Archive for the 'Book Club' Category

The Great Gatsby: Chapters 8 & 9

Apologies for not sticking to the schedule.  The last week of Feb & first week of March were crazy busy.  I’ll post about movies & vacation soon.  🙂  Thank you Amber for filling in and leading a great discussion of chapters 6 & 7!

So a recap of the final 2 chapters of The Great Gatsby in case it’s been awhile since you’ve read it–SPOILERS:
At the beginning of chapter 8, Nick goes over to Gatsby’s house to find out what happened after he left Gatsby waiting outside Tom & Daisy’s home.  Nick encourages Gatsby to get out of town for awhile since he owns that car that hit and killed Myrtle, but Gatsby won’t leave until he finds out what Daisy’s going to do.  Gatsby tells Nick more about his past.  Gatsby tells his gardener not to drain the pool today because he hasn’t been swimming all summer.  Nick reluctantly leaves to go to work.  Nick recaps what happened at the garage the night before: Myrtle’s husband doesn’t believe it was an accident, remembers that Myrtle came home once from the city with a dog collar, and realizes he can find out who owns the yellow car.

Meanwhile, Gatsby waits and waits for a phone call that doesn’t come, takes a swim, and when Nick rushes into the house later that afternoon, he finds Gatsby shot and Myrtle’s husband dead in the grass.  As Nick informs Gatsby’s “friends” that Gatsby is dead, no one seems to be able to attend the funeral.  However, “Owl-Eyes” the drunk party-goer from Gatsby’s library does go.  Nick meets Mr. Gatz, Gatsby’s father.  Daisy and Tom are out of town, so Nick can’t reach Daisy.  When Nick runs into Tom later, he finds out that Tom told Myrtle’s husband that it was Gatsby’s car, and as we know from the beginning, Nick moves away.

Discussion questions!

1.  What do you think of Gatsby’s end?  Tragic?  Was there any other way for Gatsby’s life to go?

2.  How do you feel about Daisy (and/or any of the other characters) now?

3.  Who is meant to be reading Nick’s story?  Anyone?  Is there an audience?  Nick seems to write for someone, but is it just for himself to read later in life?

4.  Before Myrtle’s husband leaves the Valley of Ashes to find Gatsby, he says “I told [Myrtle] she might fool me but she couldn’t fool God” and “God sees everything.”  His neighbor sees him looking up at the ad of the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg.  The eyes seem to be a favorite symbol of people who discuss the story.  Your thoughts on them or anything else you find symbolic?

5.  Final thoughts on anything else specific or the story in general?  Did you like it?  By the 1960s, apparently The Great Gatsby was considered a classic.  Does it still hold up as a classic today?

And finally, for your entertainment, I present to you The Great Gatsby online Nintendo-like game.  Enjoy!

– Jill

Great Gatsby Chapters 6 & 7: The post in which Amber talks too much about Kate Moss

Hello hello! soooo I promised to do this post for Jill since I knew she had a big Oscar weekend (you know how we love her Best Picture Marathon posts. See here and here) and a Leap Year Vacay. And now it is Friday, and all those amazing comments I had about Chapters 6 & 7 have sorta withered away and I fear I will just end up talking about Kate Moss’ wedding.

How perfect are these! I did a search for "Daisy Buchanan crying" and this was one of the first results--dramatic, flashy, and stunning. and very sad.

So first lets throw out some discussion questions that are actually about chapters 6 & 7 (SPOILERS):

1. woooo how awkward was that trip into the city? Poor Nick. This reminds me of one of my friends from high school who’s boyfriend refused to take her to prom, so she asked another guy, and then her boyfriend did decide to go and asked another girl…and they all went together in the same limo. I know! (she totally ended up dating the other guy, too.)

2. Would Daisy have ever told Tom that she didn’t love him if Gatsby hadn’t rushed her into it? I think it is obvious that she DID love Tom, so in same way it sort of saves my opinion of her that she was conflicted with Gatsby’s demands on her.

3. Who was the most tragic figure during these two chapters? I lean towards Daisy…I want to say Myrtle, you know, because she died…but it is much harder for me to feel bad for Myrtle. She had a nice husband who she was cheating on, she was greedy and annoying, and she deliberately ran out in front of the car. Daisy was essentially being manipulated by two men she loved and then she accidentally kills a person while driving which would be HORRIBLE (yes, it was very bad that she drove away. and I suppose it could be argued that she hit Myrtle on purpose… except she didn’t know who Myrtle was…).

4. However, do you believe Gatsby that Daisy was the driver? Does it matter? Specifically, how does it affect your opinion of Daisy and Gatsby if she was driving vs if he was driving?

So why am I so quick to defend Daisy?

Because of Kate Moss’ wedding.

The wedding of the year

When Jill and Lindsay first starting talking about reading the Great Gatsby, the first brain spark I had was the warm, breezy, happy remembrance of reading about Kate Moss’ Wedding in the August 2011 Vogue. Something about this article has created a sunset within me–I had never really considered myself a big Kate Moss fan, but now I ADORE her. Kate’s look was actually inspired by Zelda Fitzgerald, not specifically Daisy…eh details mere details. So I just went into reading the book feeling connected to Daisy.

