Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Reading (and re-reading) Is Fundamental



Literature, to the best of my knowledge, is best experienced through the lens of the reader.

I have certain books that I re-read about every four years.

I re-read Less Than Zero because I wonder at what point I'll stop caring that I left my hometown/high school friends, viewed them as inherently flawed because they stayed "home" (with all the crap that comes with "home") and start to just see them as normal people without my own, self imposed baggage.

And the book is better than the movie.

Although I watch the movie often.

I'm not a perfect person...


I recently re-read The Great Gatsby.

I want to hit nearly every person in that book.

I feel bad for Nick. Mostly because he's too poor to get the hell out of what can only turn into the most soap-operatic of situations.

But, that's about it.

Which, I guess, is an upgrade from finding it tremendously boring about 10 years ago.

I know this is not necessarily a popular viewpoint.

I just don't see anybody I can identify with in this book. Gatsby's obsession with Daisy ultimately is not romantic, but rather creepy. Who spends all their time and money becoming someone they are not and getting a house on Long Island to be near the person they "love"? J. Lo in the 90's? Kevin Federline? Daisy is the most vacuous, undeserving love object every put to paper - which is unfortunate as Fitzgerald was inspired by his own wife, Zelda.

Re-reading this in your 30's, you recognize every person who gets screwed over in this book in your own life. None of them got out of the way either. You don't roll your eyes looking at them any less.

Which, again, might be an upgrade over being bored by it.

I understand about the wanting and the not having and the wishing in the book, both emotionally and materially. But I still think everyone in the book needs to be punched in the neck.


4 comments:

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Holy freggin' Jeez! I LOVE The Great Gatsby. That book changed my life. I've read it 4 times and I plan to read it again. I saw two different productions on film, too. One sucked. The other was quite good.

Ari said...

It is amazing how different books are 10 years later. The character I most wanted to punch in the neck was Holden (fucking) Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye. Got no idea why that book was ever designated a "classic"... nothing happens!!! I threw it across the room immediately upon finishing it, and I don't think I'll revisit it, ever.

Rob Seifert said...

I re-read things cyclically as well. I always find something new.

RCS

Lance Manion said...

I find your lack of appreciation of Gatsby to be... disappointing. In an effort to make it more exciting, I've sent the "Crate full of poison spiders" edition over to your house.