No, not the clap. Books! A book is the gift that keeps on giving (and doesn’t require antibiotics either).
On my 40th birthday (which was a number of years ago—all these gray hairs? Earned ’em.), we had a low-key afternoon party at the house and I had just two gift requests: a donation to Stray Rescue or a book. The animal rescue group got a lot of donations, and I got more than a few books. (True confession: I haven’t read all of them yet. Yes, I’m a slow reader and also an [attempted] recovering book buying addict who has picked up many more books in the four years since then.) I even got three copies of the same book.
So, today’s #BookADay prompt, “The one I always give as a gift,” has made me wonder if there’s really any pattern in the books I give people. I don’t think there is. Then I thought, what’s the one book I lend out that I often never get back?
That would be The Great Gatsby. And if I lend something and it doesn’t come back, that’s kind of like a gift, right?
It’s kind of a gift to myself as well, because I love this book.
A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author’s generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald’s–and his country’s–most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter–tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning–” Gatsby’s rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream. (from the Goodreads summary)
The first time I read this was in the 10th grade, in Mrs. Accardo’s honors English class. I already knew by that point that I wanted to be a writer, but Gatsby pretty much cemented it. I’ve tried to read it every year since then. Whenever someone has said they’ve never read it, I’ve gone and got my copy and given it to them. Then I go out and get another one.
I should probably keep more than one copy on the shelf, shouldn’t I?