Actually, the whole time we’ve been reading this story, I find myself spending less time figuring out how I feel about characters and more time on why I feel what I feel about them. I am pretty sure my views on Nick’s sexuality come from courses I took as an English major–a course on Oscar Wilde and the Asthetes, and a Transnational Detective Fiction course with a focus on books featuring homosexual characters in Spanish-speaking countries. In addition, I read a book about a month ago titled The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures by Caroline Preston which makes several references to Fitzgerald as Frankie’s favorite author and features a very Nick-like man who dates Miss Pratt while having a man-on-the-side. Downton Abbey has also had a big effect on my friendly feelings for Nick. Sigh, oh Matthew! I think if Jen or Lindsay had seen Downton Abbey, that they would probably argue with my comparison between Nick and Matthew. And I agree that their personalities are quite different, however, it is their circumstances that mirror just a bit. World War 1, rich relatives, getting pulled into family drama, sensitive, good listeners 🙂

and the connections in my head go on and on…I just had one right now–why do I even question that Daisy was the driver of the car? that answer lives in what I am watching right now: Murder, She Wrote. Yup, Jessica Fletcher and Agatha Christie have me trained to always question a suspicious death.


The Great Gatsby: Chapters 3-5

Please forgive me for being late again with the discussion post although I don’t really have an excuse besides being lazy…and my coworkers getting me to watch Downton Abbey.  (Downton Abbey!!!!!  I WILL blog about this soon.  It’s so good!!)

So today we are discussing last week’s reading of chapters 3-5.  Want a recap?  John Green to the rescue!  FYI:  After about minute 4, he goes into more of the book and the book in general.  Minor, minor spoilers, but watch/listen at your own risk.

Or to be super, super brief…
Chapter 3:  Gatsby’s party, Nick’s introduction to Gatsby and hanging out with Jordan
Chapter 4:  Nick’s trip into NYC with Gatsby and Jordan’s revelation about a Gatsby-Daisy connection
Chapter 5:  Gatsby-Daisy reunion

A few things before discussion Q’s.

Anybody else seen the 1974 film besides me?  We watched it in high school after we read the novel, and I will forever (?  or at least until the new movie) picture Robert Redford as Gatsby.

Oheka Castle

Gatsby’s house was inspired by Oheka Castle, built by financier and philanthropist Otto Kahn between 1914 and 1919.

Buchanan house

Buchanan house

Daisy and Tom’s house is said to be inspired by this house in Sands Point, NY that was demolished last year.  If you check out the article which has more interesting photos, apparently Fitzgerald was occasionally seen drinking on the patio.

On to the discussion questions!

-What did you think of Gatsby’s party?

-Now that we’ve officially met Gatsby, what do you think of him?  Thus far in the story, do you think he’s earned the name “Great Gatsby”?

-What do you think about Nick’s assessment of himself at the end of Chapter 3:  “Everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.”

-Did your opinion of Daisy change after hearing Jordan’s story and seeing her with Gatsby?  Why/why not?

-What did you think about Daisy and Gatsby’s reunion?

Feel free to discuss any/all/none of these and anything you want in the comments!  Next time we’ll discuss chapters 6 and 7 (hopefully on time!).

– Jill

The Great Gatsby: Chapters 1 and 2

Hello friends!  Let’s discuss the first two chapters of The Great Gatsby.

Need a recap of chapter 1?  Here’s one conveniently done by John Green.

The second chapter is discussed in another video with more parts of the book, so I’ll post that one later.  To quickly sum up chapter two, we learn about the Valley of Ashes, meet Tom’s mistress and her husband, head into New York for a party where they basically just get drunk, and Tom breaks Myrtle’s nose.  What a terrible guy.

Valley of Ashes

The valley of ashes was a real dumping ground that was cleaned up to make room for the 1939-1940 World’s Fair.  The site now is Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

Thoughts so far?

We’ve met some important characters.  What do you think of Nick, Daisy, and Tom?  How is Nick as a narrator?

I learned once that people learn about who we are from more than what we say and what we do.  It also includes what others say about us.  What do you think about what you know of Gatsby based on the little we’ve seen of him and what others say about him?

Does the Valley of Ashes and the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg mean anything or create a certain mood for you?

Discuss these and anything else you want to from chapters 1 and 2 in the comments.  Next time we’ll discuss chapters 3-5!

– Jill

Nerdy Book Discussion News

Woohoo!  Our inaugural online book group begins now!  Here’s the details.

First book: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald












Week 1 (Feb. 6-12 ish) – Chapters 1 and 2

Week 2 (Feb. 13-19 ish) – Chapters 3-5

Week 3 (Feb. 20-26 ish) – Chapter 6 and 7

Week 4 (Feb. 27-Mar. 3 ish) – Chapter 8 and 9

*Note: I use “ish” because it is one of my fave words AND we can play it fast and loose with dates.  I’m not promising I’ll get a post up with questions and such on the right date, mostly because at the end of the month is the Oscars weekend (and if you don’t remember, this happens) and I’m going on vacation to Nantucket. (Woot!)  We’ll just see how the first discussion goes.  I’m thinking each week I (or another nerdgirl, if she so chooses) can post questions/topics of discussion for those chapters and we’ll discuss in the comments.

So grab a copy of the book from your local library and get reading…in case you didn’t notice, chapters 1 & 2 are this week!  🙂

Any suggestions, comments, ideas?  Let me know!

– Jill

Nerdy Book Discussion?

So Lindsay and I were discussing in the comments of my last post how we should start a book discussion.  I think this is an awesome idea.  For our first book, we chose The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Does anyone want to join us??

However, we’re still working out the details.  For example, do we discuss chapter by chapter?  Do we divide the book into 4 sections and go week by week for a month?  Or just give ourselves a month to read the book and discuss at the end?  Hmmmmm.

Anyone interested, please share your thoughts!

– Jill