Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Books 89 & 90 of 2015: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald & As kingfishers catch fire by Gerard Manley Hopkins

I am so late with this post tonight. I'm blaming Saturday's trip to the mainland, what with the film and the washi tape, I was so excited to post about it all that I totally forgot to schedule this post. So I'm hanging out in bed with a packet of Maryland cookies for supper and a hot chocolate while I watch Scrubs. It's a good night.

First up is book 52 of the 2015 Reading Challenge; a book you started but never finished. That would be The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

It's the story of Jay Gatsby and the woman he loves, Daisy Buchanan, set during the 1920's. It fit the bill because it was a book I was assigned to read in Fifth Year; I made it to the end of the second chapter before I gave up and rebelled.

My teacher at the time, Mr L., had selected me and two of my friends to read it out of everyone else in the class, like it was some sort of a treat. And we hated it. I made it the furthest before we gave up and told Mr. L. that we were definitely not reading it. He was kind of disappointed and let us switch. The following year the same thing happened with The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, except that time he sat down with us and completely changed our minds.

I can't help but think he kind of wanted us to give it a go and argue our thoughts and so years later I decided I would try it again, and yet that never happened. Which was why when this Challenge week came up, I decided to give it another go.

I actually quite enjoyed it, which surprised me. In fact, I got through it a lot quicker than I was expecting. I started it on the 27th of December and finished it on the 30th. I was sure that it would tide me over to New Year's Eve and it meant I had to scramble to find a follow up to see me through to the end of the year.

In the end I actually felt sorry for Jay Gatsby. It turned into a different book from what I was expecting, what with Mr and Mrs Wilson and the events with the car. I can kind of see why Mr L. wanted me to read it and I do wish I'd given it more of a change so I could find out a little more about his thoughts on it.

By the time the book ended, I kind of wanted a little more. I did want to hear more about Gatsby.

It may be a book that I revisit at some point in the future. In the meantime, I'm glad that I read it so it's another one I can cross off my 'classics' list.

I couldn't end the year without a book to read. And I hate ending the year on an unfinished book, so that meant that whatever I chose would have to be short. In the end I picked one of the Penguin's Little Black Classics, and decided to go with number two, As kingfishers catch fire by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

It's a little collection of poetry and it was perfect to tide me over until midnight when I could start my first book of 2016.

His views on nature made me kind of think of Tolkien. There was something about the way which he used language and I couldn't help but be reminded of him, even if I couldn't pinpoint the exact reasons why. Of course, the reminder was reinforced when I reached one of his poems which described Oxford.

I couldn't help but think that there was an almost Old English style to the poems because of the use of alliteration. I was slightly confused about the accents on some of the words. I thought it might have had something to do with where the stress was supposed to fall but I'm not entirely sure about that.

I don't really read as much poetry now as I did when I was younger. I guess I'm a little picky about it now, whereas when I was younger if it had a good meter and rhyme structure I was happy. I think little books like this are a good idea though, it allows you to get a taster without going all out on a whole book and it's almost certainly one I'll revisit in the future.

And now, I'm off to bed!

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