The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Graphic Novel – Aya Morton and Fred Fordham (2020)

Being a big fan of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, I was happy to come across this title in the graphic novel section at the library. (I’m really glad we have this GN section. A librarian friend of mine advocated for it and curated it right when it first started and since then, it’s grown enormously.) Anyway, this Gatsby graphic novel was hanging out there and I grabbed it and then read it right through there sitting in the library. (I just couldn’t resist!)

And I loved it. It’s more of a (necessarily) condensed version of the plot but there’s enough there for it to work smoothly and without feeling like you’ve been cheated (as the reader). Plus – the artwork by Morton is superb. It uses paler washed-out colors – like the tail end of summer – and this works perfectly as the characters in The Great Gatsby do feel and act washed out a bit after their high-living lifestyles. 

And, even better, I’m all jazzed up for a reread of the novel now (despite having read it quite a times already – see reviews here and here) plus having studied it in grad school rather a lot. (I thought that I had a copy of this on the home TBR but it seems not. No probs. I’ll just pick it up at the library next time I’m there.)

Luckily, it’s a complex novel with plenty to talk about (along with being a really good read at the same time). If you haven’t partook of it yet, there’s a good read waiting and ready. 

So, this scratched several itches all at the same time: I was looking for a classic to read (check), I was looking for a graphic novel to read (check) and most importantly of all – I was looking for a great reading experience (check). All good.

Hmm. Maybe it’s time to bump the biography of Fitzgerald on the old TBR pile…  

Library Loot: July 05 2021

Just happened to find myself at the library the other day – a complete accident, I tell you! /jk/ – and these titles happened to make it home with me:

(Top to bottom in photo):

  • The Old Curiosity Shop – Charles Dickens (F)
  • Seeking Pleasure in the Old Wild West – David Dary (NF/history)
  • Women of the Four Winds: The Adventures of Four of America’s First Women Explorers – Elizabeth Fagg Olds (NF/history) (not in pic)
  • The Great Gatsby – graphic novel (love this read) – not pictured
  • DK Eyewitness Medieval Life
  • Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History – S.C. Gwynne (NF/history)

(Can you tell I was roaming the history stacks? It was glorious.)

So what am I reading right now?

Well, these are in line but at this very moment in time, I’m reading an adventure/travel writing book called Side Country: Tales of Death and Life in the Back Roads of Sports by John Branch and then a quick look at a title from the TBR: The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom by Salvomir Rawicz (1956), a NF about Rawicz who was a young Polish cavalry officer who was arrested by the Russians and, after brutal interrogation and a farce of a trial, he was sentenced to 25 years’ hard labor in the Gulags. In the depth of winter in Siberia, he escaped and crossed the trans-Siberian railway and headed south to freedom. (Supposed to be an amazing read so I’m looking forward to this.)

And my regular summer project of a reread of the AP Style Manual….

Plus – you know: all these library books. 🙂

The (Almost) Halfway Post.

Almost halfway through the year and like other book bloggers, I think it’s fun to see how the reading is going and whether there are any patterns or trends emerging. 

To that end, here is what I’ve read so far this in terms of numbers:

  • 54 books in total for a total of 16,142 pages:
  • 33 fiction  – Includes short story collections and a play. (Very surprised to see this. I would have sworn that it was more NF but it’s not to be.) 
  • 21 non-fiction

Other interesting (perhaps only to me!) stats include:

  • 25 books (46%) taken from my TBR – I’d like to up this stat a bit more this year…
  • Average number of books read per month: 10.5 books
  • Average page count per month: 285 pp.
  • Total average page count per month: 2,690 pp. 

How do the demographics look?

  • 10 from POC/BIPOC authors (19%) – I’d like to up this stat a bit more this year…
  • 23 male authors
  • 27 female authors
  • 5 mixed gender content

The books themselves:

Oldest book: (Far From the Madding Crowd / Hardy – 1875) 

Newest books: Two from 2020 (Battle of Brothers / Robert Lacey (NF) and Sharks in the Time of Saviors / Kawai Strong Washburn (F).)

Best book so far: 

Hmm. If I absolutely have to commit for both F and NF, I would argue for the following:

Autobiographies and biographies have been popular topics, but there are no real leaders, TBH: Other topics have included nature writing, travel, history and the social sciences…. 

.It’s been a good year so far. I hope that you’re having a similar year. Onward and upward!

Incoming.

