Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Great Gatsby

(BOOK 26 of the 52 week Challenge)

From the back cover:

"The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted "gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession," is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s."

The adulteries of two of the main characters, along with the hosting of weekly alcohol-drenched festivities by Mr. Gatsby, are parts of the main storyline of this book. It is assigned as high-school level reading in our literature studies, but I've opted to wait a couple of years before I assign it to Zachary and Ryan, even though it goes with our current time period in our history studies. I do want them to read it in high school, just not while they are 14.

All Quiet on the Western Front

(BOOK 25 of the 52 week Challenge)

"The greatest war book that has yet been written."
~ Redakteur Stohr

"It is the strongest document that has come out of the war."
~ Ernst Toller

"It surpasses all other war books in its cruel truth."
~ L'Action Francaise

"It is a great document. A powerful work of art. All other books about the war become small and insignificant in comparison."
~ Albert Engstrom

These are some of the reviews of this book which describes the horror of life in the trenches on the front lines of WWI, and the inability of the men who fought to adjust to their previous lives when on leave.

The author had this to say about his novel:
"This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by the war."

Many parts of the reading were difficult to get through due to the emotional impact of the passages. I recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about the daily atrocities faced by some of the men and women of our armed forces. Be warned that there is some sexual content.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Free Writing Workshop

Cindy Marsch of Writing Assessment Services is offering for free her Writing Prep Workshop for Great Books. The offer expires in October, so hurry if you're interested in signing up.