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Belle's Bookshelf

"With a dreamy far-off look, and her nose stuck in a book..."

Currently reading

What Maisie Knew
Henry James
My Friend the Enemy
Dan Smith
Worlds of Arthur: Facts and Fictions of the Dark Ages
Guy Halsall
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald I don't know how I got through life up until this point without reading or watching The Great Gatsby, or even knowing the story. Usually with the classics, even without ever personally encountering them, you generally get to know the whole plot via cultural references/magical osmosis. But somehow, that hadn't happened for me with The Great Gatsby. I knew it was set in the roaring '20s and featured lots of parties, plus a bit of love and drama. I knew it featured characters named Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway and Daisy. But that was all. I decided last year that it was about time that changed - so I tried to read it. Twice. I didn't get further than the first chapter either time.While it was beautifully written, I just couldn't get into it. The narrator, Nick, seemed like a boring type of fellow, and while he visited his cousin Daisy, her nasty husband Tom and their friend Jordan, and mentioned briefly his neighbour Jay Gatsby, I wondered what the point of it all was. The plot was plodding, the events and characters seemed insignificant and I didn't know who to care about, or if I did at all. I didn't exactly mean to give up on it - I just got distracted by books that excited me so much more. Then, when I picked it up again to keep reading it, I couldn't remember what had happened. It was so dull that it had completely drifted from my mind. So I had to start again. And I got distracted again. And had to start all over again.This time, I was determined to finish it. It's only 188 pages, after all! And wow, am I glad I did. Because I freaking loved it. Sure, the first couple of chapters are slow - I was impatient for Gatsby to show up - but when he appears, it's well worth the wait. Things finally get going and everything starts to make sense; what seemed so insignificant before is actually revealed to be quite the opposite and when it all clicks into place, it's wonderful. I don't really want to say any more because I don't want to give away the plot for those who, like me, haven't encountered it before. Because it was fantastic to read a book without knowing ANYTHING that was going to happen. I totally didn't expect the story to go in the direction it did, and when it did, I was floored. I already want to reread it - somehow, I don't think I'll find it quite so dull next time!More of my thoughts on The Great Gatsby can be found at http://bellesbookshelf.blogspot.com/2011/03/review-great-gatsby-by-f-scott.html#more