Jazz Age January: Week 2 Linkup

jazzageHello flappers and fellas! We’re onto week 2 of Jazz Age January, and I’ve been having a ball. I’m really enjoying reading a lot of different books about the jazz age, as well as your posts about your own reading!

Since last week’s linkup, I have read Carless People: Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of the Great Gatsby by Sarah Churchwell and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I hadn’t planned on reading Gatsby, but after reading 350 pages about its creation, I couldn’t help myself! I’m a bit behind on my reviews, though; this week, I wrote about last week’s reading of A Moveable Feast by Earnest Hemingway. Continue reading

Jazz Age January 2014: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

A Moveable Feast is the first Hemingway book I’ve read since my high school English class reading of A Farewell to Arms, and although I enjoyed it, I’m not sure it was the best place to start reading his work.

Unfinished and published posthumously, A Moveable Feast is Hemingway’s memoir of his time spent in Paris with his fist wife Hadley in the early 1920s. Also included in this “restored edition” are many Paris sketches that I think weren’t meant to be in the book but that provide interesting insights into the author’s life.

On the one hand, I found reading about vibrant jazz age Paris and its players to be fascinating. Hemingway belonged to a community of truly luminous artistic figures including F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos, Ezra Pound, and Ford Maddox Ford. It was really interesting to read about Hemingway’s relationships with them — especially since many of them are characterized rather irreverently!

On the downside, this book was kind of hard to follow. I don’t know if it’s because it was unfinished or because it’s Hemingway’s writing style to jump around and make references to things he hasn’t explained, or something else. If I recall correctly, the book’s introduction (or was it the foreward?) mentions that Hemingway’s alcoholism had a horrible effect on his memory. He probably didn’t remember his time in Paris all that well, and his alcoholism may have also impacted his writing ability.

My understanding of this book was really helped by my earlier reading of The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. This historical novel covers a very similar time-span to A Moveable Feast, and it was interesting to see how the stories paralleled each other. On a few occasions that Hemingway would mention something out of the blue, like coming back from Toronto after Bumby’s birth without ever having mentioned that they went to Toronto in the first place, I would have been confused if I hadn’t read McLain’s novel. It helped clarify the facts where Hemingway is vague.

On the whole, I enjoyed A Moveable Feast and thought it was a good way to start my Jazz Age January reading! Although I don’t think this was a good entry point into Hemingway’s writing, I’m glad I read it. What should I read next to become better acquainted with his work?

jazzage

Jazz Age January: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Book Review: Burial Rights by Hannah KentA MOVEABLE FEAST
by Ernest Hemingway

Non-Fiction: Classics
Scribner; 1964
Paperback; 236 pages
Source: Purchased

A Moveable Feast is the first Hemingway book I’ve read since my high school English class reading of A Farewell to Arms, and although I enjoyed it, I’m not sure it was the best place to start reading his work.

Unfinished and published posthumously, A Moveable Feast is Hemingway’s memoir of his time spent in Paris with his fist wife Hadley in the early 1920s. Also included in this “restored edition” are many Paris sketches that I think weren’t meant to be in the book but that provide interesting insights into the author’s life.

Continue reading

Book Review: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Book Review: The Goldfinch by Donna TarttTHE GOLDFINCH
by Donna Tartt

Fiction
Little, Brown; Oct. 22, 2013
Hardcover; 771 pages
Source: Bloggers Recommend Giveaway

When 13-year-old Theodore Decker and his mother get called into his school for a disciplinary meeting, they stop into a museum on the way. While they are admiring the paintings, there’s a huge explosion. Theo’s mother is killed in the blast, but he escapes from the rubble… taking with him a small, priceless painting of a goldfinch.

Continue reading

Book Review: Want Not by Jonathan Miles

Book Review: Burial Rights by Hannah KentWANT NOT
by Jonathan Miles

Fiction
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Nov. 5, 2013
Hardcover; 389 pages
Source: Purchased

I picked up a signed copy of this book at the fabulous Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, VA after Shannon of River City Reading selected it as one of her favorite books of the year. It came out in November, amid the holidays and end-of-year lists, and I think it got a little bit overlooked. I’m so glad I bought a copy of Want Not, which I hadn’t heard of until my visit to RVA. It really is a fantastic book, and it made my best of 2013 list!

Set in and around present-day New York City, Want Not follows three storylines about characters who are finally connected at the end of the novel. There’s a freegan couple squatting in an abandoned building; a sleezy debt-acquisitions tycoon, his trophy wife, and troubled step daughter; and an aging linguist struggling with the dissolution of his marriage and his father’s fading health. Continue reading

Jazz Age January: Week 1 Linkup

jazzageHello darlings! I hope Jazz Age January has gotten off to a splendid start for all of you! (If this is the first you’re hearing of this reading challenge, head on over to the start page to learn more; it’s not too late to sign up!)

So far I have read A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway and The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I don’t think A Moveable Feast was a very good place to start reading Hemingway’s work, but I mostly enjoyed the experience. It felt very disorienting to go from Hemingway’s writing to Fitzgerald’s; the difference in their styles is incredible! Continue reading

Jazz Age January: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Book Review: Burial Rights by Hannah KentTHE PARIS WIFE
by Paula McLain

Fiction: Historical
Ballantine Books; 2011
Audio (Paperback: 314 pages)
Source: Library

It’s 1920 in Chicago, and the parties are swinging, but 28-year-old Hadley Richardson has nearly given up on finding love and a happy marriage. The tides turn when she meets a young Ernest Hemingway, who sweeps her off her feet. After a whirlwind marriage, they marry and move to Paris, where they fall in with an artistic crowd later known as the Lost Generation.

The Paris Wife is the story of Hadley, Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, during their time in Paris. Through her perspective, we experience the wild parties of the 20s and get to know some of the Jazz Age’s major figures, including Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and Ezra Pound. Continue reading