Jazz Age January: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott FizgeraldTHE GREAT GATSBY
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Fiction, Classics
Scribner, 1925
Paperback; 180 pages
Source: Purchased

I hadn’t planned on re-reading The Great Gatsby, but after finishing Careless People, a book about Gatsby‘s creation, I couldn’t resist! I’ve read this book twice before, and I was eager to re-read it hot on the heals of a book about the factors that influenced its writing.

I wrote about this book last time I read it, two years ago, but I thought I’d revisit it for Jazz Age January! This post contains spoilers.

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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.

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Book Review: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft

Book Review: Burial Rights by Hannah KentA VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN
by Mary Wollstonecraft

Non-Fiction: Feminism
Penguin; 2004 (original pub. 1792)
Paperback; 133 pages
Source: Purchased

A few months ago, as I wandered around my local indie bookstore in search of one particular book, my eyes alighted upon this slim volume, which is part of the Penguin Great Ideas series. The design is absolutely gorgeous; the image to the left doesn’t do justice to the gently textured paper or the beautiful letterpressed type. It’s a book that I just want to gaze lovingly at and run my fingers over. It also happens to be one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy (written in 1792), and if you’ve hung around BSV for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I’m all about feminist works.  I picked up a copy and read it in small bites over the course of a month.

Essentially, Wollstonecraft argues for the education of women. She discusses how women are viewed as inferior and how denying them education MAKES them inferior. If they are encouraged to care only about clothes and social standing, and not to develop their minds, of course they will be stupid, vapid creatures. She writes at length about the various ways women are repressed, enslaved, and kept from developing into humans worthy of having rights. It was interesting to read how women were viewed during Wollstonecraft’s time and compare how things have changed, but also to see which attitudes have remained the same. Continue reading

Book Review: A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

Book Review: Burial Rights by Hannah KentA ROOM OF ONE’S OWN
by Virginia Woolf

Non-Fiction: Essay/Speech
Harcourt; 1929
Paperback; 114 pages
Source: Purchased

After spending five years deathly afraid of Virginia Woolf after being forced to read To the Lighthouse in high school, I gave the author another shot earlier this year. It turned out that I really loved Mrs. Dalloway, and I was eager to try more of Woolf’s writing. After talking to one of my favorite bloggers, the lovely Elena at Books and Reviews, who shares my interest in feminism, we decided to read and discuss A Room of One’s Own together.

A Room of One’s Own was originally written as lectures Woolf was asked to give on the topic of “women and fiction.” She spends a good portion of the book considering what that even means, describing her thought process as she considers how to write her speech. I actually found this part pretty dull; although I loved Woolf’s stream of conscious style in Mrs. Dalloway, I found it difficult to interest myself in her first-person account of walking around a university and going to a dinner party and sitting in a library. Elena found it slow to start, too, but I’m sure many other readers would enjoy this part. Continue reading

Book Review: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Book Review: Burial Rights by Hannah KentTHE AGE OF INNOCENCE
by Edith Wharton

Fiction: Classics
Barnes & Noble, 2004 (original pub: 1920)
Paperback; 305 pages
Source: Purchased

Set in the old New York of the early 1870s, The Age of Innocence is an examination of the tension between society’s demands and personal freedom. Newland Archer is a young man from a wealthy family about to be married to May Welland, a sweet but unimaginative girl. A bookish dilettante, he leads a comfortable life among New York’s moneyed set. However, his life is turned upside down with the arrival of May’s cousin Ellen Olenska, a damaged woman fleeing her troubled marriage to a European count. Continue reading