Do you have books you reread? Is that a strange thing to do? There are parts I forget, and things I think I notice for the first time, and maybe it reminds me of the first time I read the book and how it made me feel. And maybe it's a kind of pleasant, buzzy deja vu as it all comes back to me.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I think of summer as a time for reading, though the truth is I always have a book going, regardless of the season. Growing up in Pocatello, Idaho I especially remember summer days, riding my bike to the little old Carnegie Library to fill my bike basket with books. I read and reread every Nancy Drew, every one of the Oz series, every Agatha Christie, biographies—I loved them!— and more.
I have a few books that I reread every ten years or so. The Great Gatsby is one of them. That is my well-worn copy, purchased for $1.25, when I was in college. I was prompted to pull it out this week, by a Facebook post a friend made. It had a long list of supposedly "must read" books that you mark if you have read them and can make a notation as to your opinion. My friend rated The Great Gatsby as "overrated". I was more surprised than outraged. How could anyone not love this book? Romantic, tragic, and so beautifully observed. It is such a visual book. I know, quite certainly, how the Valley of ashes looks and I can close my eyes and see, across the water, the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. I have seen only one of the movie adaptations, the one with Robert Redford as Gatsby, and beautiful as that movie was, it did not begin to replicate the detailed mental picture I have in my mind. I suppose no movie ever could. Robert Redford, handsome devil, was too sparkly and modern. In my mind Gatsby will always be a Leyendecker illustration—the Arrow shirt man—hair slicked back, a little sadness in the eyes. And, of course, a beautiful shirt. (if you've read the book, you know about the shirts—)
"Can't repeat the past?... Why of course you can!"
-F. Scott Fitzgerald-
The Great Gatsby