18 June 2013

Shades of Greatness

Over a year ago I wrote a post about F. Scott Fitzgerald and 'The Great Gatsby' (http://ddramblings.blogspot.com/2012/03/f-scott-fitzgerald.html).  It has been my only post to date about books.  Which is incongruous because above any other label I would assign myself, or hope to be known for, I am a reader.  I am happy just to hold a book, to be surrounded by books.  But mostly I write about books and I  talk about books outside of this blog.  I wrote the one post because Fitzgerald and his 'Gatsby' took possession of me when I 16.  I discovered that many stories may be entertaining, but when told by someone who understands words, and knows exactly how to use them, mere story writing is transformed into craft.  I was always a reader.  My elementary school would let us take books from the library home with us on the last day of school; we could keep them for the entire summer vacation.  I would gather as many as I could carry and I put the pile in my room, creating a second pile as I read each one in the random order they started in.  But 'Gatsby' insured I was a lifelong reader.  Fifty years after bringing home my first pile of books from Elsmere Elementary, I still love having a pile of unread books and a pile of completed ones -- though now there are far more piles.

So why another post about Fitzgerald?  Because I was scanning the Sunday newspaper and I checked the bestsellers list.  I do not often buy a bestseller, but because I have found some great books, I always look.  There are times checking the lists when I am dismayed and concerned for the future of reading; like when half of the top ten have 'Shades of Grey' in the title.  Today I got to the Trade Paperbacks list and there, at #4, was 'The Great Gatsby' and it wasn't a version where all of the revelers at his parties are zombies and/or vampires.  I know that the real 'Gatsby' is now popular because of the movie (haven't seen it and think I don't want to) but whatever it takes to get people to read this classic is fine with me.  The one distressing thing I must add is that #6 on the same list is the most recent diatribe by Glenn Beck.  F. Scott Fitzgerald and Glenn Beck on the same list? Obscenely inappropriate.

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