A few new titles have washed up at Chez JOMP, so thought I’d let you see what they were. (Top to bottom):

  • Home Cooking – Laurie Colwin (culinary-related essays, I think). (NF/essays).
  • Fraternity: An Inside Look at a Year for College Boys Becoming Men – Alexandra Robbins (NF). I’ve read her earlier work about sororities and thought that to be interesting so this title made the cut. (NF/socio?)
  • The Body – Bill Bryson (NF/sci).
  • Untold Stories – Alan Bennett (NF/essays I think).
  • The Truth About Style – Stacey London (NF/fashion). Complete impulse buy the other day.
  • Solutions and Other Problems – Alli Brosh. (Also, unpictured but also bought: Hyperbole and a Half by Brosh.) NF/auto/funny as hell).
  • Taste of Home Winning Recipes – Barnes and Noble cheapie bargain book to get ideas for supper. 🙂 (NF/food). I’ve tried a few recipes out of here – good so far.

And, of course. I’m not actually reading any of these right now! 🙂

Library Loot: June 14 2021

Top to bottom, left to right:

Already read and finished the Stephen King book (ok) and now about to start on the then-scandalous Crawford memoir about the Queen’s childhood (and that of her sister). Ohh la la. (Rather a craze on the royals right now. 🙂 )

People you should meet…

Trawling my TBR shelves the other day, I realized that I have quite a few autobiographies and biographies about various people so thought I would gather these titles together in case you might be interested. One caveat: these are TBR which means that I haven’t read them just yet. They look good though!

Now I just to read them all. HA!

Summer Plans…

I’ve now properly started my Summer of Liz which means oodles of free time for me (I’m very lucky), and I’ve been thinking of how I’d like to spend my time. (Doing loads of very worthy and world-changing activities, I’m sure… HA.) 

Actually, I’m not sure what I’m going to do but I do know it’s going to involve going to the gym and the pool (for the lazy river, naturally!); it’s going to consist of lots of reading; and I’m determined to continue with this slightly out-of-character interest in cooking new recipes. 

(I think this is what happens if you binge-watch a couple of seasons of the Great British Baking Show. I’m not that interested in baking sweet stuff so I tend to focus more on savory recipes. If I’m going to cook, I may as well make it something ready for supper… Two-birds-with-one-stone idea. If I’m honest, I am also not the greatest with fiddly baking stuff either.) 

Recipes so far have included spinach and feta cheese wrapped up in individual puff pastry packets (yum); lemon chicken; roasted turkey tenderloins with herb sauce and pork tenderloin with figs — all new recipes to me and all worthy of repeating. 🙂

Reading-wise, I think I’d like to focus on my own TBR pile for a while and see what progress I can make there. I do love the library and I’m sure I’m going to continue my visits there — I’d just like to continue my ongoing focus on my own books as well. (I also need to turn off that One-Click option on Amazon… 😉 )

I’d also bet that there will be a jigsaw puzzle or two to keep me busy. 

To contribute to communal life, I volunteered some time with the local Friends of the Library group which was fun and worthwhile. I’ll probably repeat that again sometime soon. Messing around with books? Going to the library? No pressure to be sociable? Yes please.

And then I’d really like to get some culture so I’m planning on seeing what exhibits our museums and art centers have going on. Haven’t been to them for some time so interested in catching what’s new (to me, at least). And linked with this, I’d like to pick up my camera and doing some photog stuff again as well. 

So, we’ll see how this progresses. None of this stuff is “have-to-do” and if it happens, that’s great. If not, no pressure there either. Win-win. 

I do like summer (especially since our region hasn’t hit the highest temperatures yet so it’s not too brutal to spend time outside right now). I hope your summer is going smoothly as well. 

Summer reading

School and grades are now completely done which means, for me, that I can start the Summer of Liz. I don’t have anything required (outside the normal responsibilities) so the next three months are mine, all mine. 🙂 (I’m very lucky, I know.)

So – how to wisely spend this time? HA! I’m going to read and then read some more. I’m going to go through my wardrobe to see which outfits I can create/combine (just for fun) and I’m going to go and see my twin sis in CA for a few days.

