Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Review by Christopher Bradley

The Great Gatsby is a Cindarella story gone wrong told in the tail end of the Great Depression just after world war two. The story begins with the introduction of a young Bachelor named Nick who moves in to live in and amongst the rich on Long Island Sound. He finds himself in the midst of all forms of celebrity and debutante in the infamous parties held in Gatsby's house.

It is an interesting note, that Gatsby, while suspected of taking large sums of Nazi money to support these activities here in the united states, was still particularly fond of books, having a large collection in a personal library. This is the one element that begins to take shape to define him as more than a man to be scrutinized, as Nick attempts to do. Nick is curious to know if Gatsby really was an Oxford scholar.

A love story begins to develop between Gatsby and a woman named Daisy, or should we say every man and Daisy. She is the most desireable woman among those in the Sound, and she is purported to have married for money rather than love.

There are many drunken revelries, and a few relaxations in the shade of Gatsby's house, where his lawn is perfectly cut, near the pool, which had never been used that summer.
There are complexities that defy the human imagination at some points, and the writing is so smooth and effortless that if you are in the quiet, the storytelling seems like watching television.

The book was incredible and I will save the color and irridescence of the whole conclusion of the story for you to find out for yourself, how the crescendo blessess us with a damning truth.

Bring forth the pastels, the paisley's and the pinstripes, we're going to town.

James Joyce - Portrait of the artist as a young man

This book was amazing. It took you through all of the facets of growing up in a polarized society, where religion meets colligiate activities and Steven (Joyce) is torn between taking part in the whole of Catholicism, or attempting to use his faith in an unblinded manner. It is a historic work that I recommend every young man read. There are some difficult bits in Latin, but those can kind of be skimmed over as the work stands as a whole, a fire and brimstone sermon that Joyce lashes us with as he takes his voyage as a tortured writer to bear upon.

Walt Whitman Review 2006 Posting

Walt Whitman - Leaves Of Grass
A Review by Christopher Bradley

Walt Whitman was alive during the Civil War Era. He lived through it and managed to bring us the perfect reflection of a 30 year old man living in the time. His words soothe the soul on a hot summers day on a porch with some tea, and drown the sorrows of the moment with the realization that more people already died to keep this country together than we can fathom.

He speaks of the grass growing from the soldier's breasts as the dead were carried away, yet in the same breath, utters a consciousness of nature so profound as to see the brilliant side of the lives of the men and vibrance of the women who fought to serve their country and make the countrysides villages, and metropolis of Manhattan, known to be their residences.

Walt Whitman is not just you or I. He is the everyman and everywoman, waiting to burst forth in joy and make love in the bushes. He wants to roll in the surf on the beach naked and kiss the tips of rose petals. He is a poet that will not soon be outlived even by the likes of Shakespeare, who had is time so long ago.

While Shakespeare has "O Romeo, O Romeo, Wherefore Art Thou," Whitman has, "Oh Captain my Captain" and a "Barbaric Yawp." Or any of a hundred other catch phrases that I could throw around. But those individually are not the message intended. He wants to be intimate with the reader to the point where the reader owns his message in his heart. He wants you to read him every summer for life, and perhaps that's not a bad idea. Because the universals do not change, and the readings get easier with time.

For everything that can be said for Whitman, he cannot be called a coward. He served as a nurse in the military, helping to carry the wounded and the dead. I can't think of a single service that would account for more courage in a man and require more mental stamina. It was rare that a wounded man would survive in those times. Ushering them into the great beyond required love and caring. And isn't that after all, what it's all about?