Sunday, October 13, 2013

Review: The Great Gatsby

Like a lot of people, I don't read many classics. Classics are books we remember fondly (or maybe not so fondly) from high school -- not ones we actually take time to read as adults. Of the more than four hundred novels I've read in the past twenty years, only six were drawn from the Modern Library's celebrated Top 100.

Prompted by my community's Big Read program, however, I recently revisited No. 2 on the Modern Library's list: The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's timeless portrait of the Jazz Age. What I found was a book that has held up well since it was published in 1925 and still contains relevant messages for modern society.

In what is considered his greatest work, Fitzgerald introduces readers to the young, enigmatic Jay Gatsby, a self-made man who has everything but the one thing he wants: socialite Daisy Buchanan, the wife of fellow Long Island millionaire Tom Buchanan.

Told from the perspective of Nick Carraway, a young bond salesman who serves as sort of a middleman between his neighbor Gatsby and his second cousin Daisy, The Great Gatsby grabbed my attention from the first page and never let go. Fitzgerald's portrayal of prosperity, greed, arrogance, and recklessness is without peer.

To augment my enjoyment of the novel, I listened to the unabridged audiobook, read by actor Jake Gyllenhaal, and watched the recently released movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. Both were excellent but were no substitute for the text. Fitzgerald's haunting prose still resonates and probably will for another century. Rating: 5/5.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

An overdue thank you

As I head into the fall and begin to market my fourth novel in earnest, I feel indebted to a group of people who have helped me to get even this far. Bloggers have been more than accommodating in getting my works before the public. They have been indispensable.

This is particularly true with ten people I have worked with over the past 18 months. They include Casee at Literary Inklings, Lisa at 300 Word Book Reviews, Nicole at Forbidden Reviews, Carrie at the Mad Reviewer, Donna at More than a Review, Sharon at Sharon's Book Nook, Dianne at Tome Tender, Ailyn at Piece of My Mind, Judy at the Voracious Reader, and D.J. at Pick Your Poison Book Reviews.

These ladies have done more than review The Fire, released August 31. They have reviewed all four novels in the Northwest Passage series. That is the sort of thing you don't forget when trying to introduce your works to new readers in an increasingly crowded and competitive market.

A special thanks goes to each of these reviewers for taking a chance on an unknown author and another to those who are about to join their ranks. This writer is most grateful.