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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

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Please Everyone Watch Cougar Town Tomorrow Night!!

I have literally been looking forward to tomorrow night for months!  Why, you ask?  Could it be I have special Valentine’s Day plans? Hell no!  I have been waiting for the third season of Cougar Town FOREVER!!!!

“Ewwww, Cougar Town?  Isn’t that that show about old ladies who sleep with younger guys?”  That is probably what most of you are thinking, but the answer is NO NO NO!!!!  It is in my opinion, the best show on tv right now.  It is definitely my favorite comedy show of all time (tied with Arrested Development).  This show is so amazing…..it makes me literally laugh out loud and cry in the same episode.  I love all of the characters and totally want them to adopt me into their Cul-de-Sac Crew.

So, for those of you newbies out there, Cougar Town DID start out as a show about Jules (Courtney Cox), who was recently divorced, dating younger guys.  That only lasted about six episodes.  Around episode seven of the first season, it really became about Jules’ group of friends and family and all the hilarious misadventures they get up to.

It is by the same lovely people who brought you Scrubs, and I know a lot of you out there are Scrubs fans.  This show has several familiar faces from that series popping up on occasion and is just as funny (in my opinion a lot more funny) than that beloved series.  You all know how fickle I am about tv shows.  I break up with them at the drop of a hat, so professing my love for a show is not something I do every day.  I own both seasons 1 and 2 on DVD, and I have literally watched disc 3 of season 1 at least six times.

It is hard to describe what I love about the show, because it is just so perfect that it is difficult to pick out one thing.  I think I would have to say it is the running gags and inside jokes that are in all of the episodes.  Grayson’s guitar, Big Joe/Big Carl, Jules’ finger guns, Penny Can, and my favorite–Ellie’s imaginary tip of the hat that no one seems to understand.  But don’t let that fool you into thinking that you can’t pick up on the show right now.  I have heard that they specifically created the first episode of season 3 to kind of introduce new viewers, so PLEASE WATCH TOMORROW!!  Watch with your valentine if you have to, I promise you will not be disappointed.

Here are a couple of videos to show you how awesome it is.  One of them is the season 3 highlight reel, which contains a lot of spoilers, but for some reason I am not too worried about it.  Even if I know what is going to happen I know it will still be hilarious!!

Here is a scene from the end of my favorite episode.  I totally want to hang out with all of these people!!!!  And I LOVE that they make Travis and Smith carry the keg 🙂

Here is a video of Grayson’s top ten moments:

And finally, here is the season 3 highlight reel:  I think I’ve watched it 4 times 🙂

So anyway, that is what I will be doing tomorrow night at 7:30 on ABC.

Jen

P.S.  Sorry, I haven’t posted in so long, hopefully this will be the first of many posts on here.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Timeline:

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

Top Ten Tuesday: Discussable* Books

* I’m not entirely sure that’s a real word, but I’m too tired to look it up now.

This week (please ignore how I skipped several weeks since last time) for Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is books that would be good for a book discussion.  My list includes books that I’ve gotten to discuss and were great, books I will be discussing and am looking forward to, and books I would love to discuss.  In no particular order…

1.  Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
All of my answers to Top Ten Tuesday may include Harry Potter.  Everytime I re-read any of these books…or even think about them for longer than one minute…I think they’re amazing and want to talk to someone about how intricately woven they are.

2.  Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
If you’ve read this blog at all in the past, you may have seen me reference this book before.  Because it’s AMAZING and my favorite adult book EVER.  I’ve actually gotten to discuss this before and while it was a good discussion, pretty much everyone else was like “eh, it was ok.”  😦

3.   The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I’ve discussed this book officially 2 times in a true book discussion and have another one coming up in March.  Can I just say it: I am burnt out on The Hunger Games!  *whew*  But it does make a good discussion, and next time the discussion is with adults, so should be interesting.

4.  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I read this a few weeks ago and instantly wanted to talk about it.  I am so sad that it will not come out in paperback for at least a year and therefore cannot be a true book discussion that I lead or co-lead for a long time.

5.  Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
One of my coworkers and I started a book discussion group for adults (and teens) who want to read YA books.  I would LOVE to do Beauty Queens, but again, waiting for paperback.

6.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
We actually just discussed The Book Thief with our new book discussion group for adults reading teen books and it was a great discussion.  Even though I kind of hate the book (please don’t hate me!), the adults were pretty into it.  Particularly when it came to what the colors symbolized and why it is a teen book.

7.  Chime by Franny Billingsley
So even though I was confused by this book while reading it and wasn’t sure I even really liked it, I cannot stop thinking about Chime!  It has a lot of fabulous elements and I desperately want to re-read it for a true discussion about its narrator, writing style, and fairy tale-esque qualities.

8.  When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
It’s been awhile since I’ve read this, but I definitely remember loving it.  It’s definitely the kind of book you want to go back instantly and re-read, which I think means it would be great to discuss.

9.  Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This one is FULL of ’80s references and nerdiness.  I read it for a discussion with some friends, and it was great – both the book and the discussion.