So, speaking of reading (as we were), what titles have I read since the end of school? The above image tells the story:

  • Chasing the Monsoon – Alexander Frater (NF). Reread and ok. Probably doesn’t need to live on my shelves any more though. :-} (Off the current TBR shelf.)
  • Soul Clap Hands and Sing – Paule Marshall (F). I’ve read and enjoyed other Marshall work. This was a collection of short stories. Meh. Library.
  • Majesty – Robert Lacey (NF/bio). I love the majority of Lacey’s work (good sense of humor) and and enjoying the older bio of the monarch. Nothing too mind-shattering but enjoyable all the same. (Off the current TBR shelf.)
  • Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier (F). Loving this classic. (Off the current TBR shelf.)
  • 100 Great Artists: A Visual Journey from Fra Angelico to Andy Warhol – Charlotte Gerlings (NF/history/art). I’ve really been interested in getting some more culture so got this out of the library. A quick but wide-ranging tour of some of the artworks of the world (mostly [all?] Western hemisphere).
  • The Pale Horse – Agatha Christie (F). A murder mystery all wrapped by the end of your cup of tea. I do like a Christie every now and then. Library.

New TBR shelf…

Here are the titles on the new TBR shelf:

  • Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience – Shaun Usher (ed.) (NF/socio)
  • On Doctoring: Stories, Poems, Essays – Richard Reynolds, M.D. and John Stone, M.D. (eds.) (NF/socio)
  • The Girls from Winnetka – Marcia Chellis (NF/bio)
  • A Victorian Courtship: The Story of Beatrice Potter and Sidney Webb – Jeanne McKenzie (NF/history/bio)
  • Cold: Adventures in the World’s Frozen Places – Bill Streever (NF/geog)
  • My Family and Other Animals – Gerald Durrell (NF/nature)
  • All Things Wise and Wonderful – James Herriott (NF/nature)
  • The Book of Not – Tsitsi Dangarembga (F)
  • Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card (F/sci fi)
  • Majesty: Elizabeth II and the House of Windsor – Robert Lacey (NF/bio). Read. Good.
  • Time and Again – Jack Finney (F)
  • On Borrowed Wings – Chandra Prasad (F)
  • Olive Kitteridge – Elizabeth Strout (F)
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – Anita Loos (F). Read. Good.
  • Mr. Chartwell – Rebecca Hunt (F)
  • Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World – Rita Golden Gelman (NF/travel). Read. Good.
  • Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey – The Countess of Carnarvan (NF/history)
  • Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier (F). Read. Good.

As always, the usual guidelines are in place: these are just suggestions for me and I’m happy to go off-piste if I want to. It’s summer time rules here! 🙂

Reading Review: April 2021

The reads for April 2021 included:

  • Life After Life – Kate Atkinson (F). Loved this and plan on reading more Atkinson.
  • The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin (NF). Meh.
  • Bird: DK Eyewitness Books (NF). I’m starting to get into a bit of birdwatching but I’m a big novice right now. Thought I’d learn some basic facts.
  • Evil Under the Sun – Agatha Christie (F)
  • Living, Loving, and Lying Awake – Sindiwe Magona (F/short stories). OK.
  • Belfast Diary: War as a Way of Life – John Conroy (NF/history/geog). Pretty interesting how it “normalizes” a war-torn society and culture.
  • Suburban Sahibs: Three Immigrant Families and Their Passage from India to America – S. Mitra Kalita (NF). OK.
  • Sharks in the Time of Saviors – Kawai Strong Washburn (F). Despite my aversion to short stories, these worked. Plus it’s on a list of Favorite Reads by President Obama.
  • A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles (F). Loved this. Definitely going to read more Towles.
  • Dinner ASAP – Cooking Light (NF/cooking). I’ve been cooking some of these recipes – very good and not too complicated for this neophyte chef.
  • All Creatures Great and Small – James Herriot (NF/memoir). Just a good read.
  • Freddie and Me: A Coming-of-Age (Bohemian) Rhapsody – Mike Dawson (GN/autobio). Fairly typical teenaged angst for GNs.  

So to the (rather obsessive!) numbers:

  • Total number of books read in April 202112.
  • Total number of pages read 3,656 pages (av. 305). 
  • Fiction/Non-Fictionfiction / non-fiction. 0 plays.
  • Diversity 3 BIPOC. books by women.
  • Library books vs. books I owned (and thus removed from the home abode): library books, owned books (whee!) and e-books.

Plans for May 2021 include continuing to include more BIPOC writing on my list. Continue this pace of reading and continue this streak of reading more from my own TBR as opposed to those titles from the library. Sounds pretty doable to me. Plus – it’s the end of the semester and I’m off for the summer. 🙂