Well, I don't want to ruin any spoilers from my monthly round up that I'm posting next week, but I did read a bunch of books from the Jazz Age this month!
It was really fun to read a bunch of novels written during the same time period and compare/contrast them. I tried one novel written about the Jazz Age, but I couldn't finish it. It was that
bad. I also know I read a TON of Fitzgerald. I had planned to read some other authors, but I won't have time by Friday to finish them. There was also one in particular, discussed below, where I couldn't track down a copy! I need to go back to college, because my the local university had it, but they don't let county residents get library cards!
The Beautiful and Damned
I really wish that I had read this before I read a biography of the Fitzgeralds' since it is semi-autobiographical. It was a little predictable because of that. I also wish that I had read This Side of Paradise
first, since it was Fitzgerald's breakout novel.
This novel was very interesting because I read it immediately following The Beautiful and Damned
. The novel takes place during the Jazz Age, also, but it takes place in the UK. It dealt a lot with social classes, like The Beautiful and Damned
, but it referred to World War I and the class changes a lot more than Fitzgerald. Money was discussed at length in both novels. Lady Chatterley's Lover
is much more explicit with sex than The Beautiful and Damned,
which danced around the topic much more. Honestly, I was completely shocked that this novel was published in the 1920's, due to the explicit nature of some of the scenes and language. Lady Chatterley's Lover
does mention jazz, dancing, and bobbed hair in passing, but it more about what love, sex, and intimacy means to men and to women. Lawrence wrestles with the three (love, sex, and intimacy) to see where and if they overlap with each other, plus how men and women might view them differently! Women and aristocratic women, specifically, are held to a different standard in Lady Chatterley's Lover
, as opposed to The Beautiful and Damned
, where the men seem to be falling over themselves to make the American women happy.
I wanted to read this novel because it was the novel that gave Fitzgerald his start. Again, not my favorite book, but I can appreciate it for what it was, a portrait of the "lost generation."
Ok, I love Faulkner. Sanctuary and Absolom, Absolom are two of my favorite novels ever. This one, however, I just couldn't get into it. Maybe I'll try it again some day!
It's hard to rate a collection of short stories because I loved some more than others.
This collection contained some of Fitzgerald’s best stories from the Roaring '20s. Included were the classics "The Jelly-Bean", "The Camel's Back", "May Day", "Porcelain and Pink", "The Diamond as Big as The Ritz", "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", "Tarquin of Cheapside", "O Russet Witch!", "The Lees of Happiness", "Mr. Icky", and "Jemina".
I thought that "The Camel's Back" was absolutely hilarious! I never saw the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,
but from what I understood, it was kind of a love story. The short story is anything but a love story. There was no love lost between Benjamin Button and his wife as she aged and he un-aged. It seemed like he couldn't be any happier to go to the dances in town because he was finally feeling and looking young. While some of the stories were humorous, the story like "May Day," highlighted the lost generation's differences. Some men were still partying with their college fraternities, even though they were well past college, but other men couldn't let the war go, so they protested against socialist newspapers. The story contrasted high society with the working class. And like many other characters in Fitzgerald's work, there was the man who was straddling the line between being upperclass, but not having the money to afford the lifestyle.
This is a new category for me. I had to quit a book about half-way through this month.
This novel was marketed as a fictionalized account of Zelda Fitzgerald's life after she was institutionalized. The story is told from the point of view of a nurse who is taking care of her. The nurse's story was distracting, but what was worse was the fact that there was no new information. Because I had read other novels about Zelda Fitzgerald, I knew the general gist of her life. Most of those books, though, end once she is sent to the psychiatric hospital. Instead of this novel telling me about what it was like for her there, the emphasis was on Zelda rehashing her past, as she worked on her autobiographically based novel, Save Me a Waltz
. At the half-way point, I decided that it wasn't worth my time.
I am so glad that I chose to participate in Jazz Age January! It was great. I actually have a bunch more books from the era that I would love to read. I have already read most of the recent popular fiction that is set during the Jazz Age, so I had to go back and read writers from the time period. During my research, I found a few new-to-me authors from the time period that I want to read, a historical fiction novel set during the Jazz Age by Phillipa Gregory (I loved the Cousins War Series last year!), and specifically a book called The Green Hat, which was a best seller and provocative for the time. I couldn't track it down in an e-book or through my library. I hate buying new books, so I'm patiently waiting to track it down on Thriftbooks or Paperbackswap.com sometime soon. If I run out of books, I'll break down and buy it.
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