealthy husband Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and the mystery that surrounds him.

My thoughts

The book takes to America of the roaring 20's, being set in 1922 and having been published in 1925. It is narrated by Nick Carraway who moves to the fictional town of West Egg, on Long Island to become a bond trader. His neighbour is the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby. Gatsby holds outlandish parties in his big mansion almost every day. Gatsby then makes contact with Nick, and Nick learns that Gatsby has known his cousin, Daisy, for a long time and has been harbouring a deep love for her. All the partying and large house are to impress Daisy. But Daisy is married. And whilst having an affair himself, Daisy husband certainly don't take kindly to anyone looking at his wife. Gatsby's secrets are revealed throughout the book. Without giving too much away, the book does not have a 'happy ever after' ending. 

There is open racism in the book which would, of course, not be acceptable today but is a good representation of the normal perception then. 

I always struggle a bit with classic literature. This one came as a freebee, so I gave it a go. After all, it is a very small book. I don't always find it easy to get to grips with the language in classic literature, not sure if this is because English is not my mother tongue. So I did not enjoy it as much as I hoped I would, and maybe I have to give it another chance. 

According to Wikipedia, on publication the book sold poorly and Fitzgerald died without having seen it go to success, but it is now regarded as classic literature and representation of 1920's jazz and flapper age. 

The book has been made into a movie in 2013 starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, Tobey Maguire as Nick and Carey Mulligan as Daisy. Perfect cast in my opinion and beautiful to watch. 

9 August 2015

Night Shift
Stephen King
Publication Date

Description (from Amazon)

A collection of tales to invade and paralyse the mind as the safe light of day is infiltrated by the shadows of the night.
As you read, the clutching fingers of terror brush lightly across the nape of the neck, reach round from behind to clutch and lock themselves, white-knuckled, around the throat.
This is the horror of ordinary people and everyday objects that become strangely altered; a world where nothing is ever quite what it seems, where the familiar and the friendly lure and deceive. A world where madness and blind panic become the only reality.

My thoughts

An early Stephen King,  a short story collection. Many of them were previously published in magazines, when King was still a struggling author. Some of the short stories have been made into movies, and the movie 'Cat's eye' contains 3 stories from this collection which also comes highly recommended. 

The book shows how the King of horror can take everyday objects and people and normal situations and make them into a horror story. This is different from bloods and gore horror.  A lawn mover man who mows butt naked and eats the grass, a couple taking a road trip and discover the evil which can hide in a humble corn field, a man trying to quit smoking and those how help him have somewhat unusual but very convincing methods, a man who has an affair with a rich guy's wife and the  husband wants revenge on the outer ledge of a skyscraper. 

Even though I am a big fan of King's work, I did not always find this short story collection very 'easy reading'. I think part of it is that you have to 'get into the story' and obviously with a short story collection, you constantly have to get into  a new story. Once in, I was hooked on every single one of them and felt that literally all of them have enough plot and characters to make it a full book. What an imagination this guy has. His talent for turning the ordinary and mundane into the crazy is undisputed.