Thursday, October 18, 2012

Great Gatsby Alert: You Saw It Here

Right next to my bed I have a pile of books that I have been working through. Just recently, I pulled out my copy of the Great Gatsby and put it in the pile. I wanted to reread the part of the book that describes the bespectacled eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg that are on a sign in the midst of kind of dead man’s land of ashes that the characters pass through between more attractive destinations. I think way back when we read the book for school, someone had said something profound about the sign and its meaning in the story.

One of the characters in the book is Tom Buchanan a former college football star whom Fitzgerald tells us is one of those men who reach such an acute limited excellence at twenty-one that everything afterward savors of anticlimax.

A couple days ago, I came across a web site that allows teachers to post some ancillary materials to sell to other teachers. I wondered if Gatsby is even assigned these days. I don't recall any of my kids reading it in high school English. It turns out there were many Gatsby ancillaries, so apparently F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book is alive and well in many schools. In fact, interest in Gatsby may just explode next year as yet another Gatsby movie is coming out in May 2013. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Gatsby and Toby McGuire plays Nick Carraway, the book’s narrator and main character. I checked on WorldCat and there are well over 5,000 libraries that have the Great Gatsby book. There are roughly 1000 foreign libraries that carry it.

Having worked in a bookstore for several years, I know when book is made into a movie, there is often a new edition issue with a new cover featuring the movie images and new price tag as well. Librarian who like to plan ahead for displays may schedule work on a Gatsby display--perhaps featuring a roaring 20s kind of theme with flappers, long luxurious automobiles and other images of the era. If the movie does well it is likely to rekindle an interest in the book. Of course, if the movie bombs, that’s a whole other story. Library patrons might be more interested in Goofey than Gatsby.
Copyright 2012 Sporting Chance Press

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