10.  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
After seeing Midnight in Paris, I really wanted to read or re-read books of the jazz era.  The Great Gatsby is at the top of my list since I haven’t read it since sophomore year of high school and remember nothing besides a car crash and a green light.  (I think?)  If it were part of a book discussion, I would definitely pick it up.  Anybody interested??  (I wish I hadn’t missed when the nerdfighting community read it this summer.)

What books do you want or love to discuss?

– Jill

A Review of Sorts

I realized a few days ago that I have really slowed down on my reading in the past few months. Maybe I’ve just been too tired to stay up late reading like I usually do. Whatever. So my goal for this year is to read more. Also to keep track of what I read, so that I can do fun look back posts like Jill. To start off, I’m posting this kind-of-review. Mostly I’m just going to talk about these books I just read.

The first two books that I have read so far this year just happen to be by the same author, Leila Sales. I read her first book, Mostly Good Girls, first.

I have a confession to make. When I was reading this book, I didn’t really like it. In retrospect, I think that’s because I kept expecting something really scandalous to happen. I don’t know why though. It’s like I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop and it never happened. So then what is this book about? The book follows high school junior Violet as she tries to get good grades (straight As, actually), get the boyfriend of her dreams, and not have her school’s literary magazine, of which she is the editor, suck. But what the book is really about is Violet’s friendship with Katie. I think part of the reason I disliked reading this book is because I kept thinking how much I’d rather be seeing things from Katie’s perspective. To me, Katie is the much more interesting half of this pair of best friends. Katie is always coming up with awesome projects for her and Violet to do, like creating mazes for her dog and timing him, or becoming pool sharks. On top of that, throughout the book, Katie gets more and more defiant and angry, but Violet just kind of ignores this.

I struggled with Violet. I wanted to smack her upside the head a lot. Mostly because she kept ignoring all these signs that something was not right with Katie. Also because she was jealous of Katie. I kept wanting to yell at Violet and be like, “Look, we both know Katie’s awesome, but there’s no reason that you both can’t be awesome.” Sure, Katie gets a perfect PSAT score. But it’s not like she can help it. Why should she have to dumb herself down just to keep a friend? That’s not cool. Not that Violet would ever suggest that, but you can definitely tell that Violet may have thought that a stupider Katie might have been better at one point or another. But her jealousy wasn’t what really bugged me about Violet. It was that she was whiney about her grades. She kept saying that she wanted to get straight As, blah blah blah. But then there would be times when she didn’t bother to finish her homework, or thought she should be studying and then went out anyways. And the whole time I was just like, do your dang homework! Gah! How hard is that concept? If you do your homework, you’re much better prepared when the test on that subject material rolls around. But I guess I’ve been out of high school for almost ten years now, so what do I know?

Now that I’ve just told you why I didn’t like the book, I have to tell you that I actually do like this book. I had to sit on it for a while but I’ve come to appreciate just what Mostly Good Girls did. Like I said, nothing terribly scandalous happened. But then this wasn’t an action driven novel. It was more about the characters and their journeys. I think that if I had gone into the book knowing that it was character driven, I would have enjoyed it while I was reading it. But overall, I can safely say that I really do like this book. I wish I could tell you why I ended up liking Violet, but that’s really the whole point of the book and I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you who do end up reading it.

The second book I read was Past Perfect.

First things first. How cute is that cover! Super cute! The only reason I read Mostly Good Girls was because I wanted to read this book. But! My library branch didn’t have Past Perfect and so while I was waiting for them to transfer it over I read Mostly Good Girls because they DID have it. Past Perfect is about Chelsea and her summer working at Essex Historical Colonial Village. You guys. She works as a colonial era re-enactor! How cool is that!? Way cool. I’ve always wanted to do something like that, but I didn’t grow up close enough to any places that could have employed me. Chelsea gets to dress up and pretend to be someone else from a different time all summer! And on top of that her best friend is working there this summer, too! Tons of fun! Wooo! Oh wait. Chelsea’s ex-boyfriend, Ezra (I kept picturing this totally emo teenager), is also working there this summer. Which is totally not cool, because Chelsea isn’t over him. But! But! There is a war on! And Chelsea is second-in-command! Which is way awesome. Except then she meets one of the super cute and totally crushable enemies. And everyone knows you shouldn’t fraternize with the enemy! The war has been going on ever since Reenactmentland opened up right across the street from Essex. Reenactmentland is all about the Civil War, and they’re so passionate that they soak their coat buttons in urine just so it looks more authentic. Dedication, right there.

This book was super fun to read. Not only did I get to learn about what it might be like to be a re-enactor, but there were snippets of history all over the book. So I learned stuff too! Double whammy. It’s hard to beat that. Also, did I mention super crushable enemy boy? Because that was fun too. Chelsea’s got a pretty awesome BFF, Fiona, too. Together they are also spending their summer becoming ice cream connoisseurs. Ice cream! Yes! Who wouldn’t want to do that? Also, there’s a really cool scene where Chelsea finally lets herself remember what a jerk Ezra really was/is.

So to recap: I liked both books, but definitely liked Past Perfect better. My recommendation would be to start with Past Perfect, and then if you liked that, then read Mostly Good Girls. I will be watching to see what Ms. Sales’ third book will be. I definitely can see her becoming one of my favorite authors in the future.

Huggles,

Lindsay